Women availed bigger home loans in FY21: report

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Indian women availed themselves of bigger home loans in FY21 amid the pandemic, according to a report titled Home Loan Refinancing in 2021 by BankBazaar.com, an online marketplace for financial products. The report says the average ticket size among female borrowers saw an increase of 7.4% in FY21. This increase can be an outcome of the pandemic; the changing work culture necessitated an increase in space privacy, especially in homes where both partners work, leading to a preference for bigger houses, said the report.

The ticket size of home loans disbursed via BankBazaar also increased from 26.5 lakh to 27.3 lakh in FY21. Consequently, the average ticket size for loans where women were the primary applicants went up to 32 lakh compared with the overall average ticket size of 27.3 lakh. This can be attributed to a sharp fall in lending rates, enabling borrowers to take bigger loans at the same salary.

Moreover, the BankBazaar Aspiration Index report said that owning a house of their own has become the most important goal for Indians between the ages of 23 45.

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“Buying a home is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most people, it is natural to want a house that meets all your expectations. However, problems occur when the costs go up trying to meet those requirements. The lenders will not lend to you beyond a point, typically 80% of the house value. Even then, if the projected equated monthly instalments (EMIs) for the loan goes beyond 40% of your net monthly income, you may not get the expected loan amount,” said Adhil Shetty, chief executive officer, BankBazaar.com.

In such a scenario, opting for a home loan jointly with your spouse can increase your eligibility. This is because the joint incomes would be considered for sanction of the loan. Moreover, where women are the first applicant, loans are 5-10 bps (1 bps is 0.01%) cheaper. So, the interest rate and, consequently, the EMI on your loan could be lower. This also means you can opt for a more extensive or more expensive property if your spouse you apply as co-borrowers. Moreover, both of you can claim tax breaks against the home loan EMIs as the loan is in both your names. So, as a joint holder, you both can claim 3 lakh under Section 80C 4 lakh under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act.

While taking a joint home loan, the liability to repay the outstanding loan falls on both the primary borrower co-applicant. Hence, there is reasonably less burden on the borrower.

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Insurers return documents after processing claims upon request

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I am 30 want to buy a family floater plan. I have elderly parents, got married last year. What are the points I should check before I purchase a health insurance policy?

—Pulkit Kant

You should buy two separate family floater plans—one for your spouse yourself, the other for your parents. This will allow for better plan selection.

Since you just got married, you could consider a plan with maternity coverage. Ask for the waiting period for maternity benefits, no-claim bonus sub-limits in the plan. Sub-limits could be in terms of room rent, co-pay or limits on specific diseases. You should opt for a plan with no sub-limits low co-payment. Maternity waiting period could be between nine months four years.

For your parents’ policy, ask for the waiting period on pre-existing diseases, co-pay disease-wise sub-limits. Prefer plans with up to two years of waiting period on pre-existing diseases, no co-pay no sub-limits.

I want to submit a health insurance claim. The insurer has asked me to submit all the documents rel-ated to the claim such as bills medical expenses receipts in ori-ginal. Will I get these documents back once the claim process is completed?

—Name withheld on request

Insurers require all original medical papers, bills receipts to assess a health insurance claim. After the claim is settled, you can request to get these papers back. The insurer may stamp these before they are returned. Some insurers now allow you to raise claims using scanned copies of documents. You must check this with your insurer. You could then avoid the back forth on the documents. The insurer may require you to submit these documents using their mobile app or a specific portal.

Abhishek Bondia is principal officer managing director, SecureNow.in.

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Should you get a registered investment adviser?

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Investing is all about getting returns, avoiding downsides having liquidity to use the money when you wish. Unfortunately, all these three objectives cannot be met by means of one investment. It is important to have a bucket approach while investing.

First, get the liquidity requirement taken care of. What is needed for the next six to nine months (or 12 to 18 months) should be kept in a safe place, accessible when needed. The period that you consider depends upon whether you are working or not, whether there is other income to supplement. In case of retired or passive investors, we consider the longer period. In this category of investment, liquidity is the prime driver, avoiding risks is the next. Returns are not at the centre of such investments.

For the rest of the money meant for the long term, we would recommend that a scientific risk profile is done. This will give us the limits that we can invest in equity or growth assets without causing you to lose sleep at night. The rest of the money can be invested in debt or fixed income return instruments.

In equity, we follow a few rules: depending on your experience in equity, we allocate funds between large-cap, mid-cap small-cap, taking into account tactical calls as well, such as valuation prevailing sentiment. We try restrict exposure to one fund manager to not more than 10-15% hence portfolio management schemes (PMS) are recommended when the corpus being invested is more than 5 crore to 6 crore. Similarly, AIFs (alternative investment funds) are recommended for portfolios greater than 10 crore. For the rest, mutual funds have adequate width depth to meet your requirements.

