Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Homeowner Loans- Raise funds from your home

Owning a home in the UK opens you to varied loan prospects at competitive rates. Home being a fixed asset is the best collateral the lender can ask for. So, UK lenders prefer giving loans to homeowners. A homeowner loan is probably the best way to procure hefty amounts of loan. You can get a fruitful deal at attractive interest rates and have flexible repayment options as well. To define it, homeowner loans are loans that allow you to borrow money based on the equity of your home. Cited below are the essential features of homeowner loans.

• The home needs to be valuated
• Long procedure as legal validation is involved
• Loans available up to £100,000
• Enables to borrow from 90% to 125% of your home equity
• Flexible repayment period from 3 to 30 years
• Multipurpose loans
• Competitive interest rates
• Homeowner with bad credit can avail these loans
• Home will be seized in case of failure in repayment

Secured and Unsecured Homeowner Loans
Though the secured homeowner loans are a popular option wherein the home of the borrower is put on stake as collateral, lenders in the UK loan market offer unsecured homeowner loans as well. In the case of unsecured homeowner loans, since nothing is put as collateral, the loan amount is smaller and the loan carries a higher rate of interest, as compared to the secured counterparts. However, before going in for homeowner loans, shop around in the market, make a comparative study of the various and look for details like arrangement fees, early repayment charges, and the credit policies of the lenders.

Homeowner loans trend in the UK market
The number of properties occupied by just one person was around 20 million in 1990. The same is projected to hit 25 million in 2020. (Source: Discussion on Communities and Local Government, DCLG). The trend is reinforced by a research conducted by the Economic and Social Research Council that found that since 1971, the population of UK has increased by 5%, but the number of single households has increased by 31%. More homes mean more people who can go in for availing homeowner loans. This is an indicator of boom to be expected in the market for homeowner loans.

Summary: Homeowner loans give homeowners in UK the freedom to procure hefty loan amounts at competitive rates of interest. The loan amount is based on the equity of the home, exclusive of the running mortgages and debts on the home.


Homeowner Loan - model loan for the homeowner

Secured loans are generally termed homeowner loans. This is because the collateral used for homeowner loans are typically homes. However, in truth, collaterals can be anything of value. With a homeowner loan, interest rates can be variable, unlike unsecured loans where rates tend to be fixed.

With homeowner loans, one can get a longer repayment term as well. However, the borrower may also have to pay extra charges, like a property valuation fee.

The interest rates are comparatively lower with a homeowner loan. This has mainly to do with the presence of collateral in the case of this loan type. The collateral assures one thing to the lender – the loan will be recovered one way or another. If the borrower defaults, the collateral can be sold off to recoup the loan amount.

The greatest benefits with a homeowner loan are that the money offered can be repaid over a distinctly greater time period, in comparison to unsecured personal loans. The repayment period can stretch up to thirty years. The amount borrowed is dependant on the equity in the house. There are cases where the borrower can get more, but that usually warrants elevated interest rates.

Of course, the elongated time-frame engenders a lot of other benefits for the borrower. As the loan can be paid back over a greater duration, it becomes easier to manage the monthly outflow. This assists in supervising the finances better. However, there is a downside to this. Should the loan not be repaid in time, there is a clear chance that the borrower could lose his home.

There are several avenues to procure a homeowner loan. While the traditional banking institution is still a major player in this regard, other options are coming up too. Private lenders are one. The other is the online option, which is arguable the best in terms of choice and customer convenience.

Summary: A homeowner loan necessitates the borrower to put up collateral – his home - as security. These loans have a longer repayment term, and come with slight lower monthly instalment rates than unsecured loans.


Home loan– Invest in your dream

A secured home loan is granted against collateral. These loans are offered against the borrowers' home which act as a security against the lending amount. The loan amount can range from £25,000 to £1,000,000. The loan period is also pretty extensive and can stretch from 5 to 25 years.

Borrowers can borrow up to 25 percent more than the value of their home if they are going in for a second mortgage. For example, if your house is worth £150,000 and you owe £150,000 on mortgage payment, this loan programme would allow you to borrow £25,000 over and above the loan amount.

