Get out of debt using the debt snowball method

With the recent economic crisis, mortgage crisis, high gas prices and rising costs of basic living, many people are finding ways to get out of their overwhelming debts. There are a lot of people who try their options to get debt free but ..... More »

Are you unaware of any THD/CBSD account reported on your credit report?

You might find an account in the name of THD/CBSD reported on your credit report. If you are not sure about this account, you must dispute this item with the credit bureau reporting it. THD/CBSD stands for The Home Depot / Citibank South Dakota. More »

Facts about the escrow account

Every year thousands of people make big purchases on their homes. These new homes come equipped with all the latest amenities like granite counters, new appliances, the fresh smell of paint and new carpet. Borrowers are very excited to move to their new furnished home. More »

How to recover from Bankruptcy?

If we have been through bankruptcy then maximum of us think that our credit is shattered and we will not be able to regain it, but not that all times, you can regain credit through some unique ways. After filing bankruptcy your goal or motive should be .. More »

Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage fraud has been declared as one of the rapidly growing crimes (named as white collar crimes) in the country. After analysis it has been found that every fraud has some kind of material misrepresentation, misstatement .. More »

 

Knowing the gimmicks of the credit card reward programs

Almost every credit card company offers reward programs to their customers. Some programs may be more rewarding than others. Therefore you should carefully read the fine prints and see how the reward program works. You should also have a fair idea of how to select a credit card that suits to your lifecycle. Credit card companies are there in the market to increase their profit margin, so they will keep a close eye on customers who don’t keep a close eye on every detail about the reward program. As an informed customer, you should be aware about some of the traps and don’t lose out any good deals.

Credit-card-reward-programeCredit card companies will introduce new offers including rewards and bonuses that sound very enticing in the beginning. But at the end, it turns out to be very complicated and hard to follow. One of the complicated reward programs is the rotating rewards categories. In this program, the credit card company changes the types of purchases which qualify for the rewards every quarter, and the consumer has to sign up for them in each quarter. If he does not sign up, then does not earn any rewards on those purchases. Credit card companies assume that people will usually forget to sign up on time.

Another way the credit card companies try to catch new customers is by offering savings, but they make the redemption process very complicated. For example, a gas card is offered at a 25 cent discount on up to 20 gallons of gas at their proprietary stations, but the catch is that the customer has to spend $100 every month on the card. This way they are forcing the customers to buy their products in order to get discounts on their items. The rebate was automatically applied at the pump when it became eligible to use, but the remaining discount did not carry over to the next visit to the pump. So if someone needed only 10 gallons of gas, the discount on the remaining 10 gallons got wasted.

Things get more complicated when you do not know how many reward points are available or how many points have expired. And there were cases where points were not applied in the correct ratio on the specific category of goods or services offered. Therefore it is very important to read the fine print very carefully and get the full benefits of the reward program. Credit_cards

There are some program where the rewards or bonuses don’t start until a specific amount of money is spent on the card and the credit card companies allot a very high amount, making it tougher for the customers to get the benefits. For example, if you want to avail 15000 reward points or flight miles, your spending on the card in a year has to be above $40000. This type of offers can tempt the customers to do excessive spending, without realizing that they can later get into deeper debts, if they are not able to pay back the money to the credit card company on time.

Sometimes, a credit card company offers higher bonus incentive on some purchases, and the additional percentage is capped off after a certain dollar amount is spent on that card.

There is another clause by the credit card company regarding redeeming the points. There has to be a minimum number of points available in your account before they can be redeemed. Many people fall into this trap and they start overspending to get more points, and the credit card companies are counting on this.

Learn how to calculate your debt to income ratio

Many financial institutions will first do a credit check on you and then calculate how much your debt to income ratio is before lending you their money. You can check your own debt to income ratio before applying for a loan. Follow these steps and know your debt to income ratio.

debt_to_income_ratioFirst you need to figure out your gross monthly income. You will find it in your pay stub or in your leave and earning statement. You can also use the W-2 form given at the end of the year by your employer.

