Education is one of the best ways to secure a future, but it is also quite expensive. Those who have wondered how they’re going to support their children’s education may have looked into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).
An RESP is not only a means to ensure that you’re able to give your child an opportunity to receive a quality education. It is also a means to help free up the finances that you currently have.
What Is a Registered Education Savings Plan?
A Registered Education Savings Plan is a smart savings tool that is used to save money for a child’s post-secondary education. The three commonly-known benefits of an RESP is that the government also contributes a certain amount as government grants and that the RESP is also tax-advantaged by nature (exempted from taxes). Lastly, the funds invested in an RESP earn a compound interest. Not only this, but both the principal and the government grants each benefit from compound growth.
The requirements for opening an RESP are simple. Anyone can open an RESP, provided that both the beneficiary and the subscriber are Canandian, and they have access to the beneficiary’s Social Insurance Number. RESPs cannot be transferred to another beneficiary unless that beneficiary is a sibling of an existing beneficiary.
Types of RESP
There are three types of RESP and they each differ in fees, rules, and withdrawal conditions. Here’s a brief overview:
An individual Plan is used to finance the education of a single beneficiary. In case a beneficiary does not pursue post-secondary education, the plan may be transferred to a sibling. However, if there is no other sibling that can benefit from the RESP, contributors can claim their investment earnings as long as the plan has been open for 10 years. Another option is to transfer the RESP funds into an RRSP OR RDSP, if there is room for contributions there and if the eligible conditions are met
In a Family Plan, more than one beneficiary may be named as long as they are related to the contributor and that the beneficiaries are below 21 years old. No minimum deposit is required to open the plan; contributors also have full control over when and how much money they put into the plan. If one beneficiary does not pursue post-secondary education, the funds left may be used by the other beneficiaries.
Group plans can be opened for beneficiaries that aren’t related to the contributor. A minimum deposit is required to open a group plan and money must be put into the plan on a set schedule in the same way that you would pay off a loan. The money contributed is pooled with that of other contributors. The funds made available to your beneficiary depends on the amount of money in the group plan and the number of other beneficiaries of the same age who will be starting with their post-secondary education.
What Are the Particular Benefits of RESPs?
There are four main benefits of an RESP:
The first major advantage of an RESP is that the federal government matches 20% of the yearly RESP contributions made, through the Canada Education Savings Grant(CESG), which caps at $7,200 per child over the lifetime of a plan. Beneficiaries from low-income families are also eligible for support from the Canada Learning Bond through which the government can add up to $2,000 to a beneficiary’s RESP till the beneficiary turns 15. There are also provincial grants available for residents of Quebec & British Columbia.
We all know how expensive post-secondary education can be. The reason why the CRA is willing to give contributors this tax break is to encourage more people to save for their child’s post-secondary education. When the RESP funds are withdrawn by the beneficiary, they are taxed. However, because most beneficiaries make little-to-no income by the time they need these funds, the taxes are minimal.
Compounded Growth Benefits
In essence, an RESP has a snowball effect. The earlier that a contributor adds funds to the RESP, the greater the funds will be when the beneficiary becomes eligible to use them. While the effects of compounded growth vary, the one thing that is guaranteed is that compounded growth will always work for the contributor because RESPs are compounded monthly.
This means that as contributors and the government continue to add money to the fund, the fund generates a return, which is then reinvested. ( Assuming that all planned contributions are made). In short, as your fund accumulates in a contribution amount, the investment income on government grants also increases.
Establishing the Importance of Post-Secondary Education In Children
The secondary purpose of an RESP is to encourage children to pursue a post-secondary education. According to this report from Statistics Canada, students enrolled full-time in undergraduate programs will pay, on average, $6,580 (correction) in 2020/2021, up 1.7% (correction) from the previous year. One of the most common reasons that many children do not pursue a post-secondary education is because of a lack of money to support the costs involved in such an endeavor. An RESP does not guarantee that a beneficiary will be able to pursue a post-secondary education, but it does maximize the chances of being able to afford schooling.
On a final note, RESPs are meant to serve their purpose manys years after being opened. There are corresponding penalties for early withdrawals. As you might have already surmised, it’s a big decision that requires a lot of thought. Doing some research will help you determine the best option for your beneficiary.
