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Can you save $2550 by carpooling?

The week beginning 9 June marks Kiwi Carpooling Week in New Zealand, and Auckland Transport wants to encourage drivers to consider car-pooling as an environment-friendly gesture which also saves money.

carpooling effect

I asked Auckland Transport – does carpooling really save money? Do they have any numbers to support the claim?

Auckland Transport believes carpooling helps us in saving costs of petrol and parking.

And these savings can be as high as $2550 a year.

They provided some numbers:

If two people carpooled for a 15km journey, this is what their daily costs would look like:

  • Petrol prices = $1.50 each
  • Parking cost = up to $9 per day each
  • Total daily cost = $21 for two people
  • Savings per person = $10.50 per day; $52.50 per week (carpooling 5 days); $210.00 per month (carpooling 5 days a week for 4 weeks); $2,550 per year

Yes, you could save up to $2,550 annually by carpooling, and put that saving into paying off your mortgage sooner.

Auckland Transport has even provided an online cost calculator so you can figure out how much you could save – www.letscarpool.govt.nz

But what’s the biggest hurdle to carpooling? Timing. Each person has their own time to go to work and come back from work. Also, because of the location constraint, commuters are limited to consider their own work colleagues as co-passengers, which also means you would typically carpool with people you get along with.

Auckland Transport helps you with the first part of this problem – finding a car buddy.

You can visit the site to find people living and working near you who are looking to join a carpool, or talk to you friends and colleagues about setting up your own.

Just put the starting point, destination and journey date and the website will find suitable rides for you.

Already, nearly 5000 Aucklanders have signed up on the website for carpooling, which increases your chances of finding the right carpooling partner.

What if you don’t find someone that lives nearby and works near your workplace? You will need to be a bit flexible.

You don’t need to carpool all the way to work. Consider sharing a car to a central place, and jumping on a train or bus from there.

Also look at the larger picture. With more people carpooling, there will be fewer cars on the road, less traffic congestion, and less pollution.

And there is the benefit of human interaction, instead of shuffling through mundane radio stations.

Having another person in the car makes your journey more enjoyable and interesting, says Auckland Transport’s Manager Community Transport Matthew Rednall.

Need more reason to carpool? “Another benefit of having two people in the car is that you can use some transit lanes.”

Carpooling could be a good opportunity to network with other professionals which could open up doors for the next big job opportunity or business potential.

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Want to earn $8000 from home? Get ready to be scammed

“A single mother earned $8000 from Google Adsense in one month. Find out how!” says an internet advertisement,  targeting unsuspecting prospects.

New Zealand is hit by many internet scams, with the latest being ‘work from home‘ or ‘part-time’ job scams, which typically target students or at-home mothers.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” says an internet security expert.

Because the jobs are advertised on typical job portals where genuine employers post job ads, job-seekers often trust these scammers.

How It Works

New Zealand’s Consumer Affairs department explains the scam: You see an ad in a spam email, or on a website banner, and it is just the kind of work you are looking for:

  • working from home
  • good rate of pay
  • not much work.

Don’t fall prey to these scams, because fraudsters are either trying to steal your money or your identity.

These scams try to use attractive job ads as a gateway for:

  • money laundering
  • pyramid schemes
  • or upfront payment fraud – a scam which asks you to send money upfront for a product or ‘reward’ later.

Protect yourself from employment scams

Look for employment through well-known recruitment websites or reputable recruitment agencies, advises Consumer Affairs. Also it helps to be suspicious for anything that sounds too good.

Here’s what you can do to spot a scam:

  • Be suspicious of online ads promoting the opportunity to work at home – most of them are scams.
  • Contact your bank if you have received money into your bank account that you believe to be illegal. If you have any problems, contact the Banking Ombudsman for guidance.

Report scams

Another mistake people make is they keep quiet if they have been a victim of a scam. Who in their right mind wants to be seen as stupid, or greedy or both?

However, this only strengthens the odds for scamsters to succeed.

If you have been affected by a scam, please report it to Consumer Affairs’ Scamwatch. Your personal details will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Consumer Affairs have even created a Facebook page where New Zealanders like you and me are reporting new scams almost every day. Head over to the Facebook page for some entertainment, if nothing else. You will be surprised at the ingenious ways used by some scamsters.

