What Now: The New Pensions Act 2014

What Now: The New Pensions Act 2014

pensionThe UK government is changing the way people fund for their retirement by reforming its pension schemes. It affects not only pensioners, but also the human resources and payroll department of many employers. This isn’t something that anybody can learn overnight, so many find it beneficial to look for an automatic pension scheme enrolment to make the process easier.

The Types of Pension Schemes

1. Final-Salary Scheme – Also known as defined benefit scheme, this guaranteed pension depends on your earnings at the end of your career and your length of service.
2. Career Average Scheme – Another guaranteed pension scheme, which depends on your average pay over your entire career.
3. Defined Contribution Scheme – This uses your contributions and investment returns as a basis, but can be smaller than a final-salary scheme.

What the Pension Changes Could Mean for Retirees

An announcement during the chancellor’s budget revealed that retirees would have better access to their pension pots early next year. The government is removing all access restrictions, allowing retirees to use their entire funds as they wish. This new rule will take full effect on April 6, 2015, but there are existing rules that are already adjusting since March 27, 2014.

How Do the New Pension Schemes Work?

Those who have a total pension savings of £30,000 can take their cash in full (trivial commutation) and face taxes at marginal rates. People with bigger amounts, on the other hand, can take up to three pensions worth £10,000 instead of two worth £2,000. For those who use an income drawdown, can take even a bigger amount. Unlimited withdrawals through a flexible drawdown are also possible if the retiree has at least £12,000 of secured pension income.

The reformation of pension schemes maybe complex, but don’t let this confuse you. All you have to do is find more information and ask someone who can better explain things to you.

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Buying a House and Land Package: Making Compromises Along the Way

Buying a House and Land Package: Making Compromises Along the Way

home and land packageWhen buying your first property, it is normal to have all sorts of things on your wish list for a dream home. While it’s this list that will guide you along the way, remember that you won’t always get every single thing you want. The reality is that you will have to make compromises along the way, especially if the property doesn’t fit your budget.

Compromises are made when you think about long-term plans and identify what you can live without. Read on to learn more about balancing your priorities when looking for a house and land package.

Keep Emotions Out

Buying a home is always an emotional process – if it’s your first time, chances are you are riddled with excitement (or anxiety). If you are moving to get away from past problems, it’s likely that you are rushing into things without giving it much thought. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to make sure that you do not make an emotionally driven purchase.

home and landKnow Your Spending Limit

First-time buyers often have a major list of ‘must-haves’ in a new home, but sometimes these features contribute to making property more expensive. Going over your budget will only lead to disappointments and decisions you’ll regret later. Aveling Homes recommends creating a financial plan to help you stay within your spending limit. It is also best to avoid looking at houses above your financial limit to avoid the temptation to overspend.

Location Matters for Your House and Land Package

Don’t ever compromise on location. It is perfectly fine to compromise on things like landscaping and wood floors, as these things can be changed later on. Location is something you can’t change – at least until you can afford to get another home. Choose a house and land package in a community located somewhere ideal. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission suggests considering proximity to schools, transport, and other establishments.

When making your home buying list, set realistic expectations to make the right decisions. Identify what you family needs and let go of what you can do without. Make sure that you spend within your budget and find a place that truly feels like home.

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Daniel Radcliffe Says ‘No’ To Upcoming ‘Harry Potter’ Film

Daniel Radcliffe Says ‘No’ To Upcoming ‘Harry Potter’ Film

Daniel Radcliffe

Image courtesy of Matthew Blaney from London, UK / Wikimedia

Daniel Radcliffe said that even after J.K. Rowling’s announcement of another ”Harry Potter” story, playing the role of Potter was not included in his plans yet.

“My inclination is to say ‘no’ because I don’t think it’s even a hypothetical at the moment,” Radcliffe said when asked during the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “What she’s written—and I haven’t read yet, but I will—I understand it’s a very short piece. And he’s 12 years older than I am now.”

