4 Smart Ways to Handle Debt

With so much debt going around the place, it is time for people to start handing their finances with a little more care. Debt is a tricky thing and when you are not looking it can spin out of control. This is why a lot of borrowers today are looking to debt settlement companies as a last bid resort to sort out their finances. The best debt settlement companies negotiate with creditors and work out a comprehensive debt settlement program for their client borrowers. Thus clients pay off their debt through monthly payments that they make to these companies. In most of the cases, a large amount of the debt is also written off by the creditors.

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However, it is also true that a lot of people have been trying to cut down on their debt and trying to pay it off as much as possible. But, what is important to note is what is being done with the amount of debt that remains. It is crucial that all of the debt is paid off before going into even more credit. There are ways in which one can smartly handle their debt and make sure it stays in control.

Tallying assets and liabilities

The entire logic is to make sure that you are not paying for a long term asst through a short term loan. For example, don’t pay for your home through a loan on your credit card. Because what your home is worth won’t pay for the credit card bill, will it? Again, if you are buying an asset which is short term, say like a used car then don’t take a long term loan. Because by the time you will have finished paying the loan back, the car will be dead and gone.

Keep liquid assets

Liquid assets or savings are always a handy thing to keep at short notice. Whenever the liabilities go higher than the assets, it’s time to take a quick swipe at the liquid. For example, if you are looking to refinance your loan with a lower interest rate, you will have to keep some money at hand to pay for the closing costs. Again, take that step only if you have the option of being able to replenish your liquid savings soon after. Never go high and dry on your liquid assets. It is a bad financial move.

Keep an eye on the interest rates

Do you have an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage)? Or any loan where the rate of interest varies according to the market? If you do, then make sure you are tracking the growth of the interest rates. If you observe a trend of the interest rates slowly creeping up, then make sure that you prepare in advance to make higher payments on your loan in the future. If you think you will not be able to manage your finances, then go in for the services of one of the best debt settlement companies in the industry.

Save money

Yes, it is vital to pay off your debt. But don’t do it at the cost of draining all your savings because you will live to regret it. don’t dip into your retirement funds and your 401k. In that case, it is better to pay off your loans slowly, regardless of what your creditors are telling you. Always try and maximise your savings. For the sake of cutting out debt, don’t leave a burden for the future where you could potentially be cash strapped.

These are some of the smart ways of handling your financial situation.

 

Do’s And Don’ts Of Investing

Investing is a crucial part of taking care of your finances in a balanced way and it is important that you start looking into different forms of investing as soon as possible. Investing isn’t always simple and you need to do your research before you start.

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Here are some of the biggest do’s and don’ts of investing to help you avoid mistakes.

Don’ts Of Investing

There are many things that you need to avoid when you are getting into investing. It is essential that you learn to be careful, especially in today’s volatile investing climate.

Don’t become too emotional about investing. It is really important that you don’t make decisions based solely on your emotions but that you can rationally explain your investment decisions as well.

Don’t make rushed decisions just because a stock is going down, for instance. The current economic climate is still in the process of recovery and there can always be fluctuations. You have to learn to accept this in order to succeed.

Don’t just invest because of the tax benefits it will provide you. You can’t base your investment decisions purely on tax benefits. Therefore you must think carefully what are the reasons you want to start investing.

Don’t ever rely on just one type of investment. Diversification is the most important thing you need to keep in mind when you are investing. You should never just go with one option but have multiple different investment options at any given moment.

Do’s Of Investing

As well as making sure you don’t make any of the above mistakes with your investments it is also useful to learn to make the right choices and stay active with the investments.

Do your research before you decide to invest. Business Today (http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/tips-for-investing-in-ipos-funds-insurance-policies/1/17261.html) recommends doing adequate research before you invest so that you are fully aware of what you are investing in and what are the risks involved in this type of investment.

Do invest for the long-term and stay calm even if the market is looking gloomy at certain points. As already mentioned rushed decisions aren’t good and you shouldn’t expect making some quick winnings with investing. Stay calm and consider your options before making a move.