There are many lenders who offer a 125 percent equity home loan. By and large, this is a credit score driven loan programme. But it is quite possible that each lender will have its own terms and guidelines. Borrowers have to have a decent credit score in order to qualify for this loan type. Additionally, borrower's financial record will determine the maximum loan amount he may qualify for and the maximum cash in hand you may receive. On top of that, a number of home loan lenders may require seasoning on the length of time the borrower has lived in the house. The minimum time is presently gauged at three months.

As far as property appraisal is concerned, most 125 percent home equity loan lenders do not require you to obtain one. Usually, they use the purchase price of your home as the value if you have lived in your residence for 12 months or less. If you have lived in your home for over 12 months, a recent tax assessment, simple drive-by appraisal, or automated value model (AVM) can be used. An AVM is a computer generated assessment of your home's value which is based on recent home sales of comparable houses in your neighbourhood.

A host of advantages are attached with secured home loans:

* As these loan deals are offered against a security which covers the risk factors, it is possible to get it at a low interest rate.
* Repayments terms and conditions are quite flexible and thereby adds to its appeal.
* Easy availability of these loans has made them popular among borrowers. These loans can be applied for through the internet as well.

It is really up to the borrower to see if this loan type is feasible for him or not.

Summary: Everyone dreams of getting a foothold in the property ladder. If you are a homeowner and a UK resident, then you have a lot of options in front of you. Depending on your personal circumstances and the amount of money you need, you can avail a secured or an unsecured loan.


Homeowner Loan - the homeowner's most viable choice

Secured loans require the borrower to put up an asset as collateral against which the loan amount is issued. The popularity of this loan type is increasing in the UK. However, there is a flipside to this. There have been an astonishing number of repossessions in the country, due to non-repayment of the loans.

This loan is also loosely called a homeowner loan, as most of the assets that are put up as collateral happen to be homes. The advantages with taking a homeowner loan are several. The amount one can borrow with this loan is big - the typical figure is £75,000. Even this is a flexible amount though. With a collateral of greater value, one can always seek (and get) a bigger amount. Also, there is the added advantage of a long repayment term, which, at times, is as long as thirty years. Secured loans are ideal for circumstances that necessitate a big amount of money. The longer repayment term helps the borrower to manage finances better.

There are disadvantages with a homeowner loan too. The most glaring one is the threat of repossession of property, in the event of a repayment default from the borrower's side. Secondly, availing a secured loan means one has to possibly go through endless paperwork. The expediency factor is not there with this loan.

There are several avenues through which one can get a homeowner loan. Some of the standard sources are banks; building institutions; private lenders, and the Internet. Of these, the first two have been long established in the market and have managed to gain the trust of the customers. Private lenders are a more recent addition that has come about owing to specialised customer needs. However, for sheer customer comfort and convenience, there is nothing as feasible as the Internet.

Borrowers taking secured loans should do so with discretion and after an honest evaluation of their financial base. With these loans, the worst-case scenario is indeed the nastiest - the loss of a home.

Summary: homeowner loans are gaining popularity in the UK market today. However, one should take these loans with discretion, as the price for non-repayment is a massive one - repossession.


Secured homeowner loans - loans for the homeowner

A secured loan is freely termed a homeowner loan. A secured homeowner loan necessitates a home to be put up as collateral by the borrower in order to procure the amount. Procured against collateral, generally a home, Secured homeowner loans have lower interest rates compared to unsecured loans. This leniency from the lenders is owing to the presence of collateral in the case of a secured homeowner loan. If the borrower defaults on the repayments, he can lawfully lose the collateral to the lender.

With these loans, one can borrow a distinctly greater amount than what one does with an unsecured loan. The amount dispensed can vary between £5000 to £75000. The latter is flexible. If the value of the security is greater than that amount, there is likelihood of the borrower being given an even bigger amount. As far as the value of the collateral is concerned, it can be of equal or greater worth than the loan amount.