Then you need to calculate your minimum monthly payments that you do towards your debts. Go through all your monthly bills and statements to calculate the minimum due each month. You can also check your credit report to calculate your minimum payments for each month. If you don’t have a copy of your credit report, you can get a free copy once in a year from all the three credit bureaus.

Once you know the gross monthly income and your total minimum payments of your debts, divide your total minimum payments by your gross monthly income.

  • For example:

Total Minimum Monthly Payments (debt) =$1,000

Gross Monthly Income (income)=$2,000

Divide $1,000 by $2,000 =.50 or 50% debt to income (D/I) ratio

According to this example, 50% of your money goes towards paying your debts. It must be a great feeling for you. If you have a 100% debt to income ratio, this means that you have no money left for your essential needs like food, clothing, etc. Having 50% of the debt to income ratio means that you are living paycheck to paycheck, but you are able to pay all your bills on time every month, go for an outing once in a while, or go on vacation. These numbers are perhaps good.

Calculate-Your-Debt-to-Income-RatioWhen you apply for a new credit with this debt to income ratio, many financial institutions know that you need some debt in order to rebuild your credit scores. They prefer your debt to income ratio to be below 50%. An ideal number will be below 30% and 10% is the best because this means that you have more money available to pay back your loans.

Be careful of the lenders who are willing to loan you money even if you have a very high debt to income ratio. They are going to charge you a lot of money in very high interests and fees and it will be very difficult to pay them back. You can always shop with different companies and see what their terms are in offering a lower interest rate loan.

  • Resources:

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/1791/what-debt-income-ratio-why-43-debt-income-ratio-important.html

Outsource Tax Work to an Accountant

Let’s face it, no one likes taxes. Taxes are a necessary evil in life and every business or person needs to follow through on the best tax prepartion Calgary every year. Otherwise, the business or person could face an audit or a general headache when the taxes are due.

Tax-AccountingThe main problem most organizations and people have with taxes, however, is not that they exist, it’s that the tax laws always change. From one tax year to another, a family or small business could expect their tax rates to change on a federal level, in Alberta or with their municipal taxes in Calgary. Although most people expect they can handle their taxes, it is always a good choice to consult with an accountant or accounting firm.

Accountants or accounting firms may seem like a financial investment, but the investment is worth the time and money. Accounting in Calgary can be quite complex and an accountant or firm is here to help their clients. Every accountant, whether they are independent or part of a firm, will know the complexity of the Calgary, Alberta and Canadian tax code. These professionals also keep up-to-date on how the tax code changes. They also know what benefits exist or are created in the tax code for families or businesses. Finally, these professionals can offer consulting advice on how to best prepare or handle tax issues with the government.

Outsourcing tax work to an accountant will help to alleviate any stress that comes from filing taxes. Instead of frantically keeping up with new tax laws and codes, have an accountant work on the taxes.

The Tools You Need for an Online Store

Building an online store takes a lot of work, but if you are diligent about the tasks ahead, you can easily build a successful online business. The key to finding success selling products or service online is having the right tools on hand. Here are some of the most important things you will need to put together a great ecommerce site.

  • The Website

The most important part of your online business will be your website. This is where customers will be directed, where they will browse your selection of a products and where they will complete their purchases. Having a clean, organized and easily navigable site will make sure your customers keep coming back.Online store

  • Shopping Cart Software

Security should be a priority for any business that wants to attract and maintain customers. Shopping cart software is the best solution for both the merchant and the buyer. The protections it offers will help you let customers know that you take their security seriously. It also helps you securely collect payments so that you can keep improving your inventory and customer service.

  • Inventory Management

If you own a lot of inventory, it is important to also have the tools you need to properly manage it. You should look for inventory management tools that provide a detailed look at what you have, where it is located, and how many of each product will be listed on your ecommerce site at any given time. With a good management system, you will also be able to determine what prices you need to set in order to move products at the pace you are most comfortable with.

