Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What If I Lose My Credit Card?

Let 's look at this a bit more closely. Those four words are probably the most important words you can remember should you lose your credit card. Report the loss immediately.

It should be noted that in this article the word lost can also be synonymous with stolen. The simple fact is that with millions and millions of credit cards being carried around on a daily basis some are bound to be lost. There is no debate that in the US more people are carrying credit cards and debit cards than ever before.

Two pieces of literature that you should be aware of are the FCBA, which is the Fair Credit Billing Act, and the EFTA, which is the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. These two documents along with the credit card company policy will give you a lot of solid information to use should you lose your credit card.

Here are some of the more important procedures that you should take as soon as you realize your card is gone.

In order to limit your loss should the card be used by someone, you must report the loss (credit card or debit card) to the card issuer as soon as possible. The vast majority of companies have a toll-free number for you to use for this purpose. This number should be on your billing statements. Call this number as soon as you can. There is a reason for this urgency which we will explore in a moment.

After you have made the initial call, you should also write the company a letter. Write the pertinent information about your account as well as the date that you noticed the card was missing. If you reported the card missing to the police, mention that also.

Under the FCBA, your maximum liability for unauthorized use of your credit card is $50. However, if you report the loss before your credit card is actually used, the credit card company will not hold you responsible for any unauthorized charges. Keep in mind that if your loss involves only the number of your card and not the card itself, will not be held liable for unauthorized use as long as you report the use as quickly as possible.

There is a difference if the loss involves a debit card. These rules fall under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act or EFTA. Under federal law your liability for unauthorized use of your debit card or ATM card depends on how soon you notify the company of the loss.

The EFTA states that you cannot be held responsible for its use if you report an ATM or debit card missing before it is used. This is why it is imperative that you report the loss immediately. On the other hand, it is just as important to understand that if the debit or ATM card is used before you report it lost, your liability under federal law will often depend on when you notify the card issuer.

For example, when you notify the bank or card issuer within two business days of the loss, you are liable for only up to $50 if the card is used. However, if you do not report the loss within two business days, you could be responsible for up to $500.

If you do not report the loss within 60 days, you can be held responsible for unlimited loss. The thinking is you should have noticed the unauthorized charges on your billing statements by that time. When this happens you risk losing the funds that you have in your bank account as well as any unused portion of your credit line that has been established for overdrafts.

For any unauthorized transfers involving only your debit card number not the loss of the actual card you are liable only for transfers that occur after 60 days following the mailing of your bank statement containing the unauthorized use and before you report the loss.

Once you have reported the loss, you cannot be held liable for additional unauthorized transfers that occur after that time. In other words, when unauthorized transfers appear on your bank statement you should immediately notify the company.

Do this once a week and you avoid many problems if you happen to lose your credit card. It is a good idea to make it a habit to physically check your credit cards and debit cards to make sure you still have them.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Refinance Or Not? That Is The Question

If you find yourself at the closing table. Good question. You might ask what the heck family memories have to do with a home refinance. Also, a home is most often filled with the owner?s personal touches and contains many memories.

Also, a home is most likely the single biggest asset you own, and can make the decision to refinance a difficult one. Your home is most likely the single biggest asset you own, and can make the decision to refinance a difficult one.

The higher your mortgage interest accrued per year, the higher the tax deduction benefit if you itemize on your tax return, as opposed to taking the standard deduction. Speak to your accountant to discuss the tax benefit comparison between your current mortgage and proposed refinance mortgage. Determine the maximum monthly payment that meets your comfort level.

Figure your current monthly expenditures to compare against various refinance scenarios. You may be looking for a lower rate, lower payment, debt-consolidation, cash-out for various purposes, or to get out of a variable rate program and into a fixed-rate loan, or maybe a 30 year term to lower the monthly payment and use the extra money for investments. Dig as deep as you can. It may seem obvious, but you should ask yourself what you wish to accomplish in the short and long-term with a refinance, before you begin the process.

If you know you will be in your home for a long period of time, you will most likely be more comfortable with a fixed-rate refinance. This is an important question. How long do you plan to be in your home?

You should expect no less, because after all, your home is your castle. Now that you know the details, terms, benefits, and future stability of your refinance program, you will feel confident at the closing. The best refinance program is one that provides for immediate benefit, and also provides for future financial stability in-line with your objectives. Your loan officer should be able to guide you throughout the entire process, and provide you with disclosure documents detailing the specifics of the loan program that you ultimately choose to utilize.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Real Cost of Living ? and Why the Inflation Rate Tells a Different Story

It may well be above the Government?s target of 2%, but to most UK households, a 3% rise in average costs would be affordable, if a little inconvenient. To those of us keeping a close eye on our finances, the official 3% inflation rate might seem a little short of the mark.

In reality, the UK has recently experienced some much sharper rises in costs of living that are putting many people under serious financial strain.

It?s clear that the official inflation rate does not tell the full story. For that reason, The Telegraph recently reported on the Real Cost of Living Index (RCLI): an unofficial inflation measure designed to map out how much more each year the average British citizen is paying out for their essential costs of living ? those that are unavoidable without making significant lifestyle changes.

RCLI: how is it different to official measures?

The Real Cost of Living Index aims to give a realistic weighting to the essential costs of living, which The Telegraph says ?provides a more realistic picture of costs faced by hard-working families?. In particular, this includes housing (i.e. mortgage/rent), groceries, utilities, transport and taxes.

The current RCLI rate of inflation has been measured at 9.5% - over three times the official inflation rate of 3%.

To date, the Government have relied on the CPI (Consumer Price Index) and RPI (Retail Price Index) measures of inflation. Both measure the change in prices of a vast range of goods and services (known as the ?basket of goods and services?), intended to represent the average buying habits of the British public.

There?s a problem with this method: for your own rise in costs to mirror inflation, you would have to buy everything in the Government?s ?basket?, in the right quantities. In reality, each individual is only likely to buy some of these.

Considering that a reasonable proportion of household spending is taken up by groceries ? of which The Telegraph reported a 23% yearly rise in average prices ? it could be argued that the 3% inflation rate proves that CPI doesn?t give a clear enough picture of how or where prices are rising.

Why would official inflation figures conflict with real-life experience?

It?s a matter for great debate as to exactly why the official inflation rate of 3% falls short of so many real-life experiences. One explanation is that CPI does not include council tax and mortgage costs ? two major expenses to any homeowner. But RPI does include these, and even RPI inflation is only 4.2%.

Government inflation measures give different weightings to items according to the perceived importance to the average person?s budget. But the much higher RCLI inflation figures suggest that essential costs of living are not being weighted highly enough in the official statistics.

What?s more, the Government has increasingly included items in their figures that are known to be steadily falling in price ? most notably consumer electronics. This, along with items that experience little or no change in price, may go some way to neutralising the effect of such large rises in costs of living. And this could make the inflation rate look unrealistically low.

Are inflation figures transparent?

Some critics have suggested that items in the ?basket? may be chosen for political reasons, rather than for an accurate representation of costs of living. There are a number of reasons why this could be the case.

Steady inflation

In many ways, a low-inflation Government is seen as a successful Government. The last time the economy really struggled was under the Conservatives in the early 90s ? and this was cited as a major factor in their loss of power. 3% inflation is by no means a low rate of inflation, but it?s a lot better than 9.5%.

Risk of a downturn

On the other hand, announcing an official inflation rate of 9.5% could be devastating to the economy. In times of uncertainty, a large part of recovery is down to consumer and lender confidence.

High inflation means money is technically worth less ? so people are poorer, and spend less. If companies give pay rises in line with high inflation, the prices which cause inflation are sustained, and may continue to rise. If they reach a certain point too quickly, demand will suddenly fall ? meaning business are stuck with high costs that are not being met by demand, and may be forced to make cutbacks. If this results in above-average unemployment, companies are hit by a further reduction on demand, which could lead to further cutbacks ? potentially sparking economic recession.

The rise in costs of living may well be higher than inflation would suggest ? but the inflation rate affects consumer confidence. In this sense, an unrealistically low inflation figure could in fact save the economy from further damage.

Is it accurate?

Thirdly, a 9.5% inflation rate wouldn?t give the full picture. Yes, some of the most significant costs of living are rising at this rate ? but the costs of many other goods and services aren?t. For example, the average consumer does not need to spend 9.5% more of their disposable income on things like CDs, DVDs, books, trips to the cinema, and pints of beer than they did this time last year.

only then would it be clear just how much are costs are rising, where they are rising, and how much of a problem it is. With increases in essential costs of living varying so wildly from that of other goods and services, it might be more accurate to release different figures for different areas of the economy ? together and measuring the average rise in costs isn?t accurate enough?