The usage of an unsecured personal loan is not limited. The money can be deployed for wedding expenses, home renovation, launching a new business venture, children's' education etc. Typically, the repayment term is around three years for little amounts. For a distinctly larger loan, it can stretch up to 30 years.

Banks, building societies, private lenders and online lenders provide secured homeowner loans. For quickness and choice, the online lender is the most feasible. One can access different lenders in a matter of a few hours, by logging into their respective websites. These websites offer different quotes and studies. There are also facilities like loan and repayment calculators, which may help the borrower avail a better deal.

A borrower applying for a secured homeowner loan may have to provide a few details, including his name; address; contact information; telephone number; email address; amount he is applying for; value of the security; the loan's purpose etc.

Summary: Secured homeowner loans can be availed by putting a home as collateral against the loan. These loans have lower interest rates and a longer repayment term.


Secured homeowner loan: really cost-effective and easy to deal with

You had to work day in and day out to be a homeowner. Now it is the turn of your home to work for you round the clock. And truly it is doing so by giving you shelter and protection. But surprisingly this is not all that your home can do for you. It can provide you with fund in the moment of dire need. For that you have to take secured homeowner loan, one of the cost-effective modes of fund raising.

Secured homeowner loan is offered against the home of the borrower. As a rule you should have sufficient amount of equity available in your home to take this loan. However, there are some lenders who get ready to offer this loan to homeowners who have no equity available in their home.

In sharp contrast with other type of loans, secured homeowner loan comes with a bundle of benefits that make it really cost-effective. It carries low interest rate which curbs the cost of the loan to a greater degree. Again this low interest rate while combined with long loan period makes the repayment instalment small. All these features make it easy to deal with the loan.

Borrowers of secured homeowner loan can enjoy flexibility in all the terms and conditions of the loan. Any missed payment will not be treated with severity; rather you can clear it along with the next instalment. You can avail the loan despite your poor credit too. Above all, this loan gives you the chance to unleash the equity tied-up in your home.

Summary: Your home can be a good source of cash if you take secured homeowner loan against it. This loan comes with a bundle of benefits that make it really cost-effective. Its flexible terms make it easy to deal with.


Secured loans for homeowners: Your home is your heaven

"Give shelter to your dreams with the help of your home." Homeowners are definitely very fortunate in terms of availing financial aid to fulfil their dreams and desires. Home is an asset for the homeowners. They can utilise the equity in their homes to get financial advantages through secured loans for homeowners. Lenders feel more than happy to offer secured loans to homeowners because the loan amount is secured against the home. Lenders know that they can seize or sell the home in case the homeowner fails to repay the loan on time. So, the lender is sure he will be able to recover the loan money from the borrower. This confidence of the lenders and lower risk perceived enable the borrowers receive the following privileges:

* low interest rate
* flexible monthly instalments
* easy availability
* approval for a large sum of money

The loan amount that you can receive depends upon the equity value of your home. Greater the equity, greater the sum of money you can receive. One can get up to 125% of the property value as secured loan. So, the lender will first get your home value assessed and then decide the loan amount to be approved. However, a homeowner should not get too tempted by his dreams and desires to endanger the home. Take care to apply for the amount that is extremely necessary. Be sure that you are able to bear the monthly instalments comfortably. Always keep in mind that your home is under constant threat of being repossessed by the lender in case you fail to repay on time.

A homeowner is free to use the secured loans for homeowners for any purpose, such as making home improvements, meeting expenses of higher education, arranging for a wedding, purchasing a stylish car, managing your debts or anything under the sun.

Summary: Homeowners can take advantage of the secured loans to fulfil their needs and desires. The equity in the home can be utilised to avail loans with easy and flexible repayment terms.


