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Easy Changes to Keep a Healthy Lifestyle on a Budget

With the fast pace lives that we live today, it may seem impossible to keep up a healthy lifestyle. It may seem easier to buy pre-made meals or just eat out and skip the expensive gym membership, but there are changes you can make to live a healthy lifestyle on a budget.


Meal Plan

One way to eat healthier is to cook your own meals. A way to stay on budget while cooking your own meals is to meal plan. Meal planning helps you stick to a budget and only get the necessities for the meals. When you go into the grocery store, you will be able to stick to the grocery list and you know it is in your budget. This helps maintain a healthy lifestyle on a budget.

Avoid Purchasing Top Brands

Living a healthy lifestyle does not mean you have to buy the top brands. When you buy generic brands you save money and more often then not are getting the same product. Because of food production standards and regulations, you know the product is made safely and with mostly the same ingredients. If you compare name brand and generic products, they will usually have the same ingredients labeled on the back.

Avoid Going to the Grocery Store Hungry

If you go to the grocery store hungry, then you will end up buying things you do not need. Because you are hungry, your cravings can take over what you purchase at the store. When you go to the grocery store with a budget and you are hungry, you may buy items that are not on your list over items on your list. Sticking to your shopping list will insure that you stay on budget and stick to your meal plan.

Buy Frozen Vegetables and Fruit

When you buy frozen produce, you are saving money and getting the produce you want. Fresh produce always changes because of the seasons and is usually the more expensive option. Even though frozen vegetables lose some of their vitamins, frozen vegetables maintain their mineral, fiber and carbohydrate content from when it is fresh produce.

Home Gym Videos

Buying a gym membership can be very expensive and going to the gym might not suit your schedule. Living a healthy lifestyle does not mean you buy an expensive gym membership. There are tons of free workout apps and videos online for at-home workouts. This saves you the travel time to the gym and do not cost anything. This is another way that you could maintain a healthy lifestyle on a budget.

Packed Lunch

Packing lunch for work or school helps your budget and your health. When you pack your lunch, you do not run to get fast food. Packing your lunch also insures you have healthy snacks and do not run out to get snacks either. This way you insure you are eating healthy and not spending excess money as you are sticking to your budgeted meal plan.

At Oomph, we make buying life insurance easy and affordable for you. Keeping healthy is important, but protecting yourself and your family from sudden death or illness is also important. Oomph can help you find a policy that fits in your budget. Get your free personal quote here.


5 Life Insurance Myths that keep You from Buying a Policy

There are many common myths about life insurance that stop people from purchasing life insurance. You may believe one of these misconceptions and have not purchased a policy yet. Life insurance could protect you and your loved ones in case of a sudden death or illness.


1. Because you are young, single and healthy, you do not need it.

Just because you are young, single and healthy does not mean there is no need for life insurance. If you have any outstanding debt from education loans, car loans, or other debts, when you pass away, these debts will be transferred to your estate and still need to be paid of. Life insurance policies can help pay off these debts in case of sudden death, so your estate is not stuck paying it off. If you get a policy when you are young and healthy is usually cheaper, which makes it more manageable.


2. Employer-provided insurance is sufficient enough.

This is not always the case because company provided life insurance usually only covers 1 to 2 times the amount of your salary. 1 to 2 times your salary is not a sufficient amount. It is recommended to have 10 to 15 times the amount of your salary. Life insurance policies can provide this recommended amount in case of sudden death or illness.


3. All life insurance policies are the same.

This is just not true. Most life insurance providers have many different policies for people of all lifestyles. There are policies for people with different health conditions, for married and single people, and policies for people in all stages of their life.


4. Only breadwinners of the family need a policy.

The lose of one source of income can be a harder hit to a family than it is thought to be. Just because one spouse is not the breadwinner, you still lose one source of income for your family and this can take a bigger toll than you make think. If both income earners for the family have life insurance policies, in the case of a sudden death, the policy can assure the family can live at the same standard.


