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Money Management

4 Mistakes Made With Structured Settlements

If you have been awarded a structured settlement through divorce, a lottery winning, a legal suit or as a result of some other circumstance, good for you.  Structured settlements can be a nice little source of income and even take into account the person paying them – insomuch that they don’t have to pay everything up front.  If you need the cash from a structured settlement right now however, these payments that have been set up to take place through time, probably don’t suit your current needs. That’s where structured settlements fall short.  

There are companies however that will buy your structured settlement from you for a predetermined amount of money thereby possibly relieving your financial situation.  It is vital that you research the company to whom you sell your structured settlement. Here are a few things to avoid. 



 If you haven’t at some time in your life received the advice to ‘shop around’, you must have been living underneath a rock somewhere.  Surely your parents told you this and every financial advisor in the world says the same thing.  Never settle for the first offer… always, always shop around.  There are numerous companies out there willing to purchase your structured settlement.  Make sure you don’t go with the wrong one.



If you don’t need the entire lump sum right off the bat consider having the buyout company purchase only what you need right now, leaving the rest of the structured settlement as monthly payments.  This can provide you with extra money every month, until of course the final payment amount is met, that you wouldn’t have ordinarily had.  You’re basically only taking what you need and leaving the rest.  



Two things should be considered, at the very least, when having your structured settlement purchased.  Never do anything without a contract and don’t be rushed into anything.  Make sure that the contract is complete and applicable to your specific agreement.  Also, a company that is rushing you should set off all sorts of bells and whistles in your mental warning system. 



This is especially true if you get your lump sum all at once.  Blowing that money on something frivolous and short-lived is going to leave you with an empty pocket and possibly even more expenses than you had to begin with.  Don’t make the fatal mistake that many lottery winners have made. 

The right structured settlement purchasing company will let you know how long you will have to wait for your money.  These types of agreements usually find their way to you within 6 to 8 weeks after the agreement has been completed.  The company now takes over receipt of the structured payments, but you in return get a cash award all at one time.  

By using your favorite search engine and entering the words cash for annuity payments you should be able to find a company that can do this for you. What’s even nicer is if you can get all of the company that will find the best deal for you, since there is obviously more than one company out there involved in this type of transaction.  You want the best rates after all and the best deal.  You want a reputable company, not some fly by night Johnny-come-lately.  All of this said, remember to take care that you don’t fritter away this found money. 

Money Management

Budgeting: For The Just Getting Started

So you have come to the realization that you need to control your finances. Well I’m here to help you get started. Starting a budget is somewhat easy but there are a few steps that can trip you up. What I’m going to do is walk you through the mine field so you can have a budget that you can call your own.

Starting out

What your first step needs to be is make a list of categories of bills that you have every month like rent or mortgage, phone bill, etc.  Here’s what mine looks like:


The reason to list those first is so when you decide how much goes into each category you can get the necessary bills out of the way first and know how much you have left over for the rest of the categories.

Next make a list of all of your monthly variable expenses like this:

budget 2

If you want to make the categories more detailed go for it. You can make eating out into breakfast lunch and dinner if you want. Customize it to whatever works for you. Don’t worry about making it perfect the first time around though. Budgets tend to evolve over time so just make a first one that will get the ball rolling. The Spouse 1 and Spouse 2 is for fun money for each person FYI. Be sure when you put the two groups together that you add a line for savings between them.

Divvying Up Your Money

After you’re done making categories for your spending it’s time to find out your spending. This step is to find out how much money you spend in each category. There’s a few different ways to do this.

One way is to guesstimate how much you spend in each category. Your regularly monthly bills will be pretty accurate but your variable spending will probably be pretty off. With this method you’ll be adjusting your budget a lot and can be frustrating so I wouldn’t recommend it for most people.

The other way is to track your spending for a few months and fill in the categories with those amounts. If you have a debit card I would use that because then you can see your transactions online and it’s so much easier to keep track of. If you don’t have a card and you just use cash then think about getting a small note pad and writing your purchases down. This isn’t the most fun step but it is the most eye opening experience. When you actually see how much you spend a month you may be very surprised.