In large-cap mutual funds, predominantly investments are in index funds the more actively managed funds are chosen for mid-cap small-cap only. That is because expense ratios are lower for index (passive) funds, the potential to generate alpha from fund manager actions in large-cap is limited. We recommend at least 10% of the allocation in international markets as a hedge against volatility in the domestic market. The fund of funds route is best because of the issues on estate duty when you invest through the LRS (liberalized remittance scheme).

Gold is another asset class where we would part 5% of the corpus—this is an allocation decision a “safe haven” investment. Again, the aim here is not returns.

That brings us to the fixed income component. The objective here is to make post-tax returns that beat or at best meet inflation. And remember, inflation is not the official rate that is published, but that which applies to you. In the extreme situation that all your spending is on fuel, the price is up by 20% in the past year, the inflation rate for you is 20%. Remember, the returns we are seeking is post-tax; hence a bank deposit earning 5.5% per annum (pa) will be below 3.75% pa for someone in the 30% tax bracket.

It’s important to have in-depth knowledge or a good adviser to manage your investments your behaviour; this is where a registered investment adviser (RIA) comes in. Regulated by the Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi), this adviser acts in a fiduciary capacity—putting your interest over theirs; charging a fee for the advice. If you invest through them, they would choose advised or direct plans. These are not only cheaper than regular plans, but also give you a sense of comfort as you know they are not recommending an investment for the commission that they will make.

Apart from investments, the RIA has a 360-degree view in looking at insurance requirements—risk or term cover, medical insurance critical illness; as also the ability to connect you with a professional to help you make execute your Will. Understanding your needs is at the top of the list of this adviser so that the solution he/she recommends is holistic customized.

You will note that I have not asked what amount you have to invest as your goals are more important than the money you have at your disposal. You can rest assured that the fees charged are reasonable—part of it comes back to you by way of extra returns you make by not investing in regular plans. While there is a pain of writing a cheque for fees each year, you are investing in a buddy who could be by your side in good times bad, get you over the line in your journey that’s called life. Invest today in that buddy.

Lovaii Navlakhi is a registered investment adviser.

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Some places make the case for a four-day workweek. Can it work everywhere? – National

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The rural township of Zorra, just east of London, Ont., is home to one of Canada’s largest public-sector trials of the four-day workweek.

The township’s 14 municipal staff are taking part in an eight-month test project. The first leg of the pilot ran from September to December 2020. It was paused as staff worked remotely for the first half of this year.

But the second four-month installment kicked off in the first full working week of July.

Read more:
Iceland’s 4-day workweek deemed an ‘overwhelming success’ after trial

Don MacLeod, Zorra’s chief administrative officer, tells Global News there have been no complaints so far from staff or the public.

“For those that have small children, it’s one less day of daycare. In my case, my father’s elderly. So that’s my day to take him to appointments,” he said.

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The pandemic has upended many long-held beliefs about flexible work arrangements. Labour experts say the past 14 months have provided a glimpse into the impact of remote hybrid work hours on a massive scale. Increasingly, managers are evaluating the benefits of condensed workweeks as a tool for improving efficiency, retaining current employees enticing new hires.


Click to play video: 'B.C. premier comments on possible 4-day workweek'







B.C. premier comments on possible 4-day workweek


B.C. premier comments on possible 4-day workweek – Jun 4, 2020

In early July, results from the world’s largest study of a four-day workweek were released, based on a four-year trial in Icelby 2,500 public service workers. It concluded that productivity in Icelandic offices, hospitals police stations either remained constant or was boosted.

Zorra’s experiment, meanwhile, is modelled after a larger, pioneering four-day work week trial in Guysborough, N.S., that ran last year was adopted as a policy in April.

How a compressed week works

MacLeod says his team is divided into a cohort that works Monday to Thursday another that works Tuesday to Friday. Their total weekly hours remain 35 but with four 8.75-hour days instead of five seven-hour days. The staff’s pay has not changed during the trial.

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Alycia Wettlaufer, 26, is a legislative coordinator deputy clerk for the Township of Zorra where she has worked for nearly three years. She tells Global News there is a learning curve to a condensed week.

“Previously, I would come into the office do my individual work in the early hours my collaborative work later in the morning or the afternoons. Now, I’ve had to readjust try to do all of my individual work on Monday schedule collaborative work for Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday when everyone’s in the office,” she says.

MacLeod says the condensed week requires a “mind shift” when it comes to timing deadlines meetings. And there is planning involved in setting up voicemail messages out-of-office notices to reflect a new schedule.

The Zorra experiment will run until November then staff will assess productivity, benefits challenges with researchers at Western University’s department of public administration.

Read more:
A workplace resignation boom may be looming. Here’s why

Attracting new talent

MacLeod hopes to use a condensed work week as a recruitment tool to compete with larger municipalities that can offer more money.

