Social Housing Finance for Housing the Poor?

The need for affordable housing for the relatively poor.

In many countries, including the UK and USA, acceptable housing cannot be afforded by lower-income families unless subsidised rent ‘affordable housing’ or ‘social housing’ is made available. Developers of such new affordable housing face the financial problem of somehow subsidising their rents, as with housing grants or maybe using cheaper prefabricated housing.

Rent Subsidy Grants.

The USA and some other countries subsidise appropriate housing only with rent subsidy grants, for which there may often be severe competition.

Housing Development Grants.

In other countries like the UK new social housing is subsidised chiefly by up front development grants. There the main grant funders now favour fewer bigger developers, and there is increasing grant bidding competition for such housing development grants.

Bidding for Housing Grants.

Affordable housing developers need successful bidding strategies for grant applications, and they often need to be appropriate to changing bidding situations. Needed new affordable housing or ‘social housing’ will generally only be developed if the developers, subsidy providers and all others involved are satisfied that a proposed new development project is financially viable and is good value for money – as well as being for needed housing.

Demand for Social Housing.

Some areas of a country may get excessive demand for affordable or social housing while others get unsustainable low demand. This can happen when social rents are set way below low-market rents in some areas and close to low-market rents in other areas – especially when low-income families face relocation difficulty that prevents natural market corrections from working.

Social Exclusion in Affordable Housing.

Social housing development for the poor will tend towards concentrating unemployed, welfare dependent and problem families in a disadvantaged socially excluded sub-society. And this often involves housing problems for the landlord which can include non-sustainability – needing appropriate social inclusion strategies.

Social housing developers will generally need some good financial calculation system for new project appraisal – often an appropriate Excel calculator spreadsheet. And other calculator spreadsheets may have other uses, as to help show if prospective tenants can afford a particular property. These systems may be developed in-house, but can often be developed much more cheaply by a specialist.

The Key to Personal Finance

Additional effort in managing one’s personal finances will result to a more positive usage of personal resources. With attainable, realistic goals, ones financial standing will progress in no time at all. However, for the part of the individual concerned, this calls for proper planning and monitoring. There is also a need to assess at some point to see if the goals set are being met or further intervention is needed to alleviate the financial condition.

Available Income:

Regular household cash flow
After Budget cash or net flow
Regular household cash flow is what remains after the expected yearly expenses are subtracted from the expected yearly regular income. After budget cash or net flow is simply what one ends up with after subtracting regular household liabilities from the known assets. The part of the regular income that does not go towards normal expenses is a very important resource that can be diverted towards other personal financial goals. A balance sheet should be able to determine the net worth before proceeding to plan further on how to save enough for bigger and more important purchases.

Factors to be considered if 50% net increase is desired:

Full liabilities
Outstanding debts
Investment Instruments
Savings yield- savings + interest gained
Outstanding student loans
It only goes to say that when liabilities decrease, a person’s net worth increases along with it. The number one advice for people with plans to progress financially is to avoid taking juicy bank loans on offer as they are ever-potent dangers to one’s credit score specially when the interest pile up. Recovery from debts will be a much needed boost to personal finance. The more payables are settled, the fewer the liabilities are and this carries a positive reflection on one’s balance sheet and also his credit standing.

Personal investments make up most of a person’s net worth and thus it is a perpetually good move to gain as much valuable assets as a person possibly can in the course of his lifetime. This is not to say that forethought should not be employed here but the contrary. Investing by buying up profitable assets should always be preceded by careful analysis, so that a purchase will actually add vigor to one’s portfolio. The general trend is that if you are the risk avoidant type of investor high risk investments are avoided. These are properties which have value that changes with the ebb and flow of time like real estate, precious metals like gold and other physical goods that are known to have volatile values.

The riskier among us, those whose mettle are undeniably more resistant to fear easily trade in stocks and other financial instruments of our time. In this type of assets, the rule goes that the higher the risk, the higher the possible gains. This kind of investments no doubt needs to be studied and studied again due to the very nature of it to avoid excessive losses and to catch gains when and where they are likely to fall.

As savings is an important and integral part of a person’s net worth, due research is called for to yield the names of institutions that offer better products or simply better rates for one’s hard earned dollars. For example, American soldiers have the option and the privilege to take advantage of the DOD Savings Deposit program that has very high interest rates at 10%.

Savings accounts and CDs serve you in two ways: firstly by increasing your total net worth and secondly by giving a much needed buffer zone to your personal finance portfolio, as seen by prevailing trends all over. The reason for this is because such instruments are federally insured and grows at a steady, favorable rate every year.

One thing that has perennially damaged net worth are student loans as they can persist a long time after a person has graduated and worked. To counter the negative impact of this, one effective practice is to take advantage of seasonal tax breaks. With American opportunity tax credit alone, an individual can save as much as $2,500 and those who are still studying should altogether shun away from private student loans in favor of federally funded loans as these carry a lower, or fixed rates in general.