Other frauds and scams in New Zealand

Other than employment scams, Kiwis are fallen prey for credit card scams, ATM skimming, dating scams, computer hacking, identity scams and phone scams.

Identity theft

With people putting pictures of themselves and their family on social media, identity theft is one of the easiest thefts that could happen to anyone onliine.

One Kiwi lady found a picture of her horse on a horse-trading website. A picture of her horse was stolen and published with a “For Sale” advertisement in an overseas market. She managed to get the website to take the picture down, only to find another advert spurring up somewhere else, almost instantaneously, the lady said in a post on the ScamsNZ FB page.

Travel scam

Another person reported Air New Zealand scam, where scamsters (obviously not from Air New Zealand) call up and offer heavy discounts on Air New Zealand airfares.

Air New Zealand has been contacted by people who had received automated phone calls claiming to be from Air New Zealand offering “significant credits” to be redeemed on Air New Zealand bookings, the airline’s spokesperson Brigitte Ransom, told Stuff.

Air New Zealand has confirmed that it is not offering any special discounts on international travel via automated phone calls.

In fact, holiday scams and air ticket scams are common in New Zealand. In 2013 alone, as many 63 Kiwis lost $38,000 to travel scams, says Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise spokeswoman Peta Baily Gibson.

Lonely? your love is waiting

Many New Zealanders have fallen trap to a Facebook predator, only to find the imposter to be much older, or with criminal intentions. Online predators often target younger girls, or even boys, who are vulnerable and trusting.

“Go online for the right reasons, ignore those who write in capital letters and weed out those who can’t even spell their own job title,” advises Andrew Bonallack in the New Zealand Herald.

Tax refund scam

How many of you have dreamt of taking a windfall from Inland Revenue in the form of tax refunds? I know. I have too. But that’s where the good story ends.

Many people have reportedly received a door knock from someone claiming to be from the tax department and offering a tax refund.

Has anyone ever heard of tax guys going door to door offering refund checks?

“Just to be clear, Inland Revenue will never telephone, email or knock on your door regarding your tax refund,” Inland Revenue’s group manager customer services, Eleanor Young, told media.

“Neither will we ask for your credit card details or monetary payment in order to receive your refund.”

The scamsters are so bold that they have even used official logos of major brands and government departments, including Inland Revenue.

Consumer Affairs department offers ready guide to use in case you suspect a scam or have been a victim.

 

 

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NZ job market strong

highly skilled jobs in Auckland

highly skilled jobs in Auckland

Good news for job hunters and those seeking a change of job. The number of job listings on the Trade Me Jobs site has increased by 21% year-on-year.

The website had 50,000 roles listed in the first quarter of 2014. The growth in jobs is in all major locations in New Zealand.

Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury are seeing positive growth, says Peter Osborne, head of Trade Me Jobs.

“With more roles being advertised, Kiwis hunting that dream job are looking well-placed to consider their next career move.

Trade Me analysis  is in line with similar report from Westpac McDermott Miller (PDF file) which found that employment confidence is at an all-time high since the recession.

“The New Zealand job market is looking very rosy.”

Highest salary jobs are in Auckland

The Auckland region remains the powerhouse of the national job market, said Mr Osborne. “The City of Sails saw a 20% boost in job listings when compared to the same period last year, with central Auckland and Manukau experiencing significant jumps in year-on-year growth.”

For the first time, average salary in Auckland is higher than Wellington. In fact, those working in central Auckland could expect the highest average pay of the country, taking home an average annual salary of $72,302. This was ahead of previous leader central Wellington ($70,234), and New Plymouth (61,143).

Canterbury job listings were up 24% on the same time last year, with Christchurch city’s available roles also ticking up 24%. “It’s been a long process, but the rebuilding efforts in the area are still the primary motivators for activity in the employment market,” says Peter.

Jobs in Auckland Jobs in New Zealand

IT guys highest paid in New Zealand

“The need for skilled IT workers is reflected in the sector’s dominance of average pay packets,” Mr Osborne said. “Four of the top five are filled by IT architects, IT sales, IT project managers and IT managers, all taking home an average pay packet between $128,000 and $134,000 a year.”

Sectors seeing increased listings this quarter when compared to the same period last year included IT sales (up 166%), journalism (up 156%) and retail department manager roles (up 131%).

