Is the Citroen C3 the Best Value Supermini?

The supermini market is one which is fiercely competitive. This is good news for those that require a small vehicle, as it means that there are plenty of great options available. In order to be appealing, the car must be compact, easy to drive around town and economical. Many motorists also want an eye-catching design and plenty of tech inside.

Right now, the class leaders include fantastic superminis like the Ford Fiesta, the Skoda Fabia, the SEAT Ibiza and the Citroen C3. These are all excellent choices, but in terms of best value for money, it is the C3 that is leading the pack.

Costs

Available from just  £10,525 from places like Robins & Day, the Citroen C3 has a very low price-tag but is one of the best superminis available. In terms of running costs, the entry level C3 can return 60.1mpg and every edition emits less than 110g/km. All diesel models emit below 100g/km. This makes the C3 superb value for money and one of the more affordable cars available.

Design

The C3 has a fun, bold and quirky design. It features the funky plastic cladding that is found on the C4 Cactus – this serves a practical purpose in addition to an eye-catching exterior design. Inside, the C3 looks smart without going overboard. One of the key selling points of this car is the comfort level in the cabin and there is a surprising amount of space considering the size of the car. It also features a large boot so that you can comfortably carry passengers and luggage.

Performance

The C3 is ideal for use around the city as it has responsive handling and a smooth ride. It does not provide the most thrilling driving experience and instead opts for comfort, which is something that families will appreciate and benefit from.

Tech

The intuitive 7-inch touchscreen makes it easy to control the infotainment, air-con and heating, plus there is plenty of connectivity options. One particularly valuable piece of technology for city use is the ConnectedCAM, which is a camera located at the back of the rear-view mirror. It records everything that you see out of the windscreen which can be useful for criminal proceedings and insurance claims. It also features a handful of driver aids to improve safety, such as speed sign recognition, lane departure warning and speed warnings.

Overall, the Citroen C3 is a fantastic value supermini that is as practical, reliable and economical as the more expensive class leaders.

5 Reasons Going Cashless Will Save You Money

Am I the only one who had to deal with bounced cheques as a kid?

You’d think it’s not something a kid even needs to know about. But I learned early on what it meant when a cheque was returned with a pretty stamp.

Of course, the bunch of returned cheques we’d periodically receive didn’t belong to me. Both of my parents were responsible for spending money they didn’t have.

My job was to help them file and keep track of when and where their money was rejected. There’s a quaintness in the ability to pay for something knowing you don’t have the money.

Old school money

Cheques are old school. The earliest known use of a cheque (or its equivalent) was in the 9th century. It was called a saqq. Quite simply, it was a vow of payment, to avoid having to send the actual payment over long, hazardous distances.

Which makes it particularly incredible that some people still use them.

Granted, the technology has improved quite a lot in the past 1200 years or so, but more and more the cheque is becoming outdated.

Cash is going the same route

But it’s no longer just cheques that are ridiculously outdated. Cash has been around for a very long time – the concept of coins and paper to which we arbitrarily assign value. An easy to lose, bulky, dirty symbol of what these days is an abstract concept.

In fact, in an age of digitized currencies such as bitcoin, it is absurd that cash still plays a big part in people’s lives. It’s as if we sometimes still rode horses to work instead of taking the car.

There are many reasons to stop using cash. These are the top 5.

  1. You have to count it

We’ve all agreed that if you’re a character in a movie, you can identify a million dollars on sight. But in real life, we have to count cash. In a world in which money can be easily viewed as a figure on a screen, counting cash is not just old-fashioned but a total waste of time.

  1. You miss out on modern innovations

Credit card processing machines are not the same clunky things with only one use. In fact, they now collect information, use biometrics, and can accept payment from smartphones. With new apps coming out that make paying a bill even easier, you stand to miss out on automatically updated loyalty cards, too.

  1. You can’t keep track of it

Okay, you can keep track of your finances, but it takes a lot out of you. It means holding onto receipts in order to annotate money spent. Whereas if you use a debit or credit card, the transaction will show up in your banking records automatically.

  1. You can get robbed

If your credit card gets stolen, you can cancel it immediately. If your cash gets stolen, it’s gone forever.

  1. You have to carry it

Fact: in the near future, we’re no longer going to carry wallets. Instead, we’re going to wear our money. Already, using a smartwatch is a great way to eschew even the credit card.

If you’re still carrying cash around, rethink how you spend your money. Going completely cashless will, in the short and long term, make your life more convenient, help you keep track of your finances, and keep you in touch with the modern world.

Making Money by Playing Online: Is It Possible?