Do stay active with your investments and make sure you are regularly checking how your different investments are doing and what sort of money you are making. Even though you are investing for the long-term it doesn’t mean you don’t need to stay vigilant.

Do find variety of ways and platforms when it comes to the matter of where to invest. There are a lot of good online options available for investors and it is really important you learn how to make full use of these.

Do use a financial advisor to help you out. Investing takes a lot time and if you don’t have enough time to focus on your investment options then it is essential to consider a financial advisor to help you out. There are a lot of good options out there to choose from. It can guarantee you are making the most out of your money.

Online Vs. In-Person Car Insurance Quotes

Thanks to online services and the growing complexity of car insurance company websites, it’s possible for you to compare car insurance quotes, buy coverage and get your proof of insurance cards, all without ever stepping foot in a car insurance agent’s office. While you may like the convenience of online car insurance quotes, there is the danger that you won’t be getting the best coverage or the best advice on which plan is the most cost-effective for your circumstances.

Think carefully before you commit to going completely online for your car insurance quotes or if you choose to contact an agent. To help you clarify your thinking, here are some things to consider.

online business

Online car insurance quotes: pros, cons and some leading options

Pros – one of the first advantages to going online for car insurance quotes is convenience. Instead of calling multiple agents with multiple companies and trying to keep track of all the plans, options and costs you compile, there are a number of sites you can visit that will provide you multiple comparisons, instantly. Getting an online car insurance quote can also help you expand the base of options you look at and give you a broader picture for what’s available and/or required in the state where you live.

Cons – one disadvantage with online car insurance quotes is that you can’t get your questions answered immediately in the process and if you are able to get answers to your questions at all online, they may not always be detailed or accurate or up-to-date. One other precaution you need to take with online car insurance quotes is to be certain that you are getting apples-to-apples comparisons. There are some notable, national car insurance companies that tout online comparison features. They claim that they will “even give you the rates of our competitors” to show you a balanced array of options. Nearly all of those services skew either the selection of companies used for a comparison or offer ranges of limits and coverage options that tend to put them in more favorable light. You may get five quotes from a leading insurer showing you four other national brands (all, surprisingly, with higher rates) but what the online quote service doesn’t show you is the local or regional insurer that can beat that price for a comparable package of options.

Leading providers – while every major car insurance company has an interactive website allowing you to “build” a potential car insurance policy and request car insurance quotes from local agents, there are a handful of online providers of note:

  • Esurance – this is the wholly owned, online subsidiary of Allstate. The Coverage Counselor® feature, unique to Esurance, is an interactive, online process whereby you can build prospective car insurance policies, compare them to what’s required in your state, and see levels of cost and discount options before you buy.
  • Safe Auto – this company is best known for offering low rates on state-required packages, especially liability insurance.
  • The General – it’s possible you’ve seen the tiny, white-mustachioed general on television commercials ordering you to call 1-800-General, Now!, and with them, you can compare and even buy policies right online.
  • Progressive – one online feature unique to Progressive is its Name Your Price® option. Here, you can plug in a budget, some basic information (such as the state where you live) and the online service will give you a range of coverage options within or very near that budget limit.
  • GEICO – its online tool allows you to answer a series of questions and see a set of coverage options build right before your eyes. If you decide to buy a policy, you can make a payment and have insurance cards printed from your own printer, sent as a text, or even saved for future use.

In-person quotes: pros and cons

Pros – there still is no substitute for the personal touch if you can carve out the time to sit down with an actual agent and compare car insurance quotes. If you choose to go with an independent agent, that agent can generally offer you a wider range of insurance companies to choose from and with more options, you’re bound to find better rates. If you select a “captive” agent, one advantage is that s/he mar be able to combine types of insurance for better rates, with the added convenience of having all your insurance handled by the same person. Sitting down with an agent will allow you to get questions answered right away and down the road, you will have a local or at least a specific person to deal with should you have claims you need to file or issues regarding to coverage.