Peter says there was plenty of opportunity for employers too with recent research commissioned by Trade Me Jobs finding that 45% of employees were willing to relocate for a new job. “Employers should be confident there are plenty of potential candidates willing to consider the right role even if they’re not on the doorstep.”

More than half of employees (62%) cited better pay as their primary motivation for considering moving to a new location, but other factors included being made redundant, career development and a desire to relocate. “With the surge in job listings, now is a good time for anyone contemplating that next great role to put their thinking into action.”

Peter says Wellington was recently revealed as the most desirable New Zealand destination to head to for a new job. “We saw 18% of respondents choose the capital, while the Bay of Plenty was next with 14% of the vote,” he said. “The job market in Wellington is in good shape for new arrivals, with a 26% tick up in advertised roles on a year ago.”

NZ jobs by sector

Surprise down south

“We saw a huge lift in advertised roles in Southland, with a 41% increase,” he said. “We saw good growth in agriculture, trades, and healthcare. Jobs out on the pasture aren’t in short supply either, with advertised roles for farming up 113%.”

The number of roles advertised in the Taranaki region also lifted significantly, up 16% on a year ago.

Mortgage forcing employees to look for greener pastures

“As mortgage rates rise, so too does the desire for a better pay check at the end of the week. With perceptions of job opportunities markedly improving, and recent signs that firms are looking to step up their hiring efforts, it’s becoming a job hunter’s market.

“High salaries in IT are great for people working in those sectors, but research has also shown they are among the least likely of professions to move roles. Combined with a real skills shortage, this can only mean that IT professionals will continue to dominate the high salaried roles in the foreseeable future and in contrast to many other sectors the industry will find it increasingly difficult to land good, experienced IT staff.”

Money News

ATM PIN scam hits New Zealand

bank scam, atm pin

New Zealand Police are warning people to be wary about a scam that involves people being asked to think of a 4-digit number to receive a hamper full of groceries.

The victims are people who have had their wallets or purses stolen a few days earlier and unbeknownst to them, this is an attempt to get the pin number to their EFTPOS (debit) and credit cards.

Investigations are underway into two cases that have recently occurred on the North Shore and involve the following;

1. The victim has their wallet or purse stolen. In both cases the belongings have been stolen from work places, eg reception desk and behind a shop counter, by offenders who distract the victim’s and take their wallets or handbags.

2. Hours later the victim receives a fraudulent phone call from a woman claiming to be calling from Countdown supermarket. The caller says to the victim that they have won a grocery hamper worth $500. The caller is very convincing and tells the victim that they need to provide a 4-digit security number, so that when they go to pick the hamper up from the supermarket, they can tell the staff the 4 digit number, and that will identify them as the winner.

3. The victim then thinks of a 4-digit number and gives this to the caller. However, as many people might do, they provide a number that is the same one they use as their pin number to their EFTPOS or credit card. There is no hamper and Countdown are not running any promotion of this type, nor do they ask winners to ever provide a security number.

4. The fake caller is actually the person who stole their wallet hours earlier, and the criminal goes on to try and withdraw money from the victim’s account, using their stolen cards and the 4-digit number provided for the supermarket hamper.

Police are following strong lines of enquiry, but are warning the public that the offender/s are very convincing; “Because the callers aren’t outright asking for your pin number, it’s easy to be tricked. A lot of people, if asked to think of a 4 digit number, would give the same number they use as their pin, because it’s easy to remember” says Constable Damian Albert, North Shore Police.

“It’s possible that the offender/s have used other business names with similar scenarios, and we’d like to hear from anyone who has had their cards recently stolen on the North Shore and has then experienced this type of phone call’ says Constable Albert.

“It’s also a message to the wider community to never give out a number that you use as a pin number, for another purpose.”

 (Photo credit: Catatronic)

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Why RBI is withdrawing pre-2005 notes

RBI withdraws old currency notes

All Indian currency notes issued before 2005 will soon go out of circulation, as per a new directive issued by the Reserve Bank of India on 22 January 2013.

From 1 April 2014, all currency notes issued prior to 2005 will need to be exchanged at any bank in the country.

There’s no need to have an account with the bank where the notes are being exchanged. The notes can be exchanged until 30 June 2014.

From 1 July 2014, the depositor will need to provide a proof of identity and proof of address, if the number of notes being exchanged in more than 10.

RBI withdraws old currency notes

The apex bank has not set a deadline for accepting old notes by banks.