Online gambling is continuously being listed on personal finance and “make money online” websites as a risky, yet viable way to make money. Which is strange, considering that the risky nature of such an investment. Whenever you dare to double your money, you are always at risk of losing it all. Of course, there is a chance that you will win, ending up with more money in your pockets that you started. Online gambling has been at the center of many discussions regarding its true nature. Some say it’s a dangerous activity, others consider it little more than casual entertainment, similar in nature to social casino apps – with the one big difference that playing at the Royal Vegas can indeed make players rich.

So, let’s put an end to all discussions on this matter once and for all, and see whether gambling online can be a viable way to make money.

Understanding RTP

Casino games all come with a metric called “Return to Player” (RTP) that shows players how much money they can expect to lose in the long term when playing certain game types. You’ve read that right – the money lost by the player is the profit of an online casino. At the Royal Vegas, the average RTP of all games is 96.7%, as shown by the casino’s independently audited data log files by the industry body eCogra. This means that players can expect to win back 96.7% of all the money they wager at the Royal Vegas – or, translated into layman’s terms, end up having $96.7 for every $100 played. This is, of course, an average value – slot machines have a less player-friendly average RTP of 95.99%, while table games can pay back as much as 98.41% of all the money wagered.

As you can see, player losses – casino profits – are built right into the game. And this is perfectly OK, considering that online casinos are entertainment venues – and entertainment is expected to be paid for.

It all depends on the game

Some casino games, online or otherwise, can be played for profit. Not only do they have a higher RTP but they also involve some level of player decision, which can bend the odds to the players’ favor. One of these is blackjack, a game available in many variants at the Royal Vegas Casino. Here, players have the advantage of being able to apply a strategy to win more hands, which helps them double – or multiple – their wagers in a round. While it takes quite a while to gather a considerable sum – the saying about winning some and losing some is especially true for casinos – you will be able to feel the satisfaction of winning, as well as seeing your bankroll rise with every session you play.

6 Investing Tips For Your 20’s

Investing in your 20’s is a sure fire way of setting yourself up for successful financial years and decades down the road.  Not only does it set you up financially in the future, but it also jump starts your education in the stock market by investing at a young age.

The financial markets can be daunting with many competing ideas, philosophies, and strategies.  I started investing in my 20’s, and if I could do it all over again, here would be the six tips I would tell myself.

1) Never Invest With Paper Money

One of the big misconceptions in the investing world is that anyone can learn and practice via trading paper money.  Paper money is the concept of having your own account and placing trades and investments with paper (fake) money.  This is a big recipe for disaster.

Investing with paper money is a completely different game when compared to the emotions that come into play when you make your first investment with your hard earned money.  Any best practices gained from investing and practicing with a paper money account do not transfer over to real money investments and real money investing is a completely different game.

This is why I recommend to never practice any investments or trades using anything but real money. It creates bad habits.  You have chosen, in your 20’s, to invest your money so that it can grow over time.  The best course of action is the start developing good habits that can be used to grow your money for the rest of your life.  Trading with paper money can only develop habits that are not tried and true best practices that are created when real money is in play.

2) Keep Your Size In Check

A big part about investing in your 20’s is the ability to add on to compounding positive returns year after year.  Taking a 10% loss in your 20’s requires an 11.11% profit just to get back to even.

Losses will happen, and if they have not happened yet for you, they certainly will.  In order to maintain the ability to make money and compound returns year after year, you must keep your size in check as an investor.

The more you keep our size in check, the more bad positions are able to be isolated from the total value of your portfolio.  If you have a portfolio with 5 positions, all with 20% of your total portfolio value allocated to them, a 40% drop in one of those positions creates a total portfolio drawdown of 8%.  However, if we have 10 positions, all with 10% allocated to them, a 40% drop in one of these positions only results in a 4% total portfolio drawdown.

Over time, I have found that keeping all of my positions at under 10% of the total portfolio allows my single position losses to be isolated from the rest of my portfolio.

3) Always Invest For The Long Term

Investing in your 20’s give you an enormous edge compared to those who begin in their 30’s or 40’s.  Investing as early as possible allows the power of compounding returns to be more in our favor when compared to starting later.

Wealth and portfolio appreciation happen over the course of many years and do not happen in days, weeks, or even months.  Understanding the length of time required to double or triple a portfolio is important as it can help us choose more solid and less risky investments.

Smarter, safer, and less risky investments not only allow us to stay in the game longer, but those kind of investments also allow us to have a long term view.  If we have a long term view of those less risky investments, we will be less concerned with daily ebbs and flows of stock prices and more concerned with the long term outlook of our positions.