With that in mind, could it be that grouping a ?basket of goods and services?

Regardless of whether they publicly acknowledge it, the Government may well take a 9.5% rise in these costs very seriously. It measures costs which have a huge impact on how much we have left as disposable income. However inflation is measured, the Real Cost of Living Index is an important figure.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Negotiating Debt Settlement

But the fact is that if you haven't paid your bill in a few months, it is likely that they will offer you a settlement without you doing anything. I've talked to people who didn't believe that the credit card companies would actually settle for less than they were owed.

I have actually gotten better deals from some collection agencies than from the original creditor. If your debt is no longer with the original creditor, and has been sent to a collection agency, you will have to deal with them.

There is no need to panic about the first collection notice you receive. I don't wan to imply that there are no consequences, but the process is fairly slow. The collection agency wants you to pay. They have no interest in you declaring bankruptcy. If that happens, nobody wins.

If they win a judgment in court, they can levy your wages, or hire the sheriff to get your property. This is unlikely. I don't want to say it wont happen, because it can. Usually, the expense is to great and they are more likely to sell the debt on the open market to another collector who will again try to collect. These companies buy old debt on the secondary market where debt is traded much like secondary mortgages.

When debt becomes overwhelming, and the word "bankruptcy" starts going through your mind, don't let it get to you. Collection agencies love to tell tall tales of gloom, about taking your pay check or your property. What they sometimes don't tell you (unlawfully) is that they can do none of these things until after they get a judgment against you in court.

Since most consumers don't know this, they turn unnecessarily to bankruptcy. Bankruptcy may become an option at some point, but there are plenty of other choices for dealing with debt before it gets to that.

Make sure you have taken advantage of all of the other options available to you for settling your debt before you go through the financial ruin of a bankruptcy.

The first step in the settlement process is to try "debt validation". Don t attempt to settle a debt until you have checked the statute of limitations.

If the debt is older than the statute of limitations, then the collector is wasting their time and yours. Usually after 7 years negative marks will disappear from your credit report.

We do need to be clear about something. The creditor can still go to court and get a judgment even after the past due debt no longer shows on your credit report. If it has been over 7 years, and the debt has been removed from your credit bureau report but the statute of limitations is 10 years - you are still liable for the debt!

If however, the debt is off of your credit report, and the statute of limitations has passed, it can no longer be collected. You don't have to worry about it any more.

If you know that the statute of limitations has not passed, then validation is a waste of time. You can move immediately to making arrangements to settle the debt.

The collection agency is assigned the debt by the original creditor. Their job is to use any legal means to get you to pay. These may be companies who have purchased the debt, sometimes called junk debt buyers. They may also be attorneys who attempt to collect either by calling, or sending you a letter.

Don't panic just because you receive a letter from an attorney. They have to go through the same court process as any other collector before they can do any type of enforced collection.

Some debts are easier to settle than others.

Unsecured debts include things like store cards, gas cards, medical bills, master card, visa, amex, etc. These are generally pretty easy to settle.

You cannot settle secured debts! You have promised an actual asset as security for the loan. If you default, or cannot make your payments, you have already promised to give back the property. Repossession is used for personal property such as automobiles, and foreclosure is used for real property.

You can get a creditor to make a good deal. In the negotiation, you have the advantage. You have what the creditor wants. They will drive a hard bargain. They will tell you no. Stand firm, and make a good deal. Be professional, be courteous. Let them know that you know what your rights are, and what they can and cannot do.

Correspond with them by mail. You will want to have ALL they paperwork so you can validate your efforts. This means saving not only the letter, but the envelopes with the postmark. When you send mail to them, send it certified mail with a return receipt.

One rule is, if it wasn't written, it wasn't done. If I were to ask you to prove that you sent a particular piece of mail to the creditor, you you be able to produce proof? They agency will almost always take substantially less than what is owed.

How much should you offer? They amount that companies receive for old debt is quite literally a few cents per dollar. The amounts that they pay depend on the age of the debt.

If the debt has been charged off recently, the company may have paid only six or seven cents on the dollar. If the debt has been cycled through a couple of different agencies in an attempt to collect, they may have paid less than 2 or 3 cents on the dollar. If the account is several years old, and is out of statute, they are basically worthless, and may have been sold for one cent or less.

Knowing this, start your offer at 25% or less. If you have an old credit card balance of $1000.00, the collection agency has probably paid at the most $70.00 for the debt (seven cents on the dollar). If you only offer them $250.00, they still make a profit of $180.00. The original creditor gets nothing because they have already sold the debt. So this money is all profit to the collections.

Remember the rule - if it wasn't written, it wasn't done. Keeping this in mind, never, and I mean NEVER, talk to a collection agency on the phone.

Make sure you have all terms in writing before you send anyone any money. A creditor will almost never live up to a verbal agreement. You need to have written documentation of all agreements, and even then you can expect a fight. Good records make or break a settlement.

Keep a copy of every letter you send. Its important to remember that you may not only need to verify what they collector told you, but also what you sent to them.

If you do call a collection agency, my first question is WHY? My second question is are you keeping a log book of the calls, the time, the date, and first and last name of the person you spoke to, their employee number if they have one, and a general record of the topic discussed including any promises made. You can also go to Radio Shack and by a telephone recorder. Keep in mind it is illegal to record a conversation without notifying the other party that the call is being recorded. But when they tell you that "the call is being recorded for quality assurance" it is kind of fun to tell them thats OK, because you are recording them also.

Make sure you know the amount of the debt. Agencies will sometimes add charges that don't actually exist to a debt, basically because they just want to make more money. I understand the motivation to make more money, but this practice is illegal. If your original debt was $2000.00 and its less than 5 years old and has somehow become $10,000, then you know there is some serious padding going on. Most companies will waive the fees.

You generally have a lot of time. As the debt gets older, the daily calls will stop, and as the debt remains uncollected your chances for a good settlement increase. Just because the debt has become inactive from a collection standpoint, doesn't mean that they won't try other means to collect. Don't think that they have forgotten about it. They may consider the debt to be a loss and take the tax write off, or may forget about it for a few months and then pursue a judgment.

Don't be in a hurry to settle. Take lots of time to reach an agreement. If your trying to settle the debt for a specific reason, its none of their business. Don't be "friendly". Be polite and professional. But no matter how nice these people seem, they are not your friends, they are not there to help you, they are there for one reason - to collect the debt. And anything you say will be used for that purpose.

If you tell them that you need to settle so you can buy a new car, you can basically forget a decent settlement.

Let them deal. Don't accept the first offer they make.

Sometimes you will be contacted by a second collection agency attempting to collect the same debt, at the same time. Negotiate with both, and take the best deal.

You should use the threat of bankruptcy. It is in your best interest to let the collector think that you have no money, and that you are on the precipice of bankruptcy. Make the collector think that this is their last chance to make an arrangement for payment.

Negotiating your debt can save you literally thousands of dollars. Over the last three days we have covered what a collector can do, what they cant, and some strategies for negotiating your debts and paying a lower about. Thats a lot of information. Thats its for today.

And begin living a debt free life. Whatever you choose to do, get started today. You know your situation and your comfort level. I constantly stress that while you can certainly settle your debt on your own, it is sometimes best to get a professional to handle a this for you.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Gold ETF, an Inflation Hedge or In a Bubble?

An exchange traded fund is similar to a mutual fund with one major difference being that it is traded on the market like a stock. Commodity ETFs are also made up of currency exchange traded funds. These include energies, such as oil and natural gas, agriculture, which includes crops and livestock, and metals, like silver and gold. Commodity ETFs (exchange traded funds) are made up predominantly of things derived or cultivated from the Earth.

This is appealing to some gold investors (coined gold bulls in the marketplace) because they can own gold without having to store the physical inventory. Gold ETFs are shares of gold issued as a certificate. A Gold ETF was launched in March of 2003.

The gold exchange traded fund inventory is securely stored by their holders in vaults. The holder that launched the first gold ETF is StreetTracks Gold Shares. Incidentally, they are also the largest holder of the fund. The corporation holds such a vast amount of gold that it has recently had to find a larger vault in which to store it. Currently StreetTracks Gold Shares stores about 584 tons of gold, with a value of almost 18 billion dollars. When the ETF launched in 2003 they had only 8 tons.

Gold ETFs are considered a good hedge fund for a commodity exchange traded fund portfolio because of the stability gold has shown over the years. Gold 's value has kept up with inflation for more than 100 years. Recently gold ETFs have been up and down, but as a long term investment, gold is thought by many to be one of the safest.