  • Marketing Solutions

Once you have your site set up to take orders, it is important to get the word out. If people are unaware that your website exists, how can they go there to spend their money? There are a wide variety of marketing solutions for online stores. It is important to try a number of them to see which

If you are looking for shopping carts, merchandising tools and marketing for your ecommerce store, check out a site like 1ShoppingCart.com for more information on how you can set up and run a successful online store.

How to manage your finance without using credit cards

Many people love the idea of using credit cards on a regular basis. They become so addicted towards it that it may sound scary for them to live without using it. Society will mold itself towards people using credit cards in order to survive. It is not at all necessary to be like this. Read this article to find out how you can manage your finance efficiently without using credit cards.

Manage-FinanceMany people have a poor credit history and they take loans from different lenders at very high interest rate. It also takes them years to rebuild their credit history. It will be a good move towards rebuilding your finance instead. You can buy things using cash instead of credit card. It will minimize the excessive use of credit cards.

You might be worried about your deposits. It is always better to pay for deposits rather than paying for interest on the credit card and various financial vehicles utilized when taking advantage of credit.

If you rent, the landlord will check your credit history, or perhaps you have bad credit, then it may not be that good to look at. If you have good credit, then you have plenty of options available on the internet. There are many people who are willing to rent without credit, but you have to do your research and check the ads online.

Many employers expect a good credit history from you before they offer you any job. If you do not have credit at all, but have good finance, they are willing to make exceptions. People having poor credit history must first work towards improving it without actually using it.

Credit-cardYou will sure save more money if you don’t use your credit cards. When you are living on cash, keep aside a certain portion of your income that will take care of your three to six months living expenses, and just keep on building it. It is a fact that many people who use excessive credit are not able to save at all. It is important to take control of yourself and be financially sound.

Whenever you do any purchases, prefer using your debit card instead of a credit card. It is good to spend what you can actually afford and that also without using any credit. This will make your life more balanced in the long terms.

It is not difficult to live without credit cards. Follow these tips and do all the purchases that you need to do in your everyday life. Your goal should be to live a life that is stress free and credit free.

How to spot a scam that guarantees you financial freedom

Many people want to get financial freedom and that’s why they start looking for different business opportunities or jobs or other ways of making enough money. It is important that you remain careful because if you make a wrong move, you end up being a victim of financial freedom scam. There are mischievous people and companies that want to take advantage of innocent people. These scammers are always in the hunt of people who are willing to risk their entire savings in order to get financial freedom.

financial scamsThese scam companies or individuals will take away your entire savings if you get into their trap and will leave you with nothing. It is time to get informed and spot a financial scam if you know what to look for. Scammers will promise individuals guaranteed financial freedom and it is quite easy to get into their trap. They will make false promises saying that you will become very rich in a very short period of time and that also without putting lots of efforts. That’s the dream many people have. Many of us dream about winning some kind of lottery without putting in any hard work. So how will you distinguish between a legitimate business offer and a financial freedom scam?

Those who are into doing financial freedom scams will use a very strong pitch to attract people, but if you study it closely, they are missing a lot of important details. It is easy for these scammers to promise you with a huge amount of money. All you have to do is just respond to their offer by paying down some earnest money or provide your banking details, social security number to them. Then they will use your information to steal your money or identity. So be very cautious before giving out your personal information to anyone you don’t know. It will be wise to decline the offer.

Before doing business with any company, it is important to do a background check on that company and check them with your local law enforcement agencies. A reputed business will have all their information available on the internet. And a scam company will also have all their horror stories published online. After all, you need to take careful steps to keep your identity protected. Everyone wants to get financial freedom, and while you are in the process of achieving it, don’t end up being a victim of financial freedom scam. You need to be diligent and thoroughly check out every business offer that you get and protect yourself from falling into a scam.