Cons – it’s not always easy to find the time to get an in-person quote. You also can be opening yourself for phone calls and solicitations down the road from a car insurance agent you choose not to ultimately go with. While not always the case, car insurance agents tend to carry more overhead and have higher rates for certain plans.

Here’s an idea…use both

You can also put the strengths of both approaches to work for you. Arm yourself with as much information as you can from gathering online quotes and information regarding coverage types, limits and rates. Take that information with you to a few in-person sessions and work to get the best coverage your budget can sustain.

The Insurance Information Institute and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) both estimate that over the course of your driving life, you will spend between $85-95,000 on car insurance premiums. Why not put the best of both online and in-person car insurance quotes to work for you and save some of that investment for something a little more enjoyable?

Finance: Can Risk And Regulation Work Together?

Risk is the probability of not achieving a certain goal or outcome.  It is the degree of uncertainty of occurring of an effect of some event. Risk and regulation have to be managed together. Let’s talk in general terms. There come risks in many stages of our lives but is it good to leave everything behind because of the fear of that risk. Haven’t you heard, there is success after risk? There are great people who if had not taken any risk would not have got so much far. At least we are sure about this that if taking risk will not make us successful then it will make us lose?  There is no other probability isn’t? Then why not regulate the risk and make a win win situation?

Ian Britton

Risk and regulation are two important aspect of today business and they certainly cannot be ignored. Without regulation, risk can make you come across too many hard consequences. However, if risk is not taken at all, then the business can paralyse. You may lose a number of opportunities for which you will be repenting later. Therefore, risk and regulation need to be managed together.

A very important aspect of a business is financial risk management. Getting your organization into financial crisis means you are going to end your career. If certain steps seem to be risky then a framework should be developed in the light of all the regulations and procedures so that your organization could survive the compromising phase.

Each organization always has a team of financial professionals. This team needs to look into the company’s assets and then provide a layout for growth. With proper regulation of growth activities, risk can be avoided. There is always a risk of losing something good but if there are plenty of alternatives created then even if the most preferred one is not achieved then there will at least be decent options available. This is called regulation of risk which is important for each organization as well as individual. If goals of life are backed by some regulations then there will never be a fear of losing anything.

Great people always have plan B in their heads in order to overcome from potential loses. If you think you can become successful without any proper planning then you are dreaming. There will be risks everywhere but the key would be to regulate work in such a way that these risks would harm you in no way.

Reviving Your Business: What You Need To Know About Bankruptcy’?

Many people fear bankruptcy, even though it could be the only possible option to restructure their financial future. Look at it as a second chance to work on your mistakes and implement better financial solutions.

bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal procedure to allow people eliminate most of their debt and rebuild their credit history. In 2005 the laws have been changed, thus making the procedure a bit more complicated. That is why it is important to evaluate your options before you file for bankruptcy.

What Kind of Bankruptcy Is Best for You?

There are two main types of bankruptcy for individuals: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. You need to find out more about them in order to identify the right type of bankruptcy for you.

  • Chapter 7 allows individuals to cancel most of their debts. The process might take up to six months.

  • You can use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to repay your debts over the period of five years.

Eligibility

First of all, you need to check your eligibility before your apply. In case you have a high salary – above the median income of your state, you will be ineligible to apply for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy only if you have the high amount of debt and very low income. Otherwise, you can still file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Defining what type of bankruptcy is best for you will save you a lot of time. You can also make a judgment to hire an attorney or file for bankruptcy on your own.

What next?

In some cases hiring an attorney is your best bet as you would need some professional assistance to prepare the paperwork and move with your case. You can also study the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedures to know more about the process. The process is easy if you don’t have much property or other valuable assets.

Things to consider

If you think that Chapter 7 bankruptcy will cancel all of your debts, you may be mistaken, as you still need to pay your child support, student loans, certain taxes and other mandatory payments. This ‘straight bankruptcy’ procedure comes at its cost. Your debts will go away, the same might happen to your property and assets. Your creditors can take your unsecured assets as a result of the procedure.

