The Death of Buy To Let? Not for Savvy Investors

 

Changes in Property Investments

There has recently been a slew of negative headlines, bad forecasts and gloomy warnings about the death of buy to let. Stamp duty changes, tax rises, and new policies have muddied the waters around property investment. However, these dire warnings should be taken with a large pinch of salt. For savvy investors, buy to let property investment can be incredibly lucrative, you just need to be smart.

In the past buy to let property was a popular choice for get rich quick investors, looking to sell quickly and move on. After the economic crash and the slowdown of the property market, huge price rises are rarer, but not impossible. In certain areas of the UK, property prices have grown considerably over the past 12 months. According to the UK cities house price index, in Liverpool, house prices have risen by 7.5%, in Glasgow they have risen by 7.2%, in Nottingham by 6.9% and Manchester by 6.8%. These high growth areas often also benefit from affordable low entry prices, allowing investors to diversify their portfolios or purchase in more than one locations.

Doing Your Research

By doing research on which areas of the country are best for house prices and investing in regions which are benefitting from regeneration and investment, you can still make a considerable profit when buying and selling property. Property investment specialists like RW Invest are encouraging investors to look to cities like Liverpool and Manchester where property prices are on the rise and rental yields are good. Studio apartments, student accommodation and HMOs are all alternatives to the typical residential property investment. Opportunities to purchase buy to let properties are worth pursuing, and if you can find a below market value property in a high growth area you can make impressive profits.

Long Term Benefits of Buy To Let

The real benefit of buy to let is when you look long term. One key way of measuring an investment is through the rental yields. This tells you how much of your property you will earn back in rents over a year. For example, a property worth £100,000 that earns £6,000 a year in rental income would have a rental yield of 6%. The higher the rental yield the quicker a property will pay for itself. Rental rates have been on the rise in the UK, and the conditions are perfect for buy to let investors to find new properties. The UK housing crisis has seen a huge increase in the number of people looking for rental properties. With less houses available to rent and a harder time buying a first property, tenants are staying in rentals for longer than ever before and paying more for them too.

Rob Bence, presenter of The Property Hub’s Property Podcast said in a recent GQ article “Investing in property may have become a little more complex, with changes to tax relief rules and increases in Stamp Duty Land Tax now in play but property remains the safest form of investment and it is absolutely still possible to prosper from it”. Buy to let is definitely not dead and its unique benefit of earning rent as well as increasing in value makes it a doubly profitable venture. For smart investors who do their research, invest in up and coming areas and plan a long-term strategy, buy to let property investment can still pay off.

 

 

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Tips On Making Big At Spread Betting

Spread Betting And Making It Big

Spread betting is a great way to earn profits, but only when your bets are placed correctly. This is why only a few investors are making successful trades whereas the rest aren’t as lucky. So what separates the few from the many in spread betting and how can you implant those strategies to ensure your own success and profitability? Firstly, it is important to understand how trading at tighter spreads can improve your chances of turning a profit. The liquidity of a particular stock may affect how tight the spread is. For example where a stock is trading at 320p, but because of illiquidity the ask spread is between 310p and 330p. Purchasing at 330p means that even if the stock makes a 3.33% jump from 320p to 330p, you would have still received no profit for your investment. A tighter speed is therefore more favourable.

Successful Spread Betting

The most successful spread betters follow a systematic trading plan. Knowing how much money you will spend on each spread bet as well as how frequently these bets will be placed will eventually lead you to develop your own watertight trading plan. Should you start trading without a trading plan you run the risk of blowing most of your capital in the early stages, leaving you on the back foot trying to claw your way back to the position you were in before the loss.

Know About Risk Capital and Spread Betting

Having an effective trade plan isn’t just about winning every time, but rather about having enough risk capital to carry on trading when you incur losses. This is achieved through smart money management. One way to do this is to divide your capital into smaller pieces and only risking a small portion per single trade. Diversifying your portfolio will mean that even if one of your bets are failing there may be three others that are pulling a profit. This brings us to risk management, which involves using stops and limits to manage your trades and adds structure to your trading plan. This is why spread betting at City Index is so attractive, as this is one of the established brokers who are happy to assist and advise here.

