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How to save money in Spain

How to save money in Spain, and how to find ways to save money online. Saving money is something that we are all a bit interested in. Find out how you can stop losing money on foreign exchage and currency rates and save money on foreign exchange rates instead. Find out how you can save money by an expat financial review. Learn more about expat health insurance and how you can save money on every day living expenses in Spain. You may even be able to save money on tax, and make the most out of your UK pension

How to Make Money with Cash Back Credit Cards
19 July 2019

Can you make money using cash back credit cards? If you are looking for a short term investment, you should check out the cash back credit cards. I know that it sounds a bit strange, but cash back credit cards can be used to top up your finances.

That does not mean you should rush out and spend your money. Instead of spending money to make a little bit of cash, consider using cash back credit cards to pay regular bills. For instance, most utility companies will allow you to pay your monthly bills using a credit card.

Direct debits are great, but at the end of the month, you need to ask yourself if your direct debits have made you any money.

Also, consider using cash back credit card to pay for things like groceries and insurance.

How Much Money Can You Make By Using Cash Back Credit Card?

The terms of cash back credit cards vary a great deal. It is important you sign up for the right cash back credit card. For instance, some cash back credit cards have sign-on bonuses. One card may pay you a $150 if you spend $500 during the first 3 months. That is a return of 30%. To be fair, that is a pretty good rate. We could all do with an extra $150.

Golden Rules When It Comes to Using Cash Back Credit Cards

Make sure you pay off the balance every month. Never leave a balance on the card as the interest rates are often pretty high. Look at it this way. There is no point in trying to build up a cash back balance if you end up paying the same amount or more interest. If end up paying interest, you have really not gained anything.

Watch out for annual fees. Before you sign up for a cash back credit card, you need to make sure you don't have to pay an annual fee. If there is a fee, make sure it is low and is not going to outweigh the benefits of having the card.

Are other cards performing better? Other cards such as loyalty cards or cards where you collect points may be worth more money. If you can get a certain amount of your monthly shopping bill, it could be better to sign up for a store card which is backed up by Visa or Mastercard.

Remember the golden rules apply to these cards as well. Always pay them off at the end of the month.

One final word of warning. Don't apply for too many credit cards or start to card surf to get the best sign up bonuses. Applying for too many cards can have a negative effect on your credit status. Having a good credit status can help you to save money in the long run if you would like to take out loans such as mortgages or other homeowners loans.

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What Are the Best Online Side Hustles for Expats in Spain?
05 July 2019

“The side hustle” is not a new term for many British expats living in Spain or in other countries around the world. Although the idea of Internet-based side hustles has been around for some time now, a lot of people are still confused about the meaning of the term.

Basically, a side hustle is an income from an extra source. The term originated in the United States and means you make money from doing little jobs using the Internet. It is a good idea if you are solely relying on an income from a UK state pension or feel you could do with some extras Euros in your pocket.

What Are the Benefits of Online Side Hustles?

Online side hustles are different from physical side hustles such as cleaning villas or working in restaurants. If you don't want the hassle of leaving your home to work, establishing a couple of online-based side hustles is not such a bad idea.

The advantages of online side hustles include:

  • Extra cash in your pocket

  • Working from home

  • Free products

  • Often better earnings doing other jobs

  • No need to travel to work

  • No messy critters to look after

How Much Can I Expect to Earn from Online Side Hustle?

According to a recent survey, most people who have got an online side hustle going, earn about $8,000 per year. But, it all depends on how much effort you put in. If you dedicate a certain number of hours to your side hustle every day, you can certainly do well.

The best thing you can do is to start off slowly to find out if working from home, and online is for you. Some people give it a go and decide it is not for them. They feel they miss out on human contact and go back to doing a part-time job.

What Are the Best Online Side Hustles?

The Internet is now a busy jobs market place, and you can find a whole range of jobs online. The most popular way to get into online side hustling is to set up a blog. Once your blog has been up and running for a while, you can add Adsense from Google and start earning money from paid adverts.

Promoting and adding affiliates links is another great way to make money from your web sites. Amazon is the best way, but you can also promote links from eBay and affiliate sites.