To be able to tell if the note is pre-2005 or not, a close look at the note reveals the year of issue. All notes issued after 2005 will have the year inscribed on them. All notes where the year of issue is not mentioned are pre-2005 notes and should be returned to banks.

The move has caused a mixed reaction from people.

 

The aim of the initiative is to move to a cashless economy, RBI says. However, experts are inferring that the move is aimed at tackling the growing problem of black money in the economy.

The sheer size of currency notes that are in circulation is likely to make this exercise extremely challenging for banks. This is likely to create long queues at bank-branches, most of which are already under-staffed and struggle to cater to walk-in customers.

Questions are being raised about the effectiveness of RBI’s directive in curbing black money.

Then there are questions about the 2005 cut-off. What about the black money ‘earned’ after 2005?

Business Editor recommends Money News Work Abroad

401(K) and IRA – should expats invest in retirement plans?

Many overseas Indians and expats settled in the United States of America face a common dilemma – should they invest in a 401(K) plan or an IRA (Individual Retirement Account).

The confusion is more prominent among non-US citizens or those without permanent residence status in the US.

Many Indians working in the US have plans to return to India and would like to withdraw their contributions from their retirement plans.

Here’s the dilemma – if a non-US citizen contributes to a 401(k) plan at work, he makes tax savings on that amount. He also benefits from tax-deferred growth and employer match. However, if he chooses to withdraw his contribution early, he may be subject to taxes and a 10% penalty.

Is it then worth contributing to a 401(K) and a traditional IRA or Roth IRA for Indians?

While the concerns are valid, it should not hold you back from considering saving for your future retirement.

If you are a permanent resident (green card holder) when you leave America, it is easy to address the question of Federal taxes. You can use a phased withdrawal approach to minimize taxes. The idea is to withdraw only enough money each year to reduce the impact of taxes upon withdrawal. You can also reduce the 10% penalty for early withdrawal by rolling over the 401(k) to an IRA and then converting to a Roth IRA, subject to the restrictions for IRA rollover and Roth conversions. Speak to your tax consultant.

In fact, the problem is not so much about taxes in the US. You need to consider the taxes you will be required to pay in India, if you decide to take your savings back with you to India.

Indian residents are taxed on  their  income earned anywhere in the world, and a payment from an IRA is income.

However, there’s a ray of hope. India provides a special “semi-resident” status for those who worked abroad and returned to India. When in this status, income from foreign sources, including from retirement plans, are not taxed. Unfortunately, this status lasts only for a few years, so any phased-withdrawal strategy will have only a limited benefit.

For most overseas Indians who have invested in 401(K) or IRAs, the best thing to do is not withdraw money from the 401(k) account, if this is allowed, or to roll over to an IRA and leave it there until they are 60 years old. IRA custodians like Vanguard and Fidelity allow non-citizens to keep their IRAs even if they are no longer living in the US.  You can easily keep track of these accounts via internet from anywhere.

However, for these options to work, you need to be a permanent resident.

If you are not a green-card holder, then you are a non-resident alien and attract a 30% federal tax on IRA distributions when you leave the country . Also, the IRA custodian is required to withhold this 30% when the distribution is made. This harsh penalty may severely limit any benefit gained through tax-deferred growth and employer match on the 401(k) contributions.

In short, if you are not a green-card holder, there’s little point in investing in 401(K). But that’s a short-term view with the assumption that you intend to return to India after a few years. The truth is, most NRIs end up staying back in the US, get green card and retire. By then, it is too late to plan for the retirement.  They miss the valuable 401(K) boat.

What’s the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA?

Most people don’t know the difference between a 401(k) and an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  All they know about a 401(k) is you can start withdrawing after you are 59-1/2 years old without attracting a penalty.

Here’s the difference – 401(k) is a pension plan and is offered through your the employer,  and involves your contributions and often contributions from your employer, whereas an IRA is a private investment funded solely by your money.

Secure your retirement with 401(k) easily

The maximum amount an individual can save in a 401(k) is $16,500 a year, or $22,000 if you’re 50 or older. If you can save that much, you should. If not, then grab your employer match. Many employers suspended 401(k) matches during the great recession, but they are starting to reinstate them. Make sure you contribute at least enough to get the matching contribution.

Each year, you can contribute as much as 15 percent of your salary or $10,000, whichever is less.

