Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Online schools

One thing that you don’t see too much of are online schools or at least those of the children type schools as, of course, there are untold numbers of management schools around.

For a whole bunch of reasons we’d be quite interested were there to be a truly workable online school but, so far, their remit seems to be confined to university level schools. Quite why that is, is presumably down to the relatively low numbers of parents who go in for home schooling as one assumes that they’d be amongst the first group to give online schooling a go for their children.

Oh well, perhaps one day such a thing will turn up.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Isn’t it amazing at how differently we view a product when the price drops?

It’s been a very long time since we had the opportunity to view how the use of a wide range of products changes when the price of them goes down.

Sure, we’ve been used to that happening on all kinds of electrical and electronic items with computers almost dropping to the fashion item price range (hence the arrival of colour choice recently of course). However, who’d have thought of that very same thing happening to something like eyeglasses?

That’s a product that’s historically been seen as involving highly trained opticians, expensive offices and skilled technicians which overall seemed very much like a recipe for high prices as far as you could see. Except that online retailers like ZunniOptical are changing all that with prices at the bottom end of the range (which don’t look like el cheapo glasses by any means) coming in for pretty much loose change.

Clearly when a product drops into that “loose change” price range from previously having sat well in the “fairly serious money” price range then there’s going to be big changes in how it’s perceived and used. For one thing, the concept of having a single pair of glasses purely because it wouldn’t be worthwhile to have more than one pair doesn’t hold any more. Thus, even at the lowest price there is heaps of choice and the opportunity to match your glasses to your outfit in a way that wouldn’t have been viable before.

I wonder what’ll be the next product that this will happen to?

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Keeping your house and home insurance together

Most people don’t consider it a big deal if their house (ie buildings) and home (ie content) insurance isn’t with the same company. After all, why not just go for the cheapest in both categories?

That sounds fine and it may well save you some money but the problem with the UK home insurance market is that insurance companies that do content insurance have a list of stuff that counts as being “content” and a different list of stuff that counts as being “buildings”. Unfortunately, these lists aren’t completely identical between the various companies so you can find some things listed as “content” by one company that will appear on the “buildings” list of another company. That discrepancy is why it’s essential to keep both policies with the same company.

Most of the time it won’t matter. After all, clearly the bricks are part of the building and clearly the furniture is part of the content. What about something like an outdoor BBQ that incorporated a seat made from bricks? It might seem a somewhat contrived example but there are lots of similar grey areas that insurance companies create through these different lists.

Don’t forget too that if, even if you’re lucky enough to have any problem that arises completely covered by two different companies, that means that you’re looking at two separate insurance excess payments which these days can mean anything up to £1000 or so.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Shopping around for corporate insurance

Since the insurance needs of companies tend to be more sophisticated than those of individuals you generally don’t find the equivalent of online price comparison sites in the company insurance market that you expect in the personal insurance market.

So to get corporate insurance you will almost always need to go to a specialist insurance broker which obviously means looking at firms relatively close by your business premises.

However, it’s worse than that in that, for example, to shop insurance Glasgow, if you’re in a relatively specialised market niche you’d need to look for, say, insurance for contractors Glasgow. Well, “worse” in the sense that you may need to be more specific in your requirements of an insurance broker but if that broker is more familiar in dealing with your type of business you’ll generally save a lot of hassle in explaining what you do and won’t miss out on essential insurance that’s specific to your industry group. Not only that but the specialists will know more about the types of policy available to your industry niche too which can save quite substantial amounts of money.

Incidently, don’t be tempted to try to do the cheapo route of just using one of the personal insurance comparison sites as they usually don’t list essential items of business insurance and you could find yourself with an expensive problem should it turn out that you don’t have some legally required insurance or there’s an exemption in the insurance that you bought which means that you’re not covered for doing something that you do quite regularly. These things usually only become apparent after you need to claim on a policy which is obviously a little late in the day.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Taxing needn’t be so taxing…

Since the economy has taken something of a dive there are a lot more people around these days who are overpaying on their taxes, typically this can happen if your income this year is a lot less than last year but there are a variety of other reasons why you can end up with a tax bill that’s lots more than you were expecting.

Sometimes the biggest surprise is in terms of back taxes. Although you’d think that these can’t be much, it’s surprising just how large a bill you can get from this quarter. For instance, often seemingly small omissions can amount to quite serious amounts of cash owed if they’re over a number of years. This tax debt can even reach such levels that you need to look into the options of paying it off in installments which at least could reduce the payments to more manageable amounts.

On the other side of the coin people can also find that there are quite substantial tax reliefs which they’ve not claimed. You might think that if you’ve an accountant that this just can’t happen to you but, in most cases, the accountant doesn’t get out to actually see what you’re getting up to and you could be pleasantly surprised if they’ve completely overlooked an ongoing tax relief. Just as in the case of underpayments, missing out on relatively small amounts of tax relief can add up to a sizeable chunk of cash when counted over a few years.

Whether it’s over or under payments that affect you, it’s best to do something about them rather than taking the head in the sand approach that many people adopt when thinking about taxes.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.