Gigging is also part of the online side hustle economy. This means you bid on work which you then have to complete for other people. The best sites for this kind of side hustles include Fiverr and Upwork. You can expect to earn from $50 to about $600 per month depending on how hard you work.

What You Must Know About Side Hustles

Before you launch yourself as a side hustler, there are a few things you need. Of course, you need to have computer skills, but you also need to have a thick skin. Not everyone you come across is going to like you and may not want to take you on as an affiliate marketer or writer.

You also, need a bank account and Paypal account. Most side hustles like to pay your earnings directly into your Paypal account. From your Paypal account, you can transfer your earnings directly to your bank account. So before you do anything else, you need to set up a Paypal account and make sure you have a current bank account in Spain.

Putting together a profile is a good idea. Have a little think about what you are good at.

The most successful side hustlers don't focus on one thing. They work using a variety of platforms to make money. Earnings from sites such as eBay and other auction sites can earn you a good living as well.

Yes, you can certainly earn extra money from your side hustle, but that is not all. Another advantage of working a side hustle is learning new skills and making new friends. There is more to side hustles than topping up your UK pension.


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Can Peer-to-Peer Lending Help You To Maximise Your British Expat Pension Income?
04 June 2019

If you are receiving a pension from the UK, you are probably by now rather disappointed in both exchange rates and pensions options for UK citizens living in EU countries such as Spain and France.

The investment options for UK retirees living in Spain are rather limited. You can turn to the banks, expat invest companies, or stock and shares.

A plethora of problems surround current investment opportunities:

  • Bank saving rates are low and can you trust Spanish banks?

  • The stock market is up and down. To benefit from the stock market you really need to invest for the long term. Is that something you want to do when you are an ex-pat living in Spain? Is it a smart way to invest your British expat pension? You also need to keep in mind all of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

  • Many expat investment companies offer options. But, you need to make sure you invest with a reliable company

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-Peer lending is quickly becoming the way to go for many investors. There are some major advantages of trying out some of the peer-to-peer lending platforms which you can find online. Just make sure you read the terms and conditions before you commit to any lending peer-to-peer lending scheme. Just like with other investments, you can risk losing your money. However, you need to ask yourself if the advantages outweigh the risks you may be taking.

Advantages of Peer-to-Peer Lending In a Nutshell

  • You can lend relatively small amounts to specific lenders

  • Start off small and build up to larger amounts once you have found out if peer-to-peer lending is for you.

  • Good return on your investment. All of the schemes are different but some offer up to 6% return.

  • You can control the scheme yourself avoiding paying commission to third party companies or directly.

  • Outside of the stock market

  • A variety of peer-to-peer lending schemes are available

  • No need to sit in front of the computer all day to monitor the stock market

Of course, there are disadvantages as well. You don't get to meet the borrowers and you will often find that you are lending across borders. But there are some peer-to-peer lending schemes which are well regulated and some of them even offer investment opportunities in regulated markets such as the UK.

As always, make sure you invest to suit your own financial needs. Don't forget you may want to take into consideration other financial opportunities and financial obligations such as expat health insurance and expat funeral plans.

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Are You Still Owed PPI? How to Reclaim Payment Protection the Easy Way for Expats
05 May 2019

The PPI scandal rumbles on. You have up until the end of August 29 2019 to make a claim. If you have not made a claim yet, or found a PPI resolution provider, it is a good idea to so now. Many people are still not sure how to reclaim money owed to them under the PPI scheme. One of the reasons is simply that they are not sure if they had PPI or not. 

PPI was sold under many different names. It is easy to presume it is going to say Payment Protection on your paperwork. However, it is more likely PPI was sold to you under a different name.

These are the most common names, or terms, you will find on your paperwork:

Account Cover
Credit Insurance
Payment Protection
Loan insurance
Loan Protection
Accident, sickness and unemployment insurance ( Abbreviated ASU)
Payment cover
Protection plan

Who Is Affected by PPI Mis-Selling?