If you still have a steady job, you can get a partial repayment plan if you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This way you can keep your house and slowly repay all your debts within the next five years.

It is obvious that your creditors wouldn’t be happy about the bankruptcy. They may challenge the court decision and file a lawsuit 60 days after your first meeting with them. In case, everything goes smoothly and no lawsuits are filed, you will get informed that your debt got eliminated under the Chapter 7. Your payment plan under Chapter 13 will start up to 60 days after the last payment you’ve made.

Now you can start rebuilding your credit history and avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

Can You Choose the Right Life Insurance?

I am sure many of us can remember at least one film where the plot was all about money from life insurance and its beneficiaries. However, life off screen is completely different and, as farfetched as it may seem now, life insurance policy really can save your loved ones in the most difficult time. While we all know that ‘life insurance is a monetary benefit paid to an individual’s beneficiary at the time of his or her death’, depending on the type of policy the person chooses, payouts aim to achieve one or more of the following objectives:

  • Cover the bills and other financial expenses of an individual.

  • Provide for dependent family members of the deceased and probably finance the education of children of the deceased or sometimes even grandchildren.

How-to-Choose-the-Right-Life-Insurance

Here are some useful tips that can help you in making the right choice as far as the life insurance policy is concerned.

1.Consider the amount of insurance you need and your budget

You must first focus on how much insurance your dependents would really need might you depart. There are various online financial calculators to help you do that. Then you should calculate your actual budget and realistically come up with a figure that you can put into policy annually.

Answering these two questions will usually make you understand what type of policy you need. Term insurance will be the only type of insurance that is affordable – if you have a bigger budget, then you can consider permanent insurance.

 

2.Don’t be intimidated by all the options

If you are doubtful of what to do, just buy a bunch of term insurance with a guaranteed conversion option. This way, you can buy yourself time to consider and evaluate the type of insurance to buy. By purchasing a term, you’ll be locking in your current health rating, which is probably now the best because we are all basically less healthy as we age.

 

3.Always do a trial application

When you understand your budget and the amount of insurance you need, you can apply for an insurance on trial basis.

You can apply for insurance at no cost to obtain an approximate health rating. This process takes about 30-60 days, so while the application is pending, you can still think about the amount of insurance you need, and even the type of insurance you need. When you are approved and know the exact price, you can change the amount of insurance up or down, or change the term from 10 years to 20 years or even convert term insurance to permanent and vice versa.

 

4.Avoid adding too many riders

There is another part of the life insurance application that deals with “riders”. Riders are add-ons to your coverage. There can be a “waiver of premium” or disability rider, child riders (for your kids), return of premium riders, and sometimes a long-term care rider. Generally, I do not like to add on riders. These are usually just gimmicks for the insurance companies who are eager to make more commissions.

Focus on getting the right amount of life insurance first, then you can worry about adding the riders if you still have money in your budget.

 

5. Always work with a good agent

Here are some of the qualities you should look for in an agent

  • They must be independent and must be able to do business with many different companies on a consistent basis.

  • They must be able to introduce you to all the options. They are there to provide guidance and not force you into taking one plan.

  • They must have a great understanding of the company that best suits your health situation. This means that they should have a lot of experience in selling policies.

  • They must help you decide whether to buy term or cash policy without any bias for themselves.

  • They should have testimonials from happy clients and credentials to prove that they have sufficient knowledge in their field. There are a lot of beginners in this business. Avoid working with them, if possible. Let the others make mistakes.

Life insurance is an important component of a healthy financial plan. In order to get the right policy, you need to consider many things.

