5 Ways to save for a Deposit

Saving up to buy a home can seem like a big challenge. Your home is likely the biggest purchase you will ever make, and unlike saving for retirement, this payment is a large sum of money that you will need to access soon. This may seem challenging, but with a solid savings plan, anyone can save enough to put a down payment on their dream home. In this article, we’ll cover 5 easy ways to start saving for your down payment today.

 

Budget your money wisely

The first and most important step in any savings plan is budgeting. To build your budget, examine your bank statements and credit card payments to see where your money is going. Make sure to keep track of how much you spend on necessary payments, such as rent, utilities, and student loan payments if you have them. Next, consider how much you spend on eating out, entertainment, and other nonessentials. While you are saving, it is a good idea to set limits on each of these categories and stick to it, setting aside the …

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Costs you Should be Aware of before Buying a House

There are more costs associated with buying your first home than just the 10% deposit. There are many additional fees, duties and taxes that you should be aware of before buying your home. 

 

The first fee you should be aware of is the stamp duty. The stamp duty is not included in your mortgage, so it’s a good idea to save this fee up in addition to your 10% deposit. The stamp duty is calculated at 1% of the selling price on a home or residential property of up to €1m, and 2% of the selling price on homes and residential properties above €1m. This stamp duty may change however, and full details are available on the Revenue.ie website. 

Legal fees are another hidden cost of buying a home that you should look out for. There are a lot of legal aspects that have to be accounted for when officially transferring ownership of the property to you, so you should find a trusted real estate lawyer to take care of this transfer. Legal fees will vary depending on …

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5 Tips to Protect Yourself from Cyber Crime

Cyber Criminals have many ways to access and steal your financial information online. In the past year, this threat has only increased due to the covid-19 pandemic and its effects, namely the increased amount of online banking and transactions. As fintech continues to make more and more advancements and we move closer to a true ‘cashless society’, making sure your personal finances are secure will be more important than ever. Whether it’s strengthening your passwords or using antivirus protection, there are many steps you can take to make sure your personal information and assets are safe and secure. Here are 5 easy tips to get you started. 

 

Protect Your Passwords!

You’ve probably heard that having a strong password is essential to your online security, and this couldn’t be more true. Use passwords of more than eight characters, containing both upper and lowercase letters as well as special characters. Avoid using the same password on multiple websites. If you do, a hacker could compromise all of your accounts with one lucky guess. For additional security, you can also consider using …

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4 Easy Ways to Improve your Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is one of the most important and underrated skills that anyone can have. Understanding basic financial concepts such as mortgages, inflation, and interest rates is critical for financial success. Once you unlock this knowledge, you will be better equipped to effectively manage, save, and invest money for you and your family. This knowledge, combined with other good financial habits, is the key to financial well being and freedom later on in life. While everyone has varying degrees of financial literacy, there is an overwhelming amount of resources available to expand your knowledge on financial topics.

 

Read Personal Finance Books

If you enjoy reading, there is no shortage of finance books that cover a broad variety of topics, from eliminating debt to saving for retirement. One book recommended by Forbes magazine that covers the latter is Rewirement: Rewiring The Way You Think About Retirement!, by Jaime Hopkins. This book tackles common misconceptions and bad habits that prevent people from having flexible and successful retirement plans. For a variety of books on many topics, check out Insider’s …

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Mortgage Broker vs. Bank: What’s the Difference?

Buying a house is one of the most important decisions of your life, which is why you need to make sure you pick the right lender when applying for a mortgage. However, there are many different types of lenders, each offering different products and rates for your mortgage, so it can get overwhelming. 

 

The first type of mortgage lender is a Direct Lender. A direct lender is a financial institution that originates, processes, and funds the loan all by itself. In other words, the company you work with is the one loaning you the money. Direct Lenders include big banks like Bank of Ireland, credit unions, and specialized financial companies that deal primarily with home loans and mortgages. An example of a specialized mortgage company like this is Quicken. 