Anybody who had a mortgage, a loan or held a credit card in the UK can be affected by the PPI mis-selling scandal. That includes personal loans and car loans. Go through your old paperwork and try to find out as much information as you can. It could be you have a substantial PPI claim hiding in a drawer somewhere. Many expats are affected by PPI but not aware that they can reclaim PPI. Launching a claim as soon as possible would be a good idea as a Brexit could have a negative effect on exchange rates. A lower exchange rate would make your claim worth considerably less and is best avoided.

Companies and banks started to sell PPI back in the late 1980s. If you took out some kind of financial agreement around that time, it is likely that you will have been mis-sold PPI on one financial product or more. Don’t forget this applies to store cards as well.

Leading stores such as Debenhams and Marks and Spencer added PPI to their credit card more or less automatically unless you ticked a box refusing the insurance. Most staff in stores were not well trained and did not explain Payment Protection Insurance would be added to their financial product.

Martin Knipe from the company RYM Claims says many people have still not checked their current or former financial products. You may not have PPI on your mortgage currently, but it does not mean that it was not added on in the past. Martin points out that some customers are concerned to claim PPI from a current loan or credit provider. A claim for PPI is not going to affect your current relationship with your lender. 

This is a list of loan providers which may have sold you PPI:

Credit cards
Store cards
Car finance

I Am An Ex-Pat - Can I Claim PPI?

You certainly can claim PPI even though you are now living abroad. Make sure you have your former UK address details when you contact a former lender or a company specialising in PPI reclaims.

It helps if you have as much information available as possible. An account number or former mortgage agreement will help.

How Much Am I Likely to Get In a PPI Refund?

PPI refunds vary a great deal. According to Martin, it is important to check. Refunds range from a couple of thousand pounds to over £50,000. 

To reclaim your PPI you can try it to go it alone or use a company. Most companies are very successful when it comes to making PPI’s claim on your behalf and know their way around the system. 

 Before you ask a specialist PPI reclaim company to help you, it is important to make sure the company is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Quality PPI reclaim companies will always make sure they inform you of their FCA number. Once again, it is a good idea for UK expats resident in Spain or any other country to start a PPI reclaim as soon as possible.

Take some time out of your busy day to check if you were possibly mis-sold PPI. You may even have a substantial claim on your hands.

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How to Boost Your Income in Retirement
14 April 2019

Has your pension income flatlined? Most people around the world only have a certain amount of income in retirement. Unfortunately, interest rates are still low and are not likely to increase in the near future.  It is not only you who are affected. Millions of retirees have been affected by steadily falling interest rates.
This has forced many retirees back to work, many have found themselves struggling even though they thought they were going to have good retired incomes. The truth is that living costs are out of line with many pensions. 
Instead of enjoying their retirements, many have been forced to go back to work. These days, you are likely to find retirees working in supermarkets and gas stations to make ends meet. Should you find yourself in a similar sort of situation, it could be a good idea to check out what you can do to help yourself.
Are Your Owed Any Money?
First of all, check if you are owed any money. If you live in the UK and were born before May 3, 1953, you are entitled to what it is known as the Winter Fuel Allowance. This means that you are entitled to an extra payment of £100 up to £300 per year. 
You should also check if you are owed any money from banks or building societies. PPI has been very much in the news and is still an issue in the UK. Check out if you are eligible for a PPI claim
Find a Job
Yes, it is a good idea to find a job. But, do you need to leave home to work? If you need to travel to work, you need to take any travel expenses into account. Fuel is not cheap, and driving to work can easily cost you a lot of money. 
There are smarter ways to work. You could become a dog sitter and walker, take in ironing, or even do some sewing. Of course, you can also work online. Setting up your own blog is a good idea. You can make money from your blog using online advertising schemes such as Adsense and affiliate marketing programs. 
It is not difficult to become a blogger and companies such as Weebly makes it easy for you to set your first website. Even if you have not tried blogging or creating your own website before, you will find it easy to do with Weebly. Who knows – you may even become a Digital Nomad! 
Make Sure You Make the Most Out of Money Saving Schemes
Popular supermarket bonus schemes can help you to save money if you use them in the right sort of way. It does not seem to matter where in the world you live, you fill that your local supermarket will have some sort of loyalty card scheme. They can save you money, but you need to be clever about how you use your points. If you are savvy enough, there are some high ticket items which you never need to spend money on again. But, you need to think ahead. 
Also, you need to check out cash back credit cards and make sure you make the most out of your ISA allowance. More and more banks are leaving the UK high street and it can be hard to find financial advice. Not all of us like to use services such as internet and telephone banking. 
Cashback sites can help as well, and there are a couple of good ones that you could try. You could even set up a newsletter promoting the best deals on cash back and discounts sites. 
In other words, there are a plethora of ways to boost your pension. Keep an eye on how much money you are earning to inspire yourself and others. 