Most effective ways to maximize cash flow:

Highly informed financial decisions
Making and adhering to a budget
Controlling impulsive buying
Putting Cost cutting measures in place
Smart financial choices can sometimes spell the difference between ruin and progress. For instance, there is a choice between buying a house which becomes unaffordable later on as opposed to renting a modest accommodation. If the sale price of the house is proven to be a figure greater than 20, when the actual sale price is divided by the yearly rental, then you would be wiser if you rent. Managing personal finance need not be a daunting task; it only requires patience and practice.

Where you can cut costs:

Cut back on unnecessary expenditure
Cooking instead of dining out
Look into car insurance cost cutters
Collecting and using coupons
Buying wholesale instead of retail wherever applicable
There is absolutely no shame in using coupons and the benefits are tremendous, it can even get to be a habit. Why pay the full price when a little vigilance in cutting and saving coupons goes a long way? If no printed material is available from where to glean coupons, the internet is always there, the perfect place to search for printable coupons.

Cook at home and cook in batches. Then freeze for later meals. Have the due diligence to look after leftovers and you will probably save a fortune in take-out budget. There is no shame in keeping eatable food and it does wonders to a family or individual’s food budget.

Cut down on company offers, like phone packages, cable or internet packages, whatever has hidden charges, zero in on them and ask to get only the basic service, pay only for what you actually need and use. The extra features cost and pile up in the long run.

Carpooling is also one way to save, and if you must absolutely drive, drive safely to avoid charges. These small things all contribute towards managing one’s finance in a sane and productive way. And the habits that are changed also stick, so it is best to make sure that you make changes for the better.

How to estimate: Tools in Determining Worth

Simple Net worth calculator
Retirement calculator- many are downloadable
Mortgage rate calculator, again downloadable
Spouse or partner income calculator for multiple income households
Loan calculator, for free from many sites
Currency converter- already in wide use everywhere
Home budget calculator- a standard for many housewives
FICO score range tool- again available for free online
Student loan calculator- for up to date interest rates
These personal finance calculators are absolutely necessary when strategizing and setting up your long and short term goals, tax payments and schedules, mortgage resolutions and other financial steps. The closer the estimates are to real figures, the closer you will be to realizing your plans and these depend heavily on calculators.

Personal finance is simply net worth, cash flow, the relevant planning, savings, investment instruments, budget or allocations and cost cutting. If effort is made to understand the concepts in theory and applied wisely, a personal balance sheet and credit score will improve continuously beyond recovery and go well into growth.

Are Your Finances a House of Cards? Quick Advice to Get on Solid Ground

Do you feel like the financial aspects of your life are out of your control or you would simply want to get a better understanding of your financial situation? You may currently be missing out on potential returns on your assets or you may just have that lingering sense of uncertainty that prevents you from having peace of mind. There are a few simple steps that will help you sleep at night AND better help you achieve your financial goals, but it will take some initiative on your part.

Step 1: Organize

The biggest challenge I come across with clients is their inability to understand their aggregate financial picture. Typically, they have many different accounts at a variety of financial institutions yet they only use one or two of them. So naturally, the fewer accounts you need to manage, the easier they are to manage.

Gather all your bank account statements, including savings accounts, checking accounts, certificates of deposit, money jar, and maybe even check under your mattress for any cash you stored away during the banking crisis scare when deposits were inappropriately thought to be at risk. Do the same thing with all of your retirement accounts. You may have 401K plans from a previous employer, an IRA, a rollover IRA, and/or a Roth IRA.

Evaluate all your bank statements and determine which ones you really need. You may only need a personal checking account, a business checking account, and a personal savings account. If you have accounts with very small balances or very little activity, they are prime suspects to be closed and rolled into one. And all of your accounts don’t necessarily have to be maintained at the same bank but you may get extra perks for doing so.

As for your retirement accounts, if you have accounts that you are no longer contributing to such as 401Ks from a former employers, you can roll them into a rollover 401K and have all the assets in one place. TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, and Schwab all have fantastic platforms for IRA’s. My preference is TD Ameritrade. If you haven’t done this because you feel comfortable with the choice of mutual funds in your employer’s 401K, think again. The funds in 401K plans are usually not the best of their kind and typically carry higher fees. Don’t be intimidated by the vast number of choices available through a TD Ameritrade platform. Get advice if you have to. Once you set up the account, roll over as many accounts as possible. (Some accounts may not be eligible for rollover)

Once you’ve collected all the information regarding your investable assets, calculate all of your current income. This may include salary, bonuses, commissions, rental income, etc. I like to break down my income to a monthly figure. For example, for income received weekly, multiply by 52 and divide by 12. For bi-weekly income, multiply by 26 and divide by 12. You get the picture. If your income is not predictable from period to period, take a long term average and calculate a monthly figure. Got it? Now you know how much you can spend!

Next, jot down all of your expenses. I know I know, this is a painful process. This is when you realize how much you spend on all the little things that go unnoticed but add up to huge numbers. It would also help if you categorize them into groups such as food, clothing, mortgage/rent, automobile payment, insurance (auto, health, life), telephone, entertainment, personal care, gasoline, daycare, school, credit card payments, and any other expenses you may have. DON’T LEAVE ANYTHING OUT!