Interest rates in the UK are at an all-time low, which creates a strong environment for those looking to purchase a property with a loan. But what about those with an existing mortgage? Homeowners looking to unlock equity in their properties might be wondering whether low-interest rates create a favourable moment for them to remortgage.
Mortgage interest rates have dropped significantly over the last decade. The all-time high of 3.87% in Q2 2010 has fluctuated since. Notable high points include Q4 2017 when they reached 1.98% and 2019 when they hit 2.11%, but they soon fell again. Indeed, the overall trend has been a downwards one and, as it stands at the time of writing, the interest rate is 0.1%.
The UK economy is recovering from the pandemic at a faster rate than expected by the Bank of England. The country seems to have avoided a double-dip recession and while unemployment is still low and retail sales sluggish, there is hope on the horizon. With the (so far) successful deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, we could hope to see the economy start to open in Q2 and Q3. Government-backed furlough schemes and high levels of household savings mean that the public’s spending power is expected to be quite high. This will be a welcome boost for retailers who have struggled with one of the worst periods on record.
The property market has been resilient in 2020, bolstered by the stamp duty holiday the government launched in Q2 2020. In the March 3 budget, the government announced an extension to this fiscal break, giving the market further traction. The savings buyers could make will see continued demand for property and could drive up prices.
The BoE made two interest rate cuts to just 0.1% as emergency measures in 2020, the lowest amount ever. They said they would seek to keep rates above zero and not allow them to become negative. While this is a temporary measure, it’s unlikely we will see them rise quickly until the economy opens in June. Some analysts have even predicted we will close the year at 0.08% - a figure predicted to remain in 2022.
If you are looking to remortgage your home, you might be wondering what these historically low-interest rates mean. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to consider refinancing when rates are low. This means you can benefit from lower rates on your mortgage, potentially for longer. Of course, when rates do increase eventually, yours will too; but why not make the best of the situation for the next few years?
The first step is to make sure you know how much your house is worth. Demand for properties is currently increasing and this is leading to an uptick in prices, so it's possible that the value of your home has gone up, too. Comparing similar properties in your area, and looking at historical trends while noting your property’s value is an important part of your decision process.
For the next 18 months, it seems that interest rates will remain below 0.1%. This means buyers and remortgagers can enjoy beneficial rates on financing in the medium-term. The first thing to do is to make sure you know the value of your home, and from there, figure out if it's something that will benefit your family's goals.
In 2020, millions of workers began working from home because of the pandemic. Remote working became the new normal and the preferred work set-up for some employees. With more time at home, workers can achieve a better work-life balance and minimise the number of distractions.
Remote working is a little bit like marmite
instantprint surveyed 2000 Brits who were working from home due to COVID-19. At least 86% of the nation worked at least part of their job from home in 2020. Video calls were used for staff meetings, and Microsoft Teams became the hub for office work. However, the UK’s remote working population appear to have mixed feelings about the new working process.
34% of Brits love working from home and only want to return to the office part-time when the restrictions are lifted. 23% of remote workers enjoyed their newfound flexibility and found they could achieve more in a day without a lengthy commute on either side.
In fact, many workers are happier working from home because they have more time to focus on their mental health. They can take care of household chores on their lunch break, spend more time with their friends and family and keep their lives more organised. A whopping 43% of remote workers would consider relocating after remote working for nearly a year.
Remote working helps staff save money on commuting and gives them more time in their safe place. Employees are more likely to be productive and happy when they can control their working environment.
The challenges of remote working
That said, only 16% of Brits have a home office due to issues with space, budgeting and hectic family life. A home office can help remote workers separate work from their personal lives, even though they are both under one roof. Invest in company branded banners and posters to make your home office a motivating place to work in.
However, remote working does bring a whole new set of challenges. Some workers find it unsociable and isolating to be working alone all day. Children and pets were the biggest distraction for home workers as they often interrupted video meetings. 11% of remote workers said they were experiencing too many distractions at home and found it difficult to concentrate. A home office can help to minimise this distraction so you can stay focussed through the working day.
If you are working from home, consider setting up virtual coffee breaks and Friday night drinks to maintain your team relationships. It’s important to celebrate the good times and identify the accomplishments of your team members. Virtual hangouts can give staff a deeper sense of connection and commitment to the company. Make sure to communicate with your co-workers through calls and voice notes to add a personal touch.
