Too Sick To Work: Look into Statutory Sick Pay

in Career 

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is a very helpful service for people who are too sick to work. The employers must pay their sick employees up to £87.55 a week for up to six months under the laws of this programme.  If you qualify for SSP according to the requirements discussed in this article, you should follow the steps outlined here to ensure you receive your SSP on time.

Sick Day - Statutory Sick Pay

Eligibility

The requirements governing eligibility of SSP applicants are very simple and straightforward.  You must be classified as an employee, meaning you have a signed work contract which ensures that you earn at least £111 weekly (before tax).  You must inform your employer of your sickness within seven days of becoming sick.  In order to qualify for SSP, you must also have been sick for at least four days in a row.  This includes weekends and days off.

There are also a few ruled which may make you ineligible to receive any form of SSP.  If you have used a total of 28 weeks of SSP or you have agreed to receive SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) then you cannot apply for, or receive SSP.  In addition, if you have been sick for 4 or more days several times (within 8 weeks of each case) resulting in SSP and time off equivalent to 3 or more years, you are not eligible to receive SSP.

Benefits of SSP (Statutory Sick Pay)

If you qualify for SSP and your application has been approved you will be able to claim a maximum of £87.55 each week for a maximum of 28 weeks at a time.  It is important to remember that you will also be able to claim SSP from more than one employer if you have more than one job.  Just remember, you are not going to receive any money for the first three days of sickness.  The only way you can claim SSP for the initial three days of sickness is if you were previously collecting SSP within the past two months.

SSP will be paid to you on the same schedule as your regular work pay schedule (weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly) and will have any National Insurance and taxes automatically deducted.

Applying for SSP

After you get sick and are eligible for SSP, you can claim your SSP benefits by verbally informing your employer within seven days.  Sometimes, depending on the employer, they may ask for a written copy of your intent to collect SSP, which you must then provide.  If you remain sick for more than seven days, you will need to go to a doctor to get a “fit note” to verify your sickness and your inability to perform at work.

When to turn to ESA (Employment and Support Allowance)

If you are not eligible for SSP based on the criteria mentioned earlier or if your SSP is ending, you can apply for Employment and Support Allowance; which we discuss further in another article.  ESA or Employment and Support Allowance is provided to people who are sick or disabled, and are, therefore, unable to work.  Applying for the ESA is as easy as filling out an SSP1 form provided by your employer then submitting it to a Job centre Plus office near you.  This will occur if you don’t qualify for SSP, if the SSP you are receiving is coming to an end within 7 days or ends unexpectedly.

In addition to SSP and ESA there may be other government benefits and grants available to help you with your finances until you are back on your feet. There are also multiple programs and services for low income earners that help with bills and living expenses.

How to Recover From a Bad Credit Card Rating

in Credit Cards 

Credit difficulties take place in people today irrespective of the situations. While some credit card holders are really reckless with credit, other people merely tumble on difficult times. Credit rating is a financially related term which helps figure out whether finance institutions will provide loans to debtors or not.

The good news is, there are actually means to improve credit rating. If one would like to determine how one can move from an awful rating to a good one, here are some ways the potential borrower needs to consider to be able to raise the chance of getting the funds.

Credit Card Rating - Whats Your Rating

Minimizing total expenses on credit card

While finance companies normally prefer having some sort of spending action happening on the cards, they are not looking for the expenses to be too much. Trying to keep the general spending to a minimal amount will not just retain the debt to a fair amount. It will also make it easier for the card holder to settle their debts promptly.

Cutting down credit card debt

Among the most effective methods of strengthening a credit rating is to try to trim down the debt until it reaches ten percent of the credit limit. Accomplishing this will show other financial institutions that the holder have a sufficiently good rating to be granted a higher limit yet prefers to maintain low balance by regularly paying the existing debt. Card holders who have high balances may improve their poor credit rating to an exceptional one by simply reducing the current debt to lower than ten percent of the credit limit are doing an action towards the right path.

Raising credit limit anytime possible

This may seem out of the ordinary, but doing this will actually help in boosting a negative rating towards an excellent rating. This will not only give the holder the image of being a highly valued customer. It will also make it possible for the ten percent or less of the bill balance to be more attainable.