1/10 of an ounce of gold is equivalent to one share. The average cost to trade a gold ETF is about 0.4%. This is a full percent less than other commodity ETFs. Gold is considered to offer the most liquidity of commodity ETFs, making gold the savvy investors choice.

Recently the name of StreetTracks Gold ETF was changed to SPDR Gold Trust, though its symbol, GLD, remains the same. This was a re-branding done to pull all of the corporations commodity ETF funds under one umbrella, making it simpler for investors to find all of the products they offer

SPDR Gold ETF declined by 12.5% in April of 2008, the steepest since the inception of the ETF. It is expected to be back on the rise with analysts suspecting it will hit record highs by the end of the year.

Some advisors are concerned that the storage of the gold is so secretive, making it impossible to know if the gold is so secretive, making it impossible to know if the gold is adequately secure. They also warn that the capital gains tax on gold is almost double that of other commodity ETFs. Other than for making jewelry, they say, gold is a useless commodity.

There are financial advisors who advise against gold ETFs because they feel the funds are a bad choice.

Consider adding a gold ETF to your commodity ETFs, chances are you won't regret it. Gold ETF, the experts tell us, is of the most secure and trusted assets to invest in today. The global demand for gold ETFs is in a constant upswing, even in the current troubled financial state.

They say that gold will always have a value. Most financial advisors and analysts praise gold ETFs as a safe, secure investment because the price of gold, they claim, cannot decline due to political uprise or the fall of financial institutions.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Avoiding Repossession - An Overview

This is a problem that is affecting an increasing number of homeowners throughout the country. One of the most unpleasant consequences of failing to pay your mortgage is "repossession" of your property.

If your mortgage payments are not being kept up to date then the lender may decide to approach the courts to apply for a repossession order. The first notification will be from the lender warning of the consequences should you not keep up your payments on the mortgage.

The threat of repossession is something that a growing number of individuals are facing today. This can be put down to a number of factors that will on the most part, include borrowers who overstretch themselves financially and subsequently struggle to meet their monthly secured commitments.

Runaway property prices have too played a part as this has made homes in many areas unaffordable for first-time buyers. Many stretch their finances to get a first foot on the ladder. Some will see this as an essential means for home ownership.

Debt campaigners have highlighted in recent months that a growing number of borrowers were unable to meet their mortgage repayments, with many of them first-time buyers who only recently climbed onto the property ladder.

The Citizens Advice Bureau said that nearly a million people had missed one or more mortgage repayment in the past year. Over two million said they were concerned that their finances may not stretch to cover their monthly debts.

Missing payments on the mortgage or secured loan is a serious issue which could lead to arrears and possibly repossession if matters are not dealt with.
The repossession process will start by the lender applying to the courts for a repossession order. It is unlikely that the courts will grant this on the first hearing. They will probably grant a suspended repossession order.

This suspended repossession order means that that the individual involved must abide by the courts ruling. This will include having an agreed a payment in place with the lender to reduce the arrears balance over a period of time.

If these payments are not being met, the lender can apply for the repossession court order. In this case the courts are more likely to take the side of the lender & grant the repossession court order.

If the repossession order is granted, the lender will attempt to sell your property quickly to recover their money. They typically use auctions and estate agents to sell your property, often discounted to attract quick buyers. When the property is sold, the lender 's account is cleared first.

Any surplus will be repaid to the homeowner. However, if there is any shortfall, the lender will attempt to recover it from the individual involved for a period of up to 12 years!

The important points to remember is that without taking action, these problems do not just go away. At the earliest possible stage the lender must be informed of any financial issues that may affect the monthly payments of the mortgage. Do not ignore letters, especially court papers and court hearings.

If this does happen to you, then you must contact the lender immediately and explain your situation to them. It may be possible that you able to come to an arrangement to ease the situation.

If you have enough equity in your property then you might be able to switch lenders and start afresh. If you are having serious problems then another option to consider is remortgaging.

Just make sure you act quickly and keep your lender informed. So whatever stage of the repossession process you are, you do have options that you can explore.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Social Security Benefits Will Not Pay All The Bills

When talking to financial planners they will tell you that it is never too soon to begin planning for your financial future, but at some point, it will be too late. Most people will spend years working, knowing retirement is going to sneak up on them, and unfortunately, few will begin planning soon enough. There are few times in life worth looking forward to that are better than retirement, unless it is retiring knowing you will have financial security for you and your family.

For example, a person who averaged a net pay, take home, of about $3,200 per month, may expect only about $1,500 per month if they work until full retirement age. There are very few who will not qualify for Social Security benefits when they reach the appropriate retirement age, but the money from those benefits is not likely to provide a lifestyle they have grown accustomed to living. It has often been said about business that those who fail to plan, are planning to fail and the same could be said about planning for retirement.

If they choose to go into retirement at age 62, Social Security benefits will be reduced by 25 percent and by 20 percent, if they work until they are 63. This reduction will be in place regardless of how long Social Security benefits are paid. The only time it will increase is when the government issues cost of living adjustments, which usually are not very high.

To maintain your standard of living through retirement, a minimum of $1,700 will be needed each month, in addition to Social Security benefits just to stay even. You might consider the savings by reducing the expenses by not going to work everyday, but as the cost of living rises on an annual basis, you will want to know that your income has the option of rising with it. How to achieve that additional income is what you need to plan for now, while you are still working. Remember, that income from additional employment after age 62, if you are receiving retirement benefits, will cause your monthly Social Security benefits check to be reduced.

Others may decide not to give up a plum job, continue working through their first years of full retirement, and not receive Social Security benefits at that time. Continuing to work beyond the age of eligibility for full Social Security benefits will be rewarded by an increase in allowable annual benefits. By staying on the job and paying into Social Security for an additional five years, for example, will see the monthly Social Security benefits increase by as much as eight percent per year.

Estimating what you will most likely need to live on and any difference between the two amounts is the additional amount needed to save before you quit working. Consider all available retirement income, Social Security benefits, and retirement fund from your job, 401K or IRA and estimate what the monthly income will be once you become eligible for full Social Security benefits. At some point, a person has to sit back and look at the big picture, and then break it down into manageable pieces. Estimating what you will most likely need to live on through their retirement years.

Consider all available retirement income, Social Security benefits, and retirement fund from your job, 401K or IRA and estimate what the monthly income will be once you become eligible for full Social Security benefits. At some point, a person has to sit back and look at the big picture, and then break it down into manageable pieces. There is no magic time to begin planning for retirement, but everyone should be aware by now that Social Security benefits will not offer enough to live on through their retirement years.

Caution should be noted, however that putting pre-tax money into a retirement account will trigger a tax on that amount if it is used prior to full retirement age. The important thing is to have the money put aside when you will need it the most. Whether you begin another savings account or add additional money into an existing IRA or 401K-retirement fund is irrelevant.

Monday, December 22, 2008

How To Get The Best Rates On Automobile Insurance In Florida

and if a new insurance policy isn't taken out immediately, the state has the power to revoke the uninsured vehicle 's registration tags, making it a crime to drive that vehicle. Every time an insurance policy is cancelled for any reason the state of Florida is notified ??? There 's no getting around it.

Automobile insurance is something you just have to buy if you want to drive a vehicle on any public roadway here in Florida.

it 's not as difficult to drive down your automobile insurance rates as you might have thought. The good news ??? The upshot of all of this is that virtually every driver wants to get the best rates on automobile insurance in Florida.

If your automobile is being financed your lender will require that you not only have your vehicle insured, but that you carry considerably more than the state-required minimum insurance, so if you are considering buying a new car it makes sense to talk to your automobile insurance agent first and find out ahead of time just how expensive it 's going to be to insure the make and model you have your eye on.

Remember, some new cars cost a lot more to insure than others.

Your driving record can affect the cost of your insurance more than almost anything else. Do everything in your power to keep your driving record as pristine as possible. A speeding ticket or any other moving violation will send your premium upward. A conviction for a DUI or a DWI will skyrocket your monthly premium and a second DUI or DWI conviction will send you to the high-risk insurance pool where premiums are over the head of most drivers.

Being young also puts you in a high-risk category. If you're under 25 there isn't a lot you can do about your age, but if you stay in school and can maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average then you can qualify for at least a 5% Good Student reduction in your monthly premium.

If you have other insurance policies with the same insurance company, such as life insurance or homeowner 's insurance or health insurance you should qualify for a nice Multi-Policy Discount on your monthly premium.

If you've been insured by the same company for 5 years or longer you may very well qualify for a Long-Term Discount on your automobile policy. In fact, most insurance companies have several discounts that are not promoted and it can pay you handsomely to simply call your agent twice a year and ask point-blank if there are any odd-ball discounts of any kind that you might qualify for.