Cryptocurrency, the digital currency created with cryptography technology, continues to increase in popularity. More users continue to adopt the use of cryptocurrencies into their payment practices as a secure method to send money without geographical limitation. This might sound familiar. After all, the American platform Paypal operates with a similar mission. For those unfamiliar, PayPal has continued to operate forward-thinking digital payment options for nearly 20 years. Now, over 300 million consumers and merchants transact using the platform. With many similarities in place, it only makes sense that Paypal Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) would eventually leverage the increased interest in cryptocurrency since new cryptocurrency users require a trusted platform.
Luckily, PayPal has since made the announcement that all U.S. users can buy, sell and hold specific cryptocurrencies. This announcement is promising for future adoption since many users struggle to find a Bitcoin Exchange that they trust. Therefore, purchasing on Paypal might be a small step to ease new cryptocurrency users into the crypto space.
To start purchasing, Paypal requires users to have a Cash or Cash Plus account. Further details can be consulted using the terms and conditions. While PayPal is designed as a secure method to send, receive and access funds, the app itself cannot protect users against the volatility of the cryptocurrency they choose to purchase. Therefore, the same level of attention and research should be considered before making any purchases. The Paypal app has released many articles designed for beginners to help users learn at their own pace. Resources provided include information about the cryptocurrency ecosystem's inner workings, the risks of investing and information on future technology initiatives.
After determining the type of cryptocurrency that a user wants to purchase and in what amount, the tactical steps are easy. Users can select "crypto" from the Paypal dashboard. From there, users can choose from available cryptocurrency options, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTH) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). To make a purchase, the user simply needs to click the "buy" button, which will prompt them to verify their identity. Paypal will display the spread to show users the conversion rate and associated fees they will pay. If numbers look favorable, users can proceed with the transaction, adding coins directly to their PayPal digital wallet.
Within the application, users can continue to track the prices of their currency through different charts. Alternatively, users have the opportunity to make purchases from any sellers that accept PayPal. To do so, the cryptocurrency used to make a purchase will be instantly converted into fiat currency, which will be paid forward to the merchant.
This announcement is only the beginning of Paypal's plans for cryptocurrencies. The company also announced that adding this offering to Venmo is also on the roadmap for 2021. However, many continue to question the market for this service as the potential still exists for consumers to lose money if they don't know what they're doing. Paypal rebuttal was that this initiative would increase the education around cryptocurrency offerings.
To put users at ease, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) issued Paypal a "Bitlicense," one of the first of its kind. This framework was created in the efforts to encourage, promote, and assist interested institutions to have a regulated way in which they could join the cryptocurrency marketplace within New York. Paypal also works in Tandem with the Paxos Trust Company, another American company, to increase security. Users can also rest assured that Paypal has dabbled in this area before, once offering services with Facebook's digital currency, Libra. Although this was later suspended, many financial regulators took note of their efforts.
This initiative continues to excite many cryptocurrency enthusiasts as the path to widespread adoption becomes more clear than ever before. On the business front, PayPal has also taken an advantageous position to help lead the charge toward digital currency development by central banks and large corporations. Dan Schulman from PayPal shares that working with regulators on CBDC's is still among the company's goals.
The UK economy shrank by a record 9.9% last year but narrowly avoided a much-feared double-dip recession. The shrinking economy is thought to be largely due to coronavirus restrictions according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The latest report shows that the UK’s economic contraction was more than twice as much as the previous largest annual fall on record.
There was some good news even though the overall annual report looked bleak as the economy recovered to grow by 1.2% in December, after shrinking by 2.3% in November.
This is thought to be due to the relaxation of lockdowns during the run-up to Christmas, but many industries which had started to recover lost ground were hit again and suffered further losses such as automotive, hospitality, the beauty sector such as hairdressers.
The slight growth in December confirmed economists’ hope, that the UK economy looks set to avoid what could have been its first double-dip recession in over 40 years. However, with the lockdown currently in full force, there is some trepidation as to what the figures for January and February bring.
A recession is defined as a period of two consecutive months where a country’s economy shrinks. A double-dip recession is when the economy recovers for a short period of time into growth only to fall back into shrinkage once more.