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Have You Been Mis-sold Your QROPS Pension or Other Pension Scheme?
07 April 2019

Since the 1980s, the financial service industry both in the UK, Spain, and other countries abroad, been making a lot of money from selling pensions. Unfortunately, many of these pensions have been mis-sold. For many expats as well as UK residents, this has meant huge financial loses. Some have even lost their entire pension pot.
QROPS Pensions
QROPS stands for Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. When it comes to overseas pensions schemes, this is perhaps the most common pension scheme ex-pats may have found themselves talked into. It sounds great on the surface of it, but in the long run, a QROPS investment can be an expensive mistake.
Funds held in UK pension schemes have been transferred into QROPS often with companies which are not properly regulated. The initial point of contact is often a cold call and the operator may even come across as slightly aggressive. 
The caller makes the QROPS sound great, and ex-pats often commit to them in their droves without having checked out the nature of the investment and the alternatives. They are promised a lump sum and a new pension in an overseas territory. 
The truth is that companies do not offer QROPS schemes out of the goodness of their hearts. Financial brokers and investment firms make a small fortune out of selling these schemes. Commission rates vary a great deal, and you can end up paying anything from £8,000 to £30,000. There is little wonder why companies insist on them being such a good investment option.
Most QROPS schemes are not a good investment option for you. Instead, they really only make financial sense to the financial adviser or investment company selling them.
Self Invested Pensions (SIPP)
SIPP style pension schemes were mainly sold in the UK. On the surface of it, they sounded great but it would appear investors may have lost millions. SIPP pension schemes are set up to hold high-risk investments with high charging structures. Investors have commonly transferred their private or employer's pension into a SIPP after having been promised high returns.
If you have invested in a SIPP, it could be a good idea to find out what your pension is now worth, and at the same time, you should make sure you understand the charging structure. 
Occupational Pension Schemes (OPS)
Occupational pensions schemes are often set up by unregulated companies to try to avoid the proper advice process. We have heard a lot about them recently thanks to employers the likes of Sir Philip Green. OPS plans are mainly set up by employers to help their employees save for retirement.
Most OPS schemes fall within three categories:
  1. Benefit pension schemes
  2. Contributory pension schemes
  3. Cash balance plans
The employer is often required to pay in and contribute towards the scheme. Most employers like to match their staff's contribution.
You should always review your pension arrangements. However, do not take the advice of cold callers. If you are thinking about making changes, speak to an independent financial adviser, or maybe speak to a couple to make sure that you are familiar with all of the options available. 

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How to Keep Your Credit Card Safe
30 March 2019

