Property & Finance
Tips to manage your home in the heatwave
By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY
Our recent spell of good weather is certainly welcome but it does lead to some practical problems in the home.
With the mercury rising to 30 degrees in some areas and night time temperatures ‘dropping’ to only 19 degrees, we find ourselves doing everything in our power to try and stay cool.
With weather advisory warnings in place for high temperatures, we have all found our homes are heating up!
While we are quite happy to fork out our well-earned Euro for that foreign trip to the sun to bake in the Mediterranean heat, we now find ourselves in the unusual position of the good weather visiting us for a change!
While it is easy to enjoy the sunshine from the swimming pool in Portugal or the beach in Spain it is a different story when walking into your hot house at home.
Unfortunately, the large majority of us don’t have the luxury of air-conditioned homes as much of the new building technologies we have experienced revolve around heating our homes. We now find ourselves looking for ways to cool them down!
While the natural reaction is to open the windows, it is recommended to keep windows, blinds and curtains closed as this will keep the hot air out. If opening them, make sure to do so at opposite ends of the house to create an airflow throughout.
To circulate cool air inside, fill up some bowls with water and ice and place them in different areas of the house - in front of a fan works best if you have one.
Another simple but effective option is to cook outside. Use the BBQ as the oven generates heat inside the house.
Trying to get to sleep at night can be particularly difficult in soaring temperatures. Here is a novel tip to help you catch those z’s; consider freezing your bedcovers before going to bed!
It may sound daft but give it a try; strip the sheets, place in a bag and pop them in the freezer. When it is time to hit the pillow, simply put them back on and they will be nice and cool!
Also, try taking a cold shower before bed.
Any halogen light bulbs in the house will also create additional heat, so consider replacing with LED lights.
Open the attic hatch to keep the house as ventilated as possible, allowing heat to escape through the roof.
And finally turn off any appliances, like the TV, when not in use. Electrical appliances can give off a surprising quantity of heat, particularly while charging.
Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock
By Michael O’Connor, theislandinvestor.com When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]
By Michael O’Connor, theislandinvestor.com
When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.
There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.
The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.
For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.
But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.
Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.
From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.
Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.
For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.
Do I understand the business?
Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.
Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?
This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.
Will the company benefit from long-term trends?
Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.
Is the company enjoying profitable growth?
Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like stratosphere.io.
What are the risk factors?
Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.
Benefit-In-Kind tax rules overturned for company cars
By John Healy of Healy Insurances Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has announced a temporary change for company-owned vehicles following a backlash from drivers whose Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) taxes increased substantially […]
By John Healy of Healy Insurances
Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has announced a temporary change for company-owned vehicles following a backlash from drivers whose Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) taxes increased substantially in January.
While the move to a CO2 based Benefit-In-Kind system, which incentivises the use of Electric Vehicles and lower emission cars, a significant number of employees with vehicles in the typical emissions range experienced large increases in their income tax liabilities since the start of 2023.
To address the issue, the Finance Minister has introduced a relief of €10,000 to be applied to the Original Market Value (OMV) of cars in Category A-D in order to reduce the amount of Benefit-In-Kind payable (this is not applicable to cars in Category E).
In effect, this means that, for the purposes of calculating BIK liability, employers may reduce the OMV by €10,000. This treatment will also apply to all vans and electric vehicles. For electric vehicles, the OMV deduction of €10,000 will be in addition to the existing relief of €35,000 that is currently available for EVs, meaning that the total relief for 2023 will be €45,000.
The upper limit in the highest mileage band is amended by way of a 4,000km reduction, so that the highest mileage band is now entered into at 48,001km.
These temporary measures will be retrospectively applied from 1 January 2023 and will remain in place until 31 December 2023. It is proposed to introduce the measures at Committee Stage of the Finance Bill 2023.
From an insurance perspective, if a vehicle is owned by a company then the motor policy in place must be in the company name and have full business use cover known as Class 2 cover. It is customary that the policy is on an open driving basis, usually aged 25 to 70. The cost for a company owned car policy can be higher than privately owned vehicles.
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