How to Achieve Living Debt Free Quickly

Nowadays, households in Great Britain owe a sum of around £15,000.

If you find yourself struggling with debt, it can feel like a never-ending slog to pay back each and every penny. 

But, if you’re interested in living debt-free and are ready to put in some hard work and diligent dedication, then luckily it’s possible to completely change your life.

Aside from paying off your high-interest debt first, here are a few more methods for helping you live a debt-free life faster: 

1. Create an Accurate Budget 

In the UK, 10% of people admit that they are terrible with money. But, it’s impossible to pay back debt if you don’t know exactly how much your lifestyle costs you. 

Work out everything from how much you spend on food every week, how much your rent and bills cost, and how much you need for expenses such as travel or childcare. 

Next, work out how much you spend on luxury expenses, such as clothing, going to the cinema, or eating out. 

There are many budget tracking methods including apps, such as Monzo, or simply writing everything down with pen and paper.

Now, budget how much you can spend on monthly debt payments. Don’t overestimate this figure, it needs to be precise to give yourself peace of mind.

2. Take Things Slowly 

Pummelling all of your earnings into paying off your debt is simply not sustainable. You’re likely to give up completely. 

Instead, consider your debt payments as a slow but sustainable practice. Set yourself realistic goals, such as a year or two to pay off your debts. 

Although it’s a good idea to cut down on luxuries, it’s still worth planning when and how you’ll treat yourself. Don’t let your entire working life be spent trying to pay down debt. 

3. Learn to Love the Free Things in Life

There is no point in paying off your debt only to start spending again. You need to develop interests that are free. 

Luckily, there are many free activities nowadays. Join a free running club with other locals, sign up to free trial classes, visit museums, and go to lectures.

You’ll be amazed by how much there is to do for free when you start looking. Regularly attending free events in your hometown is a great way to meet other people with similar interests and avoid those with expensive tastes!

4. Find a Mentor 

Are you struggling to keep up the motivation to pay off your debts? Find someone who has travelled along this path before you to help keep you motivated. 

This could be someone you know in your personal life or it could simply be a celebrity. There are hundreds of podcasts dedicated to finances and living debt-free. 

You’ll find untapped expertise and knowledge that will help you improve your own circumstances. 

For example, read this post by Giles Coghlan, chief currency analyst at HYCM, explaining the secret to trading on the financial markets!

5. What’s Your Reason Why?

Crippling debt has regularly been linked to depression. This is a good reason why you should sort out your finances. 

But, if you aren’t struggling with a mental health issue, then perhaps this isn’t a good enough reason for you. Instead, find your own reason why you want to live debt-free. 

Develop your own mantra that you repeat to yourself whenever you want to make an impulsive purchase. 

6. Leave the Credit Cards Behind 

Figure out why you are in debt. If you are simply an overindulger and spender, then there are many ways for you to trick yourself into avoiding spending money. 

For example, taking only the exact amount of cash you need with you whenever you go out can stop you from spending too much on nights out.  

However, if you are a struggling, single-parent, then speak to your local authorities and even your bank who may help you reduce your monthly payments. 

Analyse your circumstances and the reasons for being in debt to help you avoid this situation in the future and repeating the same behaviour. 

7. Generate More Income

This is an aggressive method for paying off debt that simply isn’t available to everyone. But, it can certainly help you get out of debt quicker. 

By picking up a second job for a few months, you’ll drastically increase how much you earn. But, don’t ever put your mental health at risk by overworking yourself.

Only take a second job if you feel that you feasibly have the time and energy to do this.

Alternatively, consider other ways of making money such as selling unwanted clothes, furnishings, jewellery and kitchenware online. If you have a spare room, then consider renting out your room. 

8. Build a Savings Account for Emergencies

As well as focusing on paying off debt, a good idea is to build an emergency fund. By doing this, you’ll have an out when something doesn’t go to plan. 

By building up this fund of a few thousand pounds, you will have the peace of mind that you don’t have to stay in a job you hate, or that you can afford rent somewhere else if your tenancy is pulled from under your feet. 

While paying off debt and building your savings account, be kind to yourself. Not everything is going to go right every month. 

Can You Imagine Living Debt Free?

Picture how great you will feel when you are debt-free and have some savings in the bank. Living debt-free requires dedication and time.

When you’ve paid off your debts, you need to make sure that you don’t slip into your old ways and spend more than you earn. If you’re struggling to pay off your debts, then consider speaking to a financial advisor or make an appointment at your bank.

Are you interested in learning more about finance? Check out the dedicated section of our blog for more information.

Nigerian bank DLM on the move delivers at all levels – with exciting plans in the pipeline

DLM Capital Group – a developmental investment bank that supports economic and social infrastructure projects with the aim of driving GDP growth and improving lives. 

