Saving for your child’s financial future – UK parents inactivity harming their children’s university and mortgage savings

Written by Richard Green

The British government atrepparttar beginning of this year officially launched its Child Trust Fund (CTF) initiative in an effort to encourage parents and children to developrepparttar 149017 savings habit and to teach childrenrepparttar 149018 value of saving their own money.

Chancellor, Gordon Brown said, "The Child Trust Fund is designed to ensure that every child in our country has assets and wealth and that no child is left out and all children in Britain have a stake inrepparttar 149019 wealth ofrepparttar 149020 nation".

The basis ofrepparttar 149021 CTF scheme is that every child born inrepparttar 149022 UK on or after 1 September 2002, will receive an initial Government payment of £250-£500 (depending on family income), which must be placed into a tax-free CTF savings account which cannot be accessed for withdrawals untilrepparttar 149023 child reaches 18 years of age. Additional contributions torepparttar 149024 account can be made byrepparttar 149025 child’s family or friends, andrepparttar 149026 government also plans to make another payment to children on their seventh birthday. Parents that do not investrepparttar 149027 government's gift within a year will have it invested for them byrepparttar 149028 Inland Revenue.

This ‘free money’ for children idea seems onrepparttar 149029 face of it to be a great idea for parents. A recent survey byrepparttar 149030 Halifax has shown that, of those parents who have already opened a CTF account, six out of 10 planned to make further contributions, and wanted their children to userepparttar 149031 cash from a matured CTF to pay towards a university course. The survey also showed that 28% of parents hopedrepparttar 149032 cash could be used to buy a car, while 19% hopedrepparttar 149033 money could be put towards a deposit for a flat or house.

Although some families have taken torepparttar 149034 idea by quickly investingrepparttar 149035 funds to maximiserepparttar 149036 cash return for their child when they reach 18, with figures from HM Revenue and Customs recently showing that nearly half a million CTFs had been opened, others have been more reticent, with approximately 1.2 million CTF vouchers sent out to parents still not invested. A study by Abbey found that of those who had so far not invested their CTF voucher, nearly two-thirds stated that they, "just hadn't got round to it yet", while about one-quarter had not investedrepparttar 149037 money because they did not know which supplier to choose.

Another problem that has been recently highlighted isrepparttar 149038 lack of provision that has been made for Islamic children, as none ofrepparttar 149039 existing CTF accounts complied with Sharia law. Under Sharia law, it is forbidden to give or receive interest or to invest in unethical firms. This meant that, in order to userepparttar 149040 voucher, parents ofrepparttar 149041 120,000 eligible Muslim babies could only choose non-Sharia compliant accounts. Thankfully, in a move welcomed byrepparttar 149042 government,repparttar 149043 first Sharia compliant CTF has just been launched by Children's Mutual, allowing a growing community of people who were previously reluctant to invest their CTF,repparttar 149044 opportunity to benefit from CTFs. The take-up ofrepparttar 149045 CTF has proved to be extremely disappointing forrepparttar 149046 Government, with those who have not so far invested their voucher being at risk missing out on valuable growth to their fund. Ray Milne, managing director of Halifax Financial Services, said that "Most parents probably still have opening a Child Trust Fund on their 'to do' list, but we're urging them to act now and ensure their children benefit from their investment". Whilst many viewrepparttar 149047 whole idea ofrepparttar 149048 CTFs as a waste of tax-payers money givenrepparttar 149049 ensuing pensions problem that is looming, others see that any benefit to future university students would be overshadowed byrepparttar 149050 rising cost of university tuition fees.

How Does Interest Rates Affect New Home Sales and Where's The Best Place To Build?

Written by Colm Dillon

These real questions on new home starts and interest rates on real estate are answered by a US Master Builder and myself after receiving them from readers of my e-book, "Residential Development Made Easy."

Question 1.

What isrepparttar your forecast for home starts inrepparttar 148993 US forrepparttar 148994 next 12 months? 24 months?

Master Builder & Developer's Reply:

This depends upon where you are. New home starts are excellent for Florida, Texas, and Arizona.

What most people don't appreciate is that there is always growth in new homes. Cities grow in spurts, but there is also controlled growth. As one part of an area dies from old age it is revitalized and redeveloped.

So remember national growth statistics on new home starts are not much use to you unless you have a national business. The best advice we can give you is to "read" market data - census data etc.

Personally I have kept average residential dollar sales figures on homes for my City since 1974. At first it might appear to be a lot of work, but after you have your base, say 20 years worth of data, you only have to add one figure a year.

My City's growth dollar sales value shows a 150% increase every 8 years. It is valuable to know where you are inrepparttar 148995 cycle - so it is worth doingrepparttar 148996 figures.

By that I mean, if you sold a property inrepparttar 148997 seventh year ofrepparttar 148998 cycle, you'd make about 90% profit on your 'buy-price' but by waiting one more year it becomes 150%.

Stats are important, so dorepparttar 148999 homework. After all, all you got to do is get some figures from an office for FREE and put them on an spreadsheet.

Question 2.

How do changes in interest rates affect sales of first time new home, middle class, and estate housing? Aside fromrepparttar 149000 obvious, any interesting statistics or trends?

Master Builder & Developer's Reply:

I'll tell you a secret. The answer is that it doesn't affectrepparttar 149001 new home part ofrepparttar 149002 housing industry. If you watchrepparttar 149003 news when you hear aboutrepparttar 149004 housing industry in a slump or slowing down -- Greenspan in onrepparttar 149005 news within a few days adjustingrepparttar 149006 interest rates to ensure continued growth.

The building industry isrepparttar 149007 engine of our economy. If a country has had an economic slump andrepparttar 149008 Government wants to kick it off again, they start by 'flicking on' onrepparttar 149009 new home building industry switch.

It isrepparttar 149010 quickest to react; quickest to increase employment figures which pays for groceries, mortgages, school fees - you name it. Two economists arguing will give you three opinions, but they all agree onrepparttar 149011 'economic multiplier effect.'

That means that a $100 million project has an economic effect inrepparttar 149012 community of about $230 million. That isrepparttar 149013 steel inrepparttar 149014 building paysrepparttar 149015 company who made it, who then paysrepparttar 149016 wages ofrepparttar 149017 workers, who then paysrepparttar 149018 grocer who then pays his staff, who then pay their rent, car payments and so on - it goes round and round.

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