  • Helpful reading:

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Money/Financial-Crime.shtml

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/emergencies/scams.html

How to improve your binary option trading

Due to the continuous change in the economy, the human lifestyle is constantly affected, creating more issues and problems, and hence individuals are not able to get satisfaction and contentment in their life. People are making adjustments in their amenities like food, shelter and other commodities in life to fulfill their needs.

binary options tradingBecause of this rapid change in economy, many people are searching for other sources of income. Some of them start their own small business, some opt for a much simpler quest of saving money in banks and financial institutions and others are going for risky ventures like trading. This is all done to improve their lifestyle and have a better living. Out of all these options, trading can provide better and faster income solutions.

Nowadays, many people are opting for binary options. Experts believe that trading is not a hard venture as assumed by many people. If you are using the right tactics and platform, you can get amazing and efficient results.

If you are interested in making more profit in binary options, follow these tips and start your own venture.

  • Finding out the perfect trading option – Trading offers many options, like stocks, commodities, money and many more. Individuals should also make sure that they have sufficient background in the option that they are choosing from. This will give you more options and help in making stronger decisions for your trading, without wasting time, effort and finances and not get any results. By finding the right trading option, you can also minimize the risks of having deficits and other loses as you trade.
  • binary-optionsMaking your goals clearer – While trading, it is important to set your goals so that you are able to make clear and concise decisions. This will also allow you to do a proper planning for your venture. When you have reliable and efficient tools and reports regarding the movement of the trade, you can get accurate readings as you trade.
  • Finding reliable platforms and businesses – With the help of good knowledge and years of experience from reliable trading companies, you will get a lot of guidance in your trading. They will also help you in finding a legitimate trading platform so that you don’t fell in the wrong hands and make wonderful profits.

Follow these tips before you go into trading. You can also understand the vital factors that can affect your trade, and strengthen your plans to have a better and bright future.

Related article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_option

http://investor.gov/news-alerts/investor-alerts/investor-alert-binary-options-fraud

Forex Scams / Forex Fraud

One of the best ways of making money is to invest in the foreign exchange market. This is perhaps the largest and most liquid market in the world. Nowadays, more and more people are getting involved in trading currencies and earn their living. As this market is gaining its popularity, forex scam artists are also trying to cash in money from this business. There are ways to identify these scammers.

forex-fraudThe first step is to check out that your preferred Forex broker is accredited with the United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). You can also look for the regulator’s certification on your broker’s website and contact the CFTC to check the authentication of your broker. You must always check the legitimacy of your Forex broker so that you don’t end up getting scammed and lose all your money.

Next, if you see outlandish claims that are guaranteeing high profits in no time, then you need to stay away from them. There is no shortcut in trading currencies. When you are investing money in the forex market, you need to be very much dedicated, investigative, have good analytical skills, knowledge of economics, and consistence practice. This will make you an experienced trader in the Forex market. If you see any scheme that is assuring ridiculous guarantees through unsolicited calls, you need to be careful enough.Forex scams

Another way of identifying a forex scam is when you see a promotion that guarantees little or no financial risk in trading currencies. There is no such investment that does not have any risk involved. Forex Scam artists will always give you false hopes and guarantee that your investment is secure, or they will invest your capital in the “Interbank Market” and so on. Stay away from people who make such promises. Even the professional traders cannot guarantee that their money won’t be at risk in any given day. It is very hard to predict the foreign exchange market and thus you need to stay away from people who are giving false promises.

If you see a firm that is not trustworthy, then it can be a possible scam. You must check the background, physical address and the performance record of the firm before investing your money. If a firm has the intention of scamming people, then you will find many horror stories about them on the internet. Similarly, a legitimate business will be having all their information with the local law enforcement agencies. Hence, it will become easier to distinguish between a genuine business and a scammer. Stay away from the firms who make bold claims about how successful they are in the Forex market, but unable to prove it in papers.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_exchange_fraud

Annuities – Its advantages and disadvantages in terms of long term financial planning

In many cases, annuities are used as retirement investment vehicle. They provide the investor with a tax deferred way of calculating interest. There are many types of annuities for different investors with many options, their opportunity for a sizable return, and their safety. Variable annuity is often considered as the riskier annuity. The investor is able to invest the annuity in the stock market, or in mutual funds. Any person over the age of 60 will receive monthly payments, depending on the results of the investments.