An employer can make similar contributions. Some companies contribute 33.3 cents to 50 cents for every $1 the employee contributes. What’s more, this amount is tax-deferred.

What’s the difference between traditional IRAs and Roth

Traditional are the old IRAs and Roth are the new ones. Roth are a better investment, unless you need deductions.

Traditional IRA: Any person working or receiving alimony can contribute to an IRA. Your employer does not contribute to your IRA, like 401(K).

You can go to a renowned investment company like Vanguard, Fidelity for opening an account. The maximum contribution each year is $2,000 in most cases. This limit is lower for higher income earners. Contact IRS for details.

Under IRA as well as  401(k) plan, you can withdraw funds without penalty after the age of 59-1/2.

However, if you are serious about your future, invest in Roth IRA. The bad news is the Roth is not deductible. But the good news is, the lock-in period is only five years. You must keep your money for at least five years in a Roth. If you withdraw within the first five years, you have to pay a 10 percent penalty. The amount you contribute is not taxable.

If you withdraw after you turn 59-1/2,  your withdrawals will not be taxed. Neither your contributions nor the capital gains are taxed. And this is the biggest advantage of investing in a Roth.

Because the maximum annual contribution is $2,000, it is to your benefit to start early and invest in a Roth IRA.

Think long-term.

(About author: Sanjeeve Pai is an investment advisor for overseas Indians. Views expressed here are for guidance only. Please seek professional advice before making investment decisions.)

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Kotak Mahindra launches NRI banking with Scotiabank

(Image courtesy: Scotiabank)

Indians moving to Canada can now experience NRI banking services with another trusted Indian banking brand.

For new immigrants, or international students, the latest alliance of Kotak Mahindra Bank with Canada’s Scotiabank opens the doors for financial services at a time when you need those the most – just after arrival in a new country.

The services will suit not just people emigrating from India to Canada but also to Non-Resident Indo-Canadians seeking accounts in India.

NRI bank

Scotiabank employs 81,000 people in more than 55 countries including India. Scotiabank has been operating in India for three decades which gives it “a unique perspective on what international clients are looking for in financial planning,” says Troy Wright, Scotiabank’s Executive Vice President of Retail Distribution, Canadian Banking.

“Partnering with Kotak Mahindra Bank gives Scotiabank a platform to reach out to Indian residents immigrating to Canada and provides our customers in Canada with a referral to one of the leading financial institutions in India.”

Now, select Kotak Mahindra Bank branches will offer Canada-bound Indian residents with access to the Scotiabank StartRight Program for Newcomers. The program lets people open an international account and credit card even before leaving India.  In Canada, select Scotiabank branches will help non-resident Indian customers seeking bank accounts in India by referring them to Kotak Mahindra Bank’s MyIndia Program – their non-resident Indian (NRI) and people of Indian Origin (POI) banking solution.

The $2.4 billion Kotak Mahindra Group received a banking license from the Reserve Bank of India in February 2003 and the bank has over 375 branches, and 863 ABMs, in 219 locations across India.

“We have a strong focus on NRI Banking and our alliance with Scotiabank further strengthens our customer offering,” says Virat Diwanji, Executive Vice President & Head, Branch Banking, Business Assets & NR, Kotak Mahindra Bank.

“Canada has a sizable NRI and PIO population and both banks look forward to sharing common values.”

In addition to its new partnership with Kotak Mahindra Bank, Scotiabank offers the Scotiabank StartRight international account opening program in select Scotiabank branches in India and Mexico and through China Everbright Bank in China.

“We understand that moving around the world is an enormous undertaking, and we strive to offer some stability during this transition by helping people with the financial part of their move,” says Winnie Leong, Scotiabank’s Vice President of Multicultural Banking.

The Scotiabank StartRight Program is available at any Scotiabank branch in Canada or by calling 1-866-800-5159 (from North America) or 000 800 100 7460 (from India). To better assist customers both in India and Canada, the Scotiabank StartRight website (www.scotiabank.com/startright) is available in a variety of languages, including Punjabi.

 

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NRI income tax return: deemed rent

NRI Income Tax

NRIs (Non Resident Indians) investing in real estate in India get excited about high returns on property, but don’t consider the NRI Income Tax rules.

Filing tax returns are a priority now that the due date for the year 2011-12 is close. NRI Income Tax rules has some strange provisions that beat common sense, but still need to be followed by locals as well as expats.

