Irish Financial Review

As bank charges depositors, personal wealth management more important than ever!

Ever since the European Central Bank went negative on interest rates, there has been a certain level of expectation that banks would pass on those negative interest rates to their customers. Well, that day has now arrived!

Personal Wealth Management Key to Long Term Financial Success

Personal Wealth Management Key to Long Term Financial Success

Commerzbank is the first major bank to make such a move. It says that it will encourage big clients to move cash into alternative investments while introducing fees on deposits.

And, while the banking giant says private savers and small and medium-sized businesses will not be affected by the policy, the shift in charging for holding deposits is a major one.

Drivers

In June the European Central Bank (ECB) said that banks would have to pay to park money at the central bank.

That negative interest rate was an effort to spur banks and other financial institutions to lend money and not leave it on deposit.

In September it made holding money at the ECB even less attractive by cutting the rate on overnight deposits to minus 0.2%.

Greater investment awareness

Moving forward, consumers in general, large and small will need to improve their general awareness of investing and investment markets if they are to escape the devastating impact of charges on deposits and financial repression in general.

“Savers everywhere have become a sort of ‘unwanted’ said Frank Conway of MoneyWhizz.org.

“Today, Irish banks are paying a pittance to savers and depositors. Additionally, they charge significant monthly fees on customer accounts where  balances falls below certain thresholds” said Mr. Conway.

Consumers everywhere must now take a more proactive role in the management of their own personal wealth and long-term financial needs. This will include a high degree of personal learning or working with professional advisors to fill the gap.

Best fuel deals in Ireland

The US has allowed a whole range of new technologies to be deployed for locating and extracting oil and gas. ‘Fracking’ as it is known has resulted in an explosion of oil and gas production to such an extent that it is flooding the world market and pushing down prices. Terrible news if your economy depends on oil and gas revenue but great news for Irish motorists!

IFR - Gas Prices

Petrol and diesel prices have fallen in recent weeks

So let’s take a closer look at where the best prices are nationally.

PETROL:

Station Price
Applegreen
New Main Street, Tullamore
140.8c
6th Nov
Applegreen
Coolanoran, Newcastlewest
142.8c
6th Nov
Top
Smithfield, Croagh
142.8c
4th Nov
Esso
Clara Road, Tullamore
142.9c
6th Nov
Texaco
Enniskillen Rd, Manorhamilton
142.9c
5th Nov
Great Gas
Roscommon Road, Athlone
142.9c
4th Nov
Garvey’s
St. Marys Rd, Newcastlewest
142.9c
4th Nov
Top
St. Itas Rd., Newcastlewest
142.9c
4th Nov
Great Gas
Bypass Road, Bandon
142.9c
3rd Nov

Now, the best deals on diesel:

Station Price
Applegreen
New Main Street, Tullamore
132.8c
6th Nov
Texaco
Enniskillen Rd, Manorhamilton
133.9c
5th Nov
GABOTO OIL LTD
Clondalkin truck and trailer park, Cloverhill Rd, Clondalkin
133.9c
5th Nov
Top
Limerick Road, Ennis
134.8c
4th Nov
Applegreen
Limerick Road, Ennis
134.8c
4th Nov
Top
Hacketstown Rd, Carlow
134.8c
4th Nov
Applegreen
Classes Lake Retail Centre, Ovens
134.8c
3rd Nov

All treats and no tricks as AIB cuts interest rates

AIB is to cut mortgage rates by up to 0.25% from the start of December.

Mortgage market getting more competitive

Mortgage market getting more competitive

The standard variable and Loan to Value rate reductions will apply to mortgage from AIB, EBS and Haven and will be available to new and existing customers.

This is a really smart move by AIB as it seeks to position itself ahead of an anticipated mortgage rush before new lending rules take effect from January next. When it comes to choosing a mortgage, interest rates are king!” said Mr. Frank Conway of MoneyWhizz.org, the personal finance website.

The bank said the change would impact 146,000 existing mortgage account holders.

The cut will see the bank’s standard variable rate fall to 4.15% from 1 December, with EBS’ rate dropping to 4.33% and Haven’s falling to 4.35%.

Meanwhile Loan to Value rates at AIB and Haven will fall by 0.24%, with EBS rates falling by 0.25%.