Founding chairman and group CEO of investment firm DLM Capital Group , Sonnie Ayere
Founding chairman and group CEO of investment firm DLM Capital Group, Sonnie Ayere

DLM Advisory Partners (DLMAP), formerly Dunn Loren Merrifield Advisory Partners, is the advisory and capital-raising arm of DLM Capital group. The principal services provided by DLMAP include financial advisory, debt capital-raising, equity capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, and company set-up advisory.

DLMAP has played a leading role in structured finance and securitisation within Nigeria. “We have acted as sole arranger to more than 80 percent of structured finance transactions in Nigeria, and 100 percent of all securitisation transactions in the market,” says CEO Sonnie Ayere.

Most Innovative Transaction of 2019

In 2019, DLM executed the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) securitisation in Nigeria, working with the sponsor, Primero Transport Services Limited (PTSL). The system caters to residents of the country’s most densely populated city, Lagos. DLM raised ₦16.50bn ($45.8m) through the securitisation of the company’s BRT tickets receivables. The sponsor is licensed to operate the longest BRT route in West Africa, 35.3km, with its 434-bus fleet.

DLM Capital Group

A feasibility study conducted put the daily passenger carriage at about 226,300 passengers per day. Due to working capital pressures, the company was only able to serve an average of 135,000 daily passengers before the securitisation transaction in 2019.

The ₦16.5bn 17 percent Series 1 Fixed Rate Bonds issued were primarily used to refinance all pre-existing commercial banking loan facilities on the books of the sponsor. The transaction provided the company with savings in interest, shaving the cost of funds from 27 percent per annum to 17 percent. At the same time, it extended the tenor of the company’s debt from three years to seven.

With this transaction, DLM was able to provide the company with up to 10 percent savings in interest, reducing the cash required to service debt and improving the company’s working capital. DLM also advised on the restructuring of the company’s balance sheet by moving the operating assets into a new vehicle and eliminated the strain of depreciation charges.

Focus for 2020

DLM is in discussions with industry stakeholders and umbrella bodies to establish proprietary funding conduits across key sectors of the Nigerian economy. It intends to include microfinance, agriculture, education, health care and a continuation of other funding programmes for the mortgage, real estate and transportation sectors.

Working with a DFI partner, the company recently concluded the design of an aggregation vehicle aimed at providing local currency, wholesale funding solutions to micro-lenders in Nigeria by way of loan book securitisation.

A similar platform to provide financing to primary users of agriculture commodities is currently being developed.

Workers’ Comp Benefits and the Going and Coming Rule

Traveling for work is a complex issue when it comes to your eligibility for workers’ compensation. The general rule is that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover your commute to and from work.

Does Workers’ Comp Cover Travel for Business?

Yes, workers’ comp covers travel for business. When you’re traveling because of your work, you can claim workers’ compensation in the event of an injury. The workers’ compensation system operates the same way whether you’re actively on the job or traveling for your employer.

Personal errands during work travel are not covered; however, the travel itself and incidental activities like the hotel and meals still fall under the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ compensation covers travel for business except for strictly personal activities during the trip.

Man traveling for work

Does Workers’ Comp Cover Travel to and From Work?

Workers’ comp does not cover travel to and from work. However, there may be situations when you are traveling related to work that are actually covered. Travel to and from work is generally not included. Still, if you are running errands for your employer or on a work-related travel assignment, you may actually be classified as working.

It depends on whether you’re serving the interests of your employer during the travel. Although the general rule is that workers’ comp does not include travel to and from work, there may be situations where your traveling counts as being on the job.

Workers’ Compensation and Travel

The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide employees easy access to financial compensation when they’re hurt at work. The general rule is that you can claim workers’ compensation for work-related injuries. If you’re on the job and you get hurt, you can access the workers’ compensation system to pay for your medical bills and provide replacement income.

However, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover the risks of daily life. For that reason, the employee’s personal commute doesn’t fall under the workers’ compensation system. If you get hurt going to or from work, you have to look to your own car insurance or personal insurance to pay your expenses. You may also bring a third-party claim for financial compensation, but the person or entity that caused your injury is responsible for your damages, not your employer.

Traveling for Work

However, even if you’re traveling at the time of your injury, you’re not necessarily out of the workers’ compensation system. You may be traveling for work and not realize it. When you’re traveling on company business, you’re still covered by workers’ compensation.

Even things that are incidental to the travel itself, like staying at a hotel or eating meals while away from home, can classify you as working for the purposes of workers’ compensation. It’s essential to evaluate the entire circumstances present when the accident occurs.

Buma vs. Providence Corp. Development – Nevada Supreme Court

In the Buma v. Providence Corp. Development case, the Nevada Supreme Court recently clarified the rules when it comes to what counts as work-related travel. Nevada Revised Statutes 616C.150(1) states that a person must show their injury arises out of the course of employment. The court said that a person might be in the course of their employment even if they’re not directly on the route of travel at the time of the injury.