 

The right finance products for your new business start-up

For entrepreneurs starting up their first venture, access to finance can be a problem, particularly when cash flow is tight! However, there is a wide range of funding sources available to you, to help get your new venture off the ground.
The economic climate has been tough in recent years, but industry is bouncing back, particularly in the SME sector, where start-ups and new ventures are appearing in large numbers – and often proving to be very successful! However, one of the main challenges for new start-ups, is to get enough working capital to tide the new operation over until invoice payments come in. Most start-up businesses will also require investment capital – for equipment, machinery, branding, stock and other assets. We take a look at some of the financial products available to support new business growth.
1. Flexible loans Money and plant.
From personal bank loans to payday and logbook loans, the market has a good offering of financial lending products available to individuals starting their own venture. If you have a car that is less then ten years old, insured and taxed and you are in receipt of a regular income, you can use a logbook loan calculator to see how much you could receive with a logbook loan. This is a great flexible route for those who want to access cash quickly to get their business off the ground and loans are available from  500 right up to  50,000. The issuing company will simply hold onto your V5 document until you have cleared off your loan and there are no hidden costs, or any hassle with the process.
Alternatively, banks offer a variety of personal loans at different interest rates and borrowing via overdrafts, credit cards and other means. Just bear in mind that lending from banks can have restrictive terms and conditions and the advertised interest rate may not be the one that you are actually offered. Credit terms from banks also tend to be a lot stricter than with the lenders of logbook and other flexible loans, who often use different criteria than simple credit reports to make lending decisions. For entrepreneurs who have experienced problems with their finances in the past, more flexible loan products are likely to be of particular interest.
2. Other means of financing your big business idea
Crowdsourcing is a new concept that uses the power of online networks to get investors to buy into your business and fund it directly. It is an interesting model and one that is likely to grow over the next few years. Credit cards are a classic flexible way of buying important items, with extra protection offered for purchases over  100 by credit card. However, the cards must be paid off quickly to avoid racking up big interest costs. Overdrafts can be useful for businesses and act as a buffer for cash flow problems, but again, the costs can be high and must be negotiated with the bank. For advice on the best type of loan for your business, speak to financial advisor.

5 Simple Ways to Save Money Eating Out

5 Simple Ways to Save Money Eating Out Eating out is practically ingrained in American culture. A typical family eats out at least twice a week, and most people find themselves celebrating everything from birthdays to the end of the workweek at a restaurant. The cost of all those meals can really add up. Try these tips to lower your bills.

1. Eat breakfast or lunch.

At most restaurants, breakfast and lunch menus cost a lot less than dinner. At upscale establishments, there is rarely a minimum purchase amount at lunch, so you can save a lot of money and still get to eat at your favorite places.

2. Avoid holidays.

Eating out on Father’s Day or Thanksgiving is a tradition in a lot of families, but there are a lot of reasons to avoid these days in restaurants. To start, they are almost always too crowded, meaning long waits to get a table and then long waits for service. Secondly, most establishments take advantage of the holiday to increase their rates. Buffets will typically add a special dish or two and then increase prices by a few dollars a person. Other restaurants will offer special holiday menus that allow them to disguise their price increases. Save money and time by celebrating the holiday a day or two earlier.

3. Look for coupons.

Many eateries offer coupons, but you have to know where to find them. Look for deals in your local newspaper, through apps on your smartphone, and online. If you regularly eat at several different restaurants, keep the coupons in your glove box in your car so that you’ll be able to access the coupons when you make a last minute decision on where to eat.

4. Skip drinks.

Beer, wine, and mixed drinks are some of the most profitable items for most restaurants, meaning that they have the highest mark-up. Even the prices for sodas can add two to five dollars per plate. Order water, and you’ll save calories and money.

5. Split an entree.

Let’s face it, most orders at a restaurant are just too big for one person to eat. Instead of leaving most of it behind, ask a friend or relative to split it with you. Most restaurants will even put your order on two separate plates if you ask your server.

Tips to Build Equity That Put You in the Driver’s Seat

The ability to build equity is one of the main benefits of owning your own home. It is a large reason people choose to buy over rent, and is extremely beneficial in the long run, as equity often builds over time, ultimately putting you in a much more comfortable financial position. However, with the exception of the simple passing of time, there are other ways in which equity can be accumulated.

