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Essential Tips That Will Help You Buy a Home in Your 40s

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Essential Tips That Will Help You Buy a Home in Your 40s

Housing prices have been consistently on the rise in the UK for more than 2 years now. With rising prices, higher rentals and unexpected upsurge in household expenses, it is taking people longer to fund their first house. This has resulted in a generation where many people are deciding to own their first home only in their 40s.

At the same time, the previous generations who have come into new age money[i] in their 40s are also deciding to take out a second mortgage or sell their house for a new one as their needs and aspirations change with age.

No matter which group of 40s something you fall in above, if you are getting ready to buy a home, here are some tips that will help you go through the harrowing process with ease and confidence.

Location Matters

The one thing about your home that will not change over time is the area in which it’s located. Keep in mind that your home is a long-term investment and make sure that the neighbourhood is one that is aligned with your lifestyle aspirations. If you have young children, it’s important to make sure that the location of your new home is conducive to their needs.

Savings Options

If you want to start saving for the down payment on your home, spreading cash across high interest paying current accounts as well as regular savings accounts is a good idea.

Another great option is the government’s ‘Help to Buy ISA’ scheme[ii]. The upfront investment is £1,200 in the first month and then £200 per month, up to a maximum of £12,000. The best part is the government bonus of 25%. Moreover, if a couple is buying a property together, both can participate in the scheme individually. The maximum savings would be £24000, and the Government bonus would be a whopping £6000.

Lifestyle Must Be Kept in Mind

People in their 40s have widely different lifestyles. You may be a confirmed bachelor, raising young kids or have kids that are about to leave for college. Whatever be the situation, it is important to find a home that matches your needs vis-a-vis your family and life choices. This will determine your neighbourhood, facilities in the house being purchase which can add or subtract significant cost to the house.

Make Sure Your Credit Score is Okay

Many times, your request for a mortgage may get rejected because your credit score[iii] is messed up due to an error. For example, active accounts registered to an old address can harm your score badly. It’s important to go over all the documentation and make sure your credit score is in place.

Get a Mortgage in Principle (MIP) Before Making an Offer

Although you can’t get an actual mortgage before you actually decide to buy a house, you can get a mortgage in principle. This lets you know how much you can borrow provided you find a house within the given time. Having a MIP in place can greatly increase your chances of actually getting the house you make an offer on as it helps increase your credibility.

Get Your Documentation in Place

This is especially important if you are buying a new home by selling your existing one, especially if your current house is still on the market. You need to make sure that all the documentation[iv] and the mortgage payments on the current house are taken care of so that there are no problems in taking out another mortgage.

Buying your home, whether it’s your first or second, can be a cumbersome and painful task. Getting the basics right and being adequately prepared before you set out to actually purchase the home can save you a lot of worry and heartache down the line.

[i]https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-3460416/Sharp-rise-40s-struggling-mortgage-remortgage-thanks-age-brokers-warn.html

[ii]https://www.yourmoney.com/mortgages/40-first-time-buyer-options-explained/

[iii]https://www.fineandcountry.com/uk/blog/post/1512144872/home-buying-advice-for-your-30s-40s-and-50s

[iv]https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/mortgages/house-buying-guide/

Finance

These 5 Payments Trends Once Seemed Revolutionary. In 2021, They’ll Continue to Become the Norm

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Real-time payments – mitigating the security risks to capitalise on the opportunities

By Warren Hayashi, President, Asia-Pacific, Adyen.

The pandemic forced brands to transform their businesses in ways that are here to stay

After a year of such great uncertainty, attempting to predict the future may seem risky. But even as brands and retailers faced unprecedented upheaval in 2020, one constant has held true. The pandemic has accelerated trends toward digitisation—and that’s as true in payments as in so many other areas of business and society. The stark reality of needing to avoid close contact with others has driven transformations for retailers and brands in a matter of months that in the past might have taken years. In the process, behaviours and expectations have changed for good.