AnnuityIf the investor is not 60 years of age, he will still receive the tax benefits, but he won’t get the payment until he reaches 60. Variable Annuity can be for a fixed time period or for life. Most of these annuities offer a money market sub account. This will allow the investor to switch to a secure fixed rate, at any point of time.

Advantages of Annuities :

If you look at the stock exchange market, especially S & P 500 who have an annual return averaging 12%, while historically Fixed Annuities, Treasury Bills, and secure Bonds usually offer single-digit interest rates. A Variable Annuity will allow you to earn much higher returns.

All annuities are tax deferred, and it will be beneficial for many investors over other investment vehicles. It will provide you inheritance probate-free, thereby allowing your loved ones to avoid estate taxes. You can also provide gifts which are completely free of tax up to $10k per year, per person.

Fixed annuities do not provide such higher liquidity like variable annuities. You can make withdrawals as much as 10% annually in the first year without any sort of penalty. And if there is any market change and you are not feeling confident about it, you can move to a fixed rate of interest, providing a very secure investment vehicle. Based on the current market conditions, you can change you risk/return.

Disadvantages of Annuities:Annuities

Variable Annuities are not that secure like Fixed annuities or CD’s. When you put your money in the market, it means that you are willing to risk your share. There are some management fees, just like a mutual fund. You must check the commissions or the fees involved.

This investment will give you enough liquidity, but it is not the right one if you need that money tomorrow. Income withdrawals before the age of 59.5 years or by more than the allowable percent per year will result in a 10% IRS penalty.

You must do all your research before putting your money in the market. Overall variable annuities are a good investment vehicle to grow your nest egg tax deferred, but at the same time, there are lots of risks involved. Always seek professional help before making this important decision.

Helpful Resources:

http://www.sec.gov/answers/annuity.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annuity

Finding the right investment advisor

Earning money is not an easy job, so you want to make sure that wherever you are investing your money, it will be there when needed. Many people get confused in how to invest their savings in the right place. At times, it can be a complicated and time consuming task. Hiring an investment advisor will be the right choice in such cases.

InvestmentThe job of an investment adviser is to do a market analysis for you, understand your financial goals, and consider the amount of money that you are willing to afford. With the help of these details, he will advise you on how to invest your money in the right place and earn maximum return.

When you work with an investment adviser who is supposed to take important decisions about your finance, make sure that you are working with the best in the market. In the initial stage, you can do short meetings with the advisor with the same kind of approach as you will do with your employer conducting a job interview. Make sure that you have the list of all your questions that you will like to discuss with the consultant before hiring him.

When you talk with the investment adviser, be very blunt in asking who is going to oversee your account. There have been instances where some people thought that only one person is going to look into the account, but later it was found out that his accounts were handled by several different people and that created a lot of communication gap between all the people involved. You must clarify all these points with your investment advisor and that proper communication is done all the time with people whoever has the access to your account and is making investment decisions.

 Investment-advisorYou should know from your investment advisor how he will take the time to review your current portfolio. This is something they plan on doing regularly. Apart from checking your portfolio and gauging the status of your current investments, they must keep in touch with you regularly to discuss about any changes that may come up. A good investment firm will be diligent about communication and they want to ensure that you stay updated on how your investments performed in the market.

Before hiring any investment advisor, you must clarify his roles and responsibilities. Every firm has its own policies regarding how their investors are going to work with the clients. You must make sure that your investment advisor will be making changes to your portfolio and overseeing all the investments, or if they are acting in a purely advisory role. Once you get the answer to this question, you need to make your decision about hiring the consultant.

You should also inquire about the cost of the services of the investment advisor. The fees will vary from one firm to another. Shop with different companies before you finalize the one who is going to take care of your investments and make your money grow.

Helpful Resources:

http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/invadvisers.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_adviser

http://investor.gov/researching-managing-investments/working-investment-professionals/brokers-advisors/research-advisor#.U9vFf6NRG4Z