What Leverage Means

Spread betting is available on leverage. This leverage means that your investment can yield huge profits, or alternatively can incur huge losses should the asset go south. Inexperienced traders run the risk of taking large positions and end up losing more than they actually have. Smart traders use leverage efficiently while inexperienced traders overexpose themselves to risk. The key is therefore to strike a balance between taking calculated risks and protecting your overall capital.

In Conclusion:

Finally the best investors do not only rely on analytical data alone but also take into account other factors such as political stability and inflation rates. Making your own predictions by combining all available resources is the only way you will truly make it big in spread betting. Research, research and more research will set you miles ahead of the playing field. Avoid trading on a hot tip from a friend, because if the trade goes bad they are often nowhere to be seen!

 

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Record Rise in Online Gambling in China

 

For Mr. Li, the penalty kick taken by Cristiano Ronaldo in the Euro 2016 groups match between Austria and Portugal was a huge moment. He could barely watch is since he has placed a bet on Portugal to win. Ronaldo hit the post and the game ended in a draw, leaving Li frustrated for losing his money. He had placed his bet using the WeChat app by Tencent Holdings Ltd.

This is a good example of the rising interest in the world soccer, and this has also increased the cases of illegal online gambling. This has seen the police crack the whip on betting rings and other gambling companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent. Most of the internet gambling in China is illegal.

 

Chinese Tycoon Acquires English Soccer Club

Li placed his bet through the WeChat app, where most of the gamblers are friends. When you win, the prize money is shared through various channels like Alipay, WeChat, bank transfer or the red packets, which are envelopes that are loaded with cash.

The police record shows that there has been an upwelling in online gambling activity, which is illegal, especially due to the upcoming UEFA Football Championship in Paris. The Public Security Ministry has confirmed that across the four provinces, it has apprehended 236 people for illegal online gambling on UEFA games. To this effect, Tencent and Alibaba have set up anti-gambling systems.

According to Miranda Shek, a spokeswoman of Ant Financial said that they have been conducting serious checks and if any suspicious account is discovered, it will be frozen right away. Tencent has also confirmed that it is keeping a keen eye on any illegal gambling activities.

One of the reasons that have triggered the surge in soccer gambling is the soccer investment by the Chinese companies in overseas clubs. There has been an increase in the number of soccer stars who are moving to China. An assistant professor, Hu Naijun, from the University of Science and technology in Beijing, said that besides the European Cup, the soccer market in China has developed significantly. This has increased the interests in betting.

 

 

Reaching for the Gold

Mr. Bao is an organizer of a gambling group, and he confirmed that there is a jackpot of 5 million Yuan. This is causing millions of people to bet, hoping to win the cash prize. He said that this has become a lucrative business and for the final, they may even spend a week in the presidential suite in Hong King or Macau.

As for Li, he says that his money is, still, on Portugal, who has qualified for the Euro 2016 semifinals. He says he watches the game being nervous at every chance. When Cristiano missed the penalty, he almost fainted.

 

 

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Who is Salesforce.com and What is CRM

 

3 Things you haven’t heard from Salesforce.com

If you are in the CRM business, you’ve probably heard tons of clients and non-clients complaining about their CRM – those that are not user friendly, those that are just too complicated, and those that are, for lack of a better word, altogether unhelpful. Businesses are always looking out for a Customer Relationship Management system.

For sure, there are genuine complaints among them, but the truth is that CRMs today have matured so far beyond what you could access a few years ago. Most CRMs in the market now offer excellent service, whether you choose the high end ones like SAP, Oracle or Salesforce.com and its Salesforce ANT migration tool, or the middle range Sage CRM, MS Dynamics CRM and GoldMine, or even lower end types like Highrise, Nimble, Insight.ly or Zoho.

There are hundreds more out there, and most have a robust framework that is easy to use and well designed. Some are on-premise while others are in-cloud, with features for marketing, sales, email, opportunity management and calendaring. You can integrate with other systems, access social media directly, merge with and access from phones and other portable devices and a lot more.