“While the getting is good”

Radcliffe thrived different entertainment fields, playing more adult roles, which include appearing nude on Broadway. He explained his more risque roles were seemingly a reaction to his child star stints in the family-oriented “Harry Potter” movies.

“What it is, I played only one character for such a long time, I think there’s a little bit of envy and desire to try as many different things as possible,” said Radcliffe. “Now that I’m in that position, I’m trying to while the getting is good.”

New Potter Film

Revealed in September 2013, the new film was expected to feature the adventurer Newt Scamander. It was set 70 years prior to the events of Philosopher’s Stone.

The film’s title was anchored in the Hogwarts first-year book used in the novel. Rowling was set to write the debut screenplay that was expected to be the first of a trilogy.

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Kill the Enemy: Identifying Pest Infestation

Kill the Enemy: Identifying Pest Infestation

pest controlApart from damaging your home, furnishings, and other possessions, pests can also spread certain diseases. This is why it is important to identify the telltale signs of pest infestation to prevent home damage and serious health threats.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common pests homeowners in Austin complain about:

Moths

These insects lay eggs in undisturbed areas like cabinets where clothes are stored. Once the eggs hatch, they start feeding on the clothes and contribute to damages. Other common infestation sites for moths include under beds, lofts, unused suitcases, and spare rooms. Dirty clothes are also attractive to moths, so it is best to clean and wash all items before storing.

Signs of moth infestation depend on the species. Common fabric feeding moths are usually detected when damage to clothing is discovered. Moths also cause damage to curtains, upholstery, and carpets. Pest control companies like EdgePestControl.com suggest vacuuming regularly to remove the presence of any larvae.

Woodworms

This furniture beetle likes to live in wooden floorboards, furniture, and damp plywood. While woodworms are commonly known to affect older properties, it is not unheard of for them to damage new homes. Any wooden material like chairs or tables can be infested by woodworm larvae without you noticing it.

Common signs of woodworm infestation include round exit holes in wooden materials, tunnels in the timber, or weak flooring. You might also find powdery dust on the back or side of old furniture. To control woodworm infestations, it is best keep the humidity levels low, as these insects thrive when moisture levels are high.

Rodents

Rats are known to spread diseases and gnaw on wood, plastic, cables, and other materials. Simply put it’s a pest that can cause expensive damage to furnishings. Rats can also remain hidden for a long time before you notice a problem.

Telltale signs of rodent activity include small and dark droppings in the cupboards, grease marks or smudges, oran ammonia-like smell in enclosed areas. Mouse-proofing your property is an effective way of avoiding mice infestation. If the problems are too much for you to handle, it is best to contact pest control services.

Look for the common signs of pest infestation to prevent the onset of or further damage to your home. Keep your home clean and don’t hesitate to hire professional pest control services for effective solutions on getting rid of common house pests.

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Is Residential Window Tinting Worth It?

Is Residential Window Tinting Worth It?

window tintingYou might want to give your windows a new feature if you’re planning to renovate or replace them. Curtains are common sights, so why not try something new? A home window tint, for instance, has the same use as curtains and offers many benefits than you know.

Here are some of them:

Safety and Privacy

Cases of home break-ins are high in the country, according to recent reports. From cash to appliances, like television and entertainment systems, almost everything in your home can look tempting to a burglar. A home window tint can save your home from such temptations, as your interiors won’t be visible from the outside.

Better Sleep

Taking a nap in the afternoon becomes impossible when there’s too much light. Blocking the windows with thick curtain can make it too dark and not good for people who can’t sleep in completely dark rooms. Fortunately, window tints can create a dim-lit room that’s ideal for afternoon naps. According to window solutions store, Tint Works, different types of window tint film can reject at least 68% of solar energy and 99% of ultraviolet radiation.