This means that a LTV mortgage of 80% or more will be charged at a rate of 4.25% by AIB and Haven, and 4.2% by EBS.

This is a direct challenge to Bank of Ireland which led the market with its offer to pay the 1% stamp duty for first time buyer applicants, it would be a major surprise if BoI did not respond with a counter offer” said Mr. Conway

How to be a smart spender this Halloween season

October is a month of pumpkins and sweets – and it’s a time when “Trick-or-Treaters”, young and old celebrate this ‘scary season’ with lots of spending, all of which can really add up.

More treats than tricks this halloween season when it comes to spending

More treats than tricks this Halloween season when it comes to spending

Following are some handy tricks to make sure your ‘scary season’ celebrations remain a treat!
1. Trick-or-Treating
Trick-or-treating is a great time to show off your fancy costume and earn some serious sweet donations. But for items you’ll only use for a couple of hours, consider some budget-friendly alternatives.
Treat Bags. Stores stock shelves with plastic baskets shaped like pumpkins and other fun sweet carriers. But going back to the traditional pillowcase treat bag offers an opportunity to get creative, like dying an old pillow case or decorate it to match your costume. You might even find it will hold more sweets than a store-bought basket.
Sweets and Chocolates. In the case of Halloween treats, waiting until the last-minute just might work in your favour. Shops often lower prices to rid their shelves of Halloween sweets to make room for Christmas merchandise.
2. Halloween Entertaining
Whether you’re hosting a big party or going to someone else’s event, keep these tips in mind to make a big impression without spending big euro sums.
• Plan Ahead. Make sure you have all the costume materials, decorations and sweets and treats that you need on Halloween day to avoid last–minute splurges.
• Make a budget and stick to it. Like any holiday, there is the temptation to overspend during Halloween. You can set a realistic budget for your family in advance using our Personal Budget Planner.
• Reuse decorations. If you keep decorations in good condition, they can often last you for years to come.
• Get creative. Want to have the scariest looking house in your neighbourhood? Get your kids or friends involved in making decorations, so you don’t break the bank making the house look frightful. Construction paper, pens and a little imagination can go a long way.
• Get together. To help defer some of your holiday costs, plan a party with friends and family so you can share the burden (and the fun!) of hosting a neighbourhood bash.
• Shop clearance sales for next year. Enjoy significant savings on costumes and decorations by shopping just after Halloween this year for supplies you can use next year.
• Be safe. Everyone wants to have fun on Halloween, so when hosting an event, remember to keep the environment safe for children and parents alike.
3. Cost-Conscious Costumes
Whether you’re outfitting yourself or helping to dress up your kids, you don’t have to break the bank to have a ghoulishly good costume this Halloween. Here are a few time-tested tricks for saving yourself big-time.
Skip the store. Seasonal Halloween stores can be tempting, but purchases can really add up. Instead of visiting a specialty store to shop for your entire costume, get your costume elsewhere first and visit seasonal stores for accessories only.
Be thrifty. Cruise the bargain shops to look for accessories or the costumes you are creating. Whether it’s a princess, a superhero or a zombie, you can often find what you need at a second-hand shop. The price tag is likely to be less than €10 compared to €50 or more for a costume purchased at a specialty store.
Swap with friends. Kids don’t typically wear the same costume year after year. Consider getting together with neighbours who have kids the same age as yours and swap costumes from previous years.
Jump online. If you are set on the idea of getting a complete costume online, check out eBay’s Halloween store or other discount sites.

How to negotiate a better deal on just about anything

Best deals on a range of services

Negotiating to a better deal

Despite being told that Europe suffers from a state of near-deflation, one would be forgiven for thinking the opposite in Ireland. Just this week, bus and train fares are set to rise sharply, this the same week as millions of families are expected to register their details for new water services.
For many products and services, the price you see is the price you pay. However, sometimes, the costs are actually more negotiable than you think. Here are a few instances where you can save some money just by knowing what to ask.

While gym memberships can be pricey, they’re usually not fixed, which is why you should always negotiate your rates. Before you sign up, check online to find competitive prices at other comparable fitness clubs. Your gym will often offer to match those prices in order to get you onboard.