I have found that taking a long term approach, especially at a young age, allows investors to be less concerned about the day to day price swings and more concerned with the long term outlook of their investments.

4) Always Be Diversified

At this point, you are making small, long term investments with real money.  The more of these investments you make in your 20’s, the more you need to be diversified.

Diversification is simple.  By spreading out your capital amongst various stocks, bonds, and other asset classes, you significantly reduce your risk.

As an example, investing in ETFs rather than stocks is a way to diversify your holdings.  Rather than holding stock in Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google all at the same time, you could simply buy a FANG ETF that will give you exposure to all four of those popular tech stocks and reduce your risk at the same time.

I recommend diversification through the purchases of ETFs as an excellent way of spreading out your risk.  Spreading out risk will keep you in the game longer and reduce the size of your drawdowns.

5) Continuously Contribute

Continuously contributing to your account is also an example of investing for the future.  Rather than taking leftover money after bills, housing, and entertainment and putting it in the bank, taking that money and adding it to your portfolio is not only an investment in itself but a way to continue to grow your portfolio over time.

The best way to look at continuous contributions is as additional investments in yourself and your future.  

The best way to contribute to your account is to do so weekly.  Even if the contribution is small in nature, say $10, that adds up to $520 a year which can be compounded for years if not decades!

Remember, you are investing in your 20’s in the long game, with a long-term outlook.  Continuously adding fund to your account will allow your account to exponentially grow over time.

6) Never Use Leverage

We have already spoken about the importance of keep your trade size small and showed you the math behind it.

Leverage is the ability to borrow money from others to invest greater amounts of money than the current amount of capital you have.

We recommend never using leverage as it is virtually impossible to keep your trade size under 10%.

Wrapping Up

Here are the 6 investing tips for your 20’s:

  1. Never invest with paper money
  2. Keep your size in check
  3. Always invest for the long term
  4. Always be diversified
  5. Continuously contribute
  6. Never use leverage

Follow these rules and watch your account grow safely for the long term.  Do you have any other investing tips for those in their 20’s?

Are You Financially Prepared for the Future?

Regardless if you are making plans for retirement or simply trying to prepare for a better future, financial planning can keep you headed in the right direction. Setting budgets, saving on a regular basis, and reevaluating how you spend your money are each great ways to get started.

What is it you want to do

Any time you are making plans for the future when it comes to money, the first thing you want to establish are your goals. What is it you want to accomplish? Do you want the number to be larger that represents your savings account?

Is retirement a part of the near future? Would you like to move across the country and enjoy the golden years on the coast? Maybe buying a smaller home or simply paying off the one you are currently living in is what you are aiming for?

When making these plans, it helps to have a number in mind when it comes to the age in which you would like the plans to go into effect. Once you have decided on this, you will be able to get a better idea of how much you need to be saving every month. By putting away a specific percentage of your monthly income, it becomes easier to meet the goals you are setting out to accomplish.

There are plenty of options when it comes to investing your money for the future. You will need to spend some time researching which of these resources will provide you with the most value. Maybe it would be worth the risk to put some skin in the game in the stock market. Maybe an IRA or CD at your local bank makes more sense for what you are wanting to do.

Are you in need of life insurance?

For many people, financial planning isn’t about what you want to do as much as it is making sure someone else will be taken care of in the event of an accident .If this is the planning you are doing, than you may want to spend some time deciding which type of life insurance would best suit your needs.

If you are looking for a policy that is easy to understand and won’t cost nearly as much money, a term life policy might be exactly what you are looking for. Keep in mind, these policies always have a an end date, so you will need to decide how long you will need the policy. Terms will usually range from 10, 20, often as many as 30 years.

They are designed solely for paying a beneficiary of your choice in the event of an untimely death. Other than this, the policy has no other value. With most term life policies, both the benefit and the premium will remain the same throughout the duration of the policy.

While term life is only one of several options when it comes to insurance policies, it is often the most sought after because of its simplicity. The most significant thing to keep in mind while making a decision on the type of policy you want is to look around for what makes the most sense for what you are trying to accomplish.

You Can Get an Unsecured Personal Loan Online

There comes a time on the average person’s life when a personal loan is necessary. You can lose your job, your car, or simply need some extra capital because of a delayed paycheck. The secured loan is one option, but it requires you to put up your home, car of valuable item in return. If you can’t pay the loan back, then you lose whatever you put up.