Reduce Glare

Many experts keep on emphasizing the importance of natural light at home, but there are times when it’s just too much. Sunlight can be too bright during the early afternoon, and it might not be good for the eyes. Glare can distract you or cause accidents. Closing the curtains isn’t a good idea either because you’re wasting a good view. By installing window tints, you can reduce glare and see what’s outside altogether. You can then lower the blinds or curtains at night to seal your home from outside view.

If you’re looking for an alternative feature for your windows, why not try home window tints. They’re especially perfect if you have a modern-style home.

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Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?

Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?

preschoolPreschool is an important part of a child’s prep period before going off to primary school. Early childhood education programs encourage kids to learn through play, structured activities, and help develop their confidence and skills. Preschools are educational environments that hone a child’s skills and lay the foundations for later numeracy and literacy.

In Australia, children can start preschool once they are four or five years old, but being that age doesn’t mean they’re ready for kindergarten. Experts suggest assessing your kid’s readiness before making the decision to send them to sessional, long day, or before-and-after-care centres. Are they emotionally and socially prepared? Will they be able to keep up?

No Need to Rush

The Early Learning Association of Australia and Oz Education, an ECE institution with different locations across Sydney, say parents don’t need to rush. Sending kids to school is a major decision; it needs careful planning. You need to make sure your child is prepared emotionally and mentally for them to have a great learning experience.

While you can send your child to school early if you live in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory, experts say it’s best to wait until children turn five before you introduce them to formal education.

How to Know

Parents can’t be expected to know whether their children are ready for school or not. The best person to assess their readiness is a pre-school teacher. Look for a reputable kindergarten in your area and consult with an early childhood educator regarding your child’s situation.

According to experts, school readiness isn’t about being able to know colours and count, or read and write. Rather, it’s being mature emotionally and socially—factors of development that can’t be fast-tracked.

An Expert’s Checklist

The key aspects of development and maturity are the emotional and social areas. Some factors considered by childhood educators when assessing school readiness include independence, ability to follow instructions, interest in other children, and concentration and interaction levels.

Sending kids to school is a major decision. Work with a childcare expert or someone from the academe to determine your child’s readiness to ensure a great learning experience.

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RSA Refresher Course from the Leading Training Provider in WA

RSA Refresher Course from the Leading Training Provider in WA

trainings in rsaThe legislation by which all licensed premises in WA are bound, The Liquor Control Act 1988, is subject to change through typical parliamentary processes. Therefore, it is important that people involved with the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol maintain their knowledge of Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) practices.

For Updated RSA Knowledge

The AHA(WA) RSA Refresher Course is designed for individuals who have previously completed the nationally accredited RSA, but may have completed it some time ago. Those who have completed RSA’s with older course codes such as the ‘THHBFB’ or ‘SITHFAB009A’ qualification are encouraged to complete this course.

This refresher course is not nationally accredited, but is a shorter course designed to keep you up to date with key changes in legislation around RSA. By completing this course, you are ensuring that your knowledge and trainings in RSA are current and relevant.

For People with Busy Schedule

The RSA online refresher course can be completed in the comfort of the students’ own home or on a tablet device anywhere if they have a stable Wi-Fi or data connection.

As the leaders in RSA training in Western Australia, the AHA(WA) has been delivering quality hospitality trainings through industry experts for over 13 years. With their flexible programs, students can complete their Responsible Service of Alcohol courses either online or in a classroom setting.

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Colour Your Front Door Welcoming: Fearless Approach to Bright Colours

Colour Your Front Door Welcoming: Fearless Approach to Bright Colours

home renovationThe entrance is the first thing your guests and neighbourhood see, but the last one on many homeowners’ to-do list when it comes to repainting projects. Don’t just let your home blend into a dull background. A new coat of paint on your door might just be the makeover your home needs.

The best way to add interest to your door is to go with a contrasting, dark hue if the exterior of your home has a light neutral colour. Let this article help you make an eye-catching statement worth stopping to admire.