Deemed rent

If you own two or more properties in India, only one will be considered as self-occupied. This rule of the Indian Income Tax Act applies to NRIs as well as residents.

NRI Income Tax

This means, you don’t have to pay income tax on owner-occupied property. All other properties, whether rented or not, will be considered an investment property or rental property.  Yes, it doesn’t matte whether you have rented the other property or not. That’s the weird part of the NRI income tax rules when it comes to expats property tax.

So what do you do in such a situation?

You calculate estimated rent for your other properties, and pay tax on that. Essentially, you will be paying tax on income (rent) that you have never received. Unfair as it may sound, that’s the law.

So how do you calculate the deemed rent? There are some provisions given in the Indian Income Tax rules that you can use to calculate the deemed rent on your investment properties in India.

In short:

If you own only one house in India in which you live, you don’t have to pay tax on it. If you own only one house and you don’t live in it or rent it out, it will still be considered self-occupied and there is no tax to be paid

If you are an NRI and given out the only house you own on rent, then you pay income tax on the rent you receive.

If you own two houses, and given both out on rent, you will have to pay tax on the rental income of both properties.

If you own two houses, and neither is given out on rent, then one will be considered self-occupied and the other will be deemed to be receiving rent, and you will pay tax on the deemed rent. The good news? You can decide which of the two houses to consider for deemed rent.

What constitutes property under Indian Income Tax Act?

Property is not limited to houses alone. It also includes offices, factories and warehouses. The strict definition of property under Indian Income Tax Act is Property is defined as ‘building and any land appurtenant’. It does not include only land holding.

However, if you own even one commercial property, you will have to pay tax on on its rent – whether it is rented or not.

So where does this ridiculous law come from? That’s anybody’s guess, but wait till you hear the really bad news.

I live in my own home in the US, but have one house in India. What’s the tax I need to pay?

Indian Income Tax Act says that when you own two or more properties, only one will be considered self-occupied. All other properties will be deemed to be receiving rent, even if they are lying vacant. The irony is, the law was written at a time when not many NRIs owned houses in India and abroad at the same time. So the law does not specify whether the law applies to houses owned in India alone.

Say you are an NRI who lives in New York and you own the house in which you live there. You also own a house in Delhi, which is lying vacant. For the purposes of the Indian Income Tax Act, you own two houses – irrespective of the fact that one house is outside India. You will have to pay deemed rent on your house in India.

I live in a rented house in Singapore but own a house in Mumbai. Will I pay tax in India?

If you own only one house, which is in India, that house will be deemed to be self occupied. No tax for you, madam!

But I have inherited my house in India

You are the owner of the inherited property and the same rules apply.

So how much tax do I have to pay on deemed rent?

The Indian Income Tax Act has some valuation prescription that needs to be used to calculate deemed rent. This valuation is based on municipal value of your house, its construction cost, the rent as per the Rent Control Act, and the rent of similar houses in the neighbourhood. The highest of these factors is considered annual value of your house.

You can deduct 30% towards expenses, whether are not you have incurred any expenses. You pay tax on the balance amount.

For more details, visit the official Indian Income Tax Department website.

Also see the tax calculator by the Indian Income Tax department.

(This article is for guidance only. The Global Indian accepts no responsibility for its accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor or chartered accountant.)

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India a promising market for exporting polymers – report

PET-Bottle

India’s polymer industry, while growing, still has vast untapped potential, according an industry report.

India consumes only 7.4kg of polymer per person every year, much lower than the United States which uses more than 100kg per person annually. Global average is 29kg (2010).

Polymer is used in various forms, from making straws and bottles for soft drinks, to bags, inside parts of your car doors, vehicle tyres, and the pipes and wires used in your house.

Polymer accounts for a major recycling problem worldwide, especially in developed nations – the largest consumers of polymer. Open your recycling bin and most containers you see in there use some form of polymer.

China and India still account for very minor consumption of the world’s polymer. However a report by GlobalData, an international business research firm, suggests that the use of polymer in India is on the increase.

India is currently the world’s third largest consumer of polymers, according to the GlobalData report, behind China and the US, with a share of 5.7% of the 2011 global total – an increase from 3.5% in 2000.

Growth in the polymer industry really kicked off in India after the country’s economic liberalisation in 1991, says an analyst for GlobalData.