In the Buma v. Providence Corp. case, the victim was the vice president of sales for his company. He worked from home and made his own travel arrangements. The victim traveled out of state for a conference. He stayed at a ranch with a friend and affiliate of the company. Together, the two prepared joint presentations to give on behalf of the company. The victim died while riding an ATV on the ranch.

The third-party workers’ comp insurer, and the lower court, denied the victim’s family workers’ compensation benefits. They said that the accident did not arise out of work duties. However, the Nevada Supreme Court vacated the lower court’s decision.

When Does an Injury Arise out of the Course of Employment for Workers’ Compensation Purposes?

The Nevada Supreme Court said that an injury arises out of the scope of employment when there is a causal connection between the victim’s injury and the nature of the employee’s duties. Under Nevada Revised Statutes 616B.612(3), all travel that an employee gets paid for is part of the course of employment.

However, even if part of the travel isn’t compensated hourly, it may still be work-related travel. Generally, workers’ compensation covers business trips. It covers the actual business part of the trip, but it also includes staying in hotels, sleeping, eating, and other navigation that has to happen for the trip.

Does the “Coming and Going” Workers’ Compensation Rule Apply During Business Travel?

In the Buma case, the lower court applied the “going and coming” rule. The rule prohibits compensation for injuries that occur during the commute. The Supreme Court explained that the employer is not liable for the daily dangers of the employee; however, the commuting rule isn’t applicable when a person travels for work. Under Nevada law 616B.612(3), traveling employees are covered, including acts that are incidental to traveling.

The court said that work travel doesn’t cover social and recreational activities that a traveling employee chooses to pursue. These are things that occur for strictly personal amusement. To be a personal activity, the employee must show an intent to abandon the job temporarily. It’s a very fact-dependent question that depends on the unique situation in each case.


The workers’ compensation commuting rule is complicated. There are times that work travel is covered, and you are eligible for benefits. Sometimes it can be a difficult question of whether you’re traveling for business. The Las Vegas workers’ compensation attorneys at Adam S. Kutner, Attorney at Law explain travel, and the 2019 Nevada Supreme Court case of Buma vs. Providence Corp. Development.

The best way to know if you qualify for workers’ compensation is by getting a personal review of your claim by a qualified and experienced attorney.

How to Form an Investing Strategy For European Markets

Europe is a global economic nexus, an incredibly stable and developed market.

Its heart is EU, which operates as a single market of 28 different states and 500 million customers. Technology and innovation are driving forces behind slow but steady growth.

This upward trajectory instils confidence when it comes to investment prospects. Many lucrative opportunities are just a few clicks away. You can pursue them without running into risks that emerging markets are rife with.  

Alas, launching an international investment endeavour is a daunting task. You have to do your homework and tailor the investing strategy to specifics of the landscape.

Here is a guide on how to establish a strong foothold and enhance your portfolio.

Doing the Spadework

The European market is a mature, diverse, and liquid ecosystem.

The investment risk is low, save in times of crisis. Europe is also a highly dynamic and competitive investment arena, home to leading companies of today.  

Yes, it’s easily one of the most inviting investing destinations. However, succeeding is easier said than done. To maximise your chances, you have to show due diligence.

Start by running a proper market analysis and scour the continent to discover where the best opportunities are. Evaluate your risk tolerance and put a risk management strategy in place. Two main weapons for chipping away at risk are market knowledge and portfolio diversification.

We would implore you to pay special attention to the currency risk. We’re talking about fluctuations in the foreign exchange market. They can be a double-edged sword, spurring both unexpected losses and profits.

Once research tasks are sorted out, set your chief objectives. Do you want to go for foreign direct investment (FDI) or portfolio investment? Is your goal to have a small portion of shares, source raw materials or control a whole company?

Get your priorities straight before moving to the next stage.  

The Main Pathways to Investment Glory

One of the easiest ways to gain exposure is thru exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

The three main options are:

They offer simple means of portfolio diversification, unlike the US, which is a predominantly stock-based market. It’s possible to invest in hundreds of different companies, as well as specific industries/countries. At the same time, you can avoid the steep fees associated with mutual funds.

Familiarity is another benefit you can score. Europe harbours some of the most renowned names in modern business.  

There is also an alternative approach, which is two-fold. The first tactic is buying American Depository Receipts (ADRs). The second one is acquiring stocks via foreign stock brokers.

The drawback is you have to worry about legal and tax issues. You also face hurdles such as translating foreign languages and currencies. On top of that, it can be tricky to conduct in-depth research on foreign stocks.

Note that ADRs are free of these risks. Unfortunately, they are limited to large foreign corporations that boast liquidity in spades.

The Million Dollar Question of Where

It makes a lot of sense to examine investing opportunities thru regional lenses.