The problem isn’t with the CRM system; it’s with the management of the CRM system. If you’ve been facing CRM challenges, it’s time to stop complaining and take action. Here are three things to get you going:

  1. Concentrate on the reports

The most important aspect of any CRM is that it’s a database, no matter where it’s placed. And databases generate reports, without which any CRM system has no value. You must make sure your system is set to generate the key reports you need to track your sales and marketing endeavors; any other aspect in the CRM is a plus.

These reports should be configured to be delivered to your inbox on a fixed schedule – daily, weekly monthly etc., since they are what managers will use to manage their teams. Your teams should feed in necessary data on schedule to make sure that the reports are generated on schedule. If you’re not doing this, you know half the reason your CRM is giving you hell.

  1. Get a CRM administrator

Every company needs one of these. Someone who owns the system and knows it from end to end. Someone who is responsible for all data help in the system and who knows the answer to every past, present and future question about it. And this is the best part – it’s doesn’t need to be and actually shouldn’t be an IT guy either.

CRMs today are pretty easy to learn, so all you need is a smart employee in administration who can be trained in the nooks and crannies of CRM, and then authorized to manage the system and all staff remotely involved in it. A strong administrator is an investment no organization can do without if the CRM will succeed in its role.

  1. Embrace your CRM or go

As a manager, you’ve got to get your team on the love-the-CRM-or-go bandwagon. Most employees are resistant to change, but it you’re firm as a manager, eventually they will understand that they have no choice but to work with it. If you let employees get away with sabotaging the CRM by doing things ‘like they’ve always been done’ you’re setting the organization up for failure.

Pay attention to what every employee is doing, and make sure it’s being done correctly, no matter what CRM it is. Ensure your staff have been adequately trained and prepared, and then require them to apply themselves to make the system succeed, in every part of the organization.

What is CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term that refers to practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers

Author Bio

Sujain Thomas is a competent CRM expert and Salesforce products distributor. For more information on Salesforce ANT migration tool and to get assistance using other Salesforce products, visit her website.

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Payday Loan Improvement: Has Regulation Truly Made A Difference

Payday Short Term Loans That Make Sense

Payday Loans were created to ease the financial pressure that workers face before they receive their pay cheques at the end of the month. The short term loan would be paid directly into the worker’s bank account before they were expected to repay in full, with interest, when they eventually received their pay. The type of loan came under much scrutiny, with critics citing that it made it too easy for a vulnerable person to ‘over borrow’ and therefore, face long term financial hardship. It was as a result of this condemnation, that a series of laws were introduced in an attempt to regulate payday loans.

We’re going to explore those very laws and examine whether the regulation made a difference.

Which Regulation Was Introduced?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was the organisation responsible for the regulation introduced into the payday loan market.

The first action the FCA took was to introduce a cap on interest rates charged on loans, which were frozen at 0.8% per day the amount borrowed. There was also another condition added, that no borrower should have to pay back more than twice the amount of their original loan.

They also regulated and reduced the fees that payday lenders could charge for arranging a loan, as well as introducing a cap on the borrower default fee, meaning that if a borrower failed to meet the conditions of their loan, they could only be charged a maximum of £15.

The FCA’s final ruling was that each payday lender had to list their loan rates on at least one price comparison site to prove their legitimacy, as well as improving competition and price transparency within the market.

Did The Regulation Make A Difference?

These interventions went a long way to making the payday lender industry far more legitimate; however there is still room for improvement which was detailed in a report published by Citizens Advice.

They found that after the caps and regulation were introduced, that borrowers were far less likely to find themselves in extreme financial difficulty, provided that they communicate to their borrowers that they were having trouble repaying their payday loan.

The 44% of borrowers who were experiencing difficulty in paying back their loans, but actually spoke to their lender, managed to agree a more affordable alternative repayment plan.

This statistic illustrates two points; the first is that lenders are more than happy to provide alternative options for borrowers provided that they tell them they are experiencing problems. The second, however, is that more than half of borrowers are unwilling to voice their concerns regarding repayments, due to the fact they perhaps feel embarrassed or ashamed at their inability to repay their loan.