As 2021 begins, much uncertainty remains but we feel confident that the digital transformation of payments will only get faster. Even after the pandemic has receded and consumers have the option to go back to their old behaviours, many won’t. The rapid increase in e-commerce seen under COVID-19 will persist, especially among previously digital-hesitant consumers. Merchants can no longer assume that their digital customers are limited to younger, tech-savvy shoppers. As brands have shown flexibility during the pandemic, consumers have also come to expect the flexible arrangements to continue. On that note, these are the key trends in payments that should be top-of-mind for brands and retailers in Singapore and Asia Pacific in 2021:

  1. Contactless will extend its reach into every corner of retail

From the start, the pandemic forced merchants to find ways to minimize the amount of physical contact necessary to complete a transaction. Customers and workers alike sought to avoid handing over credit and debit cards, touching keypads, and handling cash. According to our 2020 Agility Report 58% of APAC respondents preferred to use contactless payment methods because of hygiene concerns.

Our data also showed that the use of services such as Apple Pay and Google Pay has significantly increased over the last year too. Research from Kantar reiterates this, revealing that the frequency of e-Wallets transactions in Southeast Asia rose from an average of 18% pre-COVID-19 to 25% post-COVID-19[1], indicating a shift from one payment method to another.

In the post-pandemic world, the transition to contactless will only become more widespread now that the bar has been raised among consumers for what checking out can be, from one-click payments to same-day delivery options. Not to mention, the value of QR codes has also been made apparent in anchoring a seamless experience, not just at point-of-sale but at multiple points along the customer journey too, such as viewing menus and placing orders. The pandemic may have driven the change in behavior, but the superior user experience will cement contactless as the new normal.

  1. The distinction between offline and online will fade into irrelevance

As countries went into different forms of lockdown, many shoppers were unable to enter brick-and-mortar stores throughout 2020. Unifying offline and online became an issue of survival for retailers, who quickly pivoted to make app-powered deliveries and self-pick up options a reality.

Even while most physical stores in Singapore have opened their doors to consumers again, the digital infrastructure will remain in place. Many shoppers continue to prefer the convenience of deliveries and expect the options to continue, and retailers will find they’re able to forge better customer relationships thanks to the rich data generated by digital transactions.

One of the biggest learnings for the industry is the need to rethink the traditional split between offline and online stores. With lines increasingly blurred, retailers will benefit from adopting a unified commerce approach where brand interactions on and across all channels are important.

  1. The membership model will reign in retail and also in food and beverage

The membership model is another emerging trend for 2021. Amazon Prime is a great example of this, where customers pay an annual fee that in effect encourages them to buy more from Amazon in an effort to ensure they’re getting their money’s worth from their Prime memberships. Quick-serve restaurants especially are seeking to seize some of that flywheel effect. In addition to improved incremental spend, membership programs enable QSRs to get to know their customers in ways that were never possible when they were just anonymous faces standing in line.

Meanwhile, subscription passes encourage loyalty and more frequent use. Our 2020 Agility Report found that 38% of Singapore respondents (compared to 27% in APAC and 22% in Europe) signaled their interest in using these for products, including food passes, to reduce the amount of times they need to shop. Expect to see more retailers offering memberships in 2021 as brands seek to own the customer relationship and the data that goes along with it.

  1. Installments will become an everyday way to pay

The twin forces of increased convenience and tightened household budgets have brought pay-by-installment options mainstream, a trend that will only grow in 2021. Machine learning algorithms have become more adept than ever at assessing risk instantaneously, making it easy to offer “buy now, pay later” options right at checkout. For small and mid-ticket items, shoppers know that, say, instead of paying $100 now, they’ll pay $25 per month for four months. That kind of transparency makes it easier for shoppers on the fence to commit, which appeals to merchants hoping to avoid the dreaded abandoned shopping cart.

In 2021, providers of “buy now, pay later” options themselves will start to diverge, as some focus on higher-end, multi-year agreements, while others seek to offer installment plans for shopping baskets as small as $50. For households increasingly accustomed to paying by the month for everything from streaming services to food delivery premium memberships, installment plans start to look like subscriptions that just happen to have a fixed end date.

  1. The checkout-less experience will draw shoppers back to brick-and-mortar

In 2020, the appeal of an in-store experience offering limited human contact took on a new dimension, accelerating interest in doing away with the checkout counter altogether. For instance, in Singapore, BHG is looking to expand its endless aisle offering. By using interactive screens in-store, customers are able to check on inventories across all of BHG’s stores and e-commerce platform and can opt to have items to be delivered directly to their homes.  Post-pandemic, shoppers will still find appeal in the human touch. The physical store continues to be relevant, especially in Asia Pacific and eliminating checkout counters frees staff to interact with shoppers in a more personal way, while also making lines a thing of the past.