Burst of orange

Largely underused, orange is perhaps one of those colours that can go wrong quickly. That’s not the reason to hold back, though. With the right complementing tones, a freshly-painted orange front door commands attention. It can be difficult to pull off, but pairing it with a warm colour keeps the mood balanced. A dark charcoal backdrop can make orange stand out, making it look great with every exterior and style.

A slice of lime

You can’t go wrong with a lime green door if you want to introduce a new refreshing colour. While it might not work for every home, industry experts such as barker-whittle.com.au and bhg.com note that it looks beautiful with brown, grey, or bronze-coloured exterior.

Unexpected purple

For an unexpected welcome to your home, shake things up by pairing bright purple with a neutral exterior. You will love how this colour will look different form morning to night. Purple works well with steely grey neutrals. Keep in mind that cooler neutral colours will not compete, but instead offer a nice background. The key to working with a bright colour is to limit them to elements you want to stand out.

To get a unique design, sometimes you need to push yourself out of the box. Think of your front door as a blank canvas and an invitation to let your creativity prevail.

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Bathroom Addition: Evaluating Its Potential Value

Bathroom Addition: Evaluating Its Potential Value

bathroomHomeowners who have plans to sell their property often plan for new renovation projects. Additions add a significant value, but not every project yields good returns come the time of selling. Fortunately, you practically cannot go wrong with bathrooms.

Figures show that a typical bathroom addition can recoup approximately 60% of the construction cost. This fact alone justifies why it’s an ideal renovation option.

That said, most homeowners want to know how much the project contributes to home value. Three metrics serve as the bases for this.

Balance

Putting buyer logic into play, balance is important in building bathroom additions. For one, it should complement the number of bedrooms in your property. A two-storey home with three bedrooms and three baths already sounds nice for any buyer. A bathroom addition is very attractive for buyers, especially when the original property only had one bathroom.

Another point for consideration: showers versus tubs. To achieve your property’s maximum resale potential, it’s important to have at least one each to cater to a wider market.

Consider the ageing population of Baby Boomers, who would prefer showers with continuous flow hot water systems in Perth. On the other hand, children would love to spend some more time in a bath tub than under a shower. Preparing your addition to cater to both markets is definitely the smart choice.

Size

Here’s another factor closely related to balance: size. Would you go for a half-bath, a ¾ bath (one with a shower stall over a tub), or a full bath? You have to factor in the cost for hiring carpenters and plumbers here. Unless you plan to go all DIY (do-it-yourself), you have to add the labour costs. A half-bath can add roughly 10.5% home value, while a full bath can go up to 20%.

Local Neighbourhood

Size up your local neighbourhood. Think about it: you wouldn’t have to add a full bath if you already have one of the most appealing properties in the area. Overdoing the addition project can result in diminishing returns. Learn what buyers expect from a property the size of yours, in your specific location. Make sure that you gear your projects toward these interests to ensure maximal returns.

A bathroom addition isn’t always about the money, though. If you think your household would benefit from a jetted tub, go for it. Personal satisfaction, after all, can trump any added value if you’re staying in the property for a few more years.

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Google Enters The Domain Name Business, To Test New Service

Google Enters The Domain Name Business, To Test New Service

httpGoogle has announced its plans to sell domain names, launching an invite-only, domain-name registration service.

Beta testing

The search engine giant is now starting to test the service, Google Domains, with a small number of users.

Google said the beta-testing would help small businesses find, register, and manage their Web addresses.

“Businesses will be able to search, find, purchase and transfer the best domain for their business — whether it’s .com, .biz, .org, or any of the wide range of new domains that are being released to the Web,” Google said in a blog post about the venture.

Dominant Internet player

The new Google service will allow consumers to purchase new domain names, as well as transfer existing ones.

With this move, Google will be directly competing with GoDaddy, the largest domain-management firm.

According to its filing via a share sale, GoDaddy has 57 million domain names registered to its service, but the company has faced financial troubles in recent years. Earlier this month, the company filed papers to raise $100 million IPO.

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