Eastern Europe is an interesting region due to the potential for rapid growth. Investors comfortable with higher risks head there chasing hefty profit margins.

On the other hand, one enters Western European markets for reasons other than explosive growth. Namely, those who favour a climate with low volatility should feel at home here.

Germany is probably a must-consider, as the largest economy of Europe. It houses many of the top-500 publically traded companies in the world. County’s biggest companies (by market capitalisation) are available via the DAX 30 index, which is similar to the Dow Jones index in the US.

In terms of other, small economies, there are certain rules of thumb. You want to pay close attention to conditions like domestic policies and international agreements. These are the main tools countries employ in order to attract foreign investment.  

Apart from that, it’s a good idea to stick to predictable and transparent markets. EU member states have an advantage in this regard. Common institutions handle and synchronise investment rules, including areas like dispute resolution.  

The Old-School Way

Beyond that, you should feel free to invest in asset classes such as property.

The yields tend to be higher than in the case of bonds. This trend persists across different regions and states. What is more, the returns are often adjusted up for inflation.

This is to say real estate investment can act as a blanket insulating you from monetary risk. Besides, the spectrum of possibilities is very wide. You can aim for steady cash flow or speculative profit.                

One piece of advice is to keep an eye on hot local markets such as Amsterdam. There, a combination of limited supply, demographic influx, and scarce land inflates prices year after year.

Finally, we shouldn’t overlook the commodities.  

This traditional asset class involves minerals, fossil fuels, ores, crops, and trees. Propelled by global economic growth, the consumption and demand remain stable, while supply is finite.

Again, one of the main benefits is protection against inflation. Of course, commodities also come with risks such as price volatility. Just take the example of gold, which has been on a rollercoaster in recent years.

The lesson to draw is clear: be ever vigilant and be advised.

Investing Strategy for Europe: Taking Portfolio to the Next Level

The world’s largest regional economy is a Promised Land for many investors.

However, that doesn’t mean profits are just there for the taking. You need to put together a smart investing strategy before anything else. Rely on facts and figures to make it as sound as the Euro.

Likewise, make sure to assess your risk tolerance and financial appetites. Pick your region and industry sector accordingly. Identify up-and-coming companies and business champions with a bright future.  

You can hardly go wrong fuelling your investments via European ETFs.

Just stay quick on your feet and steer away from pitfalls in the shifting monetary dimension. Keep up the pace with changing regulations and standards. Following these steps, you should be able to make headways into burgeoning European markets.  

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any lingering questions and dilemmas. It’s time to elevate and diversify your portfolio.  

Half of UK & US firms predict a recession in 2020 and a third predict a global recession

  • Just under half of firms in the UK (46%) and US (45%) predict their country will go into recession in 2020, according to research by trade finance provider Stenn
  • The poll of over 700 senior executives at medium-large sized businesses across the UK, US and China, also revealed that well over a third (37%) of UK firms and one in three (35%) US firms expect to see a global recession or international global crisis in 2020
  • In the UK, a third (33%) of firms expect the economy to shrink in 2020, with well over a tenth (14%) expecting it to contract by 1-3%
    • A further 6% expect the UK economy to stay flat with no growth
  • In the US, almost one in five (16%) expect the economy to shrink in 2020, most likely by 1-3% (7%)
    • In addition, 6% also expect it to stay flat with no growth. 

Dr. Kerstin Braun, President of Stenn Group, commented: “2019 was weaker than expected and the stakes are only higher for 2020. Governments around the world are having to act forcefully to prevent the economic hit from Covid-19 deepening, taking a coordinated approach and opening the liquidity pipe for both fiscal and monetary support.

While a low interest rate provides an important cut in borrowing costs for businesses and consumers at this delicate moment, the coronavirus outbreak will be a real test of the health of the UK and US economies. Lowering rates alone isn’t enough to be effective in offsetting the economic impact of Covid-19. We already know the Chinese economy is going to be hit in the first and second quarter.

“For us, the plunge in oil coupled with the economic damage of Covid-19 marked the beginning of a global recession. Our research showed that at the beginning of the year, half of UK and US businesses predicted a recession and a third predicted an international global crisis, and just three months into 2020 and we’re starting to see this play out.”


The survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 706 senior decision makers at medium-large sized businesses, across the UK, US, and Chinese markets. The research fieldwork took place on the 18th – 28th November 2019. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.

About Stenn

Stenn International Ltd. is a UK-based, non-bank trade finance provider specialising in cross-border trade. Stenn’s trade finance solutions are comprehensive and can be combined to cover the entire supply chain from purchase order to delivery of goods. Innovative practices allow Stenn to finance in sectors and geographic regions currently underserved in global trade. The company operates globally with offices in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Miami, London, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Mumbai, Chennai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Shanghai and Qingdao.

Learn more at or follow TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

Coronavirus: Is your business immune?