What you really want instead is the unsecured loan. Specifically, a selection of low interest unsecured personal loans online with instant decision. With a bit of research, these aren’t terribly difficult to come by – but always keep in mind that the interest rate is indicative of the risk the lender is undertaking in lending to you. As such, perform due diligence as to how reputable the institution is.

Is a Personal Loan Necessary?

There are quite a few reasons for which you might need a personal loan. For example, if you have high-interest credit card debt, then a personal loan can take the form of a consolidation at a lower rate of interest. Indeed; even if the APR on your credit cards are pretty good, debt consolidation via an unsecured credit card loan is treated differently on your credit history – it’s an installment debt that does not count negatively towards your FICO score. And as we all know, having all your bills in one place sure makes it easier to pay them on time.

What Rates Can You Expect?

This, of course, depends on your credit history and score. If you’re in the good-to-excellent range of 720 and higher, then your risk is deemed very low – lenders see you as eminently trustworthy with credit. You can get rates between about 6% and 10% as a result (for a personal loan). Compare this to credit card rates for the average person, which can have annual percentage rates as of 22% on average.

Being able to shift such your debt from such a high APR to the lower one provided by unsecured personal loan reduces the burden of your financial responsibilities significantly. The following provides you an idea of what each credit score bracket entails for your finances if you borrow $10,000 for a loan term of three years:

  • Poor credit, at an APR of 25%, entails a monthly loan payment of $398
  • Fair credit, at an APR of 10.66%, entails a monthly loan payment of $326
  • Good credit, at an APR of %4.29%, entails a monthly loan payment of $297
  • Excellent credit returns the same as good credit, for many lenders, so the numbers are the around the same.

How to Get the Best Unsecured Personal Loan

Try to pay down your current accounts, If you’ve got a lot of outstanding debt on your various credit cards, then paying these down on time can have a huge effect on your credit score. This factor eats up as much as 35% of the pie that denotes your overall creditworthiness.

The length of time you’ve had a credit history also matters a big deal – around 30% or so. This improves as you continue to pay on time, and avoid opening new accounts that aren’t necessary. Consolidating your debt also contributes positively to this because, as mentioned above, this new type of installment debt lowers the outstanding amount without being counted as a newly opened account.

When and How to Apply for your First Credit Card

Getting the first credit card is tricky because you cannot build credit without credit. Where should you start? Nowadays you need credit for almost everything from renting an apartment to purchasing a cell phone.

Fortunately, the best time to build your credit is when you are still in school. Here are some important facts that you should know before applying for your first credit card:

Get a student credit card

Credit scores are usually made up of several factors, including your credit history. If you have no credit history, you might also lack a credit score because credit bureaus do not have any means of determining your ability to pay bills on time or repay loans. However, the easiest way to build your credit is by applying for and using a credit card responsibly.

Find the best credit card

You should remember that not all cards are the same. Each one comes with different features, rates, fees, and benefits. If you think you can repay your balance in full every month, consider maximizing your rewards by applying for a student rewards card.

With some rewards cards, you can earn your cashback on every purchase. However, you should remember that rewards caps as well as other exclusions exist. Will you carry a balance? If you think that you will, you should look for a low-interest credit card.

Several student credit cards have a 0-percent APR introductory offer that lasts six to eight months. This card will allow you to pay for large purchases over time while avoiding interest rates. Just research all your options to find a card that offers low rates of interest, cash rewards, no annual fee, and a reasonable credit limit.

When applying for a card, be sure to pay attention to the billing cycles if you hope to avoid extra fees. Some students credit cards also offer online tools that can help you to manage and track your spending. To get the best card for you, make sure that you compare student credit card reviews online.

Getting approved for a credit card

You must be at least eighteen years old to apply for a credit card. Are you under the age of 21? If you want to apply for a credit card, you must prove that you have independent assets or income to show that you can repay your debt. If you fail to get approval, you can also become an authorized user on your parent’s account.

Do you have a part-time or fulltime job? You might have enough income to be approved for your own credit card. However, you have to pay the credit card bill on a monthly basis.

Authorized credit card user

Are you an authorized user on another person’s account? You should enjoy the benefits of using it without the responsibility of having to pay back the balance. If your credit history is insufficient, you can build your credit by becoming an authorized user because your account use might be reported.

However, you should ensure that the account owner keeps up with his payments since any negative reporting will appear on your report.

Secured credit card

If you do not qualify for a traditional credit card, you should consider applying for a secured credit card. This card can help you to build your credit history enough so that you can qualify for a traditional credit card. To get a secured credit card, you need to put down a deposit.

When you put down a deposit, the card works like a traditional credit card. However, unlike prepaid credit or debit cards, you can build credit.