5. I have a health condition like high blood pressure or asthma and will not qualify for a policy.

Serious health conditions may disqualify you from life insurance, but not all health condition disqualify you form life insurance. Most insurance companies have plans for people with health conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. If you have a health condition, the premiums might be higher, but you can find a policy. Read more here.


To read more myths about life insurance click here.

At Oomph.ie, we provide competitively priced life insurance policies from the top 6 insurance providers in Ireland and can find a policy to fit your life. Take our 3 easy steps to get a free personal quote today!


Why being financially fit is more important than being wealthy

People can be wealthy without being financially fit.

You may have an asset like your house but this does not necessarily make you financially fit from an income point of view. What is the difference between being wealthy and financially fit?

When your biggest asset is your mortgage with your spouse, this is not good. This does not mean that you are financially stable and secure. What if the unimaginable happened and one of you was to suddenly fall ill or worst still pass away. Would you be in a position to pay the mortgage, the bills, lost income? What protection do you have in place if this where to ever happen in your lifetime. Would you need to sell your home to be able to live and pay for your expenses? If so, is your property in positive or negative equity?

This is where life insurance kicks in and provides you with a foundation of financial fitness. It provides you with a safety net and equips you to cope with any sudden events. It prepares you to cope financially and emotionally.

How can Life Insurance help?

People often think that life insurance is expensive and one that is not necessary especially when starting out as a single person or newly weds. But this is not the case. It is very affordable for almost everyone. A healthy 30 years person can get a life insurance for €250,000+ for as little as €20 per month. A 20 year old can get life insurance for over €300,000 for as little €19 per month. A 40 year old can get life insurance €300,000 over 20 years for as little as €30 per month.

We know how important being financially fit is and we know how stressful life can be. So we like to work with our customers, listen to them and provide them with the best competitive prices in the market. We determine the wants and needs of each person and make a plan that suits you.

We are the largest online independent provider of competitively priced life insurance and work with the top insurance companies in Ireland. Get a quick quote today!

Single, Joint and Dual life insurance explained

Are you confused with all the different types of life insurance that is available to you? We have explained below single, joint and dual life insurance.

Single life insurance

A single life cover is for one life only. The benefit is paid when this person dies to the persons declared beneficiary. This is normally done when a death claim is filed and the death certificate is submitted.

Joint Life insurance

A Joint life is cover on two lives. This is when the cover insures two people but the claim is paid out on the first death only, there is only one payment made under this policy. Typically the payment is made when the first of the two people covered dies however some joint life policies pay on the second death instead of the first.

Dual Life insurance

A dual life cover also insures two people but a claim can be paid on both deaths. If one person dies, the policy continues in the name of the survivor. Then when the second person dies, their life cover payment is also paid out.

Dual life insurance vs. Joint life insurance

It is important to get the right life cover for both you and your spouse so if anything happens to either of you, your family is taken care of.

If you are the sole breadwinner of the family it is important to get covered in the event of your death as the loss of the only income will devastate your family. However the loss of the partner that is not covered can also be devastating in the sense if they provide the childcare and household duties you will now need to employ someone to take over that role.

This impact is a little less if there are two incomes in the household with both partners working however the loss of an income is still very stressful for the family.

It is important to get the right coverage that suits your family situation to ensure your family’s needs are taken care of. Buying Dual or joint life insurances is more cost effective than two separate single life insurances.

As explained above the big difference between the two is that Joint, only one payout is paid but with Dual two payouts’ are paid. So it depends on your life situation which is best suited to you.

Why not have a chat with us and we can advise on the best policy for you and your family.

Dividing up the spoils: The finances of divorce

Away from fraught emotion, equity and bank balances direct the dissolution of marriage 

Delicate balance: Did a spouse sacrifice work opportunities for their family and partner? Should they be expected to get back into the workforce if they took time out to raise a family? Ireland has one of the lowest divorce rates in Europe, but a recovering economy means that numbers will change. As couples take advantage of equity, this is more money in their bank accounts to fund the divorce. Do you know the finances of divorce?

In 2016, for example, the number of people who divorced rose by 18 per cent on the previous year. But if the partnership must end, what do you need to know?