Preventing multiple needless applications

Several individuals have no idea that each time they submit an application for new credit card, their credit reports are going to be inquired about. When there are too much inquiries made about a credit report, the chance at getting approved credit becomes lower.

The creditors may not provide the credit which could consequently make it harder to improve a poor rating to an excellent one. For that reason, it is better to only submit an application for the credit card that is actually needed. The lower the number of applications, the better the impact on general credit rating.

Preventing closure of an unused credit card

Keeping an unused credit card from being closed may just help in recovering from a poor rating. Even though this may perhaps be luring for some people, it is best to fight the desire to shell out any cash using that specific card but continue to keep it open. In this way, the holder is setting up a credit and helping to enhance the rating in a positive way.

Top Money-Saving Secrets of Setting Up Your Home Office in Style

in Saving 

It’s a benefit to work from home but you don’t want the experience to drain your checking account.  So, it pays to find ways to save when styling your home office.  Work should get you paid rather than drain the pockets.  Here’s how.

Write It Off

Most entrepreneurs and those who work from home get tax breaks by figuring what square footage is devoted toward work and then noting such specifications along with tax returns.

Setting Up Home Office On Budget

It may be better to involve a tax lawyer or accountant when doing such if you’ve never filed before.

Find Coupons

You’ll need a fax machine, a printer, computer, and other office needs to situate in your home office.  When at an employer’s office, you can use their resources, but unless needs are provided to you, you’ll need to evade retail costs. Follow the Dojo blog for information leading to savings and coupon codes.

Buy Used

Will your business or income be influenced by the age of the equipment?  New items are shiny and exciting, yet cost a lot of money.  Alternatively, search sites like Craigslist to find office equipment sold at a considerable discount.  In some cases, you can find hardly touched goods unwanted by present owners and offered at considerably lower rates.

Find Light

Choose a well-lit space in your home, so you don’t have to spend extra money on lights and utilities.  Many complain about the limited space and availability of light regarding working in cubicles.  So improve your mood and productivity by selecting a space with plenty of natural light.

Use Your Furniture

Can the kitchen table double as a daytime desk?  Can the chair in the living room be good enough to sit in while you work?  Ideally, it looks great to dress a room, but considering when items get use, furnishing each room is wasteful.  Why purchase new office furniture when you already have items available in your home?

Access the Cloud

Use free and paid cloud services from Google, Amazon and other providers rather than maintain physical files and folders.  Moreover, use free online resources rather than pay for needed software.  Find business solutions that mimic excel, word, and other office tools at reduced rates or those free of charge.

Create Arts and Crafts

Rather than dress the room with pricy pieces of art, visit your local arts and crafts store to create décor.  Use wreaths and ribbon, paint pictures, and orchestrate other pieces to make the office décor more personal and less expensive.

Ask Relatives and Friends

Most relatives and friends have pieces of furniture stored in the garage or attic.  Put the word out about your impending home office and inquire about office furniture or equipment that’s not currently in use.  You’d be surprised and save a lot of money to find that when you ask you receive.

Get a Roommate or Business Partner

When people can’t address their rent, they search for roommates.  So, exercise the same philosophy regarding your home office.  Ask colleagues if they would like to share your home office and the expense.  You’ll have company during the day and more money in your bank account.

Susan Pitre made the work-at-home transition a few years ago and has loved every moment of it. From the workspace to self-motivation, she often shares her tips and tricks for work-at-home success on a variety of work, home, and family blogs.

5 Blunders Even Experienced Stock Investors Make

in Investing 

Even the most experienced of traders makes a mistake once in a while, and the honest ones will even tell you about them. Below are some candid thoughts from traders with years of experience who’ve made their share of mistakes and lived to talk about it. Listen, learn and, as always, enjoy.

Investing in Stocks - Mistakes

Blunder #1: Losing sight of value. The average American consumer is quite adept at recognizing a great sale on, say, their favorite cleaning product. When it comes to stocks however, value is sometimes forgotten.  Hugh Anderson, a certified financial planner at HighTower Advisors, explains that “There are various standardized metrics for valuing a stock or a bond, and it’s very easy to determine if something is on sale or not.” What he means, in short-hand, is do your homework and keep the fundamentals in mind, including revenue growth, potential to increase earnings and margins.