At the end of each month put all of your purchases in their different categories. This will give you an idea about how much you spend in each category. Now comes the meat and potatoes part. The point of a budget is to control your money instead of letting it control you. So this is where you decide how much you want to cut back on variable spending. I’d recommend you cut back slowly so that it’s not a big shock and turns you off. If you spent $300 on entertainment try to cut back to $250. If you cut back a lot you might get frustrated that you can’t stay within budget and could cause you to give up. so each month just cut back a little more and eventually you’ll figure out where a comfortable level is for that category.

Once you figured out your budget write it down on a piece of paper or put it in a spread sheet. I write down my budget in a notebook so I can carry it around wherever I want to and work on it. I have mine set up like this:

Budget 3

Another reason I write in a notebook is because I fill out, on the page after my budget, columns with the different variable spending categories and amount budgeted. Then through the month I write down the expenses as they occur in the correct category. This helps me save a lot of time.


That’s pretty much it. Not hard at all. Over time your budget will be customized to your situation. What you just created is a gateway to a better financial life.  This is a tool that’s going to help you get control over your finances.

How was your experience setting up your first budget?

Money Management

Saving Money for a Deposit

For many, owning their own home is the ultimate financial goal. Unfortunately, many are giving up on this goal due to the rising house prices and indeed the rising cost of living.  

The problem is, the rise in house prices has had a knock on effect on the size of the deposit required. For example a 15% deposit on a £238,000 (The average UK house price) house is £35,000, however with many experts predicting dramatic rises in house prices, this deposit is set to rise to over £40,000 over the next 5 years.

Naturally, the idea of saving nearly £40,000 seems pretty unrealistic especially in these tough economic times. Despite this, financial goals should never be given up on, regardless of how far away they may seem. We’ve come up with some top tips that should help you when saving for a deposit:

Identify areas where you can cutback

If, over the past few years you’ve had very little reason to save money, then the chances are you’ll have simply let your finances drift along and won’t have worried too much about your spending. Now that you have got an incentive to save, you’re going to have to assess your finances and look for areas to save money each month.

The best way of doing this is to create a budget. Nowadays, you can either choose to create it manually or use an online software service such as the budget planner on the Money Advice Service website.

Initially, it is likely that one or two areas will immediately stand out, however if they don’t you’re going to have to scratch beneath the surface. While you’ll be unable to do anything about your rental costs or your utilities, it is your variable outgoings such as your weekly shop, transport costs and entertainment costs that are likely to be costing more than they could be.

Make money outside of work

With many people working long hours already, taking on a second job or asking for overtime is out of the question. Fortunately, there are now things you can do that take very little time out of your busy daily schedule and could prove to be a nice little earner.

Firstly, you could sell some old stuff. There are a number of routes you could go down here; eBay can prove successful, however beware of the seller fess involved which are often quite high. Another option is Gumtree; this is a free online ad trader and while the prices your goods fetch may not be as high as those you’d get through eBay, there will be no listing or seller fees involved. Alternatively, you could take your old goods to an old fashioned car boot sale; however these are decreasing in popularity due to the presence of sites like eBay and Gumtree.

Another way to boost your income is to compare costs of current credit commitments in a hope to find a cheaper deal. For example you could save in excess of £200 just by switching energy providers; you may also be able to save £20 here and there on broadband, mobile phone and TV subscriptions.

Ensure you’re getting the most out of your savings

Having worked so hard to get the most out of your wages and cut back on outgoings, the last thing you want to do is put your hard earned savings into an account that is going to offer very little in terms of interest. While savings rates are very low currently, it doesn’t mean you have to settle for second best. Look out for Cash ISAs, Fixed Rate Bonds and Easy Access Savings; these are likely to offer the best rates for your money.

When looking to save for a deposit, the trick is to act quickly. As we outlined above, house prices are expected to rise over the coming year, so the quicker you can save, the lower the amount you’ll require. Consequently the longer you leave it, the more you’re going to need to save.

This article has been written by Jason Scott on behalf of UK Credit Guarantor Loans. For more top money saving tips visit  

Money Management

Law- Different Reasons for Consulting an Attorney

There are different reasons why people need to consult and hire attorneys. Numerous legal issues require the professional input of someone who is well-versed with the intricacies of the law. Attorneys are available to help you prevent and deal with legal problems. Reasons for consulting lawyers are varied and they include some of the following situations.