Once their separation/divorce is finalised, many women – and increasingly some men – will be entitled to a financial settlement. While the vast majority of settlements are still paid by men to their former wives, the tide is slowly turning. Muriel Walls, partner with Walls and Toomey, notes a recent client where the wife was a serious earner. She brought in more than €250,000, while the man was earning about €60,000.

While courts are ostensibly gender-neutral, Walls points to some signs of inequity. Some lower-earning men faring worse in settlements than their female counterparts do. But, she also says the “fundamental difference” in these cases. It is often that women will have “sacrificed their career and prospects for the benefit of the family”. “And you don’t find that dynamic as often on the husband’s side.”

There will be an expectation from the courts that women who have stopped their careers, will go back to work once the marriage ends. “Someone coming in saying ‘I’ve three children and I don’t want to work’ doesn’t really cut it,” says Walls.

Spousal support

He means that spousal support is declining, although it can be reflected in the level of child support offered. For example, one spouse may offer to pay no spousal support but more in child support. “It effectively puts her in much the same financial situation and, from the husband’s point of view, costs the same,” notes Walls.

Typically, how much the settlement will be depends on a number of factors. Did a spouse, for example, sacrifice work opportunities for their family and partner? Should they be expected to get back into the workforce if they took time out to raise a family? People who settled during the recession might now want to come back to the courts to ask for more.

According to Walls, the amount of the settlement typically comes down to making sure there is proper provision in the event of a dependent spouse. Where assets may not be significant, typically they will be split 50:50. However, in cases where there might be a business, properties and investments for example, the split may favour one side.

“The assets might be worth €10 million but the wife won’t necessarily get €5 million. She might get €4 million,” notes Walls.

Given the change in economic circumstances, some people who reached a settlement in the dark days of the recession might now want to come back to the courts to ask for more. They are entitled to but, according to Walls, courts are not looking favourably on second applications. “If someone finalises something, unless there’s some extraordinary or unforeseen event, they’re stuck or bound by the constraints of the [original] deal,” she says.

If you weren’t as prudent as you should have been with your settlement, or your ex-spouse got a significant pay rise, you could not go back for more.

Hiding assets

While some may think it’s confined to an episode of The Good Wife, hiding assets does happen. “You’d be so surprised at how sneaky people can be,” Sarah McGurrin, co-founder of Orca Financial/Oomph.ie, says. This is why it’s important that both spouses are engaged with their finances not just at the end.

Banks won’t take maintenance payments into consideration when working out someone’s income. For many couples, their biggest asset is their home but keeping it isn’t always straightforward. As McGurrin notes, there are several options, including the remaining spouse buying the ex out. Others include selling it and both parties buying again or both spouses remaining in the home.

But, while there may often be one spouse who would like to remain in the family home with the children, depends on the finances. Whether or not they can do so will depend on the family’s finances – and whether or not they can get a mortgage if they need to borrow are important. “Will you have enough income to support a mortgage?” is a key question McGurrin asks, noting that banks won’t take maintenance payments into consideration when working out someone’s income. This, when combined with Central Bank mortgage lending rules, can make buying out a family home, or starting again, trickier.

Consider a couple who bought in 2006 at five times their income; their income has now shrunk because the wife works less, but their home is only edging out of negative equity. If they sell the house and split the proceeds they may not be left with very much. They will both need down-payments, as second-time buyers, of 20 per cent to buy again. Not only that, but the bank will now typically only lend them 3.5 times their income. This may not come to enough in urban areas like Dublin. “Maybe they’ll get €20-€30,000 each (from the house sale). This means they’re back to where they were in their mid-20s,” says Walls.

Child maintenance

And where a spouse wants to take sole ownership of the property, this too can run into problems. If they don’t have a strong income to back it is a problem. “The bank won’t increase their liability by letting one of the people on the mortgage off,” says McGurrin,. There can be ways around this. Given the change in economic circumstances, some people who reached a divorce settlement in the dark days of the recession might now want to come back to the courts to ask for more.