Blunder #2: Forgetting to be methodical. Many investors make the mistake of increasing their exposure to risk too quickly. Take the investor who’s comfortably trading 300 shares but is keen on increasing that to 600.  The safest bet would be to increase their exposure gradually, take it slow and keep their risk level about the same, rather than trying to trade 600 all at once. Doing it slowly and methodically helps the investor to get a better idea of their situation and control their risk level.

Blunder #3: Not spreading their risk around. Meredith Etherington, a Litman Gregory senior investment advisor,  says that she’s “seen people have really concentrated positions because they are really focused on the short term” but that often that position is the most risky. Diversification is the keyword to stock trading success. Understand your various levels of risk, and how much risk your asset allocations subject you to. If you are investing in penny stocks then educate yourself on them first, likewise if you’re looking to binary options then make sure you read binary options reviews first.

Blunder #4: Not being aware of the fact that you’re human, and prone to error because of your human behavior. Behavioral science is beginning to play a big part  of trading stocks, and thinking you’re above human behavior  can get you into trouble.  Indeed, these scientists say that we humans have tons of biases, including confirmation bias (that looks great!), optimism bias (I’m so good at this!) and even something they call ‘herding bias’, which leads us to make decisions simply not to ‘miss out’ on something.  These biases, unfortunately,  make us prone to trading errors.

Blunder #5: Making the mistake of chasing yield. The longer interest rates remain low, the more investors start to make this mistake. Better to focus on high yield growth stocks, which will better appreciate.

Those were 5 quick tidbits of info to help keep these mistakes top of mind so that you can avoid them. You might still make some here and there, but hopefully much fewer. If you have questions about investing please let us know or, if you want to leave a comment, please do and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

 

Find a Foreclosure Sale Via Fannie or Freddie

in Real Estate 

When you’re looking for a deal in the mortgage market, one option is a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac foreclosure sale. These sales consist of homes that are on the market because the previous homeowner let their house slip into foreclosure. They’re up for grabs, and you have several options to snag them up.

finding foreclosed homes

Small Down Payment Option

A down payment of just 3 percent is all it takes to snap up a TEO (real estate owned) property. Normally, you would need 20 percent or more to buy a home. However, homeowners avoiding foreclosure in NJ don’t always get approved for a short sale or a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, so the bank is sitting on a property that they’re desperate to get rid of. They’re not property managers. They want you in this home.

No Mortgage Insurance

Typically, these homes also do not require you to carry mortgage insurance, even if you have less than 20 percent down. That’s unheard of. Usually, homes with less than 20 percent down require PMI, or “private mortgage insurance.” This is insurance you pay for that protects the bank from default.

If you don’t pay, the bank can then file a claim and try to recover losses. It seems insane that the new borrower (you) wouldn’t be required to carry this, but it’s true.

Only 660 Credit Score Needed

With less than 20 percent down, you usually have to have a good credit score – not so with REO homes. A 660 is the minimum score required to buy a home under the foreclosed property resale programs offered by both Freddie and Fannie

Normally, anything lower than 700 wouldn’t get you approved for anything.

No Appraisal Required

Unbelievably, there’s no appraisal required to buy a home under the resale programs. You save $500 on an appraisal fee, and the bank gets to unload a home that an appraiser might have a hard time finding a comparable for.

Renovation Financing

One of the best provisions under these resale programs is the renovation financing. These programs offer something similar to the FHA 203(k) program in that you may qualify for up to $30,000 in additional financing for rehabilitation of the home you purchase.

What you’ll notice with a lot of foreclosures is that the home has fallen into disrepair. These homes need a lot of love. The pipes may be leaking, the roofs may be rotted down to the rafters or the decking, and the entire place might need to be gutted.

The renovation financing is usually enough to mop up the major damages you’ll encounter and increase the overall value of the home. If you do the right renovations, you can even increase the value of the property, turning a bad investment into a good one.

That doesn’t mean you have to become a house-flipper, but it does give you the peace of mind of knowing that you’ll have enough money to make the house livable – that you won’t have to suffer with the same problems that the last homeowner faced.

Lisa Anders is a real estate professional of many years who has assisted families with distressed mortgages. She also enjoys writing whenever she can in order to reach out to those who need real estate advice. She posts mainly on real estate, mortgage and investing blogs.