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19 continues to pose a significant threat to businesses in the UK. The impact on supply chains, transport and international travel is causing businesses to consider the impact of coronavirus on their current or future contractual agreements. Here Julie Hunter a commercial solicitor at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, discusses why it’s important for businesses to understand their legal rights and obligations in light of this global pandemic.

Coronavirus: Is your business immune?
Julie Hunter

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to cause severe disruption and uncertainty to global trade. Now categorised as a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation, businesses must consider whether the impact of the coronavirus could cause them to default on their contractual obligations, whether this may be an inability to supply goods due to the effect on the supply chain, an inability to provide services due to travel restrictions or the cancellation of planned public events due to quarantine. Many larger businesses have already started to issue statements to their customers and suppliers in advance of any potential disruption caused by the outbreak.

Can your business delay performance or fail to fulfil its obligations under a commercial contract due to the coronavirus outbreak without facing liability? The often-standard force majeure clause contained in commercial contracts may mitigate risks and help parties navigate the difficulties caused by the outbreak.

What is Force Majeure?

A force majeure clause may relieve a party from performing its obligations under a commercial contract due to the occurrence of events which are unforeseeable or outside of its control. You can only rely on a force majeure clause if it has been drafted into your contract. A force majeure clause cannot be implied.

As force majeure has no defined meaning in English law, the effect of a force majeure clause will depend upon the way it has been drafted into each individual contract. Typically, force majeure clauses can cover:

  • acts of God, such as natural disasters and extreme weather events
  • terrorist attacks, civil war and breaking off diplomatic relations
  • compliance with a law or order, rule or direction of the government
  • embargos
  • epidemics or pandemics

Your force majeure clause may give you the right to suspend performance of the contract for a certain period of time or allow either you or your counterparty to terminate the contract entirely on the occurrence of a force majeure event.

COVID-19 as a Force Majeure

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation classified the coronavirus as a global pandemic. If your force majeure clause covers the occurrence of a pandemic, then the coronavirus outbreak is likely to constitute a force majeure event.

If your force majeure clause does not cover pandemics, you must carefully consider whether the outbreak or its effects could fall into any of the other force majeure events specified in your contract. For example, you may find it possible to argue that the quarantine or isolation restrictions effecting your supply chain constitute a ‘work stoppage’, or that any international travel restrictions imposed in the UK and other countries which restrict performance could constitute ‘compliance with an order of a government’.

The court often interprets the precise wording of force majeure clauses strictly. If the situation is unclear, you should seek specialist legal advice on whether the coronavirus would constitute a force majeure event under your contract.

Invoking the clause

Even if the coronavirus qualifies as a force majeure event under your contract, you may not necessarily be able to invoke your rights under the force majeure clause.

Most force majeure clauses require you to demonstrate that the event itself has prevented performance of your contract. This means that if the coronavirus outbreak is simply causing performance to be more difficult, costly or time-consuming for your business, this may not necessarily be enough to invoke the clause.

Additionally, it may not always be desirable to invoke your force majeure clause for commercial reasons. You may need to consider the following matters:

  • Is the force majeure clause / event open to interpretation? Your counterparty may dispute your entitlement to any force majeure remedies and seek to enforce performance of the contract.
  • Could your insurance policy cover any losses or business interruption instead?
  • Will other parties / business be facing similar problems with supply or performance? Could you negotiate new terms to navigate the issues?
  • Would exercising the force majeure clause damage your ongoing relationship with the counterparty? Is there a reputational risk if the matter became public?

Breach of contract

It is possible that the effects of the outbreak on your business may not be covered by the force majeure clause as drafted or you may not have the option of relying on a force majeure contract at all.

If this is the case, any failure to perform your obligations under the contract (even if the failure is attributable to the coronavirus) may constitute a breach of contract which you could be liable to the counterparty for. However, there may be other mechanisms in the contract or under English contract law generally which may assist you and it is imperative to obtain legal advice should you find yourself in this situation.

Seeking a legal specialist

If you are currently considering entering into new contracts or are reviewing your contracts in light of the coronavirus, you should seek legal advice on strengthening your force majeure clause.

If you are currently facing threats of litigation over failed performance caused by the coronavirus or are considering invoking your force majeure clause, it is important to seek legal advice on your rights of termination and breach of contract.

About Stephensons

Stephensons Solicitors LLP is a full-service law firm with offices in Bolton, London, Manchester, St Helens and Wigan.

The Ultimate Guide to British Taxes

The United Kingdom has a long list of tax codes, so it might seem confusing. However, British taxes are relatively simple for many people.

Unless you have a slew of properties and investments, you don’t have to know a lot to pay your taxes. All you need to know is how you earn money and how much, and you can determine what taxes you need to pay.

Basics of British Taxes

If you live in the United Kingdom, you should have a basic understanding of British taxes. Whether you grew up in the UK or an ex-pat living abroad, you need to know what taxes to pay and how to pay them.