“You do hear of arrangements where the ex-spouse will reduce child maintenance and cover most of the mortgage so the other spouse can stay in the property,” she adds. Adding that some banks may also allow an interest-only period if repayments are too high.

One couple McGurrin has dealt with simply could not buy again. So one spouse is returning to his own family’s home, and the other is looking for social housing. This because neither could afford the mortgage themselves.

Age can also be a barrier to getting a new mortgage; if you’re 50 for example, you may only be able to borrow until you’re 65, which can make repayments expensive. If you are divorced or separated with children, you will once again be treated as an ordinary single person, except for the tax system, which offers single parents some relief.

First of all, single parents can apply for the single parent tax credit. Up until 2014, both parents could apply for this credit of €1,650 which reduces your tax bill by a welcome €31.73 a week. However, since then, only one parent – often the parent who has primary custody of the children – can claim it.

Single parents can also pay tax at the lower rate of 20 per cent on €4,000 more of earnings than a single person, as the lower rate band of €38,550 applies to them. However, to qualify for this, children need to be either under 18 or, if older, in full-time education. Another point to note is that you can’t be co-habiting if you’re going to receive this tax credit.

Other tax issues which can arise relate to transfer of assets. Typically these will be transferred ahead of the divorce date to ensure that neither capital acquisitions tax nor capital gains tax applies to any transfers.“ Most of adjustment orders tend to be for the wives,” says McGurrin, although she adds, “but I imagine as time goes on that will change”.

Pension adjustment order

After the house, pensions are often a couple’s other major financial asset, so agreeing a pension adjustment order needs to be done carefully and prudently. It’s an area McGurrin finds that the dependent spouse can fall behind in. “A lot of time, when it’s made, an ex-spouse will say ‘leave it where it is’,” she notes. But if you do this, and your spouse invests the funds unwisely and the fund is depleted, you will lose out.

In addition, the dependent spouse also won’t be able to access the pension until the other spouse retires. “The simplest way is that, once you get the PAO [pension adjustment order], establish your own independent pension and put it into your own name. Then from age 50, if it’s a retirement bond, you can access it yourself,” McGurrin advises.

And there’s something else to consider when it comes to pensions and Walls is very firm on the point. “If a wife gets 50 per cent of the husband’s pension, then that is 50 per cent of the pension to now – not 50 per cent of the pension he’ll get when retired.”

This can confuse some people, and it means that some people might leave themselves exposed to a penurious retirement if they don’t do the sums and start providing for their own pension, if needs be. You’re still liable for the entire loan, and the bank can still come after you for the half that’s not paid.

“What’s built up [in an ex-spouse’s pension] after the judicial separation doesn’t accrue to her,” Walls says. While a pension split will typically be of the order of 50:50, a court may give a dependent spouse 55 per cent in the event that the couple are approaching retirement, and won’t have enough time to provide for themselves. “But it can be very rare to get more than 50 per cent,” she adds. When you’re married, debts might be jointly owned. Don’t necessarily expect this to change after a separation or divorce. Any debts owned jointly may stay the same after the separation. “You’re still liable for the entire loan, and the bank can still come after you for the half that’s not paid,” says McGurrin. While financial settlements may split debt owed, institutions can still come after you if the other half isn’t being serviced.


Any maintenance payment received will be free of tax, but only if the spouses come to an agreement. If it’s as a result of a court order, tax, at the marginal rate will apply to maintenance paid to another spouse. Payments for children are tax exempt. This means that, when court ordered, the spouse making the payments can claim tax relief while the other spouse must pay tax.

It can be a “double-edged sword”, as McGurrin notes. If you want tax-free payments, then you could go with a voluntary agreement, but this isn’t certain. And with a court-ordered payment, there is tax owed, but it is fixed, and the party giving it can avail of tax relief on it, which may afford a greater payment.

And, of course, just because you’re no longer married doesn’t mean you no longer have an interest in their longevity.

“You have to have some form of insurance on the maintenance payments,” says McGurrin, adding that this will typically be a life insurance policy which will continue to pay out the maintenance payments in the event of the early death of the spouse paying them.

Get a life insurance quote from Oomph here.