Student Money: Setup An Online Store

The following post has been contributed and provides an overview of alternative investment products. Please note that the following post may contain affiliate links:

As we all know, life as a student can be a bit of a struggle. Tuition fees aren’t cheap, and we rarely get enough to cover the cost of living. If you stay away from home, then current student loans will mean you lead an unhappy life. You’ll have very little to spend on yourself, and end up constantly dipping into your overdraft.

So, the best idea is to start making more money. And, I have a great way for you to do just that. If you set up an online store, then you can sell things to people, and start making a ton of cash. Want to know how to do this? Then have a read of the advice below:

Decide On What To Sell

Naturally, your main concern will be with how you make money. In other words, what products are you going to sell? Or, will you even sell products? You could sell a service. In fact, for students, selling a service might be the better option. People could come to your online store and purchase essay writing guidance, or online tuition from you. I’ve even seen some sites that sell essays for students. That’s right; people pay you to write their essay for them! Regarding products, I think that clothes are the best and easiest thing to sell online. They’re cheap to make, and always in high demand. Of course, these are just a few simple suggestions; there are loads for you to consider.

Create Your Store In Minutes

You might think that creating an entire online store will take a long time. However, that’s not the case. With web building tools, you can have everything sorted in a matter of minutes. There are sites online that let you build an online store from scratch, and personalize it too. The benefit of using web building tools/sites is that you save lots of time and money. Plus, you’re guaranteed to have a store that looks good and functions well. When you’ve built your store, you need to focus on two things; your web traffic, and conversion rate optimization. Both of these things are crucial if you want to make lots of sales, and bring in the money.

Figure Out Delivery Methods

A big part of selling things online is getting the stuff to your customers. If you’re selling a service, then it might be a lot easier for you. I mentioned online tuition in the first point, if you sell this then a quick skype call will sort you out. You can video-chat with customers and tutor them. When selling products, you have to get in touch with a courier service. Find an affordable one, so you save money on delivery costs. Then, whenever someone makes a purchase, you package up what they bought and send it via courier!

An online store is a perfect way for you to earn extra cash as you study. There are so many different things you can sell to people these days. The possibilities are endless, and so much money can be made!

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How to pick a pension fund

Pension funds are a tricky topic area. There seems like there are so many different funds to choose from. Sometimes it seems like it's impossible to know where to start. Hopefully the following will be a useful guide to those in a similar situation:

I have written previously on the need for explorers joining a Company pension scheme to get in touch with the pension provider and ensure that they aren't invested in the default fund.

One of the difficulties in sorting out which pension fund to invest in is that there are literally thousands of alternatives. Fortunately this is cut down based on your provider but this could still mean sifting through several hundred.

Once you are aware of all of the funds that your pension provider deals with then you can ask them directly which funds you are able to invest in based on the scheme that your employer negotiated. This is because it is likely that your employer will have negotiated with the pension fund several funds at a discounted rate. You should look to take advantage of the discounted charges.

Passive or active funds?

Let's say that by this stage there are 20 different pension funds available to you. 

Actively managed funds means that there is a fund manager looking after the fund. These are paid professionals and as such actively managed funds will almost always cost more. Realistically a pension is a very long term investment vehicle. Hence the size of the charges as a percentage of the fund can have a dramatic effect on the final size of the pension pot. Therefore you need to search for the term "passive fund" in the fact sheet/ name of the fund. 

Passive funds are designed to match the movement in a broad index. Hence there isn't a particular fund manager in charge who requires fees. This will likely result in a cheaper annual management charge.

Once you've identified all of the passive funds you need to start to look in detail at the fund fact sheet. This sheet tells you what the annual management charge will be, what the fund invests in or which index it tracks, and how the fund has performed in the past.

How much should I look to pay in a pension fund?

As I mentioned the size of the annual management charge is a key determinant in te long term size of your pension pot. I would argue that you don't want to be paying any more than 0.5% (half a percent) per year in order to be invested in the fund. 

Another charge to watch out for is the investment fee. Often times funds will charge a percentage of the total amount invested in order to enter the fund. Ideally this should be zero. Sometimes this can be as high as 5%. Do not touch these funds! You really shouldn't have to pay to invest in a fund.

What index should I be tracking?

The specific index isn't the most important consideration. Most economies and markets will grow given 30-40 years to do so. Your main focus should be to minimise the charges. Pick an index that tracks a market that you consider less risky over the long term but is also likely to grow. The U.K. stock market is a good shout. Emerging markets are going to be slightly riskier but you may feel that they're a good bet over te long term.

What fund performance should I be looking for?

"The past performance is no guide to future performance". You should be conscious that performance in the past is not a reliable predictor of the future. I'm not a big believer in chartism - the ability to predict future index movements based on the past.

However, I think it's important that your fund has been established for a while (at least 10 years) and has demonstrated that the market has grown over that period. Aim for an average of at least 5% growth since the inception of the fund.

Hopefully you'll find the advice useful and trust me that long term the small amount of effort today will have been worth it.

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Minimise UK inheritance tax

Inheritance tax is a real pain for many families. The maximum allowance that is inheritance tax free will rise to £1million. However, given the rapid rise in property prices it is possible that many will find themselves being caught out. The following article outlines some broad ideas to consider in order to minimise the exposure to inheritance tax liabilities:

Tax evasion is illegal. Tax avoidance is good planning.

The following article is exclusive to the UK tax regime as of 2016.

There are multiple methods to reduce the inheritance tax burden on the next generation. 

The seven year rule

Any amount of money/ wealth that you have transferred to the next generation will be free from inheritance tax if you transfer your property at least seven years before your passing. Should you pass away prior to the seven year time limit then depending on how near to the seven years will result in a portion of the property being subject to inheritance tax. The proportion is in line with how near to the seven years you passed. For example, six years will result in less of your property being subject to inheritance tax than two years.

Families looking to minimise their inheritance tax liability should look to encourage the passing on of assets that are no longer required to loved ones at the earliest possible opportunity.

Passing on a business

There are certain rules surrounding passing on a family business into your loved ones. Depending on the type of business and the length of time that your loved ones are willing to hold onto the business, 50% or even 100% of the business could be free from inheritance tax.

An odd quirk of UK tax law means that a farm is 100% free from inheritance tax so long as the farm continued to be 'farmed' and it's use is not converted away from agriculture.

Passing on pensions

Private pensions that still have a balance are inheritance tax free when passed on to those in your will. This helps to support a strong case for putting money into a pension. Not only are you avoiding income tax today, you are also likely getting a top up from your company match scheme (hopefully!) and the cherry on the cake is that if you die the pot will not be subject to inheritance tax!

AIM to invest

Shares in the AIM market (one of the junior UK stock markets) can be free from inheritance tax when passed onto your children. 

There are various criteria with which to comply in order to qualify. For example the AIM shares should be owned for at least two years. In addition the people who inherit your shares are required to hold the shares for a certain period of time.

Be careful though. AIM shares tend to be growth companies and hence are normally associated with higher risk. Make sure you know what you're doing before you invest in AIM shares to ensure that you don't end up passing onto your children less than you started with!

Do you like what you've read? Tell your friends by sharing it with one of the buttons below. Please post this to Facebook or Tweet it to help your friends and family. Feel free to send me an email (, find me on twitter @millionairer0ad or comment. Whether good or bad, I want to hear from you all.


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