Homeowner loan– cash in your asset

Your home is your haven. It is a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of life. Not only does it shelter you, but, now, it can offer you financial succour when you need it. You can offer it to your lender as a security against a loan amount. You will receive a volley of advantages, such as:

* Low interest rates
* Flexible instalments
* Big loan amount
* Long repayment period

Lenders can give homeowner loans for a variety of purposes that include:

* Home improvement, such as repairing the roof, designing or furnishing works etc.
* Education
* Wedding
* Car financing
* Debt consolidation

To avail a secured homeowner loan, the borrower would be required to provide security of some sort. Generally, the collateral is in the form of the borrower's home. Homeowner loan deals can be availed from reputed high street banks that have well established network of branches all across the UK. Borrowers may also approach online banks and lenders that provide secured loans for homeowners. Online applications are comparatively less time consuming. Additionally, there is no application fees associated with it. As it is a hassle free option, more and more people are opting for it.

Borrowers can submit their personal details through the online forms and the service providers will in turn forward the loan request to a number of lenders throughout the UK. Depending upon the equity in your home, the lenders decide the quantum of loan that can be provided. In simple terms, equity is the current market value of your home minus the outstanding amount of money. It is always better to consult several lenders and go through their terms and conditions. The best solution is to compare the interest rates along with all other hidden charges and choose the deal that is most suitable for you on a long term basis.

It is really up to the borrower to see if this loan type is feasible for him or not.

Summary: One's home is the biggest asset. The equity in your home can be used to avail loans of your choice. Depending on the borrower's choice, he can opt for secured or unsecured homeowner loans.


Monday, March 19, 2007

6 funds to invest in with your kids

Are you looking to introduce your children to investing? Consider these tips and a half-dozen mutual funds with low initial outlays.

At Morningstar, we've often emphasized how important it is to start investing early in life. Not only does it give you a big head start in building a nest egg for a first home, a college education or retirement, but learning good investing habits early on can have a positive impact for years. That's why it's an excellent idea for parents to teach their kids about money and investing.

There are plenty of good ways to do this, some of which Morningstar's Sue Stevens recently described in her column (registration required).

Ultimately, there's no better way for kids to learn about investing than by doing it themselves, whether it's with money they've saved on their own or money given to them by a parent or other relative. Traditional tools such as summer jobs and savings accounts are still important, but mutual funds can also be an excellent way for older children to learn the value of a buck. Not all mutual funds are right for young investors, but with a little thoughtful research, it's possible to find some that kids can feel at home in.

What to look for
Broadly speaking, when helping kids invest in mutual funds, it's best to keep things simple. Focus on stock funds rather than bond funds because kids have very long time horizons and can take on plenty of risk. Large-cap stock funds are generally best; not only should they form the core of any long-term portfolio, but they're more likely to hold stocks of which the kids have heard. Kids will generally have no need for sector funds or other niche funds.

Young investors generally don't have a lot of money to throw around, so a fund that requires $5,000, $10,000 or more upfront is effectively closed to them. There are plenty of funds with minimum initial investments of $1,000, $500 or even $250, making them much more welcoming for beginners. You can read about some of these funds in this column by Christine Benz, and you can use Morningstar's Premium Fund Screener (membership required) to find funds with low minimums in addition to any other criteria you want. You might want to eliminate load funds; some of them have low minimums, but they're not appropriate if you're going to make lots of small purchases, as kids probably will.

Often it's possible to start with an even-lower initial investment -- sometimes zero -- if you set up an automatic investment plan, or AIP. Under that kind of plan, you arrange to automatically add a certain amount, such as $50, to the account each month. This can be a good option for kids with jobs that provide a regular income; not only does it allow them to start investing without a lot of money up front, but it will teach them how quickly that nest egg can grow when additions are made regularly. You can find out whether a fund has an AIP -- many do -- by looking on the Purchasing Information page of its Morningstar report, and you can use the Premium Fund Screener to screen for funds with AIPs.

Watch the expenses
Low expenses are a feature any fund investor should look for, and you'll do kids a favor if you instill in them early the importance of fund costs. This can be trickier than it seems at first because the cheapest funds can sometimes have high minimum purchases; still, kids can't go wrong if you steer them toward low-cost funds whenever it's feasible. Morningstar's free Mutual Fund Screener lets you screen for funds with expense ratios below their category average, and the Premium Fund Screener allows for expense screening that's more detailed.