In the UK, there is a long list of tax codes, so it can be complicated. However, you don’t need to understand everything, only what applies to you and your situation.

You don’t need to be a UK citizen to pay taxes, but you will need a national insurance number. You’ll typically get a number when you work in the UK, and this gives you access to certain benefits.

Residency and British Taxes

Whether you’re a citizen or not, you may still have to pay British taxes. If you live in the country during a tax year, you’ll have to pay taxes on the income you earn there.

Only UK citizens have to pay British taxes on income from other countries. Citizens of other countries may be eligible for a tax allowance, which prevents you from paying taxes on income to two different countries.

There are a few factors you can use to determine your residency status.

  • If you stay in the UK for 183 days out of the year, you will count as a UK resident.
  • You can also count as a resident if you buy a home and live in it for at least 91 days, as long as 30 of those days are within the tax year.
  • Another way to be considered a resident is to work in the UK for 356 days with no long breaks from work.

Determining your residency can help you figure out what taxes you need to pay and whether you qualify for certain allowances. However, you have to consider the UK tax year when calculating dates of work or residency.

The UK Tax Year

In the UK, the tax year starts on 6 April. The UK tax year ends on 5 April of the following year.

While it can be easy to consider the calendar year, it can be a problem. If you fit the qualifications for residency, you need to make sure you base that off the tax year.

The same is true if you don’t want to qualify as a UK resident. In that case, you would need to make sure you’re out of the country for the proper length of time.

What Taxes Do You Have to Pay?

When learning about British taxes, you should understand the basic types of taxes. Like other countries, you will probably have to pay income taxes.

However, depending on your situation, you may have a few other types of taxes to consider.

Income Taxes

Income taxes are the easiest type of tax to think about. The amount of income you earn determines how much you owe in taxes.

Your income taxes include money you make from a traditional job. However, it can also include income from other sources:

  • Self-employment income
  • Certain state benefits
  • Benefits from a job
  • Pensions
  • Interest on savings accounts
  • Rental income
  • Income from a trust

You will typically get some sort of tax allowance, which means you won’t have to pay taxes on some of your income. The Personal Allowance covers income you earn up to £12,500.

If you have freelance income or income from a rental property, you won’t have to pay taxes on the first £1,000 you earn. The tax rates for income tax vary from 0 to 45 percent.

Property Taxes

If you own any property in the UK, you will need to pay taxes on that property. When you buy a home worth more than £125,000, you’ll need to pay a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).

However, you won’t have to pay SDLT on your first home unless it’s worth more than £300,000.

SDLT has different tiers, and that can determine the amount you’ll pay in property taxes. If you have to pay taxes, you will need to figure out the value of your home.

  • For houses up to £125,000, you won’t ever pay any taxes.
  • Between £125,000 and £250,000, you’ll pay 2 percent.
  • The tax rate from £250,000 to £925,000 is 5 percent.
  • If your home is up to £1.5 million, you will pay 10 percent on the value over £925,000.
  • Finally, any value over £1.5 million will have a tax of 12 percent.

While you may not need to pay proper taxes at first, you may need to in the future.

Capital Gains Taxes

Another type of tax you should know about in the UK is the capital gains tax. You’ll only need to pay this type of tax when you dispose of an asset, especially when you make a profit.

You can expect to pay this tax if you sell property, give it as a gift, or exchange it. The tax applies to possessions worth more than £6,000, except for your car.

It also includes property that isn’t your main home, business assets, and some investment shares.

Inheritance Taxes

Inheritance taxes are not too common, but you should know about them if you have family in the UK. When you inherit an estate, you may need to pay a UK inheritance tax.

If the value of the estate is less than £325,000, you won’t have to pay anything. You can also avoid the tax if you leave the value over that threshold to your spouse, children, or a qualifying organization.


A more common type of tax to pay in the UK is VAT, or Value Added Tax. The tax rate varies based on the type of goods or services you purchase.

It can be as low as 0 percent or as high as 20 percent. Twenty percent is the standard rate, while food and children’s clothes can qualify for no VAT.

Other goods and services might have a reduced rate of five percent. Don’t forget to budget for VAT when making purchases.

Tax Facts

Whether you’ve lived in the UK your whole life or just moved there, you should understand how British taxes work. Not only should you consider the tax rates, but you should also consider the types of taxes.

If you know you have certain investments or properties, you’ll know you need to pay taxes on them. However, if you don’t have any of that, you will primarily have to worry about income taxes.

Do you want to learn more about finances in the UK, check out our recent blog posts!

Business owners urged to take six steps to limit coronavirus risk to their operations

AMID all the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak business owners may feel their fate isn’t in their own hands – but in fact there’s lots that they can do to help them take control.