If you are at least 55 years old you may have noticed that your insurance rates have started to climb. You can keep them in check and even reduce them by around 10% if you take and pass a special driver 's refresher course. Not all insurance companies offer this discount so you'll need to check with your agent to see if you can qualify.

Don't waste your money paying for collision and comprehensive insurance if your car is so old it has no Kelly Blue Book value. Your insurance won't pay you more than Blue Book value if your car is damaged, so if your automobile has no Blue Book value you'll get nothing after an accident regardless of whether you've been paying for the insurance or not.

Lastly, how large of a deductible can you honestly afford? The larger your deductible the smaller your monthly automobile premium will be. But don't make your deductible larger than you can honestly afford since this is cash you'll need to come up with out of your own pocket any time you file a claim.

So it 's time to get online and start comparing the cost for your dream policy at every insurance company here in Florida. Now you're armed with everything you need to know in order to create the policy that 's right for you with all of the built-in deductions that you can possibly find. O.K.

Once you have done that, and you've found the very best rates on automobile insurance in Florida, then you can rest easy and enjoy your saving month after month, year after year. you'll have to take the extra time to make your comparisons on at least 3 different websites. Remember, in order to compare every insurance company in Florida you can't stop after making comparisons on just one site ???

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Secured Loans Primer

In the context of this guide, when talking about secured loans and secured lending, reference is being made to that of a lender placing a legal charge over a property. A secured loan is essentially a loan that is taken out against your home or other collateral.

It is not within the financial capability of most people to purchase a property outright so most of us will therefore need to secure a mortgage. The most common type of secured loan is that of a mortgage.

Again, in the context of this guide, when talking about secured loans and secured lending, reference is being made to secondary secured loans, or second charges as they are commonly known within the industry. Borrowers who apply for a secured loan/second charge are doing so to follow that of their first mortgage.

How Do Secured Loans Work?

To the average lender, secured loans offer a very appealing prospect. They are able to lend out large sums of money with the additional security of a property - They will subsequently have open to them a number of legal remedies in the event of the borrower defaulting there obligations and payments. This will of course include home repossession.

A lender will register a secured loan by way of a legal charge with which the applicant must give consent to in order for an application to complete. The charge is then registered at the Land Registry by the lenders solicitors.

When it comes to remortgaging, most secured lenders will require the outstanding balance to be redeemed at the same time as the first mortgage. An exception to this is when a second charge lender grants a deed of postponement, thus allowing the existing second charge loan to run alongside that of the new mortgage lender.

What Are The Characteristics Of A Secured Loan?

The characteristics of a secured loan share many similarities to that of a mortgage. The most common one being that if your do not keep up the repayments on the secured loan, your home may be repossessed.

In the case of taking out a secured loan, it is a common myth that your home will be safe so long as you meet the repayments on your first mortgage. This is not true. If you fail to meet the repayments on your secured loan, even if you are up to date on your mortgage, the lender can seek possession of your property through the courts.

Secured loans can be arranged on loan sizes that usually range from 5,000 to 250,000, depending on the lender. Flexible terms are also available on secured lending, ranging from 5 up to 30 years. Some lenders will have schemes available allowing you to borrow more than the value of your property (combined with that of your first mortgage) of up to 125%. These schemes are not too common and it is believed that this is more of a marketing ploy rather than a viable or an advisable option to many borrowers.

How Does A Debt Consolidation Secured Loan Work?

A debt consolidation secured loan enables borrowers with significant levels of debt to consolidate some or all of these outstanding commitments into one loan amount and subsequently, one monthly payment. Debt consolidation is seen by many as an extremely effective short term solution to relieving the pressures of debt.

It is highly likely that by arranging a secured loan to clear off other unsecured debts such as credit cards, personal loans and hire purchases, the borrower is able to achieve a lower rate of interest than that applied to their unsecured commitments.

Not only will this take the effect of reducing the monthly payments but also secured loans can be arranged over a longer term than that of their unsecured counterparts. By extending the term of the loan will also mean that lower monthly payments can be achieved.

This is often viewed as a short term solution as in the long term, increasing the term of the debts may mean that you end up paying more interest. The other potential disadvantage of these types of loans is that consolidated debts that were once unsecured would then transform to being secured on the property.

What Are The Benefits Of A Secured Loan?

There are many benefits to be realised in taking out a secured loan. Many lenders and brokers alike will not charge any upfront fees, house valuation costs or legal fees. Compared to the fees associated with a remortgage, the secured loan option can be a very appealing one to borrowers.

Such fees associated with a remortgage will include valuation and administration fees, higher lending charges, discharge fees, title insurance and telegraphic transfer fees. This list is by no means exhaustive however they may not all be applicable in every case.

The timescales involved along with the various fees involved can be a put off for some homeowners considering a remortgage.

Perhaps the biggest appeal to most homeowners who are seeking finance is the speed at which a secured loan application can complete. At the top end of the scale, an application can take just a matter of days to complete. However for the majority, two to three weeks is a sensible timeframe to look for.

The benefits of secured loans when looked at against comparable unsecured loans are that it is highly likely that you will obtain a more favourable rate of interest on secured lending. As discussed earlier, this is due to the fact that the lender will in this case secure the loan by legal charge over the property reducing their perceived level of risk and subsequently reducing the rate of interest.

A secured loan will also offer a more flexible repayment period than that of an unsecured loan between 5 and 30 years with many lenders. If it is the intention of the borrower to obtain the very lowest monthly payment then this could be large benefit to them.

How Do I Know Whether I Should Take Out A Remortgage Or Secured Loan?

Each case must be assessed on its own merits. It is impossible to answer this question without careful consideration and assessment of the borrowers circumstances, needs and objectives.

The obvious example would be where a borrower seeking finance has a large early repayment charge to redeem their mortgage. In this case it may not be appropriate to remortgage. ERCs (Early repayment charges) can be as high as 7% of the outstanding mortgage balance which can of course result in thousands of pounds.

By arranging a secured loan in this instance might mean that you would be paying a slightly higher rate than that of the mortgage, however it could potentially save thousands of pounds of charges.

Another example of when taking out a secured loan might be of more benefit to the borrower would be a case where the first mortgage was originally taken out before the individual started to miss payments or run up another form of bad credit. It is highly likely in this instance that raising finance through a remortgage would mean paying a higher non-conforming/sub prime rate on the entire amount of borrowing.

By arranging a secured loan might mean that the borrower can still enjoy the prime high street rate applied to the first mortgage whilst only paying a higher non-conforming/sub prime rate on the new secured loan the additional finance.

Can I Apply For A Secured Loan With A Bad Credit History?

There are many schemes available today to cater for nearly every type of borrower regardless of credit history. If there is available equity in your property and you can meet the affordability criteria then it is highly like that you will be eligible for a secured loan. Bad credit will usually be defined between having one or more of the following:

# Mortgage arrears
# Rental arrears
# Secured loan arrears
# County Court Judgements
# Individual voluntary arrangements
# Bankruptcy

This again is a reflection of the higher level of risk perceived by the lender. The more severe your credit history then the higher the interest rate that you will be charged.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Secrets Of A Successful Stock Or Forex Investment Club

If the investment club strikes you as an ideal answer to your needs and requirements, there here are some points to consider.

The Association of Stock Exchange Firms is attempting to win passage for a model statute that will simplify and clarify the status of investment clubs and in some states is has already been enacted. Do not attempt to form a club until you have investigated its status under Federal, state, and local laws.

In most states, however, a variety of laws govern the formation and operation of a club and its status as a partnership, corporation, joint venture, or whatever. The difficulties are rarely insurmountable, but complications can be avoided if your club will check with an attorney before becoming involved financially.

Along the same lines, your club can avoid awkward misunderstandings if the ground rules are clearly established from the start. Provisions should be made for the death or departure of a member. Each investor should be able to withdraw his share of the club 's assets at any time.

The position of newcomers or replacements for members who have dropped out or moved away should be defined. Does the new member participate on an equal basis in the accumulated assets of the club upon payment of his first $10? Or should he be expected to match the total investment of his predecessor?

Run your meetings briskly. Expect to give the business at hand your full and earnest attention for two hours; investment is too serious to be brushed over in less. On the other hand, be organized. Don't let meetings drag on or founder in confusion. Members will start resigning out of boredom.

Insist that your investigation committees do their homework. And that they stay on the point. These are elements of good reporting in any field, and are not hard to learn. Clarity and precision will not only make reports more interesting, but help you to make your decisions confidently.