“The resulting deregulation and privatization sparked a boom in end-use sectors such as packaging, construction and automotive that has seen per capita consumption increase from 1kg in 1980 to 7.4kg in 2010.”

This consumption is still significantly lower than that of most western countries – when compared on ‘per person’ basis.

“With surging industrialisation and an increasingly powerful economy, the subcontinent still has massive as-yet largely untapped potential.”

India produces about 7.4 Million Metric tons (MMt) annually (2011), and this production is expected to grow to 11.6 MMt by 2016, thanks to special incentives by the government.

The government has set up Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Regions (PCPIRs) in Dahej (Gujarat), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Paradip (Orissa) and Haldia (West Bengal), while two more are planned – Cuddalore (Tamilnadu) and Mangalore (Karnataka).

However, the demand is very high in India as the consumption grew at a compounded rate of 9.1% from 2000 to 20011.

The government also approved 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which allows foreign firms to have 100% ownership of food processing companies, which will in turn create a higher demand for plastic packaging materials.

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How to repair bad credit rating

Credit cards with bad credit rating often cause financial distress, and they often search for credit cards for people with bad credit rating. They are attracted to advertisements that promise ‘no credit check credit cards’.

People with bad credit rating are sometimes disadvantaged because they are continuously declined for regular home loans, personal loans, car loans, credit cards and even phone contracts.

However, even if you are somehow approved it is likely that you will be paying extra in interest rate payments and other charges.

There are many reasons people choose to repair their credit. Some of these reasons include:
1. Getting instant approval
2. Reducing interest rates on current loans and credit cards
3. Getting lower interest rates on new loans and credit cards
4. Reducing upfront and ongoing fees
5. Reducing repayments
6. Saving thousands of dollars a year in unnecessary payments
7. Improving the accuracy of your personal information

A bad credit rating can cost you a great deal. Lenders will deny you financing, or worse, charge you high interest rates on loans.

You may have to pay deposits in order to secure a mobile phone or have utilities turned on.

Sometimes, clients face unfavourable rates and terms on new loan agreements.

Fortunately, you can take steps to repair your bad credit rating and get your credit file back on track.

With bad credit your financial options are not completely gone but they may well be greatly reduced. To the average lender, a consumer with bad credit is a credit risk.

It may seem daunting, and not a task you want to face, but you can fix your bad credit rating.

Here are some tips to help you get out of trouble.

• Evaluate the entire file to determine what is damaging your credit report. Identify problem accounts for further examination.

• Some lenders may be willing to erase the black marks on your credit report in exchange for repayment in full. Always ask the lender to do this before paying off the debt.

• Highlight any inaccurate, incorrect, or erroneous information. You must immediately contact the credit provider (lender) to inform them of the discrepancy.

• Work with lenders when times are tough. If you are unable to make your monthly payments, talk to the lender.

Your bad credit will never get better if you have serious infringements and default payments still outstanding. Take steps to pay the debt off, or visit a debt counselor or we can arrange a meeting for you with a deft counselor negotiate your debt.

If you take steps to clear the debt and fix your record you are on the road to fixing your credit.

Bad credit limits your borrowing options greatly. In the Australian marketplace there are thousands of lending products that you are open to using if you have good credit.

If you have a better credit rating you will receive better conditions of lending and interest rates. If you have bad credit you eliminate 90% of products immediately as most lenders do not want to lend to someone who is a credit risk.

There are lenders who specialise in lending to people with poor credit. Research these lenders thoroughly or call ESMA Credit Repair Specialist as the terms of lending may put you in a worse position as interest rates are often higher and terms of repayment may be at the limit of your serviceability.

Before you take any steps get a copy of your credit report. Look at it carefully to see if there are any listings which may not be yours.

Your credit report may contain incorrect information. For example a credit reporting agency may not realize there is a person with an identical name living in your apartment block and their credit information has been placed on your credit report.

Incidents like this are the reason approximately 1 in 4 credit reports have errors of some description.

If the error is as basic as a misspelt name it may have implications on the rest of your report as there may be black marks which have been incorrectly assigned to you. You have the right to challenge these errors as they may be affecting your credit rating even though the problem is not yours. This is the quickest way to fix your credit report and help your credit rating.