Speaking about the news, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Today's figures show that the economy has experienced a serious shock as a result of the pandemic, which has been felt by countries around the world.
"While there are some positive signs of the economy's resilience over the winter, we know that the current lockdown continues to have a significant impact on many people and businesses.
"That's why my focus remains fixed on doing everything we can to protect jobs, businesses and livelihoods."
Britain has suffered a torrid time during the coronavirus pandemic, as it reported Europe's highest death toll and also sits near the top of the world's highest death tolls per capita. This has led to long periods of lockdowns and continuous restrictions, which it seems have had a record-breaking negative impact on what was a thriving economy a year ago.
The blow suffered by the large service sector, on which the UK is very dependant, much of which has been closed for the best part of the last year has been cited by many as one of the largest contributing factors to the damage suffered by the UK economy.
However, there is hope with Britain boasting the highest vaccination rate of most European countries so far, raising the prospect of a faster overall rebound for its economy, although experts are cautioning that this may not occur until later this year.
We all know how difficult the COVID-19 pandemic has made things throughout the world. Nobody has been unaffected. Almost all industries have been dramatically impacted by the crisis, which has left millions of people out of work. While the beginning of 2021 looks to continue to be rough, with Q1 being another lost quarter for many industries, the rest of the year looks promising for a huge resurgence.
Nearly all industries should see a bounceback in 2021 from a massive 2020 falloff. However, we'll focus on six industries that seem poised for massive rebounds.
The construction industry was absolutely decimated by the pandemic. Many factors affected the drop in the industries stake during 2020. With industries across the board struggling, many planned expansions were halted. Instead, companies diverted funds to help stay afloat rather than grow. Many construction projects were abandoned, either temporarily or permanently.
In addition to the halted projects, few people were looking to start new projects. With so much uncertainty, even organizations that weren't brought to the brink weren't likely to attempt to grow. Client bases were likely to be greatly diminished to non-existent due to potential buyers being out of work.
Another reason for the lull in the construction industry was that with so many businesses closing, the few companies that were looking to expand were likely to move into a previously occupied space. While there might be some construction called for in these cases, the projects were far smaller and finished much quicker than building a new facility from the ground up would have been.
With a likely rebound in industries across the board beginning in spring of 2021, expect a fresh need for the construction industry to get back to work.
Live events nearly came to a standstill in 2020. Outside of protests and political rallies, large gatherings and even small gatherings pretty much ceased to exist. Fortunately, this is one industry that should come back with a vengeance later in the year. People have been isolated from friends and family, they have been working from home, and they haven't been to a party in forever. When getting together is deemed safe, expect big gatherings.
This will have an impact on every aspect of the economy that gets a boom from live events. Venues will clearly win big with pretty much guaranteed full bookings and sold out events once things return to normalcy. Other industries like hospitality and transportation will see a big boom as out of towners come to these events. The big sporting corporations will obviously get a big boost from being able to sell seats at full capacity.
Event planners, large and small, will see their services in full demand. Whether planning small gatherings of a handful of people or festivals that attract thousands, all types of event planners will be needed. Insurance companies that sell event insurance will also see a boost as this type of insurance has largely gone unpurchased over the past year.
Social calendars will likely be packed full from late spring onward. Artists will crowd the road to return to performing live concerts. City halls will be packed with people who have been waiting to tie the knot. Whether family, friends, schools, or any other type of group, expect reunions aplenty. Employers hoping to raise employee morale after a very difficult year will plan all sorts of retreats and outings. There will be no shortage of events in 2021.
People are going to want to travel again. The world is suffering from a near-universal case of cabin fever. The best solution for that is to get out of town. People will likely be traveling in record numbers once it is safe to do so. While many hotels and other accommodations were forced to shut their doors for good during the pandemic, those that make it through should find an abundance of riches on the other side.
With such a high demand for accommodation and a narrowed competition pool, hotels can expect many nights of turning away guests due to no availability. Those able to time things just right could find the perfect moment to enter the hospitality industry and turn a profit immediately.
As mentioned, people will be looking to travel once they can. Expect the skies to be full and freeways to be crowded. Between border closures, lockdowns, high unemployment rates, and countless restrictions to the kinds of things that people look for in a vacation, people have generally been staying put this last year. Nomads are becoming restless and will look to be on the move as soon as possible.