Absenteeism plagues almost every organization, and you will have to find your own way to lick it. As noted, the proxy at least assures a vote by the whole membership, but it has its disadvantages. The Williston club has instituted an automatic $5 fine for missing a meeting, regardless of the excuse. Some clubs interpret a certain number of absences as evidence of disinterest and as grounds for dismissal.

As for the club 's performance as an investment group, it will, at first, leave something to be desired. There is something heady about the manipulation of money and the challenge of out-guessing the market. You will find, as you start out, that it is easy to be overly enthusiastic about one stock or another, or, because your fund is relatively small, to concentrate on low-priced issues. The enthusiasm may be warranted, and your low-priced issue may be solid, but try not to let judgment be colored by passion, and never choose price over quality.

Make your committee reports as realistic as possible. In the first flush of enthusiasm, it is possible to be swayed by the mass of beautifully printed material available about this company or that. Set up your standards in advance: know what you are looking for in terms of price and dividend trend, in terms of products, in terms of capital structure and management.

Note: Changes in corporate management are not automatically good. Very often a new slate of officers, or some retirements, will bring in fresh blood, but there is no way of knowing immediately whether the new men are as capable as the ones they replaced.

There is nothing wrong with over-the-counter stocks as such. But many clubs have found that the fluidity of the market on the big exchanges, and the certainty of daily reporting of stock prices, makes investment in Big Board issues considerably more satisfactory.

It is easy to decide that you've got a natural bent for investment if your first purchase begins behaving nicely. Don't be fooled. A great many stocks have been behaving nicely for some years now. In many ways it 's difficult to pick one that doesn't. Enjoy your success, but keep studying and keep learning.

Fight the tendency to make too many switches in your portfolio, particularly in the early stages. Remember that the commissions on getting in and out are going to eat into your gains. Furthermore, impatience is likely to boost you out of a stock before it has a chance to show its worth. Remember, too, that from the tax angle, you'll be paying on gains as straight income unless you've held the stocks for six months or more.

Finally, stay friendly. Money can get people quite excited. Money can come between friends. You'll have a better chance of success if your members are friendly on grounds other than investment, if everyone understands clearly that there are hazards as well as profits, and if everyone does his best to become knowledgeable in the field as soon as is reasonably possible.

It is the mistakes of ignorance that cause trouble. Many clubs have had some hot times because a member couldn't understand why the group sold short of the top or why, with the good old Northern & Southern Railway running right through town, everyone insisted on buying Gulf Oil.

Stay in close touch with your broker. He can help spell out some of the fundamental ABC 's until you can paddle on your own. He also should have, or be able to get, information bearing on the problems and experience of other investment clubs, which can aid you in steering around pitfalls..

Otherwise, every piece of information and advice in this article applies as rigorously to investment clubs as to investing individuals.

Use good investment and Forex software to help you research how particular shares and currencies have performed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Why Get A Low Apr Credit Card

From online purchases to paying your monthly utility bills, the credit card is a very convenient tool to purchase different Besides, credit cards are far more convenient than carrying real money. From online purchases to paying your monthly utility bills, the credit card is a very convenient tool to purchase different items, whether by need or want. Besides, credit cards are far more convenient than carrying real money. From online purchases to paying your monthly utility bills, the credit card is used as a prime tool to purchase different items, whether by need or want.

Besides, credit cards are far more convenient than carrying real money. From online purchases to paying your monthly utility bills, the credit card is used as a prime tool to purchase different items, whether by need or want. Besides, credit cards are far more convenient than carrying real money. From online purchases to paying your monthly utility bills, the credit card is a very convenient tool to purchase different items, whether by need or want.

Besides, credit cards are far more convenient than carrying real money. In most developed countries today, the credit card is a very convenient tool to purchase different items, whether by need or want.

Credit card companies and issuers compete to get the attention of potential clients in order to get more people to apply for their credit cards. Because of the popularity of credit cards today, more and more credit card companies are also cropping up.

So, if you are planning to apply for a credit card, you will have a lot of choices on credit cards. However, because of the different perks and benefits of the different kinds of credit cards available, you have to consider that it can be quite confusing what kind of credit card you should get. So the next question would be what kind of credit card you should choose.

In credit card ads, you will see in bold and large letters that they claim to offer the lowest monthly rates. In fact, some even offer zero interest on their credit cards. However, most offers like this are only promotional and only last for up to a few months. After the promotional period, you will see that the interest rates will go up. This is why you have to take a closer look at what 's being offered.

When you are shopping for a credit card, you should not be blinded with the different kinds of offers that seem too good to be true. When applying for a credit card, the very first and the most important thing that you should look for is the APR or the annual percentage rate. This particular factor will affect the overall charges that you will get from your monthly bills.

You have to remember that the APR will affect all the charges and not just the interest rate charges related to the credit card. Every fee that comes with the card, such as late payments, annual fees, cash advances, and purchases will be affected depending on the APR. The best kind of credit card is a credit card with a low APR.

This is why it is important that you should do a little research and comparison when getting a credit card. By doing this, you will be able to know which offers the lowest APR on their credit card. Although this may sound simple enough, the hard part is getting approval for your application. Usually, low APR credit cards can only be found on credit cards that require a high credit score.

So, before you even apply for a credit card with a low APR, you need to make sure that you have a good credit score.

This will avoid unpleasant surprises, such as increased credit card bills. You also have to make it clear that you have to be notified in case the issuer decides to raise the APR.

Make sure that you always choose the credit card with a low APR. Always remember that the most important factor about a credit card is the APR. These are the things you have to know when you are applying for a credit card.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Finding A Good Payday Loan

In Maybe you've moved to a new place where you don't know anyone, or perhaps you do not wish to involve your family. In situations like this, where only a small amount of money is quite small, it can be difficult to get. Maybe you've moved to a new place where you don't know anyone, or perhaps you do not wish to involve your family. In situations like this, where only a small amount of money is quite small, it can be difficult to get.

Maybe you've moved to a new place where you don't know anyone, or perhaps you do not wish to involve your family. In situations like this, where only a small amount of money is quite small, it can be difficult to get. Maybe you've moved to a new place where you don't know anyone, or perhaps you do not wish to involve your family. While we may feel very stable and very secure, we can never predict what is right around the bend, and if you find yourself in a situation where everything is falling to pieces, it might surprise you to find that a small amount of money is quite small, it can be difficult to get.

A payday loan, on the other hand, is known for its speed, and it is rare that you can get a payday loan that will cover more than 500 dollars. The problem with bank loans is that they can take quite a while to go through, and they are difficult to have approved. When you go to a bank, you'll often feel as scrutinized as though you were under a microscope, something that is quite unpleasant.

When they think about loans, they think about larger amounts that are handed out by banks and that require extensive screening. For many people, payday loan are a little bit foreign.

When you are looking for a payday loan, something that is perhaps even more important than the amount of money you can get is the speed. You'll find that you can have your money in hand in 24 hours, or you can even find places that will deposit it directly into your account or hand it to you the day that you make the application. There are many different organizations that you can go to when it comes to getting a payday loan and you need to remember that they are all different. They will charge you different amounts of interest, they will have different requirements and they will have different fees in general.

One thing that many payday loans will often judge you on is is whether or not you have good credit. Some places will insist on it, but be aware that just having bad credit will not prevent you from getting a payday loan. While some places will not loan to you at all, others simply impose a higher interest rate. Almost all payday loan options, much as the name implies, insist on you having a job, and to prove it, not only do you have to bring things like an employer 's information, you also have to bring in a few recent pay stubs. This will let them determine how much money you receive and how much money you are likely to be able to give back.

When you get money from a payday loan, you will often be asked to give them a check for the full amount, interest and all, and date it to the maturation date, the time when the loan comes due. Anytime before that date, you will be able to stop in and pay back the loan, but if you have not done so by the time that the maturation date comes, you will find that the check has been cashed. There may or may not be a small fee if the check needs to be cashed, but there will definitely be penalties if the check bounces. If your check bounces, you will be facing charges from both your bank and from your payday loan lender.

Do yourself a favor and sit down Run the numbers for a series of different lending organizations and make sure that you are in a situation to really figure out what you need to think out. Run the numbers for a series of different lending organizations and make sure that you are in a situation to really figure out what you need to get by and what you will be incurring when it comes to things like interest. Run the numbers for a series of different lending organizations and make sure that you are in a situation to consider a payday loan, remember that there are things that you need to get by and what you will be incurring when it comes to things like interest. Run the numbers for a series of different lending organizations and make sure that you are in a situation to consider a payday loan, remember that there are things that you need to get by and what you will be incurring when it comes to things like interest.

If you are in a situation to really figure out what you need to get by and what you will be incurring when it comes to things like interest.