Therefore, while payday lenders have clearly improved their methods for making loans easier to repay, work can still to be done in regards to the line of communication between lender and borrower.

Ultimately, it’s clear that the payday loan industry has evidently improved after regulation, however it’s still not perfect, and things can still be done to better the industry for both lenders and borrowers.

 

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Trading vs. Gambling – Wall Street

Usually when you mention trading and gambling in the same sentence to traders, they will scrunch up their nose and tell you outright that the two have nothing in common. How could they? However, that doesn’t mean that you should take their word for granted. While it may be a bit difficult to admit that there are, in fact, certain similarities between currency trading and gambling, rest assured they exist nonetheless. Let’s explore what makes them similar, shall we?

The Gambling Odds and Trading

One word can connect the two immediately – odds. When you’re in any type of trading business, you have to deal with odds. As for gambling, well, you pretty much look at your odds no matter which casino games you partake in, that much is obvious.

Now onto the connection. Let’s take for example the emerging markets from a few years back which allowed you to buy stronger currencies, like the British Pound or Euro. Now, the odds weren’t guaranteed and, while the circumstances seemed favourable, you still had to do a bit of – what? – gambling. Well, what do you know?

What’s in the Name?

Now, here’s another link you can make – through language itself. Namely, if you open a dictionary to check the definition of the word ‘to gamble’, here’s what you might find:

  • To risk losing money in a game of chance.
  • To bet on an uncertain outcome.
  • To take a risky action in the hope of achieving something.

Even a total layman will notice that there is a recurrent theme among the definitions. “Risk”, “uncertain”, “losing”. Now, all of those boil down to something traders have definitely come across and thought about before – the risk of losing their money at some point. Unfortunately, that’s something you need to be prepared from the moment you venture into the trading business.

So, why are currency traders so quick to deny there’s any type of link between trading and gambling? Well, they don’t want you to feel uncertain, do they? They want to sell you your product and, by convincing you their strategy is 100% foolproof, they might just do that. They don’t want you to worry your head about negative words like ‘losing’ and ‘risk’.

Businesses Are a Risk

Whether we like it or not, every business is a risk to a certain degree – especially at the very beginning. AskGamblers, one of the most popular affiliate websites in the iGaming industry, was seen as one back in the day, too.

Here’s what general manager at AskGamblers had to say about risk taking: “While risks can be frightening, they often need to be taken, especially when you’re starting out with a new business or project. However, if you manage to calculate the risks and stay on the right course, the rewards you’ll end up reaping are unspeakably high and worthwhile. It takes guts, but that isn’t really any different than any other aspect of life, is it?“

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favour

Ultimately, despite huge risks that need to be taken daily, new traders need to learn to stack their odds in their favour. Perhaps they can take a page from the casino bosses’ book. What experienced casino owners know is that they will at some point lose some of their money to a number of players and, more importantly, they’re prepared to; that’s the price they agreed to pay the second they began running their business.

Another thing veteran casino proprietors know is that those losses aren’t the end. As they have odds stacked in their favour, they know that by the end of the year they’ll still turn a profit.

What else can we say, in the end, but – may the odds be ever in your favour, whether you’re a trader or a gambler. And, you know what they say? They should, if you learn to stack them.

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A Review of the iPhone 8

Power, Grace and Beauty in the Palm of Your Hand

Powerful. Graceful. Easy to use. The iPhone 8 brings useful features you would expect from an Apple product. It delivers a meaningful, new consumer experience thanks to a faster processor, wireless charging, and an excellent dual-lens camera that offers a great way to capture images. But that’s not all; many other elements combine to make this superb device the quintessence of all some consumers so profoundly adore today. This review takes an in-depth look at these features as well as the pros and cons of the smartphone.

Build and Design

In terms of build and design, the iPhone 8 sports an old design in that it resembles the iPhone 7, 6s, and 6, albeit it is sturdier. The Cupertino-based tech giant re-engineered the chassis, adding a glass rear to the alloy casing in a bid to make the device more robust. The glass back, which is further reinforced by a steel substructure, is touted by Apple as “the most durable [glass] in a smartphone.”

