Working Out How Big A Mortgage You Can Afford

Investing in a home for the first time is one of the most crucial investment choices, many of us will make in our lives, so it is something that can also cause a lot of stress. However, it does not need to be like that, and you can help remove the uncertainty and fear by doing your financial homework and consulting an independent financial consultant to receive impartial and accurate advice. Below are some of the steps that you need to take to work out how big a mortgage you can afford, allowing you to work out a manageable budget and choosing an appropriate house.

Mortgage You Can Afford

Work Out Your Income & Expenditure

The first place to start is to work out your total income, and when working out the affordability of a mortgage, it is usually the pre-tax figure that is used. However, you will need to work out all your expenses for a month, which will also help to determine how much you can afford to pay every month. You will need to consider things like local taxes, utility bills, mobile phone bills, rent, internet, and any loans or car payments that you may have recurring monthly. You will also need to estimate your food bills, and once you have worked out your total expenditure for the month, you can then subtract this from your gross income which gives you an estimate of how much extra cash you have a month. Now that you know how much you can afford to pay, it is then time to work out how big a mortgage you can get. 

Working Out The Size Of Your Available Mortgage

Many mortgage brokers such as the Mint Equity Sydney home loans specialists will be familiar with all the different rates and figures that the different lenders used, so to save yourself a lot of work you may wish to consult an expert to help you work things out and make the process simple. Most mortgage companies will use two sets of figures which are;

  • Front-End Ratio Maximum – The figure is worked out by taking dividing your annual pre-tax salary by 12, and then multiplying by the ration offered, which is typically between 28% and 36%. If you earn $72,000 per a year, divide this by 12 which gives you $6000, and then multiply this by 0.28 if the lender offers the lower term which is $1680, which would be the maximum mortgage payment you can afford. 
  • Back-End Ratio Maximum – To work out this ratio, it is similar to working out the front-end rations. Divide your salary by 12, and the subtract your other financial obligations from the amount left, which will give you the back-end ratio, or amount you can afford to pay after your other bills. 

Listen To The Experts 

There are pros and cons with all types of mortgage, so when you seek the advice of a broker, make sure that you are honest and open with the information that they require. They will then be able to assist you in not only working out how much you can afford to pay monthly but also help in getting you the best mortgage deal possible.

The Importance Of A Good Credit Score

We all live in a world that is based upon credit, with our homes, cars and even furniture, all paid for in monthly installments. One important aspect of our lives is our credit history, and from the very first time you take out a hire purchase agreement, records are kept, meaning that every adult citizen would have a credit score. Banks and other lending institutions can access a person’s credit score, and this is just one of several criteria that a lender takes into account when a person makes a loan application.

 Credit Score

Credit History

In Australia, for example, there are a total of four credit reporting agencies that collate and store data about the financial transactions a person has undertaken, and whenever a person applies for any kind of loan, the lender will request the applicant’s credit score from one of the registered credit reporting agencies. The score will be a number, and the higher your credit score, the less of a risk you are according to the lender, therefore, the higher your score, the less likely you are to have a loan application rejected.

Criteria Covered

The data that is used to calculate a person’s credit score would include the following:

  • Type and amount of credit applied for in the past.
  • Court writs or default judgements.
  • The age of the credit file.
  • Repayment history on credit accounts.
  • Details of accounts that have been opened and closed.

Score Bands

The following are the score bands used in Australia:

  • 800-1,000 = Excellent
  • 700-799    = Very good
  • 625-699    = Good
  • 550-624    = Fair/Average
  • 0-549         = Weak/Below average

In the event a person has a less than good credit score, it would be difficult to obtain a loan from a traditional lender such as a bank, yet with online finance companies, the credit score is not the only thing the lender takes into account, and even those with a bad credit score are able to obtain a personal loan. The online lender also offers debt consolidation loans for people with bad credit, and thousands of people have become debt-free thanks to such a loan.

Applying For A Mortgage

When a person wishes to apply for a mortgage, they should first find out what their credit score is, and if it is less than good, they are advised to clear any outstanding debts, which would improve their credit score prior to applying for the home loan, thus improving the chances of success.

Personal Or Business Loans

If you have a perfect credit score, borrowing from your bank is not likely to be an issue, as you have a good history that shows you are a responsible borrower, and providing you can demonstrate you have enough income to make the monthly repayments, the loan would most probably be approved. If, on the other hand, your credit score is not as good as it could be, you can approach an online finance company, and in most cases, your loan application would be approved. 

The great thing about using an online credit broker is the speed with which they operate; it is not unusual for a person to receive pre-approval on a loan application within an hour of submitting the forms, and often the funds are transferred into the borrower’s account on the same day.

Where Could You Use Your Bitcoin?

Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash

After the initial rush of interest amongst buyers in accepting Bitcoin in their online and retail stores, interest seems to have died down for the most part. This is mostly due to the volatile price movements and increasing bitcoin transaction fees making it a lot less attractive as a means of exchange.

Yet, that doesn’t mean that there are not any outlets where you can spend your bitcoin. In fact, there are plenty of places to use bitcoin. It is just a case of the bitcoin volumes at the outlets not really meeting expectations as yet, and by the time you read this, things may certainly have changed.

The Benefits of Using Bitcoin

However, you can still buy a wide and varied range of services and goods with the handy cryptocurrency. Amongst the benefits of learning how to buy bitcoin in Melbourne at Bitcoin Dealers and using bitcoin for transactions are the sheer ease of cross-border transactions as well as the anonymity (unless, of course, you opt for physical delivery of an item).

By accepting the cryptocurrency, merchants have an exceptional opportunity to access a far broader market, and they don’t have to be too concerned about chargebacks (that is, where buyers cancel payments once they have received a product).

So, Where Can You Spend Your Cryptocurrency?

If you want to use your bitcoin to purchase gifts, one of the most obvious solutions is gift cards, with many merchants now accepting the cryptocurrency as a form of payment. The recipient will then have the opportunity to spend the gift card at a wide range of retailers.

You can even pay for hotels and flights with bitcoin. For instance, booking through sites like Expedia and CheapAir means you can pay with your cryptocurrency. If your ambitions are a great deal higher than that, you could even pay for a trip to space through Virgin Galactic.

A little more down to earth, Microsoft now accepts bitcoin through its app store, which means you can use your crypto to buy app-based services and download games and movies. There are even some musicians, such as Bjork, who are happy for you to download their music in exchange for bitcoin.

Would you prefer to buy a special gift for someone or perhaps furnish your home? One particularly big online retailer called Overstock accepts. In fact, they were one of the first to begin accepting cryptocurrency back in 2014.

Perhaps you’d rather invest in gold? There are several sites who are happy for you to do so with your bitcoin.

It’s all pretty hungry work, which is okay, since there are even pizza places that will deliver food to your door in exchange for bitcoin.

How about education? In New York, for example, there are several private and public universities and even preschools that accept tuition fees in the form of cryptocurrency. And, professional firms such as legal and accounting firms accept payment for their services in bitcoin.

Of course, you could always share some of your wealth by giving back to the bitcoin-accepting charities or crowd funding sites out there.

3 No-Nonsense Tips for Silver Bullion Investors

silver bullion

While gold makes for an alluring financial investment, silver also has its own set of unique features that make them attractive assets. It is therefore not surprising that investment prospects for silver are currently rising in demand. But, are you ready to make that pricey deal?

Below are a few tips to consider when you decide to invest in silver bullions:

  1. Do your research.

As it is with every financial investment, the need to do your research should not be taken for granted when buying silver. Do not be in such a rush that you fail to take this precautionary step. Those who want to purchase silver bullion fast without the necessary knowledge of the precious metal and the current market situation are prone to engage in fraudulent transactions with unreliable dealers.

How do I know that a dealer is legitimate? A quick background check on sources will minimize your risks of getting scammed and purchasing fake silver or none at all. Research also improves your chances of getting the value that you paid for.

  1. Know when to invest.

In line with doing your research to minimize your risks, knowing when to buy will also play an important role in the success of your chosen investment. The main benefit with investing in precious metals, like silver and gold, is that they generally maintain their value or may even increase in value over time. In addition, because of its many industrial uses, it is safe to assume that silver will remain in demand and of great value as long as other currencies remain strong.

While there is no absolute formula that lets investors know to buy or sell their assets, the current prices and its ratio with other precious metals will provide estimates of whether it is good to buy now or wait for a later date. Successful silver investors stay on top of the market to be updated on the best times to buy or sell.

As an example, here is a no-nonsense tip when buying silver coins and bars. Most legitimate dealers will set prices as close to the spot price as possible, allowing for a reasonable fee on top of the spot price. So, generally, the rule is that the more silver you buy, the less percentage of fees that you should be paying to the dealer.

  1. Invest in physical silver.

What do you know about silver? Should you invest in physical silver or go for Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)? Why are investing in silver bullions highly recommended compared to other ways of silver investing? The answers to these questions will help you know what you should be investing in, among other useful information for a hassle-free silver investment.

When buying silver coins as a financial investment, do not buy numismatic coins. These rare coins will be valuable to collectors but not as much for investors. Instead, buy bullion coins or silver rounds. On one hand, physical bullions can run up exponential costs, depending on the amount purchased and the storage requirements. On the other hand, the investors have immediate access to these physical assets so they know exactly what their investment is worth.

Basically, finding a reliable dealer that offers the right types of silver to invest in at the right time will be highly beneficial if this is your initial venture into silver investing.