A payday loan can be an essential thing for you, so make sure you know what you are getting in to!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Busting The Credit Card Myth

Misinformation is misfortune, so arm yourself with The truth before you tackle the credit card demons! You can find lots of misinformation about money and credit and especially credit cards.

Myth #1: ???It???s all my fault I got into this credit card mess!???

The truth: It may not be your fault at all. Credit card companies really are out to get us. You probably just got caught in the trap.

Myth #2: ???Credit Cards are what got me into debt.???

The truth: Spending is what got you into debt. The credit cards just made it easier.

Myth #3: ???My credit rating is destroyed forever and there is nothing I can do about it.???

The truth: If you have a job and are willing to work at it, you can get your credit under control and your credit rating restored. Rebuilding your credit requires that you do three things; pay your bills on time, look for better options and learn about money and credit.

Myth #4: ???It???s fine to give my credit card number for identification as long as I don???t authorize a charge.???

The truth: NEVER give your credit card number for identification purposes. For that matter, you need to guard all of your personal information like a ferocious tiger.

Unless you initiate the phone call, do not give your name, address, phone number, social security number, credit card number or driver???s license number to anybody. All of this information can cause your identity to be stolen or worse.

Myth #5: ???If I pay off a debt or cut up a credit card, this information is removed from my credit report.???

The truth: When you pay off a past due debt it actually restarts the time period that it can be reported in your credit history. Cutting up a credit card does not close the account. You must call the credit card bank to close an account under all circumstances.

Then There???s the Urban Credit Legend

Urban legends are just a fact of computer life. There are the old ones that have been around for years and new ones that pop up everyday. It???s the modern version of gossiping over the back yard fence and most of them are false but harmless. When it comes to the urban legends about credit they really, however, they are harmful.

???You can pick a lock with a credit card??? may be true but it???s a bad idea???you could mess up the card. Use a butter knife or a piece from a plastic milk bottle. But what were you trying to pick a lock for anyway?

These are a few urban legends that can hurt you.

Legend: Cutting up a credit card closes the account.

Wrong! You must call the lenders phone number on the back of the card to cancel the account???so piece that card back together and get the phone number, make the call and cancel the account.

Legend: Closing an account removes it from your record.

Wrong! Credit reporting agencies are a rather unforgiving lot and they have memories like proverbial elephants. Accounts remain on your credit report for seven years even the ones you have closed.

Legend: Even good credit information drops off your report after seven years.

Wrong! Unlike humans, credit reporting agencies remember the good stuff forever (even if the accounts are closed) and forget the bad stuff after seven years. Unless, of course, you believe this

Legend: Paying off an old delinquent account improves your credit.

Wrong! Paying off an old delinquent debt actually starts that seven year clock ticking again.

Legend: Car dealers need to run your credit before you take a test drive.

Wrong! This is a fast one pulled by those super duper 60-day wonder salesmen. Don???t believe a word of it. You have not yet applied to buy anything and there is no reason for to check your credit until or IF that time comes.

Credit Card Banks Really are Out to Get You

Their objective is to make as much money off you as they possibly can legally. It isn???t your imagination and you aren???t being cynical. They are out to get you and it???s getting worse by the day.

In 1978 there were fifty credit card issuing companies that accounted for 50% of the credit card market. Today there are only four companies that control 65% of the same market. Those four are American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup, and JP Morgan Chase. MBNA was the fifth but it has just been gobbled up by Bank of America. Less competition is never good news for consumers. Already these giants sign you up for card with a 0% introductory offer and then that rate goes up quickly and steeply. In that itty-bitty fine print you didn???t read it says that the credit card company can do that with only a 15day notice. The period between a purchase and the time your interest starts is no longer 30 days either.

It???s been shrinking at an alarming rate. The fees you are charged for paying the bill late or going over your credit limit have exploded. The average penalty rate is around 24% but some are as high as 35%. Yes, the lack of any serious competition between credit card companies is hurting all of us.

We need to break this bad habit, over-come this addiction and start using our credit cards wisely. We use them to buy groceries, pick up our laundry and buy a hamburger. When we make a purchase we just automatically reach for a credit card to pay for it. We are a nation addicted to plastic spending.

What is a consumer to do?

Use your credit cards only when necessary and avoid paying high interest and fees. Suggestion: cash a check at the bank and pay cash for everyday purchases.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Your Home Equity Questions Answered

Each house owner has to deal with home equity from the moment they sign the mortgage papers. But then again, you may find yourself owning a piece of property and wondering what your home equity is and how it affects your house. If you intend to rent a house or apartment your entire life, this audio program may not be of any use to you.

Keep reading this article to understand how growth affects buying, selling and owning a house. For first time home owners equity can be confusing but with a little research and investigation, you can understand the value of your house and how you effect how you build up equity. For first time home owners equity can be confusing but with a little research and investigation, you can understand the value of your house and purchase another. Equity can also help you when it comes time to sell your house and purchase another.

Over the course of the ownership, your equity builds and you might wonder how to benefit from all of those payments.

What is home equity?

Home equity is the amount of monetary difference between what is owed on the home and what the home is worth. It can vary according to what the condition of the home is and how much work you have put into the home. Some times home equity can go up without you doing anything at all.

If the neighborhood prices begin to soar, your equity can rise as well since your assessment and value will rise. Home equity is a great thing to have in case you have an emergency.

If I buy a home, how long should I wait before using my home equity?

You should wait as long as possible before using that equity. You do not want to use it unless you absolutely must because it means another payment you have to make. Yes, the equity is yours but you should only use it in case of emergencies or to pay off other bills that may be draining your finances. Many people will pay off credit card debts, college tuitions, or medical bills with a second mortgage.

How does home equity affect my mortgage?

Unless you refinance your mortgage, your home equity will not really be a factor in it. It will be a factor in whether or not you can take out a second mortgage. Most people, if they have a huge house payment and have built up a sizeable growth, will refinance their loan to a better interest rate and a lower payment. This helps keep their budget more manageable and may even allow them to pay the house off quicker because it allows them to make more payments to the principle.

Does it affect my interest rate?

Unless you refinance your mortgage to a better interest rate based on your available equity, it will not affect your current interest rate. If you have made all of your payments on time and your credit rating has increased, it may be a great idea to refinance your mortgage to receive a better interest rate.

But you need to pay attention to the mortgage company 's interest rate at that time. You definitely do not want to refinance only to find out that you are going to pay a higher interest rate. You also want to stay away from Adjustable Rate Mortgages that have interest rates that change. You could have a low payment one month and the next have one that is suddenly doubled.

What happens to my home when I die?

If there are still amounts left to pay, your heir will need to refinance the amount and pay off the remaining debt or let the bank repossess the home. If there are still amounts left to pay, your heir will receive the profits. If there are still amounts left to pay, your heir will receive the profits. When you pass on and the proceeds from the home sale exceed the amount left owed the bank or mortgage your heir will receive the profits.

Monday, December 15, 2008

How To Get A Short Term Loan

Here is what you need to know about getting one for your needs. This is where it could be real handy to get a short-term loan. Something has come up and you are in need of some cash - but only till payday.

You do work, and the money is coming, its just that payday is a week away. Every now and then money can get a little tight in between paydays.

These loans enable you to get the cash you need in a very short time - sometimes in about an hour, but some places will take up to 24 hours. Short-term loans also go by a number of other names, such as payday loans, cash advance, fast cash, and a few more.

All you need in order to get your short-term loan is being employed at the same place more than three months. In addition, you will need to make more than $1,000 each month. They will ask for the name and phone number of your employer, and may call for verification. In some cases, you may need to fax copies of some of your recent pay stubs to them as proof of your income. A bank statement may also be needed, too.

You will also need to be ready to give some pertinent checking account information. This is where you will get your money, which will be directly deposited into it. Also, the money will probably be withdrawn out of it on the day the loan becomes due. An alternative way of paying is that you pay the loan off in person at the loan office. This account will need to have been in existence also for about three months.

Short term loans, or payday loans, are required to be paid back in just a few days - usually your next payday. Your first loan from a payday loan office - or Web site will be small, probably less than $400. You also want to make sure that you pay it off on time, too, as this will help you to get payday loans in the future for more money. Not paying it will quickly get you into trouble and banned from future payday loans.

One nice thing that you will also want to look around for is that a number of payday loan providers will let you have the first one interest free. At this rate, you will want to shop around some so that you can find a good one. This can range anywhere from about 15 all the way up to 30%.

Be aware that these payday loans can have quite a high interest rate.