Keeping your credit card safe is a serious matter these days. Billions are being lost to credit card fraud every year. Yet, many people seem to be only too happy to hand out their credit card details. We are increasingly reliant on our credit cards to pay for goods and services. When making payment for goods online, we don't think twice about handing over our credit card details.
Many consumers are not aware of how they can protect themselves from credit card fraud. For instance, it is only too easy to hand over your credit card details when your annual insurance policies are due or when you want to complete a purchase.
Top Tips On Keeping Your Credit Card Details Safe
There are ways in which you can make credit card less likely. Maybe one of the best ways is not to pay by credit card at all. If an online retailer accepts Paypal, this is often a more secure payment method. However, there are times when you do want to use your card. If that is so, there are a couple of steps that you can take.
Phone Them Back
When your insurance company phones you up to ask for a payment, it is a good idea to phone them back to make the payment, After all, how do you know it is your insurance company? The first thing you should do is to check that they have your insurance policy number. If they do, it is great, but it does not give you the complete picture. Many companies get hacked every day, and companies holding financial information are more likely to get hacked.
To make sure that you are actually talking to your insurance company, ask them if you could call them back. Check that the phone number given to you is associated with the company. You should also ask them to send you an email to confirm the cost of the policy. Don't be embarrassed to do – it is your money.
Check Your Statement Online
Make sure that you have access to your credit card statement online. This allows you to check on an ongoing basis to make sure that all transactions are correct. A lot of people throw away their receipts, but this is not a good idea. Check your statement a couple of times per week.
Set Up An Alert with Your Credit Card Company
Setting up an alert is another good. A lot of credit card companies allow you to download an app which records and sends you a message when someone debits your card. This is a great way of keeping an eye on your card. If you suspect fraud, give your credit card company a fraud right away.
Leaving Your Credit Card Details Online
Don't leave your credit card details with your favorite online shops. You may trust them, and they could be great, but you never know. Even the safest stores can be hacked or a member of staff may access records.
If a company insists that you leave your details with them on a permanent basis, you should ask yourself why. Some auction sites ask you to leave your credit card as a form of security or to make bidding easier, you should vote with your feet.
On top of that, you should never give your credit card to the restaurant staff. Make sure they bring the machine to your table instead.
In other words, never let your credit card out of your site, and you may even want to consider a prepaid credit card to be on the safe side. 

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Financial Solutions for Ex-Pats in Spain
08 March 2019

Financial solutions for British expats living in Spain are now more urgent than ever before. The UK government seems to have lost complete control of its Brexit exit strategy if they ever had one. Many expats have carried on hoping that everything will be alright, but now it looks less likely that “everything” will be alright. There is a precious little time to review your finances and put the best strategies in place to prevent potential financial problems.
What Are the Top Issues Expats Should Be Concerned About Before a No Deal Brexit?
Pensions are of course the biggest concerns to many expats. Your state pension is not likely to be affected but your private pension may be an issue. It is likely that your private pension may be subject to a 25% tax from HRMC. This is what happens to expats living outside of the EU now. British Expats in Spain may also find themselves to this rather hefty tax.
Health insurance could be another issue. The Spanish government seems to be extending an olive branch but you never know what is going to happen. If the UK government does not offer the same deal to Spanish expats living in the UK, things may change. It could be a good idea to take a look at the range of private health insurers which are available in Spain just to make sure that you have options available in case things go wrong.
Should you go offshore? Depending on how much money you have available, it may be a good idea to take a look at some of the deals offered by off-shore banks. Some off-shore banks have very reasonable investments level and can help you with everything from credit cards to travel insurance. Take stock of all your investments and money that you have in your bank accounts to create a complete picture of your position before you contact off-shore banks. A good option would be to incorporate a company in a location such as Gibraltar. 
Many expats are anxiously waiting to see what is going to happen. Maybe the best idea is to take some action and find out what you can do to help yourself to shore up your finances during this difficult and challenging financial period. 

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The Brexit Effect on Expat Savings and Expat Investments
18 January 2019

If you are finding that your expat savings are already being devoured by inflation, you may be worrying even more now when Brexit looms over expat savings and investments. Many expats have now moved away from investments such as stocks and shares. An increasing amount of expats hold their savings in cash in the bank. Many quote Brexit as a major cause for concern when it comes to reviewing their expats' savings.
However, this may just be the perfect time to consider an expats savings review. 
Expat Savings Review
Should you consider an expat savings review right now? Studies show that a very low number of expats would consider and expat saving view before they know the outcome of Brexit. But, reviewing the way you save your money is exactly what you should be doing. There is no way of bulletproof your finances against Brexit, however, there are acceptable risks.
Now could be a good time to look at moving some of that cash into stock market investments. Some financial analysts predict that the UK can be a serious mover and shaker when it comes to increased share prices after Brexit. At the moment, UK FTSE share prices are more reasonable than others, and now could be a good time to invest. 
Expat Investments Review
An expat investment review should always be part of good financial planning. More than likely you already have some investments in place. It can be a private pension or other investment instruments. But, there are some who think that having access to UK based private pension funds may be difficult after Brexit. If you are an expat relying on the current or future income of a private pension in the UK, it would be a good idea to find out what the alternatives out.
One of the alternatives could be to take a look at if QROPS. Make sure that you use a regulated financial adviser if you are planning a forage into the world of QROPS investments. Once you start looking around, you will find it can be hard to distinguish the wood from trees, and getting some professional advice is always the best idea. 
The commission charges on QROPS can be steep. Understanding all of the charges is key to taking out the right QROPS scheme for you. 
I know that I have written about these topics before in this blog. However, almost every day I meet people who are concerned about their savings and pensions. Most of them are rather complacent when it comes to financial reviews.  What matters more than anything else is that you are in control of your finances. Many people have no control at all.
When you find it hard to control your own expat savings and expat investments, you are the ideal candidate for a financial review. Don't be embarrassed. Contact a financial adviser and find out what action you can take to improve your investment return and make the most out of your expat savings. 