In 2021, more stores will find various ways to make checkout a less prominent part of how people shop in-store. Multiple providers are creating their own versions of checkout-less experiences, where instead of going to the counter, customers will scan their items with their phones’ cameras, pay via app, and head out the door—a combination of increased trust and decreased friction that helps cultivate customer loyalty. In the case of Love, Bonito in Singapore, if customers are unable to find a particular item in store, they can go to an iPad within the premises, buy it online and have it shipped to their homes.

Across the five trends, this paradigm shift in the retail sector is underpinned by the under-tapped potential of technology to elevate the customer experience. Looking ahead in the new year, we expect retailers to increasingly harness digital solutions. Not only does this streamline operations, it also gives retailers the flexibility to pivot in line with changing preferences, and provide a seamless consumer journey across multiple channels.

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Bitcoin heads for worst weekly loss in months

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Bitcoin heads for worst weekly loss in months 1

By Tom Westbrook

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin wavered on Friday and was heading toward its sharpest weekly drop since September, as worries over regulation and its frothy rally drove a pullback from recent record highs.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency fell more than 5% to an almost three-week low of $28,800 early in the Asia session, before steadying near $32,000. It has lost 11% so far this week, the biggest drop since a 12% fall in September.

Traders said a report posted to Twitter by BitMEX Research https://twitter.com/BitMEXResearch/status/1351855414103715842 suggesting that part of a bitcoin may have been spent twice was enough to trigger selling, even if concerns were later resolved.

“You wouldn’t want to rationalise too much into a market that’s as inefficient and immature as bitcoin, but certainly there’s a reversal in momentum,” said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets in Melbourne, in the wake of the BitMEX report.

“The herd has probably looked at this and thought it sounded scary and shocking and it’s now the time to sell.”

Bitcoin was trading more than 20% below the record high of $42,000 hit two weeks ago, losing ground amid growing concerns that it is one of a number of price bubbles and as cryptocurrencies catch regulators’ attention.

During a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday, Janet Yellen, President Joe Biden’s pick to head the U.S. Treasury, expressed concerns that cryptocurrencies could be used to finance illegal activities.

That followed a call last week from European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde for global regulation of bitcoin.

Still, some said the pullback comes with the territory for an asset that is some 700% above the 2020 low of $3,850 hit in March.

“It’s a highly volatile piece,” said Michael McCarthy, strategist at brokerage CMC Markets in Sydney. “It made extraordinary gains and it’s doing what bitcoin does and swinging around.”

Second-biggest cryptocurrency ethereum intially slipped to a one-week low on Friday before rising 6% late in the Asia session to $1,177.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; editing by Leslie Adler & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Oil prices fall as China’s surging COVID-19 cases trigger clampdowns

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Oil prices fall as China's surging COVID-19 cases trigger clampdowns 2

By Sonali Paul and Koustav Samanta

MELBOURNE/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices dropped on Friday, retreating further from 11-month highs hit last week, weighed down by worries that new pandemic restrictions in China will curb fuel demand in the world’s biggest oil importer.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped 53 cents, or 1%, to $52.60 a barrel at 0445 GMT, after slipping 18 cents on Thursday.

Brent crude futures fell 45 cents, or 0.8%, to $55.65 a barrel, erasing a 2 cent gain on Thursday.

Recovering fuel demand in China underpinned market gains late last year while the United States and Europe lagged, but that source of support is fading as a fresh wave of COVID-19 cases has sparked new restrictions to contain the spread.

“Indeed, investors are struggling to see through short-term pain for long-term gain heading into the weekend as COVID case counts in China are the most significant demand concern for traders,” Axi chief market strategist Stephen Innes said in a note.

The commercial hub of Shanghai reported its first locally transmitted cases in two months on Thursday, and Beijing is urging people not to travel during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, when tens of millions of urban workers typically head back to their villages.

A seasonal boost to China’s gasoline demand that is typically seen during the New Year holidays will be moderated by the tightened restrictions this year, consultancy FGE said in a note.

“We now have some data on vaccine rollouts, which show that acceptability is a bit on the low side, so pace of implementation may be slow… There may well be a bearish momentum developing (in oil markets),” said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.

The market is awaiting official oil inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Friday, after industry data on Wednesday showed a surprise 2.6 million barrel increase in U.S. crude inventories last week compared with analysts’ forecasts for a 1.2 million barrel draw. [API/S]

(Reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Koustav Samanta in Singapore; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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