Business owners urged to take six steps to limit coronavirus
David Tew

“These are uncertain times. No-one knows exactly how this is going to play out. But there are certain things you can do to protect your business,” said David Tew, a dispute resolution specialist with Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors.

“A bit like the advice across society about taking sensible steps such as washing your hands, there are steps you can take as a business to protect yourself,” said David.

Here David shares half a dozen simple steps aimed at helping you and your business to be prepared and to focus on what you can control.

1. Check your ongoing contracts

“Check your contracts. What are your obligations and your rights? 

“Will coronavirus allow a contracting party to pull out of its obligations on an existing contract? It depends very much on what is the exact wording in the contract.

“In particular you should be checking is there a force majeure clause in your contracts which allows a party to suspend or terminate the performance of its obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise.

“If there is not a force majeure clause then it is possible to look at the legal doctrine of ‘frustration’ where it is impossible to complete a contract because of a change of circumstances outside your control. But this is open to different interpretations and may be difficult to rely on, highlighting the importance of ensuring that your contracts are fit for purpose.”

2. Check your insurance policies

“Have a close look at your business insurance policy to see if you have any business interruption coverage and check exactly what those terms are.”

3. Carry out a risk assessment

“Carry out a general risk assessment on all parts of your business to identify exactly what is at risk, and then focus on controlling those areas which are within your control.” 

4. Take practical steps

“So far much of the focus has been on the international aspect of coronavirus. But that is set to move to a more domestic level and it is important as a business owner that you do everything you can now to make sure you, your employees, your supply chain and your clients are as prepared as possible.

“If we are moving towards a situation where the advice will be for more people to self-isolate, or if there are restrictions of movement, then there are practical steps that you can take now to mitigate those risks.

“If you want to move to more remote working, then check the practical issues that will involve. Do the business processes and procedures work remotely? Check employee policies – do they cover working from home? Is it practical for all employees to work from home? Do they have a safe environment to work in?

“Review your supply chain. Have a discussion with those in your supply chain and discuss action plans with them.”

5. Keep communicating

“It is really important to keep communication channels open between you, your employees, your clients and your supply chain. Keep talking and discussing how you can support each other. Follow any guidance online

“Identify ways you can work together. There will be cases where because of the way a contract has been worded, it is within your legal right to ensure that those obligations are met. But that might not be the best approach when it comes to long-term business relationships.

“You are likely to want those relationships to be positive in the long term. And while the temptation might be to jump on the specific wording in a contract, remember that your clients and customers will still be here long after this situation has come and gone. How you act now, is likely to affect those business relationships in the future. 

“By showing flexibility and understanding and being willing to restructure that arrangement in the short term, is likely to be of benefit in the long term.”

6. Ensure you have good legal advice

“A good solicitor will help you with your concerns and give you the advice on how you can best protect your business. We have a six-strong team in dispute resolution at Cartmell Shepherd led by director Mark Aspin. If you are unsure about anything it is always best to ask.”

Chancellor Must Use Budget to Give Family Businesses Confidence to Invest in the Future – Starting with Maintaining BPR

The Institute for Family Business (IFB) is calling on the Chancellor to use his Budget on Wednesday to create an environment that gives family businesses the confidence to invest in future growth.

Reports that the Chancellor intends to review the Business Property Relief (BPR) in the upcoming Budget, are deeply concerning to the UK’s family run businesses.  Family businesses employ over 13 million people and generate 28% of the UK’s GDP.  Family firms continue to exist for generation after generation by innovating, adapting and looking for new markets and opportunities. They make investment decisions for the long term.

Every year 85,000 family SMEs are expected to transfer ownership of their businesses to the next generation. Removing BPR would force family run firms to pay a tax penalty on transfer, which others don’t have to. 

Fiona Graham from the Institute for Family Business said:

“Family firms are the driving force across all regions, communities and sectors of the UK. Well over 80% of businesses in Yorkshire, the North West and the East and West Midlands are family owned. In those four regions alone family firms employ nearly four and a half million people.

“Inheritance tax relief is essential to their future prosperity.  Scrapping it would have a catastrophic impact on family firms. It would lead to family run businesses being sold or broken up to pay an Inheritance Tax bill, with knock on effects on employment.  It will also damage confidence in the sector, where families would reduce investment and always plan for the worst.

“The introduction of BPR positively impacted the health of family businesses and the wider economy by giving business owners the confidence to invest and expand.

“The majority of British businesses are family businesses.  They are dependent upon BPR for their current and future prosperity. Any change to it would inevitably result in a decline in growth and investment coupled with stagnation in the number of new jobs being created.

“As the UK seeks to level up nationally in the coming years, the success of family businesses will be a crucial factor in doing so. In order to succeed and grow, they require a stable tax system and an economic environment.  The future of the family business sector – and ultimately the Government’s ambitions for regional growth and investment – rely on maintaining BPR.” 

