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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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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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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Could harsher punishments for mortgages in arrears lead to lower rates?

Mortgages are notoriously expensive in Ireland, with rates twice those of the Eurozone average. How best to address this problem has been a hot-button issue in Ireland for some time. Now, some are putting forward a new solution: harsher punishments for borrowers with mortgages in arrears. One of Irish banks’ stated reasons for rates being so high is that failing to meet mortgage payments doesn’t have high enough consequences for borrowers. For example, home repossessions in Ireland aren’t very common, since the process is so complex and can take several years. As a result, loans are riskier investments for lenders in Ireland relative to other Eurozone countries. If this is indeed the reason for rates being high, it follows that tougher treatment of such borrowers would lead to lower rates for everyone else.

Regarding the number of borrowers this would affect, statistics from the Central Bank of Ireland show that 5.3% of all principle dwelling house (PDH) mortgage accounts were in arrears as of December 2020. This percentage includes a total of 38,785 accounts. However, it’s also worth noting …

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Are capital requirements for Irish banks too high?

In the aftermath of the financial crash of 2008, the European debt crisis, and the Irish banking crisis, in 2014 regulations were passed aimed at promoting higher banking standards to prevent similar crises in the future.

The first of these rules states that all Irish banks have initial starting capital of at least €5 million; they must always be in excess of this amount. Further, lenders have claimed that they must hold up to three times the capital for mortgages relative to average requirements throughout the rest of the EU.

These regulations largely seem to have accomplished the job they were instated, with the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) stating that there has been an increase in high quality loans and a corresponding decrease in problem loans.

However, there has been criticism as of late for the continued implementation of these rules, and for the harsh conditions they impose on lenders. It is possible that borrowers are also adversely affected by extension. For instance, it is claimed by major Irish banks that the high capital requirements are …

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Could Ireland be a leader in fintech development?

The financial technology (fintech) industry has seen rapid growth worldwide, in time with the rapid progress of technology itself. Examples of new products that have come with this trend are loan management software, crypto-currencies, and more. These products can be targeted for use by businesses as well as the average consumer, and together they led fintech to become a $200 billion industry worldwide in 2019; it is expected to be worth around $305 billion by 2025. The leader countries in fintech development as of 2020 include the U.S., the UK, and Singapore, with developing countries like China also expected to become major players in the near future.

However, Ireland may also have the potential to become a global fintech hub in the near future. Ireland’s pro-business governance makes it an appealing place for businesses looking to enter the industry. One aspect of this appeal is its low corporate tax rate of 12.5%. Additionally, its research & development tax credit of 25% makes it very friendly to tech companies and encourages continued innovation. Its double taxation agreements with many other EU …

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How Brexit might impact Ireland going forward

As of 31 December, 2020, the transition period of the UK’s exit from the EU has ended, and Europe is now left to deal with its economic fallout. General consensus seems to be that the move will ultimately prove harmful to the UK and the EU, including Ireland. In fact, Ireland will likely be more affected, as it is more exposed to its effects than others due to the intensity of trade between the two. Costs associated with that trade will undoubtedly increase, as the UK is Ireland’s second-largest training partner, accounting for 14% of Irish exports and 26% of imports, second only to the U.S. Brexit will necessitate additional steps in conducting said trade. Trade between the two is already said to have fallen substantially. To get around this, some businesses have been going through Northern Ireland.

Trade with the rest of Europe will also be made more complicated post-Brexit. Shipments from Ireland to the mainland have often gone through the UK historically. Now, Irish businesses have had to find and arrange for new routes. At present, these new …

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