Access to Information

Licensed lawyers are involved in various areas of the law that they specialize in. When you require information and facts regarding different aspects of the law, you need someone that can help you understand which laws are applicable in your situation.

Relying on information from people who do not have an in-depth understanding of the law and legal procedures is usually misleading. Trained and professional lawyers are able to provide you with accurate, current and relevant information that is applicable to our particular case.

Peace of Mind

Lacking information or not knowing the next step to take when facing a legal issue can be very frustrating. It is important for you to be aware of what you are dealing with. Consulting a lawyer eases your mind by enabling you to find out your options and how to move forward with your case.

Lawyers provide the information that you need in an objective and transparent manner so that you can make an informed decision. They let you know the options that you have according to situation along with the advantages and disadvantages of every option. Read about BLG Bankruptcy here.

Professional Assistance

Although information about the law is widely available on different platforms and can be retrieved from a variety of sources, accuracy is a major concern. The law is complicated and it involves procedures as well as time frames that must be adhered to. Attempting to handle your legal matters without professional help can end up costing you much more when you eventually need to hire an attorney to sort out the problem.


Some people may be reluctant to seek legal advice because they feel that legal services are too expensive. The reality is that legal services are investments and the benefits exceed the cost of paying for these types of services.

Attorneys usually provide information regarding the current laws that are relevant to your situation, interpretations of the courts regarding the laws, procedural deadlines, legal protection and effective strategies. It is important to consider retaining legal services before your situation turns into a major crisis.

Choosing a Lawyer

  • When you are ready to choose a lawyer there are certain factors to consider such as finding a lawyer who specialized in the practice area that covers your legal situation.
  • You require a respectful lawyer who will listen and address your legal issues. Your lawyer should clearly explain to you the options that are available.
  • A trustworthy lawyer is a valuable asset and you will need to have a good relationship that will enable you to work together to navigate your legal issues.
  • Ensure that the lawyer you hire explains the financial implications and signs a binding agreement that outlines what the lawyer’s role and how to make payments.


Martin Walker is currently a freelance journalist and has previously worked at local media companies. He enjoys watching sci-fi films, meeting friends and playing football. Click here to find out more information about BLG Bankruptcy.

Money Management

Can A Wealth Management Company Help With Your Finances?

Whereas investment management may be merely for the rich, wealth management companies can deliver financial freedom for people with all levels of income. For investment managers, the job is dependent on ‘strategic investment’ in stocks and shares but, for wealth managers, this is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Instead, wealth managers plan a client’s retirement, changing a client’s portfolio, financial planning and liaising with both accountants and attorneys. The job, however, does not stop there, and wealth managers will also negotiate risk and insurance requirements. So, with this in mind, should you be employing a wealth manager?

Who Will They Represent?

The principals of wealth management remain the same no matter how much money you have at your disposal and, just because your funds are limited, this doesn’t mean that you should not consider wealth management. What’s more, background also isn’t an issue, and wealth management companies such as High Street Wealth Management will help those in the academic, medical, cultural and research fields as well as anyone from the high street.

Why Can They Help?

Many are beginning to argue that now is a better time than ever to employ a wealth management company. This is especially true for people from the lower or middle classes as many of these people are not saving properly for their retirement. Understanding that this money needs to produce income during your retirement is vital, and wealth management companies can help you view your nest egg in the proper light.

Now, for so called ‘non glamorous careers’ this is particularly important. Some experts believe that jobs such as teaching provide ‘the last real pensions going’ and that they create a solid bedrock for wealth management schemes.

What Do They Do?

It is important to remember that wealth comes in many forms, and it does not necessarily involve a large lump sum of money sitting in a bank account. In fact, people with large amounts of disposable income often have rather complex financial arrangements that mean that their money is spread across a number of assets.

Essentially, a wealth management company will make these assets as efficient as possible and, by providing you with an in depth knowledge of the financial market and investment opportunities, they can maximise your returns. 

Wealth management companies aren’t for everyone, but they could help provide you with the financial freedom that you need. So, if you’re looking to maximise your earnings, it is well worth asking for a no obligation quote.