The Institute for Family Business is the UK’s family business organisation, supporting and promoting the UK family-owned business sector through events, networking, representation, and thought leadership.

Two-thirds of British businesses are family businesses – ranging from multinational, multibillion-pound businesses to micro start-ups, the sector employs over 13 million people and contributes £182 billion in taxes. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Foreign Currency

More than $5 trillion is traded in foreign currency exchanges every day. Could you jump into investing in foreign currency and get a piece of that amount?

Absolutely! However, trading foreign currency is not as simple as it might sound. A beginner who tries to invest without some knowledge of what they’re doing will find success hard to come by.

There are many insider things to learn about this form of trading. If you’re considering getting into the game, we want to make sure you’re equipped to do so.

In this article, we’re laying out the basics of investing in foreign currency. We’re giving you the terms and the concepts so that you have what you need on hand before you pull the trigger on your first trade.

What is Forex?

Forex is the term used for trading in foreign currency. It is also the Foreign Exchange Market where currencies are traded. Forex is managed by banks and financial institutions rather than a centralized exchange like the Nasdaq.

Forex is, at its simplest, the buying and/or selling of two currencies. It uses the value of one currency against another to determine prices for buying and selling.

The exchange rate is the rate at which your trade will occur. The exchange rate is the value of one country’s currency against another. It is shown as a ratio, so, for example, 1 Euro might be worth 1.68 US Dollars.

Which Currencies Can You Trade?

Investing in foreign currency is always done in pairs. Pairs of currencies are represented by 2 three-letter codes put together. The codes are for each currency in the pair. 

For example, EURUSD is a pairing of Euros and US Dollars. The first currency is the base and the second is the quote. 

Pairings of currencies come in 3 categories. The categories are major, minor, and exotics.

Major Pairings

Major pairings are a combination of two of the major currencies of the world. The major currencies are:

  • US Dollars (USD)
  • Euro (EUR) 
  • Japanese Yen (JPY)
  • British Pound Sterling (GBP)
  • Swiss Franc (CHF)
  • Canadian Dollar (CAD)
  • Australian Dollar (AUD)
  • New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

When beginners start investing in foreign currency major pairings draw their attention because they fluctuate more and more often.

Minor Pairings

Minor pairings feature one or more of the major pairing currencies but never the US Dollar.


Exotics combine a heavily traded (usually a major currency) with a lightly traded currency. For example, you might combine the US Dollar with the Brazilian Real for a minor pairing.

Keys to Investing in Foreign Currency

When you are starting your journey into investing in foreign currency you need to be aware of terms, how to buy and sell, and what you can expect from your trade.

Buying Foreign Currency

When you want to buy foreign currency you are buying the base currency and selling the quote currency in the pairing you have chosen. So, if you want to buy US Dollars and sell British pounds you will have a pairing of USDGBP.

If you are buying currency you want the value of your pairing to rise. You can then sell it later if it falls to make a profit.

Selling Foreign Currency

The opposite is true if you are selling currency. In that scenario, you will still have a pairing of USDGBP but you will be selling the base currency and buying the quote currency.

When selling currency you want the pairing to fall in value. That way you can buy it back later if it rises in value.


Liquidity is the amount of demand for any given currency. Liquid currencies are bought and sold more frequently. The more liquid a pairing is the more likely you will be able to buy and sell at a profit. 

Major pairs are usually more liquid than minor or exotic pairs. This is because there is more international trading of major pairs and more demand for the base and quote currencies.

Liquidity is measured in pips. Pips represent 0.0001 of the quoted price for the pair. If a pair has a quoted price of 1.57789 and moves to 1.57790 that is a change of 1 pip. 

Pairings with more liquidity will typically have changes of around 100 pips a day. Pairings with less liquidity have changes of 50 pips or lower a day. 

Bid and Ask

The terms “bid” and “ask” are also important to understand when investing in foreign currency.

The bid is what a broker will pay you for a pairing. The ask is what the broker will want you to pay for a pair.

The difference between the two numbers is called the spread. So, if the bid is, say 1.5111 and the ask is 1.5115 the spread is 0.0004, or 4 pips. In order to make a profit from a buying trade, you’ll need the pair to cross the spread above 1.5115.  

Study So That You Know All About Investing in Foreign Currency

Forex trading is tricky. Spend time learning about the pairings. Investigate trends and spreads, and look at how liquid a pairing is before you jump in.

Because pairs of currencies don’t move a lot, up or down, investing in foreign currency does not result in huge gains or losses for beginners. 

The language and terms can be confusing. It’s an insider’s lingo. Make sure you know what all the things in this article refer to.

At the same time, Forex trading can be fun and rewarding. 

If you’d like advice on how to get started with your first Forex trades get in touch with us. We understand the foreign currency markets, and we have a wealth of knowledge to help you make the best choices on pairings and trades. We look forward to helping you.