Save more

Okay, this is where those hard-earned pennies have hopefully gone- towards a larger down payment. Putting a greater sum of money down on the new home initially is a great way to ensure you have greater equity right off the bat. You now own more of your home and owe less on it- plus, your money has gone to a good cause that will only build on your financial health and success in the future. Plus, those dollars aren’t sitting in your bank account begging you to take them on a trip to Jamaica…

Pay the mortgage

Oh, you thought it was just one of those sneaky little bank gimmicks? Guess again. Paying off a portion of your mortgage each month ultimately results in you owing less money on your home, and actually owning more. Sure, it is one of those annoying monthly transactions, but it is in your best interest to make and keep up with those payments because it will lead to the fruitful path of 100% homeowner sooner.

Extra principal payments

It’s time to be an adult about things, and yes, add more money to your monthly payment. This might seem like torture at the time, perhaps because you desperately wanted to spend that extra money dining out on Thai every night, but chipping in more now not only leads to owning that home faster, but spending less interest on those pesky payments. It’s win-win, basically.

Shorter mortgage term

A shorter mortgage term translates into less interest and faster home ownership- need I say more?

Increase in value aka home improvements

Sure, under favourable market conditions your home will increase in value anyway, but there are also things you can do to ensure that the value increases at this very moment. By improving certain features of your home, you can ensure you will be receiving a greater return upon sales day. Remodelling work done in bathrooms and kitchens tend to be the most advantageous and guarantee you a maximum return, but make sure the improvements made don’t just come out of your pocket, but are efficient in increasing the overall value of the home.

A Second Mortgage: 5 Facts You Should Know

A second mortgage is, traditionally, a mortgage that you borrow in addition to your first, primary mortgage. While the primary mortgage is used to purchase a house or property, the second mortgage is used for a variety of other purposes, including paying off debt or renovating the house. While second mortgages are small, the cash they provide can be tempting for many homeowners. If you are considering a second mortgage, here are several facts you should consider before making a decision:

Vacation Time- How to Prep Your Home for the Trip

1. Second Mortgages Depend on Equity:

Equity refers to how much your home is worth after deducting all the debt you still owe on it. Second mortgages are provided based on this equity. Typically, second mortgages are only for 10 to 20 percent of the home’s total value. If your primary mortgage was recent, you may need to wait several years while paying down the mortgage, or wait for property values in your areas to rise. Both with increase your equity – and the amount you can borrow.

2. Second Mortgages Can Act as Lines of Credit:

Second mortgages are inherently more flexible than primary mortgages. For example, a very common option is the HELOC, or home equity line of credit. This loan takes your home equity and uses it to offer a running credit account. You can regularly borrow money using the account, up to a certain amount each month or year. These lines of credit last several years but must typically be paid off either year by year or after the line of credit is closed. This may be especially useful for financing a business or working on a long-term construction project.

3. Lenders Look for a Reasonable, Value-Adding Purpose:

Speaking of business ventures and construction, lenders look for real value when they create second mortgages. Banks like to see some sort of activity that will add value to the house or at least make it easier for the borrower to make payments. Plan on using your second mortgage for renovation, construction, a college education, or a wise investment for the best results. Lenders are less willing to consider lending to someone who is only interested in paying off other loans or continuing a debt cycle.

4. Rates are More Important Than Ever:

Second mortgages tend to have worse interest rates than primary mortgages, due to the presence of already-existing debt and increased risk. This makes rate research more important than. Carefully analyze current second mortgage rates – expect them to be higher than first mortgage rates, but search for the lowest rate nonetheless. Avoid variable rates and balloon payments whenever possible, since these tend to trade long-term benefits for short-term advantages that quickly fade.

5. Default Can Still Cost:

Keep in mind that many of the payment and legal rules still apply to a second mortgage. Do not make the common mistake of thinking that a second mortgage is somehow less important than a primary mortgage. You cannot make primary payments but skip secondary payments without problems. If you go into default on a secondary loan, that lender can typically foreclosure on your house to collect payments even if your primary mortgage is current and spotless (primary lenders will still receive their share). You are accepting another key debt responsibility with this new loan.