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4 Things You Must Do As an Expat Before Brexit
14 January 2019

What is going to happen when Brexit comes into effect? Let's be honest, no one really knows when Brexit it. That is apart from one thing – Brexit will one way or the other effect your finances. More than likely Brexit will have some negative impact on your expat finances. You can't really bulletproof your finances, however, there are steps which you can take to make your income and personal financial arrangement less vulnerable. 
Our expat living standards are important to us. Many expats living in Spain or in other warm countries around the world, retired early to enjoy life. Brexit will have an impact on our standard of living in many different ways. Most expats in Spain are looking into how they can cut back on expenses to enjoy the things which we may now take for granted. 
4 Things All Expats Should Be Doing Right Now
If you have not already done them, there are 4 top things which expats living in Spain should be doing right now. Keeping up your standard of living should be top of your agenda. After all, living in Spain is very much about enjoying life.
Expat Savings Reviews
How are your savings doing? I bet that you are concerned about your savings. If you spend more than 183 days in Spain, you will be classed as a resident. Even if you have what you may consider a relatively small amount of money saved, you should complete an expat savings review. Take a look around the Internet, and you will find there are independent financial advisers who are happy to help you complete a complimentary expat financial review. This is just as important whether you live in Spain or Singapore.
Your savings in Spain are one of the things which could help to top up your income should any UK based investments cause a problem after Brexit.
Brexit and Expat Pensions
Many Spanish UK expats have raised concerns about the state of private pensions after Brexit. The jury seems to be out on this issue. In fact, it could be that you may not be able to receive your UK private pension in Spain after Brexit. 
As things are so unclear, and this is an issue for many UK expats in Spain and other EU countries, it is best to contact a financial adviser. There could still be some options available, but according to an article in the Independent, there is real cause for concern if the UK should crash out of the EU without a deal. Instead of being complacent, you need to review your options for your UK pension as soon as possible. 
Brexit and Exchange Rates
Are you receiving a regular income from the UK in the form on rental income on a property or other type of income such as regular bank transfers? Once again, you need to make sure you take steps to protect yourself from the expected negative effect on Sterling exchange rates which Brexit is expected to have. Check out some of the currency transfer companies around. They have plenty of experience in currency forecasting and can offer better rates than banks.
Expat Health Insurance and Brexit
What is going to happen to health agreements? This is another thing which is up in the affair. Brexit will certainly make travel insurance for UK residents more expensive, but how will it affect UK expats living in Spain and other EU countries? This is the big unknown, and if you are concerned, now is a  good time as any to check out expat health insurance.
The companies which offer expat health insurance range from Spanish companies to well-established UK health insurance companies such as Cigna and BUPA. One top tip before you invest in an expat health insurance. Make sure that you completely understand the policy. Most of the time expat health insurance will not cover the cost of medicines. You may have to deal with the cost of medicine in a different way. Before you buy international health insurance review what you are being offered and get everything in writing. 
Brexit is going to mean a brave new world for many expats in Spain other European countries. You should familiarise yourself with all of the potential risks before a Brexit deal is accepted, or the UK leaves the EU without a deal. 

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