Food and drink service was one of the hardest-hit industries. However, bars and restaurants that managed to make it through the pandemic should be facing a new type of dilemma later in the year. Making sure they don't violate fire codes by being overcapacity.
Some restaurants were able to adjust to the pandemic well enough to keep from being hit too hard with takeout options. However, many restaurants simply aren't suited well enough to make it in the world of takeout. Restaurants relying heavily on their atmosphere for their appeal and fine dining venues had a difficult transition.
Bars in many parts of the country were completely helpless, with a takeout model not really a possibility for them.
While due to financial concerns, not everyone who wants to go traveling will have that option, most people will be able to start going out to a bar or restaurant again. Nearly everyone will be looking to hit the town.
Many theaters had to close down entirely for parts of 2020. Once able to fully reopen, movie theaters are going to have a lot to work with in pulling in big crowds as many big event movies have been sitting on the shelf awaiting a theatrical release rather than going straight to streaming. Movie theaters can expect a huge influx of top-grossing films to fill their seats on a daily basis in 2021.
These are far from all of the industries that were negatively affected by the last year. It has been tough all around. Fortunately, these industries are far from the only ones expected to have a nice recovery later this year. People can expect a general rebound of the economy all around. It may take a little while to get back to the levels the country was at pre-pandemic, but we can certainly expect a strong move in that direction.
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International rolling lockdowns has left an undeniable mark on the economic future, leaving many of us uncertain and concerned about our wealth. The world is changing rapidly, and these changes influence investor preference; meaning that suitable investments in 2019 may no longer be solid sound choices. Even though predictors can sometimes be misleading, the following predicted trends are most likely to survive the impacts of the economic downturn and reward savvy-investors with high profits.
Digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and several others are leading the way towards an innovative future. There has never been a better time to invest in blockchain-based currencies as profit margins have not shown negative influence as a result of the Covid19 outbreak. If you are looking to invest in Bitcoin, you will be able to transact between traditional currencies and digital currencies according to your strategy, which means you can move from Bitcoin to Euro or vice versa.
The value of Bitcoin is fuelled by popularity. Because investors did not pull out at the first signs of economic uncertainty, many now consider the revolutionary digital currency a safe haven investment in line with likes of commodities such as gold.
Micro investing is fast becoming a popular trend in the world of investors as the solution allows anyone to invest, even with smaller amounts. As we witness the launch of several innovative micro-investing apps and platforms, this trend serves as an opportunity for all to build an impressive portfolio regardless of existing wealth. You will be able to spread your investments over several opportunities and gradually add funds as your budget allows.
In days gone by, only those with large lump sums of money could invest in lucrative opportunities, where we are now gifted with the opportunity to invest with as little as $10. The solution also allows investors time to navigate the markets without concern of losing everything.
It’s not exactly news that investing in property can be exceptionally lucrative, although, most of us assume you need quite a fortune to invest in real estate and so, we shun the idea. However, for those who would like to invest in real estate without having to worry about the nagging details such as caring for properties and tending to maintenance issues, real estate investment trusts are the perfect solution.
A real estate investment trust is quite similar to mutual funds while being strictly aimed at properties. With the prices of houses continually rising, this type of investment may genuinely be the perfect solution for those who would like to profit from properties without actually having to buy them.
Before you start investing, pulling out of existing investments, or diversifying your portfolio, it is crucial to crafting a tailored investment strategy. Now more than ever, it is vital to monitor your investments daily, especially if you are opting for stocks. Feeding investments should only be made on value declines to boost profits.
In a presentation following the Chancellors statement yesterday, the IFS have claimed that the job of mitigating the debt caused by the governments current spending plans could be a job “for not just the current Chancellor, but also many of his successors”.
At a presentation of its findings on the Chancellor’s statement, IFS director Paul Johnson said that a “reckoning, in the form of higher taxes” would have to come eventually. It also suggested that the economy will not grow as large as it could have done if the Covid-19 crisis had not hit.
“If that’s the case, and it’s very likely to be the case, revenues will still be depressed, and if we want to try then to bring the deficit back to where it would have been absent the crisis, we will need to do some spending cuts, or given a decade of austerity, perhaps more likely some tax rises,” he said.