Finally, it's often considered kid-friendly for funds to avoid alcohol, tobacco, gambling or pornography stocks because some parents or grandparents might not feel comfortable having kids investing in such businesses. Columbia Young Investor (LYIAX), a pioneer among kid-friendly funds that's soon being merged away, has always had such restrictions on its portfolio, as does its rival USAA First Start Growth (UFSGX).

This is a more personal standard than the other ones above, and it is one that parents might want to discuss between themselves and with their kids. If you do decide that you'd like a fund that screens out certain kinds of stocks, you can use Premium Fund Screener to find socially responsible funds, most of which at least shun alcohol and tobacco stocks. However, you'll also need to look at each fund individually to see whether its standards are ones with which you agree because funds can differ greatly in their definitions of "socially responsible" investing.

Six funds to consider
With all this in mind, here are some funds to consider if you have a child who's dipping his or her toe into the waters of investing. Of course, these aren't the only kid-friendly funds out there; judicious use of the screening tools mentioned above can help you find other candidates fitting the criteria that are most important to you. However, this list provides a good starting point for young investors:

USAA First Start Growth (UFSGX).
Now that Columbia Young Investor is on the verge of disappearing, this will soon be the only mutual fund explicitly geared toward young people. It's not without its drawbacks; its 1.45% expense ratio is high for a large-cap fund, and 25% of its assets are now in bonds, a higher percentage than most kids probably need. But manager Mark Baribeau avoids alcohol, tobacco and gambling stocks, and you can start an AIP for no money upfront and just $20 a month, one of the most kid-friendly plans out there.

TIAA-CREF Equity Index Investor (TCEIX).
Index funds have a place in any investor's portfolio, and kids are no exception. The big kahunas among index funds, Vanguard 500 Index (VFINX) and Fidelity Spartan 500 Index (FSMKX), are very cheap but have minimum initial investments of $3,000 and $10,000, respectively, putting them out of most kids' reach. This fund from TIAA-CREF has a minimum initial investment of $2,500, but that minimum is only $50 if you set up an AIP that invests $50 a month. Plus, this fund only costs 0.26% a year -- not as cheap as the Vanguard or Fidelity funds but still cheaper than most index funds and nearly all actively managed funds.

Vanguard STAR (VGSTX).
If you want to teach kids about the importance of low fund expenses, there's no better place to start than Vanguard. Some of Vanguard's most popular funds, such as 500 Index, are geared more toward older, more experienced investors, but Vanguard STAR is a good option for beginners. It provides exposure to 11 different Vanguard funds of various asset classes, including significant foreign exposure, and its track record is outstanding. A major factor in that good track record is the fund's rock-bottom 0.36% expense ratio. It does require a $1,000 initial investment, with or without an AIP, but nearly all other Vanguard funds require at least a $3,000 minimum, making this the best entree into this world-class family of funds.

Pax World Balanced (PAXWX).
This is one of the best socially responsible funds out there, with a strong long-term track record and reasonable expenses. It also has a low $250 minimum initial investment, whether or not you set up an AIP, making it an attractive starter fund. The fund keeps 25% to 45% of its assets in bonds, which makes it a bit conservative for most kids' needs, but it also provides significant mid-cap and overseas exposure, which can be hard to find in socially responsible funds.

T. Rowe Price Spectrum Growth (PRSGX).
This fund of funds is good way to obtain diversified, actively managed stock exposure. It invests in nine T. Rowe Price equity funds ranging from small to large cap, value to growth and domestic to international, and it has compiled one of the best long-term records in the large-blend category. Plus, like all T. Rowe Price funds, it's friendly to beginning investors; you can start an AIP with just $50 to start and $50 a month after that.

Ariel Appreciation (CAAPX).
This fund has struggled lately, but we have enough confidence in veteran manager John Rogers that it remains an Analyst Pick in the mid-cap-blend category. Rogers avoids tobacco, firearm and nuclear-energy stocks, and prefers firms that are environmentally friendly and cultivate diversity. It's also an easy fund for youngsters to get into; you can set up an AIP with no money upfront and $50 a month thereafter. On top of all this, Ariel maintains a number of educational initiatives to help disadvantaged young people.