5 Essential Questions for a Potential Property Buyer


If you are in the market for a new home, there is much to consider, and while most people are fully aware of what that entails, there are some important points to address, and this can best be done by answering the following questions.

Can I afford the Property? – One must be realistic with the answer to this question, and if the monthly payments are realistic, and you have the deposit, all you need is a little extra for the relocation cost. If the answer is no, then perhaps you should think about opting for a smaller property, or deferring the purchase for a while, which will give you time to save some more of your hard earned cash.

Can I Obtain a Mortgage? – If money is tight and you want to save money, you should use an independent mortgage broker, who can secure you an affordable home loan that is tailored to suit your needs. This step should be addressed at the very outset, as without mortgage approval, buying any property will remain firmly in the realm of a dream. If you live in NSW, and are looking for an established Sydney mortgage broker, there are online companies who specialise in sourcing home loans, especially for first time buyers.

Am I Happy with the Location? – If the answer is not an emphatic “yes”, then it might be an idea to keep looking. In the current market trend, it is a buyer’s market, and with a little patience, you might find an area that is preferable. There are, of course, online real estate agents who have a number of stunning homes on their books, and wherever you prefer to be based, you should focus your search on that area.

Is This a Long Term Investment? – If you are planning to move again in a few years’ time, then you shouldn’t be planning any major improvements, but if you are sure that you will stay indefinitely, then the investment is likely to pay dividends, and it is therefore a good idea to plan for the future. You might want to make a career out of property investments, and if so, read some interesting articles that discuss buying property with a view to long-term investment.

Is this the Right time to Buy? – If things are looking good career wise, and the mortgage is affordable, then there’s no reason not to go ahead, but if your job is not secure, or you can see other issues that might affect your finances, then it could be wiser to wait for a while.

If you can answer all of the above questions with a definitive “Yes”, then you have thought things through, and the purchase is likely to be one of your wisest investments that will provide you and your family with a secure home and also a solid investment.

5 Incredibly Simple Tips to Get Financial Freedom with Forex

Forex Currency Exchange on White Background

You probably have already heard about Forex and how so many people have found it easy to make money on it. However, it is clear that there are also others who haven’t been so successful with this type of investment.

So, what are the key tips that will help you to invest well and achieve financial freedom with Forex?

Find Out All That You Can

As with any type of investment you are trying out for the first time, it is vital that you get fully informed about Forex. It certainly isn’t enough to just have a vague idea of what Forex is about.

Instead, you will want to become as much of an expert in this field as you possibly can. The more you know the better your chances of being highly successful, of course.

This means that you should spend as much time as you can reading about Forex and feeling comfortable about investing in this way. You will find a lot of information online to get you started right away.

Get Trained

No matter how much you read and investigate on your own, there is simply no substitute for getting on a professional trading training course. This approach will see you learn all that you need to know from an expert.

Trying to start trading before you get trained is a dangerous game, as you might make some bad mistakes simply through a lack of knowledge. You will be left kicking yourself if you mess up this investment through something like this that could have been remedied.

Getting on a good Forex course is easy to do and could make all the difference to your investment and to your future.

Choose the Right Trading Platform

There are a number of different Forex trading platforms that you can explore in order to find the right one. You should take into account the most important factors, such as whether it is free and the type of interface it offers.

Making the right decision on the platform you use will help you to get started smoothly and without any fuss.

Set Your Targets

As with most things in life, you stand a far greater chance of meeting your targets if you know what they are. If you know what you want to achieve by investing like this then you can plan for it accordingly.

This is a good point to remember that you should only ever invest money that you can afford to take a chance with. This means avoiding making Forex investments with your monthly household budget and other money you can’t afford to take risks with.

Whether you want more cash to retire early, to take a dream vacation, or just to revamp your home, there is more chance of achieving your goals if you can picture them clearly.

Analyze Your Performance

It is to be expected that you start off slowly and then begin to get more comfortable over time. This is the pattern that most of us follow with new types of investment or anything else we try for the first time.

This means that it is essential that you analyze your performance to see how you are doing each step of the way. If you have followed the rest of the tips listed here then you should get off to a comfortable start and then see your confidence grow with each passing transaction.

By starting out in the right way you can make your Forex trading a highly profitable and enjoyable way of making money. Don’t make the mistake of diving in unprepared and taking un-necessary risks that lessen your chances of gaining financial freedom.


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Check Out How These Budgeting Tools Can Make Your Life Easier

Whenever you’ve got a job to do, it’s always a good idea to choose the right tools. With the right tools, you can do pretty much anything you want. Most of us think of tools as things we use to make stuff in the physical world. But they can also be put to good use in the digital world of our personal finances. Digital tools are often effective, useful and even fun. And, importantly, a great help for those of us who sometimes struggle to manage our money effectively.