Sporting a glass rear makes the iPhone 8 more fragile than metal-backed phones. That notwithstanding, the innovation gives it a much more premium appearance than previous-generation iPhones. The gentle curve at the edges blends well with the glass and aluminum to make the device more comfortable and easy to hold.

At 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3, the newer model is also slightly thicker than its predecessor. It may not feature a particularly head-turning design, but the iPhone 8 boasts a cleaner look when compared to Apple’s older phones. This is mainly because much of the text at the back has been removed to make the device clean and more appealing.

There’s still no sign of a headphone jack. But the phone more than makes up for this with some general sound improvements. The stereo speakers have been redesigned for enhanced audio output (volume has been upped by 25 percent compared to the iPhone 7) and deeper bass. There’s also a forward-facing speaker equipped to provide clearer audio.

Regarding display, the iPhone 8 features 4.7-inch Retina HD (750 x 1334) resolution IPS display with 16:9 aspect ratio, the same display as the outgone iPhone 7.

Features and Specifications

  • Display: 4.7” Retina HD, 750 x 1334 (326 PPI density)
  • Operating System: iOS 11
  • Processor: Apple A11 Bionic chip
  • Selfie Camera: 7 MP, f/2.2 lens, 1080@30fps video recording
  • Rear Camera: f/1.8, 28mm, OIS, PDAF, 2160@24/30/60fps, 1080@30/60/120/240fps video recordings
  • Ram: 2 GB
  • Rom: 64/256 GB
  • Battery: 1,821 mAh

Processor

The iPhone 8 comes with Apple’s own A11 Bionic chip, which has been hailed as the most powerful chipset in the world. The six core chip delivers two low-performance and four high-performance cores. Both core divisions offer significant speed improvements on the A10 chip. The regular cores are up to 25 percent faster, while the high-performance ones are about 75 faster.

Camera

Moving beyond the processor, the iPhone 8 delivers a superb camera that will definitely elevate your mobile photography game. The f/1.8 aperture of the 12-megapixel camera lets in plenty of light, ensuring better shots in low light conditions and sharper images overall.

The camera also boasts an excellent color reproduction capacity, while the auto HDR feature works to create perfectly lit photos with more color and details. The selfie camera features a single 7 MP f/2.2 aperture, which doesn’t produce as many details in pictures as the rear, sadly.

Battery Life and Wireless Charging

The iPhone 8 is powered by a 1,821 mAh non-removable battery, which lasts all day on average use. The device is also the first Apple phone to offer wireless charging capability.

As the iPhone 8 does not ship with wireless chargers, users rely on Qi-Certified wireless chargers to juice up the device. At the time of its launch, the wireless charging was limited to 5W. However, it has since gone up to 7.5W following the release of iOS 11.2. The upgrade is still not fast enough when compared with Samsung phones which offer up to 15W.

Pros:

  • Wireless charging
  • Fast mobile chip
  • Dual-lens camera
  • Supports fast charging with 28W chargers
  • Good battery life
  • Features a home button
  • 4K Ultra HD video at rapid 60 frames per second

Cons:

  • Large body
  • Dated 16:9 aspect ratio
  • No headphone jack
  • Old-fashioned look

Last Word

If you are coming from the iPhone 7 or 6s Plus, getting an iPhone 8 may not feel like a major upgrade if you consider the design. However, if you would rather a device with a better camera and wireless charging, then the iPhone 8 is worth considering.

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The Top Products Chinese People Want

Chinese People Love Great Products

China is one of the most attractive export markets for products and services from different parts of the world. Its huge population and workforce, fast-growing middle class, accelerating consumption, as well as willingness to import are some of the factors that make China an attractive export destination.

To tap the might of consumers in the populous East Asian country, however, sellers and manufacturers first have to identify what the market wants. In light of this, we have compiled a list of the top products Chinese people desire to lighten your load along the way.

Clothing and Footwear

China’s large population makes it an attractive market for garments. An HKTDC Research article reveals that clothing market demand in China is high and keeps growing year after year. Experts predict that the industry, which was worth around RMB1,457.8 billion in 2017, would reach an estimated RMB1,592 by 2019.