Wettlaufer says it’s a perk that she, many of her peers, values greatly.

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“When news broke that we were trying this four-day work week pilot, I had so many classmates messaging me asking if I was hiring or if any jobs are going to become available because everyone was interested,” she says. “Every week is a long weekend.”

MacLeod says Zorra’s pilot has caught the attention of many others from coast to coast.

“I’ve taken calls from all across the country, from municipalities private businesses, looking for information on the four-day workweek,” he says. “It seems to be catching on.”


Click to play video: '4-day work week boosts Microsoft employee productivity'







4-day work week boosts Microsoft employee productivity


4-day work week boosts Microsoft employee productivity – Nov 6, 2019

A better fit for certain types of work

Chris Higgins, a professor emeritus at Western University’s Ivey School of Business, has studied how companies can help employees achieve better work-life balance for more than three decades. He says the pandemic has forced employers to push the envelope in offering flexible work arrangements.

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He sees many potential benefits to compressed workweeks, as well as unintended consequences that we’re only starting to understand. Overall, he sees many positives associated with spreading non-work activity over three days instead of “cramming everything” into the weekend.

“You could go grocery shopping on a Tuesday when it’s easier instead of Saturday. So you get a distribution of the services across more days,” Higgins says. “Look at traffic. The pandemic has shown us that when you get cars off the road, you get to where you’re going more quickly.”

Wettlaufer says she saw improvements to her work-life balance after starting the four-day workweek schedule.

Read more:
Canadians want a four-day work week. But would it work?

“I found within the first couple of weeks that my work-life balance was improved I was able to do a lot more things with family my personal life come to work recharged,” she says.

But Higgins cautions that a four-day workweek isn’t feasible for certain types of employment including taxing manual labour or jobs that require intense concentration such as computer programming — productivity dips with longer shifts.

Higgins says the experiment in Iceloffered productivity-boosting examples that can be applied to all kinds of workplaces. Chief among them: cutting down on unnecessary meetings.

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“If companies take a good hard look at things they can do to reduce stress make the workday easier, there’s a lot that can be done,” he says. “We all know that work-life balance comes down to less work, that’s just the way it is.”




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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FIT Mastercard Credit Card Review| U.S. News

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What Are the Fees Associated With the Fit Mastercard Credit Card

  • Annual fee: The annual fee is $99.
  • Foreign transaction fee: The foreign transaction fee is 3%.
  • Cash advance fee: The cash advance fee is 5% of the advance, or at least $5.
  • Late payment fee: You will owe a fee equal to your minimum payment, or at most $29. If you miss a second payment on the next six bills, you will owe a fee equal to your minimum payment, or at most $40.
  • Returned payment fee: You will owe a fee equal to your minimum payment, or at most $29. If you miss a second payment on the next six bills, you will owe a fee equal to your minimum payment, or at most $40. If your payment is both late returned, you will only be charged one fee.
  • Processing fee: You will owe a one-time $89 processing fee.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: After your first year with this card, you will owe $6.25 per month for card maintenance.
  • Additional card fee: There is a $30 fee for each authorized user you add.

Comparisons With Other Cards

Annual fee: The FIT Mastercard Credit Card has a $99 annual fee a $6.25 monthly maintenance fee (waived the first year), while the Capital One Platinum Mastercard Credit Card has no annual fee or maintenance fee.

Rewards: Neither card offers a rewards program.

Sign-up bonus: Introductory bonuses aren’t available with either card.

Benefits: If you have a FIT Mastercard Credit Card enroll in online statements, you will have free monthly credit score access. The Capital One Platinum Mastercard Credit Card charges no foreign transaction fee, you can view your TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 credit score through Capital One’s CreditWise tool even if you are not a customer. Both cards are Mastercards, Mastercard benefits protections include travel emergency assistance services, extended warranty coverage, price protection, $0 fraud liability coverage.

Annual fee: FIT Mastercard Credit Card holders are subject to a $99 annual fee a $6.25 monthly maintenance fee (waived the first year). The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard has a $49 annual fee does not charge a maintenance fee.

Rewards: Neither card offers rewards on purchases.

Sign-up bonus: These cards don’t include sign-up bonuses for new cardholders.

Benefits: You’ll have free monthly credit score access $0 fraud liability coverage with the FIT Mastercard Credit Card. You won’t have to pay a security deposit, either, though the card comes with several fees. The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card has an APR of 9.99%, significantly lower than the 29.99% APR you’ll get with the FIT Mastercard, but you will need to pay a security deposit of at least $200. The First Progress Platinum Prestige card comes with $0 fraud liability protection, emergency assistance services, hotel dining perks from Mastercard.

Should You Get the Fit Mastercard Credit Card

  • Need to rebuild or establish credit but don’t want to pay a security deposit.
  • Don’t plan to carry a balance on your card.
  • Can budget for the card’s fees.

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