At the moment, there are all sorts of different budgeting tools out there to help you manage loans, investments, and income. Many of these are free or have free versions. Let’s have a look at some of the best.


Personal Capital

Personal Capital brings together personal finances and investments into a single package. On the dashboard, you’ll find options to track your budget and your investment portfolio. And you can link various current and investment accounts to the program to better manage your finances. Personal Capital also has options for retirees or people wanting to hook up their retirement accounts.

The software also has some hidden productivity tricks, to make your life easier. First off, you don’t have to connect your bank account manually to the software if you don’t want to. It’s able to do this automatically. And like a lot of modern accounting software, it’s able to categorize transactions on your bank statement automatically. Again, this helps reduce the amount of time you spend manually entering transactions on your ledger. Right now it’s recommended by


Quicken was one of the first budgeting tools available on the market. And, even today, it can compete with some of the best. Quicken connects to your financial institution, and it has the usual features of a money management tool. However, Mac users should be wary. Quicken is not very robust on Mac devices and support is lacking. On the PC, however, it’s much better and should serve you well.



Mint is a tool very much like Quicken. In fact, the brand is owned by the same parent company. However, Mint is a tool that is much more a part of the modern age. Being online, Mint can be accessed from any device from any location. And this makes it a far more robust platform for managing one’s finances.

Mint collects up most of your financial information from credit cards and investment accounts. It then helps you to track things like spending habits, budgets, and loan repayments. As sites like point out, short-term financial crises are sometimes difficult to avoid. That’s why Mint includes features to track both your assets and your liabilities and tools to view your net worth. Mint also comes with a feature that allows you to see how your budget breaks down so you can see where you’re spending.

There are two main drawbacks to Mint. First off, because it’s free, it relies on advertising for income. This means you’ll see a lot of financial products popping up. The other problem is that it can take the site some time to process your requests. Often you’ll have to wait a while for pages to load. Having said that, that’s pretty good for something that is virtually free.

You Need A Budget

According to experts, You Need A Budget, has many advantages over its key rivals. The first is that it is very much like a regular spreadsheet. And for those who are used to tracking their finances on a worksheet, this can be helpful. The program comes with a bunch of tools that help you set up an appropriate spreadsheet in minutes.

The next big advantage is in how the program allows you to budget. Rather than relying on money that you haven’t been paid yet, You Need A Budget only uses money already earned. Thus, when it comes to financial planning, it forces you to be a prude. If you’re not used to living within your means, this tool will soon force a change in your behavior.

Finally, like most other tools we’ve mentioned here, You Need A Budget comes with analytical tools. This allows you to make it easier to see where your money is going and where you are spending.

Unfortunately, the tool does come with some significant drawbacks. That’s partly thanks to its spreadsheet design. The primary problem here is that you’re not able to connect the software to your bank account. Instead, you have to download all your bank statements and then enter transaction manually. This shouldn’t take most people more than about 30 minutes. But doing this month after month can be tiresome.

Prepaid Card Features

Recently, we’ve seen the rise of prepaid and credit card vendors including budgeting tools in their packages. One of these tools is Spend Analyzer. Obviously, it’s linked to your credit card account. And like some of the other software out there, it can automatically categorize your spending habits.


But the company behind the tool didn’t want to stop there. They also wanted to provide users with a tool that would help them climb out of credit card debt should they fall into trouble. This makes a lot of sense since credit card companies want people who are solvent using their products. Paydown Planner is a tool that helps card users manage their credit card repayments. It allows customers to control the flow of their money over time to make sure that they can pay down bills.

But it’s not just the smaller players in the market who have started included tools and features to go along with their cards. Interestingly, bigger players, like American Express are also getting involved. What’s interesting about Amex’s entry into the space is the fact that this card provider usually targets the top end of the market. Despite this, they’ve introduced a tool called Insight. It’s not particularly feature-packed. But it does reveal that lenders are now seeing the benefits of helping keep their customers’ budgets in check.


Image 3 credits: By Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa –, CC BY-SA 3.0,


How long does it take to complete a personal injury claim?

personal injury claimThere is no easy answer when it comes to how long a personal injury claim takes to  complete. Each claim is different than the last as each case is treated as unique so some are resolved in no time at all whereas others can take longer.   Continue reading “How long does it take to complete a personal injury claim?”

The Wise Spender

Ever since my eldest son started to work in a corporate firm after graduating from a college degree, I noticed his maturity developed into a higher level.  He now can make better decisions through weighing things down and most importantly he is now more responsible in handling and managing his finances. He told me the other night that he is interested in getting a credit card.  He told me that for practical reasons, our family needs one.  While he was browsing online finance services websites he stumbled upon Totally Money which offers services in giving impartial information on financial products.

Continue reading “The Wise Spender”