Step 2: Budget

Now that you know how much income you have and what your expenses are, set up a budget. First and foremost, pay yourself!!. I can’t stress this enough. We already mentioned 401K’s and IRA’s. You should allocate a reasonable contribution to your own retirement. If you leave this item for last, by the time you are done budgeting for all other items, you won’t have anything left. Pay yourself first!! If your employer has a 401K plan, you should contribute whether or not they match your contributions. If they do match, then you should at least contribute the amount that would maximize your employer’s contribution. After all, this is free money!! What dollar amount should you contribute to your retirement account? Well, it will depend on how much you could afford, but you should also figure out how much you should contribute to increase the probability of retiring with enough in your account to live the life you want in retirement. An investment advisor can help you calculate the amount you may need to contribute and the amount you will need to have at retirement.

Once you figure out the monthly contribution to your retirement account, you could start filling in the other budget items. You may have to adjust the original retirement account contribution but try to adjust all other line items first. You don’t know how much to allocate to each expense? Well, you just calculated all of your expenses in a previous step. Start there!! You may find it an eye-opening experience to see how much you spend on certain items. There is a good chance that your total expenses have exceeded your income in previous periods. That’s why we are going to develop a budget. This is the hard part: To get your expenses in line with your income, you may have to make some tough choices on where to pare back spending. Finally, once you set your budget, STICK TO IT. It takes a bit of discipline and record-keeping but it will be well worth the effort.

There are a variety of software programs available that can help you track your budget. I actually found some very good ones that can be used on your iPhone. Go to Apple Apps and look up ‘Budget’. There are also some programs available that can automatically download your bank account information. Quicken is a very popular one and Quickbooks also has a budget function. If you’re not sure which one works best, ask your accountant to guide you. After all, they may ask you to provide them with some of these expenses when they prepare your taxes. If you prefer, you can even track your budget expenses the old-fashioned way..on paper. The key is to make sure you budget and track your expenses.

Step 3: Invest

There is nothing better than having your money work for you. But how do you do it? You finally have your expenses under control and you are making periodic contributions to a retirement and/or investment account. Now you have to think long and hard about what your goals are, how you feel about risk, and what your time horizon is. In other words, how much longer do you plan on working? How much longer do you plan on living? What kind of life do you want to lead after retiring? These are all questions that will directly impact your investment strategy.

If you don’t follow the financial markets then you probably need some help figuring out exactly what that investment strategy should be. And not just today, but on an ongoing basis. The economic environment changes and your investments should change over time to reflect the opportunities and risks in the market at any given time. But with so many ‘financial advisors’ out there, how do you choose the right one? For starters, be wary of financial advisors that sell you mutual funds with front-end loads. With a front-end load, you invest approximately $95 for every $100 you put in. The other $5 goes to the financial advisor. Not exactly the best way to make your money work for you.

The Best Car Insurance Rates

If your car insurance is due for renewal and you are considering buying another policy then this article will provide you with important facts that you should know about. Car insurance policies are getting increasingly expensive and you should do all that you can to reduce your costs. How much you have to pay for your car insurance is dictated by a variety of factors as they apply to you and your vehicle.

In this article we will examine coverage limits, your age, gender and marital status, your location and insuring other household members. All of these factors will have a great influence on how much you will have to pay for your policy.

Coverage limits are generally dictated by the price that you are willing to pay for your insurance. A higher level of coverage will generally result in higher premiums. The best way to find a good value policy is to comparison shop. Nowadays it is generally accepted that the best way to do this is by using a car insurance comparison website.

Your age, gender and marital status will have a great effect on the auto insurance rates that you are offered. Insurers rate drivers using a variety of criteria, if you are a young single male driver you will usually have to pay higher rates. If you are a middle-aged female married driver then your rates will be lower. Insurers calculate the best car insurance rates for you by comparing levels of risk. Those groups which are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident have to pay correspondingly higher rates.

Location plays an important part in deciding how much your premiums will cost. Drivers who live in an urban environment will usually pay more than those from a rural area. This is because drivers who live in cities and heavily populated areas are more likely to be involved in an accident, or to have their car stolen or vandalized. Insurers generally offer better rates if you’re able to demonstrate that you keep your vehicle in a garage at night. You may also be able to improve the security arrangements of your automobile by fitting an alarm, immobilizer and steering wheel lock.

Insuring other household members will have an influence on the cost of your policy and the best car insurance rates that you offered. If you have teenage family members living with you and they are added to your policy, then your costs will increase. This may still work out cheaper than if your teenage driver were to have a separate policy in their own name.

In conclusion, there are a variety of different factors which can affect your ability to be offered the best insurance rates. Some of these are coverage limits, how old you are, whether you are male or female and whether you are married or single. Your rates will also be affected by the area where you live and whether other household members are included in your policy.