 

The second type of mortgage lender is a Mortgage Broker. A broker is the “middleman” that helps you find the best possible rate for your home loan. Brokers work with multiple mortgage companies and compare rates to find the best lender for your specific situation. 

 

Now that …

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Has Covid-19 Permanently Changed the Work Landscape?

The government says so. In a time where so many people in Ireland and across the globe have switched to remote working due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, employers and employees alike have been forced to adapt. With more than a year of remote working under their belts, people have been able to observe the many benefits and drawbacks that come with remote working.

 

Now, the Government’s National Remote Work Strategy aims to encourage remote working after the pandemic. The government says its main objective is to “ensure remote work is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace” in the future.  In this strategy, the government breaks down what it believes to be the benefits and challenges that come with working remotely during a pandemic. There are several benefits, including improving work/life balance, more time spent with children and family, and reducing the amount of time spent commuting. However, there are several challenges, particularly when it comes to mental health of employees. In a virtual workspace,  employees  often experience feelings of isolation, loneliness, and stress. Another benefit is the …

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How credit card fraudsters are adapting to the Pandemic, and how you can be safe

While many businesses had to adapt during 2020, including a major shift from physical to online retail, payment card fraudsters also had to adapt. COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, especially in the first two quarters of 2020, dramatically changed the way shopping was done around the globe. 

 

Payment card fraud numbers from the first two quarters, according to BPFI, are quite concerning. The latest credit and debit card fraud losses for the first half of 2020 amounted to €12.2 million across more than 143,000 fraudulent debit and credit card transactions. While consumers dramatically changed their shopping behavior from physical retail to online, fraudsters followed suit. Because of this, there was a 21% increase in ‘card not present’ fraud transactions. These transactions occur online when a fraudster uses the details of a credit or debit card they have stolen without the card being physically present. Following the trend from in-store retail to online, there was also a parallel decrease in physical instances of fraud. In-store, or point of sale, cases of fraud were down 52% in the first half of 2020, when …

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Is it Getting easier to be approved for a mortgage in Ireland?

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have had many effects on business throughout the world and in Ireland. Every industry has been affected by this pandemic, and many in negative ways. However, this is not exactly the case with the mortgage industry in Ireland.

 

The mortgage industry in Ireland has remained remarkably buoyant over the past year. This is especially significant due to the fact that the country has been under level 5 lockdowns since March of 2020. While one would expect mortgage drawdowns and approvals to decrease like most economic activity, what happened instead was surprising. For the first quarter of 2021, BPFI reports that there were 9,091 new mortgages worth €2.1 billion drawn down by borrowers. These numbers represent a 4.5% increase in volume and a 7.3% increase in value when compared to the corresponding quarter of 2020. This was also the most drawdowns approved in Q1 of any year since 2009. 

bpf

March 2021 was also a strong month for mortgage approvals, especially when considering First Time Buyers (FTBs). In March of 2021, a …

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Irish Economy Poised for Huge Rebound as Restrictions are Lifted

Consumer and Business sentiment is growing in Ireland following the loosening of covid restrictions. 

 

For May 2021, the Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse, a metric that combines the result of the Business and Consumer pulses, came in at 89.5. This is 4.1 points higher than last month, and 45.6 higher than a year ago. This is the fourth straight month that the Economic Pulse has increased, and it comes after a series of covid-19 related restrictions were loosened or lifted. In May, restrictions on social interactions were lifted, and several sectors emerged, at least partially, from lockdown. These sectors include the remainder of construction, personal services, and non-essential retail (by appointment only), with many other sectors getting ready to re-open. 

 

This rising sentiment, combined with the expectation that lockdown measures will be loosened further in the coming months, has brought the Economic Pulse Index back above its pre-pandemic levels for the first time. This has led Bank of Ireland to revise its GDP forecast to 5.8%, up from its earlier estimate of 5%.  

 

The Housing market …

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