By shopping around, you may be able to find even better deals. Because of the high amount of competition between the lenders, new features are slowly being added to make their loan product more desirable. Some, though, will allow you to pay it back in three or four payments - instead of all at once. This is a newer feature, and not many do it yet.

Some payday loan lenders also have some differences in how long you will be given to pay the loan back, too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tips For The Cut-Throat Mortgage Market

Before you start buying some leads, here are a few tips you need to know to make sure your money is being used wisely. Make your real estate business grow fast by buying valuable mortgage leads. At the same time, as a mortgage customer, you must focus on get a bunch of loan or mortgage quotes to get the best deal in the market.

This means commission for the agent and commission for the mortgage broker. You pay them a fee and they provide you with leads that will get you closer to a closed mortgage deal. Mortgage leads are a service you purchase from a reputable company that has done the background work for you. One shortcut that they employ in achieving this aim is buying mortgage leads.

Nowadays mortgage brokers and real estate agents are always on the alert to catch any business opportunities that may come their way and increase their own bottom line. The mortgage industry is one that is witness to vicious competition.

And they all regard you as a potential customer. There are just as many lead brokers out there as there are mortgage companies. 1) Shop around.

2) Look for a company that has no start up costs and no long-term obligations. You want to make your purchase and be done with it.

3) Understand that leads are going to be sold in blocks, generally you will purchase anywhere from 25 to 1000 leads depending on how big your business is.

4) Various kinds of leads are available and they can be confusing for a first-time buyer. There may be a possibility you are sharing your leads with another broker depending on what kind of leads you buy. The 4 main lead types are:

* Exclusive Leads: These are leads that are only sold once, and sold to you.

* Shared Exclusive Leads: These are leads that are generally sold only about two times. The lead is shared with another broker, but only by one other person. While shopping for leads, it is a good idea to ask about how often shared exclusive leads are sold.

* Shared Leads: These are leads that are shared by as many as 4 or 5 other brokers, depending on where you get them from.

* Live Leads: These are leads that you can get in touch with as soon as you purchase them. Phone contact is possible the instant that your payment is processed.

5) Your cost per lead will be determined by the lead type you buy. The more exclusive your lead, the higher your price is going to be. Leads can be anywhere from $30-$50 each, so keep this in mind when determining what kind of package you want, and how exclusive the lead you want.

That means you are not making cold calls, the leads you will be receiving have been verified by phone that their information is correct, and they have expressed an interest in loan services. 6) You will want your leads to be tele-verified before you can use them.

Don't neglect to ask about their policy for lead replacement. 7) Make sure that the firm that you purchase your leads from will replace leads if they are not "good leads".

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Car Loans Made Easy

This article will provide all the info you need to consider when buying a car on credit. But what should you be looking for if you decide to splash out on a flash new motor? Halifax released figures last year showing that 67 per cent of those taking out loans to buy cars are men, mostly around January and August when the new number plates come out.

Everyone wants a new car and increasingly people are using loans to afford them. Over 2.4 million new cars hit the UK???s road in 2007, and the figure is not expected to be much lower in the year to come.

Obviously you are going to have to get down study them eventually, but the task will be a lot easier if you have some idea of the basic options available. There are millions of different products out there, and they are all packed with mind boggling small print and thousands of additional terms and conditions. The big decision you must make is choosing the type of credit arrangement you want.

One popular option is hire purchase. With this method you hand over a deposit, and then pay off monthly installments until the car is yours. Most dealerships will let you buy a car off them this way. The interest rate on hire purchase can vary though, and you should compare the price of borrowing the money elsewhere. Some dealers will look to push you into an arrangement that will not necessarily be the best deal for you, so it is worth looking at the cost of borrowing before you head off to look at cars. The advantage of hire purchase is that the loan is secured on the car, so there is no chance of losing your house if you fail to keep up with repayments.

Personal contract purchase (PCP) is similar to hire purchase in that you put down a deposit and then pay monthly installments. With PCPs though, there is also a lump sum that must be paid at the end of the installments in order for you to own the car outright. This sum, the minimum guaranteed future value (MGFV), is often quite large, but gives you the option of buying the vehicle there and then, walking away with nothing, or switching to another PCP plan and getting a new car. PCPs usually have lower monthly repayments than hire purchase meaning you can afford a better car. They do work out more expensive in the long run though.

Both of these options are available only from dealers, and it can often be cheaper to take out a personal loan. Taking out a loan has the added advantage that you own the car outright from the moment you start making payments. If the loan is secured on your house then there is always the risk of finding yourself homeless though. It is generally cheaper to borrow money from a bank than a dealer, especially if you shop around. But banks are becoming increasingly fussy about who they hand out thousands of pounds to, and it make take some searching to find a cheaper deal that will accept you with a blemished credit history.

If driving a brand new car is personal The payments are often cheaper than with PCPs or hire purchase, and you always have the option of getting a new car at the end of every deal. There are big advantages to this though. The big problem with this scheme is that you never actually own a car, and just rent one off the dealer instead. The payments are often cheaper than with PCPs or hire purchase, and you always have the option of getting a new car is personal contract hire (PCH).

There are big advantages to this though. The big problem with this scheme is that you never actually own a car, and just rent one off the dealer instead. If driving a brand new car is personal contract hire (PCH). The payments are often cheaper than with PCPs or hire purchase, and you always have the option of getting a new car at the end of every deal.

There are big advantages to this though. The big problem with this scheme is that you never actually own a car, and just rent one off the dealer instead. The last way of getting yourself a new car is personal contract hire (PCH).

So do your research, get some comfy shoes on, and good luck. At the end of the day the more legwork you do, the more likely you are to find a great deal. Don???t get drawn in by flashy introductory offers which cost a fortune in the long run.

Price comparison websites are a great way to compare lots of palns at once, and after consulting them and your dealer, you should be able to find the deal that is cheaper for you. Once you have worked out which of these plans you think will suit you the best, the only thing to do is to shop around.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Taking An Interest In Foreclosure

While just about everywhere in the United States the real estate market has come back robust and healthy and most people can count on their house selling after a short period on the market, there are some states whose residents are facing foreclosure in record numbers.

Benefits for these service industry jobs are not nearly as good as those in the prior industrial industry, and in some cases they dont exist at all. Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Florida are reeling from recent economic havoc created by their areas industrial demise and the subsequent concentration on the service industry with its less plentiful and poorer-paying jobs.

The mid-Atlantic states have been suffering from this loss of manufacturing jobs and firms for decades now and foreclosure and devaluation of homes has become commonplace.

Foreclosure might have been staved off in many of these situations, however, had the homeowners not been the victims of some less than reputable lending plans and firms, with ill advised financing options such as interest only loans that left these borrowers with little home equity when they needed to refinance or secure a second loan to save their home from foreclosure.

The interest only loans left them with little or no equity which meant no collateral for the loan. Their homes fell into foreclosure as a result.

An interest only mortgage loan is one in which the monthly payment is exactly the amount of the interest accrued so far on the loan and doesnt touch the principal.

This interest only feature only lasts for about the first five to ten years of that loan, and while borrowers have the right to overpay at any point their overpayment only goes to future interest payments - again, not the principal.

What this means is that for the years of the interest only option the borrower isnt paying off her or his loan. A 100,000 mortgage in 2000, with an interest only option for 10 years, will still have a balance of 100,000 in the year 2010.

Were the borrower to run into difficult making these payments and find the threat of foreclosure hanging over their head, they could be in serious risk of foreclosure. Lets assume, for example, that the houses market value in 2010 was 120,000.

Since literally none of the borrowed 100,000 had been paid off the equity in the home would be at a mere 20,000. If, however, the mortgage payment made each month to the borrower included 200 towards the principal at the end of that 10 year period the borrower would have another 24,000.

Actually the equity would be much greater because as the principal was paid down the interest on the balance would decrease and the same payment would pay more of the principal and less of the interest. This additional equity might save a home from foreclosure if the borrower were to get sick, lose a spouse, lose a job or otherwise get into financial trouble that made payments late or missed.

The general rule of thumb is that interest only loans should not be considered unless you know for a fact that your earning power five to ten months down the road will greatly increase and your outstanding bills will decrease.

You wont be risking foreclosure. Then the risk of paying a little bit now and a lot later isnt as great.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Finding Affordable Homeowners Insurance In Texas

It is also a good idea to learn about the types of discounts that may apply to homeowners in the state of Texas, which will make the odds of finding a good, affordable policy all the more likely. For this reason, those new to Texas, who are looking to buy homeowners insurance for their new purchase, would do well to research the various factors that come into play when insurance companies calculate your premium. As important as it may be to obtain adequate coverage for ones home and personal property, it is equally important for most people to find a policy they can afford.