If they’re not willing to budge on the rate, try getting the initiation fee waived. Sales staff often have some flexibility when it comes to this, and will commonly waive the fee in order to lock in a membership.

Your cable and mobile phone rates are also adjustable. The best time to negotiate for lower prices is at the end of your contract, when companies know they’ll have to work harder to keep you from switching providers.

Check competitors offers to find out what promotion a service provider is offering new customers and ask if they’ll give you the same deal if you renew. If that doesn’t work, ask to speak with the cancellation team. These service agents are there to keep you from jumping ship, so they often have the most power to give you the best deals.

When it comes to electronics, you probably won’t be able to talk down the price of the latest iPhone, but you can save up to 40 percent on anything from flat-screen TVs to surround-sound stereos, if you know how to negotiate.

Brick-and-mortar retail outlets get a lot of competition from online retailers, so you’ll have a better chance at making a deal in person. For example, some retail brands allows managers to adjust prices to close a sale. Even if they can’t match a price, they can offer extras at no cost. Keep in mind, you’ll have the most bargaining leverage at the end of the month when stores are desperate to hit their monthly sales targets. This applies across a range of sellers, including cars.

So, when it comes to lowering bills or getting a great deal, polish up your negotiating skills. It’s not only what you ask, but how you ask that can make all the difference and with insurance renewal season just about to begin across Ireland, sharper negotiation skills can save you a bundle of your hard earned cash!

Beginning of end for Irish austerity

Michael Noonan has done the people a service. He has begun the process of rolling back the years of crushing austerity.

Beginning of the end of austerity

Beginning of the end of austerity

In a number of areas, Mr. Noonan and his team have taken important steps that sets the Government in a new direction.

In the area of pensions, confirmation that the Government will end the .6% levy is more than welcome. The introduction of the levy a number of years ago sent the wrong message to those who heeded Government calls to plan for retirement. Many complained that the levy was a penalty for being prudent; they had a point. Today, Mr. Noonan and his team have done the right thing by ending that punitive levy.

On DIRT, the decision to be imaginative is welcome. First time buyers always need assistance and the punitive 41% DIRT on what little income they were earning was sapping, today’s announcement ensures that prudent savers preparing to buy a home are helped instead of hindered.

Other measures announced by Mr. Noonan and his team are also positive, including changes to USC, water charges relief and reduction of the 41% tax rate to 40% means that while this is not a giveaway budget, it is not a takeaway one either.

Overall, it is the direction of this Budget that matters. After such a prolonged period of austerity that sapped the finances of families up and down the country, the beginning of the end of crisis in the State finances is finally emerging.

Mr. Noonan and his team may not be the most popular guests at the Christmas party, but beginning this year, it appears that they will again make the guest list and that is a big improvement!

Financial training for professionals and managers

Senior managers in well-known brands do not always have a fundamental grasp of key financial terms. I discovered this earlier this year while completing a graduate programme.

Business is a game and the method by which the score is kept is through finance and managers that do not understand how the score is kept are putting themselves at a serious disadvantage.

Financial Training for Professionals and Managers

Financial Training for Professionals and Managers

One common mistake made by managers is that finance is accounting, which is not accurate. Accounting does prepare books but accounting prepares the historical books of a company, by their nature they look back. Forward projections is where finance comes in.

Understanding and disseminating financial statements poses a challenge to some managers, especially if they graduate up the company hierarchy from a non-financial background.

Managers across company hierarchies should know key terms, including NPV, IRR, CBA, Time Value of Money and much more.

The reason for this is simple, their careers require it, especially if they hope to progress. For managers seeking funds for projects and future growth, as part of ‘lean’, capital budgeting is a must!

I have developed a programme for professionals and managers where they can learn to master a broad range of key financial terms.

I have also made a lot of interesting discoveries along the way, including some of the fears professionals and managers have of finance, many of which are irrational but powerful. For example, one manager with a PhD in a senior position was so afraid of “making an a**” of themselves, it was simply easier to not ask questions. Little wonder they never spoke up when they had legitimate questions on important trends.

Finance is not complicated…it has simply been constructed to appear so. With the right tools and a little patience, anybody can master it.

 

 

 

 

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