Being in this industry I have seen credit cards major contributors in establishing bad credit. Missed payments reflect badly on your credit report. Most Australians who pay off their debt end up accumulating the same debt again within a year.

Some credit cards, especially store cards, carry very high interest rates. This can get you into real trouble if you are not disciplined.

Take a very disciplined approach towards these cards if you want to repair your credit. As some infringements take two or more years to be removed from your credit report you do not want to increase your chances of creating another infringement and starting the whole process again.

If you are in debt or have a bad credit rating and want to know more about the solutions available to you contact us on (Australia) 1300793757 02 86778721 or 0414959671 or visit us at Parramatta or West Pennant Hills office.

Sukhwinder Rajput is a director of ESMA Home Loans. This article is for reading purpose only. ESMA Home Loans, author or The Global Indian magazine does not take any guarantee of any kind for any process. Readers are advised to seek own expert financial advice.

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Should I fix my mortgage or keep it floating?

Should I fix my mortgage or keep it floating? Or should I stay with my bank or switch?

With ever changing home loan market, finding the most suitable and accurate information from an unbiased source about home loan is very difficult. It gets more confusing when you visit different banks and every bank says that their product suits you best. With so much information, how do you decide which loan suits you and meets your requirements?

Never before has it been more important to find a home loan that is not only right for you right now, but one that will also be right for you in the years to come. Buying a home is a major financial investment that should be taken seriously and heavily researched. Finding a home loan that will accommodate your home ownership needs and save you money can be a challenging task for most. But at ESMA Home Loans (Australia), we have years of experience in providing existing and potential home owners the best loan solutions.

Your mortgage broker or financial advisor should provide unbiased information in an easy to understand way: how much can I borrow? what will be my stamp duty costs? what are my options when my family is growing and when we need to buy a bigger house?

This makes it so much easier for people unsure about their current mortgage and financial situation along with first home buyers looking for the right information to get their first home buying experience underway.

Whether it’s your home loan for your first house, refinancing, buying an investment property or using your home’s equity to renovate or extend, you must shop around for best interest rates and best terms.

Talking to an expert can give you a clear, easy to understand description of your personal home loan to business loan options. Here are some of the common questions I am asked.

Do I need a deposit to buy my first home?

Yes. Most Australian banks have scaled back the availability of no deposit home loans and 100% home loans. However, with growing competition among banks and financial institutions it may be possible to buy your first home without a substantial deposit. Some banks even allow you to put the funds from your First Home Owner Grant toward paying fees and charges associated with your home purchase. The best way to check if you’re able to begin searching for your first home is to contact a professional mortgage broker.

How do I negotiate the lowest interest rate on my home loan?

There are rules that apply to everything in life and that includes mortgage rates. It’s not enough to simply want to secure the best mortgage rates; you have to know what factors affect the mortgage rates you receive and what you can do to improve your chances of finding a rate that is affordable for you.

If your finances are not solid then securing a mortgage will be difficult and costly. After all, a mortgage is a loan, a loan that will be paid for many years to come. Would you risk lending thousands of dollars to someone who can’t prove their financial security? Both your income and your credit rating are taken into consideration when you get a mortgage loan and both will need to be moderate to high.

Remember, the higher your financial rating is the lower the interest rate you are offered will be.

The more money you put down, the less money you’ll need to borrow, and the less risky lending money to you will be perceived by the lender.

The economy and housing market in particular will have a direct effect on the mortgage rates you receive. If the economy is doing well you should be able to secure good interest rates, but rates often tend to be even better when the economy is on a decline.

These are just a handful of the factors that affect the mortgage rates you will be quoted if you are seeking a mortgage home loan. Being aware of them even before you begin searching for a home can help you get mortgage rates that are fair and affordable.

Should I fix my interest rate or keep it on floating?

If you decide to fix your home loan, you should be focussed on achieving certainty in terms of your monthly loan repayment rather than hoping to gain from future interest rate movements. This type of certainty can be important if you have a limited income or are an investor. For someone who wants to combine ‘certainty’ and ‘flexibility’, a split loan may be a good option. This allows you to fix part of your loan and keep part of it at a variable rate.

Sukhwinder Rajput (JP), is a director of ESMA Home Loans in Australia. This article is for guidance only, and should not be considered professional advice. Please consult your financial advisor. The Global Indian magazine or ESMA Home Loans will not be liable for any financial loss.