The following are some of the most common factors that insurance companies take into account when calculating Texas homeowners' premiums:

Age/condition of home. Older homes, or homes that are in a state of disrepair, will clearly be more expensive to insure due to the insuring company 's perception that these types of homes are more likely to become an immediate liability. While a company may refuse coverage for a home in very poor condition, an insurance company cannot deny coverage solely on the basis of age or value.

Your home?s replacement cost. Due to various local conditions which may have changed since the time your home was initially built, there are cases in which the replacement cost of a home is significantly greater than the value of the home itself. Premiums for homes with a high replacement cost will certainly be higher as a result of this fact.

The construction materials used in your home. The better the materials used to construct your home, the lower your rates are likely to be. For example, brick homes are generally less expensive to insure than frame homes. Typically speaking, if insurance companies perceive that your home is constructed of durable, long-lasting material, this will be taken into account when calculating your premium.

Where you live is also important. If you are moving to a high-storm area, such as the Gulf Coast, you can expect to pay more due to the frequency of hurricanes and other high-wind storms in the area. Similarly, other areas with a high incidence of natural or manmade disaster (such as crime) will be vulnerable to high homeowners insurance premiums.

Availability of local fire protection. Conventional wisdom recommends living as close to a fire station as possible. It is, in fact, true that homes that are in close proximity to a fire station are likely to receive lower homeowners insurance rates than areas with lower fire protection.

Your claims history. As is the case with all types of insurance, your personal claims history will be taken into account when calculating your premium. It may actually be a good idea to talk to an agent before filing a claim, to see how it will affect your premium. In some cases it is cheaper to make repairs yourself, rather than pay the higher rates that will result from filing the claim.

Your credit score. Companies may consider your credit score when deciding whether to sell you a policy and what to charge you. However, a company cannot refuse to sell you a policy or cancel or refuse to renew your policy solely on the basis of your credit. Companies that use credit scoring must file their information with TDI.

As important as it may be to obtain adequate coverage for ones home and personal property, it is equally important for most people to find a policy they can afford. For this reason, those new to Texas, who are looking to buy homeowners insurance for their new purchase, would do well to research the various factors that come into play when insurance companies calculate your premium. It is also a good idea to learn about the types of discounts that may apply to homeowners in the state of Texas. Finally, there are a few basic guidelines one should follow when shopping for homeowners insurance in the state of Texas, which will make the odds of finding a good, affordable policy all the more likely.

Discounts available to Texas Home Owners:

Discounts can help you save money on your insurance. Companies may offer premium discounts if you take steps to reduce the chances of a loss. Each company sets the amount of the discounts if offers to its policyholders. Some of the more common discounts are listed below:

* Impact-resistant roofs
* Noncombustible roof
* Marking personal property with an identifying number (inspection required)
* Age of house (companies set own standards)
* Premises in good condition (companies set own standards)
* Good claims experience for three consecutive years
* Other policies with same company or group
* House insured to full replacement cost
* Senior citizens discount
* Burglar, fire, and smoke alarm systems
* Automatic sprinkler systems
* Fire extinguishers
* Home security devices

Shopping for Homeowners Insurance:
Rates vary widely among companies, so it pays to shop around. Following are some useful tips to help you find the best deal for your money:

* Decide before shopping the specific coverages and coverage amounts you need.

* Choose the highest deductible you can afford. Your deductible is the amount you must pay yourself before the insurance company will pay. Higher deductibles will lower your premium, but remember that you?ll have to pay more out of your own pocket if you have a claim.

* Because rates vary, ask several companies and agents for price quotes. When comparing rates, make sure they are for the same coverages. TDI publishes a homeowners rate guide that can help you shop. The rate guide lists companies and their annual premiums for policies with $100,000 coverage on the house, $40,000 on its contents, and a 1 percent ($1,000) deductible.

Wrong information could cause you to get an incorrect price quote or could lead to a denial or cancellation of coverage. * When getting a price quote or applying for insurance, answer questions truthfully.

You can find out whether a company or agent is licensed and learn a company?s financial rating from an independent rating organization and its complaint index calling TDI?s Consumer Help Line or by visiting the TDI website. Buy only from licensed companies and agents. Financial ratings indicate a company?s financial strength and stability, while the complaint index indicates a company?s customer service record.

Consider factors other than price, including a company?s financial rating and its complaint index.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How to Massacre Your Credit Score

Here are some of the things that consumers do that all but massacres their credit score. Again, they know the broad picture, but not the details. Many consumers know that there are some actions or inactions that they can take that will help or hurt their score.

Credit reports are not static. This is one of the most important reasons why consumers must keep an eye out for mistakes or omissions on their reports. First of all, consumers should understand that lenders and creditors are constantly updating the information that is on a person 's credit report.

Some actions or inactions that can kill a credit score follow:

Not examining credit reports often enough is one of the most common problems that consumers face. These reports are used to determine your credit score. If there are mistakes, you need to get them corrected. The truth is one in four credit reports contain errors that are serious enough to hurt a consumer 's chances of getting loan.

FICO credit scores are calculated from five categories listed on credit reports: your payment history, amount of money owed, length of credit history, new credit obtained, and types of credit used.

The second thing many consumers do to hurt themselves is to pay late. Late payments are recorded on your report and they usually stay there for seven years. In general, payment history accounts for 35 percent of the credit score.

The third thing that can cause problems is simply having too many credit inquiries. A credit inquiry occurs whenever someone wants to look at your credit file.

Rate shopping for a car loan, a home mortgage, or a credit card can damage your credit if it is not done properly. Lenders you approach ask credit bureaus for a copy of your report for review. This request shows up on the credit report as a hard inquiry, which affects your credit score.

Minimize the potential damage by rate shopping within a short period of time, such as a couple of weeks. According to, "Multiple inquiries from auto or mortgage lenders in a short period of time are typically seen as one inquiry and have little impact on your score."

Believe it or not, closing your old accounts can damage your score because, in essence, doing so may shorten your credit history. Credit history makes up about 15 percent of the score, so you do not want to shorten it unless it is absolutely necessary.

Closing accounts will also affect what is called the credit utilization ratio. This is the amount of credit you are using relative to the amount of available credit you have. Closing an account will cause your ratio to go up because closing the account drops your total available credit while not reducing the amount of credit you are using.

Consumers should be very aware of the amount of debt that they have on the books. Amounts owed will make up nearly 30 percent of the score. The more you owe, the lower your score will be.

If the other person does not pay on time you will most likely see a reduction in your credit score. Lastly, consumers should be careful about cosigning for another person.

Keep track of what is on your credit reports and you will have done a lot to maximize your credit score.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Self Cert Loans - Especially For The Self Employed

Self employment is seen as risky business because the income is not guaranteed and is not often steady. Being self employed can cause a lot of documentation and proof of income.

For the self employed, though, there is a special loan, called a self certification loan. Lenders like to deal with people who have a steady income that is not likely to change.

A self cert loan is ideal for the self employed. A self cert loan requires no documentation or limited documentation of income. Instead the borrower declares their income. Some lenders will want to see bank statements so they can get an idea of the borrowers income.

Like most loans that are considered risky, a self certification loan is going to be more expensive then a typical loan. The lender is going to charge higher interest and fees.

In order to help lower costs, bringing in some documentation can help the borrower. They may wish to provide any proof of their income for a one year period or longer, if they have it.

In general, lenders want proof of three years of income fro a self employed person. This may be difficult or not at all possible for some borrowers. That is where a self certification loan comes in handy.

With a self cert loan, the lender is going by the borrowers word. This alone is a risk. The lender can not be guaranteed that the borrower earns what they say they do. This is why many lenders will still ask for some type of income verification, such as bank statements or earnings statements.

Providing something to the lender to prove creditworthiness can help. Current loan payments or other regular payments, like rent, can be used as proof of reliability. Additionally, a borrower can provide whatever they have to show income, such as bank statements or eve customer documentation.

Self cert loans are best used to get started with a loan. Borrowers should look into a self certification loan as their first loan choice only if they have never borrowed before as a self employed person.

Once they have secured a loan as self employed and maintained a good payment history on such loan for about two years, they should not have difficulties getting a different type of loan later on. This can be a big money saver, since they will then qualify for more traditional loans at lower interest rates.

As mentioned, self certification loans are risky and costly. If a person can qualify for a different type of loan then they should, by all means, go with that loan. A self cert loan is something offered as an alternative.

Borrowers should feel the same way, but if a self certification loan is the only option, then it is a better choice then not being able to secure a loan at all. Lenders prefer to try to find an alternative before jumping into a self certification loan.

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