“It’s going to take decades before we manage that debt down to the levels we were used to pre this crisis.”
The IFS has also cast some doubt on the potential effectiveness of the Stamp Duty scheme and the 50% off dining initiative warning that the temporary stamp duty holiday, announced by Mr Sunak, may in fact increase house prices while deputy director Helen Miller raised doubts as to whether the meal discount scheme and VAT cut were driven by a problem with demand, or supply – with businesses unable to accommodate customers due to social distancing constraints.
Her concern lay in the fact that many businesses may not pass on the VAT savings to customers, thus negating the purpose suggesting that “the firms that benefit most would be those who have the highest sales, who are operating closest to normal”.
This isn’t the first time Rishi Sunak’s plans have been called into question. HM Revenue and Customs chief executive Jim Harra has also raised concerns about the Job Retention Bonus scheme which gives £1,000 to firms for each furloughed employee they bring back to work and whether it actually offers enough value and benefit.
In a letter to the Chancellor, he requested a ministerial direction which is a formal order to go ahead with a scheme despite the concerns.
Mr Harra said that while there was a “sound policy rationale” for the Job Retention Schems, but that “the advice that we have both received highlights uncertainty around the value for money of this proposal”.
Mr Sunak himself said he expected a “dead weight” cost to the JRS scheme, as many companies who already plan to retain staff will reap the benefit.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he stated his feelings that “without question” there has been “dead weight in all of the interventions we have put in place”. However, many economists and even the leader of the opposition, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer voiced concerns that Government could not in fact afford the “dead weight”, stated his belief that the scheme should have been a targeted initiative and not a one size fits all payout.
However, the government have since responded through a Treasury spokesman who stated that the Government is confident the Job Retention Bonus scheme is the “right policy” to help protect jobs.
Bitcoin trading can be complicated for beginners. In fact, the cryptocurrency space is risky for everyone, both the beginners and the experienced investors. Unlike in stocks trading, the crypto sphere has no central body that offers guidance to investors. You see, horror stories, hype, and rumors rule the internet, and it is sometimes difficult to separate facts from hearsay. Riding on hearsay and rumors is a recipe for failure in Bitcoin trading.
According to Crypto Head, most Bitcoin investors who have lost money didn’t conduct proper research. Just like in any other investment venture, you should have all the facts straight before getting your feet wet. Below are important tips for new Bitcoin investors.
Bitcoin trading has been here for a few years now, and a lot has changed since its emergence. If you are just getting started, you need to conduct your own homework. Understanding what you are getting yourself into will help you make informed investment decisions. Cryptocurrencies provide a brilliant investment opportunity, but they are not without risks. Ignore the hype and dig deeper. Learn about the underlying Bitcoin technology and how the whole system functions.
Before you run, learn to walk. You need to understand the basic mechanics of Bitcoin trading. Learn how to sell and buy Bitcoin, and the easiest and the most secure platforms to start buying Bitcoin. Coinbase is a good place for new Bitcoin investors because of its intuitive interface and ability to begin buying other major cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash.
Like with all other financial investments, it is important to learn how to guard your assets. In this case, you need to protect your digital assets from scammers and cyber attacks. You can store your Bitcoin in Ledger Nano S wallet, which is regarded as the most secure Bitcoin wallet. TREZOR is also a good option.
After a few weeks of deep research, you may feel like you know almost everything about Bitcoin trading. Well, you may know a lot, but that does not mean that you should invest blindly. Risk is inherent in all investments, and it is the same with Bitcoin trading. Digital currency is still developing, and you need to tread carefully. The risks involved are incredibly high, which implies you can either win big or lose your entire investment.
First invest small amounts and see how things turn out before increasing your investment. Don’t chase Bitcoin prices; let them come to you instead.
Putting your eggs in one basket can be a grave mistake. Well, at least when it comes to investments. Apart from Bitcoin, there are other components in the crypto space that you can invest in. Diversify your investment effectively. You can invest in Litecoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple.
If you're embarking on a Bitcoin investment, the above tips should hopefully provide useful information as you enter the crypto space. But you need to buckle up because it's possible the ride ahead is going to be wild one. It's well known that the digital currency market is incredibly volatile, so you will need strategies to manage price fluctuations and see return on your investement.