The demand for clothing in China is so vast that shoppers are fast turning to online marketplaces to buy garments directly from overseas retailers and brands. Around 24% of consumers in China are expected to buy across borders this year alone, per figures released by eMarketers.

Similarly, there’s massive demand for footwear in China, with sneakers being one of the most demanded. Footwear sales figures for 2017 in mainland China was put at RMB381.9 billion. Of this, data show that women shoes brought in the most revenue, fetching around RMB184 (48%). Men’s shoes generated the second highest revenue at RMB144.2 billion (38%), while children’s shoes brought an estimated RMB53.2 billion (14%).

It is predicted that the footwear market in mainland China will be worth a whopping RMB487.4 billion by 2021.

Beauty and Personal Care

Driven by rising incomes and awareness, China’s beauty and personal care cosmetics market is one of the most attractive. The industry has been growing fast thanks to an increasing number of affluent consumers who are willing to splurge on quality beauty and personal care products that make them look younger and attractive.

The industry made an estimated RMB251.4 billion in domestic sales in 2017 alone. The world’s most populous nation is projected to become the largest market for personal care and cosmetic products in the next 5-10 years.

Vitamins and Supplements

As lifestyle gets busier, Chinese shoppers are becoming more and more health-conscious. Along with the demand for running shoes, there’s been a surge in the market for vitamins and supplements. For China, being one of the world’s fastest-growing economies came at a cost in the form of an overcrowded transportation system, gridlock traffic, severe air pollution, etc., all of which make the environment less healthy.

This, coupled with higher disposable incomes, caused Chinese consumers to turn to health and wellness products. In fact, consumers in the world’s fourth-largest have become so focused on health and fitness that the demand for vitamin and minerals outpaces GDP growth, according to a New Hope article.

Maternity and Baby Products

China’s relaxed family planning policy has increased demand for baby products such as infant formula. There’s been a boom in demand for maternity and baby products following the implementation of the new legislation which now allows a second child in the family.

A piece reveals that the Chinese baby product has grown more than 250% in five years, accounting for around $75 billion. With the plan now fully in place, the maternity and baby products sector is expected to surpass RMB3 trillion in 2018.

Food

Demand for food products like soybeans is high in China. The country is projected to become the largest food importer by 2018, importing around $79 billion worth of food items each year.

Other top products Chinese people want include jewelry, electronics, gadgets, and wine.

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Availability of Affordable Healthcare in the US

Affordable Healthcare in the US

When it comes to healthcare, the US is often seen as the nation that overspends, especially when compared with OECD countries. Such is the cost of health care that Americans spent a whopping $6.5 billion on Humira prescriptions in 2014 alone.

Humira is an injectable medication prescribed for the treatment of multiple autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriatic arthritis, etc. US citizens paid an average of $2,669 for Humira. In comparison, the Swiss paid $822 for the same drug.

The same drug cost $1,362 in the UK. At this rate, citizens in the UK and Switzerland would have paid a combined $2 billion for Humira in 2014 rather than the $6.5 billion paid by Americans. Then, the US spent nearly 18 percent of GDP on healthcare.

In 2016, it spent 17.8 percent of its GDP on healthcare. A new report shows that America has one of the highest levels of spending on health care per person, with $9,403 per capita, which is almost two times what countries like Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan, the UK, France, Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland, the Netherlands spent.

Experts argue that the US spends so much more on health care than other wealthy nations because it has much higher prices across a range of services.

States with the Most Affordable Healthcare

The US is currently the only industrialized nation without universal health coverage. That notwithstanding, some US states have enforced healthcare laws to make health care services available and affordable to uninsured residents.

According to U.S News, the state of Hawaii is the most affordable US state in terms of healthcare, as only 7.4 percent of the population are unable to afford healthcare. Iowa comes a close second with 92.3% of the population able to afford healthcare.

In North Dakota and Vermont, health care services are available and affordable to 91.8% of residents, while in Massachusetts, 91.2% of residents have access to cheap health care services. 91.1% of Americans living in South Dakota can access affordable healthcare services.

Minnesota offers healthcare services for cheap to 90.5 percent of residents. Healthcare services are also reasonably affordable in Connecticut as only 9.9 percent of residents are unable to afford to see a physician. 89.9% of residents in Washington have access to affordable health care, while in New Hampshire and Rhode Island around 89.7% of residents can afford doctor visits.

Why the US Still Lags Behind

One may blame the controversies surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the US falling far behind other developed countries regarding access to affordable health care. However, the US would still rank far behind among advanced countries even with the ACA.

Aaron Caroll, in a report for the New York Times, stated that a large percentage of Americans were still not covered “even when the rate of the insured was best.” Also, US patients find it way more difficult to see a physician than other countries.

The main reason for this is that the fewer physicians per population than other industrialized nations. Giving people insurance will further compound the issue, as many more people will want to access care.

It remains to be seen how things will go from here. Current events,and risings costs in medical care, suggest that America is still a long walk away from making healthcare affordable.

 

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Prescription Drug Addiction in the US Compared to the Rest of the World

The American Epidemic Hidden in Plain Sight

 

Prescription drug addiction is a fast-growing global problem – one that has no respect for boundaries of geography, creed, or culture. It spreads diseases, reinforces crime, and lowers the productivity of human resources through its negative influence on users.

Even worse, we are often reminded, in a most tragic way, of the deadly consequences drug use can bring. Every year, prescription drug abuse kills more people than car accidents, per a Drugwatch report. A TheGuardian piece states that more Americans died from overdoses in 2015 than car crashes and gun deaths combined.

But how does prescription drug addiction in the US compare to that of other nations?

The US Vs. Rest of the World

It’s no secret that prescription drug use is a pervasive problem of major American concern. Data from the 2016 National Study on Drug Use and Health show that an estimated 28.6 million US citizens who are 12 years or older used illicit drugs in the period leading to the study.

A further 54 million Americans who are at least 12 years of age have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons during their lifetime, according to the Talbott Recovery.

America makes up about 5% of the world’s population – but accounts for approximately 27 percent of the world’s drug overdose deaths, according to Vox. The culprit? Prescription opioids like Oxycontin, tramadol, methadone, morphine, fentanyl or Vicodin.

These drugs are often used to ease chronic and acute pains, such as those associated with cancer. However, what was initially intended for good ended up paving the way for a national health crisis when it became severely abused.

In 2015, an estimated 8.5 million (3%) Americans misused opioid painkillers, while about 2.5 million were addicted to either heroin or painkillers. Over 33,000 people died after overdosing on illicit drugs.

In contrast, of 507 million people, only around 1.3 million (0.4%) were considered high-risk opioid users in the EU, per the Vox report. Opioid overdose deaths were put at 6,800. In 2015, about 62,000 died of drug overdoses in Asia, while in America alone, around 52,400 citizens were lost to drug overdoses that same year.

Data show that Americans consume about 30 percent of the global opioid supply. In addition, Americans consume the vast majority of the world’s opioids, including 99% of the world’s hydrocodone.

Major Culprits

Research conducted by scientists at Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center found that almost 70% of the citizens of the United States are on at least one prescription drug, while more than half receive at least two prescription drugs. The most commonly prescribed medications were found to include:

Used for treating bacteria that cause illness, antibiotics are the most widely prescribed drugs. This also makes them one of the most abused. Antibiotics abuse often leads to superbugs, a form of bacteria that are resistant to many – if not all types of antibiotics. Some of the most commonly prescribed synthetic antibiotics include Ciproflaxin (Cipro), Penicillin, Levofloxacin (Levaquin), Moxifloxacin (Avelox), etc.

Opioids are synthetic prescription painkillers, although this definition often includes heroin. Examples of synthetic analgesics include Vicodin, OxyContin, Duragesic, Opana, and Dilaudid.

Studies show that antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and may lead to congenital disabilities if taken by pregnant women. Other side effects of these drugs include upset stomach, headaches, and nausea. Citalopram (Celexa), Escitalopram (Lexapro), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Paroxetine (Paxil), etc., are some examples of synthetic antidepressants.

 

 

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