The need for people across the world to save as much money as possible amid adverse foreign exchange rates has never been greater. Thankfully, money transfer companies are known to offer rock-bottom rates banks can’t match. And the best part is there are dozens of service providers for consumers to choose from. As is often the case, higher levels of competition result in consumers benefiting from superior costs and better service.
The world is home to 180 currencies that are recognized by the United Nations, so there are plenty of trends that have played out since the start of the pandemic. At the exact same time, other external factors compounded the weakness, such as oil prices dipping into negative territory for the first time.
Currencies mostly tied to oil, such as the Canadian dollar or Norwegian krone were more impacted than the Japanese yen -- widely considered as a safe-haven currency.
The outlook for global currencies remains as unclear as ever yet people across the world will still need to exchange currency for a plethora of reasons. One example of how someone can take lower the risk from further unfavorable currency exchange movies is through forward contracts. Simply put, a forward contract offered by an online money exchange platform lets people buy or sell a currency pair at a pre-arranged exchange rate on a set date.
Tens of millions of people across the world decided to leave their birth country and set up roots elsewhere. The COVID-19 pandemic and deteriorating exchange rates likely had many of these people worried about their finances for the first time.
This is especially true for people who hold assets and investments in their birth country and exchange a bit of money at a time.
As an example, an Australian expat living in Thailand would have been able to convert 1 Australian dollar to just shy of 21 Thai baht at the start of 2020. At the peak of the COVID-19 global market crash in March, the same 1 Australian dollar would have fetched just 18.8 Thai bahts.
At that time, expats who had budgeted to live off say 1,500 Australian dollars per month in Thailand would need to dig deeper into their pockets to live the same lifestyle.
Fortunately, by the end of June the Australian dollar rebounded any concern proved to be brief. But this goes to show how fast currencies can move in either direction.
Of course, the opposite scenario could play out where expats are in a better financial position by default of moving to a country that has seen its currency weaken. In this case, it may be unwise to start living life frivolously as any near-term trend is never a predicament of a longer-term outlook.
The global money transfer industry, much like any other sector, has seen its business impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It would be difficult to quantify the financial impact since many of the companies in the space are private and are under no legal obligation to disclose their performance to the general public.
So, we can take a look at the few public companies that provide updates to their investor base. Moneygram is one example.
The Australian stock exchange-listed company said in early June that its digital transactions grew by 100% year-over-year in May, marking a notable acceleration from 57% growth in the first quarter.
The company also said it increased its active digital customer base and these customers transacted more frequently compared to prior months.
We also know this was the case with PayPal as the company said at an industry conference it benefited from older people joining the platform.
It would be reasonable to assume that a trend seen at one company is likely playing out across the entire sector, although to varying degrees.
What likely happened behind the scenes is money transfer space saw an influx of new customers who had no choice but to turn to online venues for their money transfer needs.
These first-time users needed to send money to family or friends who found themselves in tough financial positions -- as has been the case among untold millions of people worldwide.
Some money transfer services tried to capitalize on the new surge in demand by offering unique promotions. Moneygram, for example, partnered with Uber to provide drivers and couriers with a discount on money transfers sent to family and friends worldwide.
But the money transfer industry faced a notable headwind as regular and planned cross border transactions were either put on hold or canceled. Those that provide global payroll solutions lost business from companies that had to suddenly furlough or fire their employees scattered across the world.
On the personal side of the business, many people had to put on hold or permanently cancel plans to move abroad. Transferring large sums of money across borders at a rate traditional banks can’t compete against is a major selling point as it can save consumers tens of thousands of dollars versus banks.
It isn’t clear if these real estate deals will resume once the pandemic is resolved. Some people would be very excited about the opportunity to proceed with their lifelong dream of retiring abroad. Others may not be able to fathom the concept of being away from their loved ones.
The financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic could last years after it is eradicated. The toll will certainly be felt in the foreign exchange market as some economies will prove to be more affected than others.
Countries that experience a quick and swift rebound will likely see their currency appreciate in value given the likelihood for a stronger economic recovery.
It is certainly too early to predict which countries will fall in this category and everyone is urged to stay up to date with economic news and trends. Staying informed and acting accordingly could save a lot of money by avoiding exchange money at more costly rates.