102 Personal Finance Tips Your Professor Never Taught You

If you're anything like me, you graduated from college and perhaps even took a finance class or accounting class here or there, but you didn't learn anything about managing your personal finances. In fact, there probably wasn't even an opportunity to take any such class in either high school or college. But if college is partly about training us for a job, shouldn't we learn what to do with the money we earn from a job? Especially in a country where 45% of college students are in credit card debt and 40% of all Americans say they live beyond their means, I think it's time to wise up to some of the challenges of money management. A few (say, 102) simple rules can help get your financial life (back) on the right track.

The Painfully Obvious But Rarely Followed Tips

1. Pay yourself first. Try to put away at least 10% of your pre-tax income into a savings account.

2. Spend less than you earn. While this seems obvious, Americans are notorious for doing just the opposite. Stop spending and start saving.

3. Pay your bills on time. Avoid needless late fees and know how much money you actually have.

4. Avoid debt to the extent possible. Student loans and mortgages can be "good debt", but even then, make paying them off a priority.

5. Set a budget. And live by it. Use a computer program or just a paper and pencil. Whatever works.

6. Set concrete goals. Know when you want to buy a new home, when you want to retire, and how much you are expecting each to cost you.

7. Have an emergency fund. Have at least three months' income (some say six) in a high-yield savings account that can be easily accessed.

Career and Education

8. Get educated. A college education always pays for itself and more. In 2004, bachelor's degree holders earned an average of $51,206 per year, while high school graduates earned only $27,915, according to Census data compiled by HighBeam Research.

9. Your career is your most valuable asset. Manage it with a higher priority than you would with any other investment. Remember that without this asset, you couldn't survive.

10. Save enough. You should try to save enough to cover at least one-third of your kids' total college costs.

11. Consider public schools. Especially for college, state schools can often times be just as prestigious, if not more, than private schools.

12. Consider community college or online college for your first year or two. You can then transfer these credits to a more expensive (and prestigious) school to finish your final two or three years.

13. Invest in a 529 college savings account. It's tax-free. What more needs to be said?

14. Ask for a raise. Use the Salary Wizard Calculator to see if you're making as much as you should. If not, consider asking for a raise, especially if you've been at the company for more than a year.

15. Get a professional certificate. Some professions offer a certificate that, if earned, will generally provide you with a higher salary.

16. Don't major in English. If you love studying English, there's nothing wrong with that. Just be aware that English majors generally don't earn very much. Six of the top ten list of majors with the highest salaries are engineering majors, with chemical engineering topping the list.

Credit and Loans

17. Get a rewards card. If you need a credit card, the best type to get is a no-fee rewards card that you pay in full every month.

18. Borrow no more than 30% of your available credit. Borrow any more, and your credit score won't look too good.

19. Pay off your credit card debt. Credit card debt is usually the debt with the most interest. So pay it off first. Better yet, don't accumulate it in the first place.

20. Don't use your credit card for cash advances. It will harm your credit score and the interest rates are outrageous.

21. Know your credit score. Order your credit score from Equifax, Experian, and/or TransUnion.

22. Protect yourself from identity theft. Obtain your free credit report at least once per year and follow these tips.

23. Pay all credit card balances in full each month. Leaving a balance on a credit card account will leave you susceptible to a very high APR. You may as well be throwing cash into the fireplace.

24. Consolidate your loans. Especially those student loans. With a student consolidation loan, you can lock in several loans at a fixed interest rate and have just one lender to pay each month.

25. Avoid payday loans. Bottom line: they're scammy and they charge high interest rates. If you do need an emergency cash loan, just be aware of the risk of high interest rates.

26. Beware of scams. There are a lot of scams that deal with credit. Debt suspension offers, paying fees in advance, buying credit protection, and rebuilding credit usually sound too good to be true. There's a reason for this: they are.

27. Be cautious with home equity loans. If you can't make a payment toward a home equity loan, you could lose your house.


28. Buy a used car. The most expensive miles on a car are the first 10,000. Let someone else drive those for you. Buying used can save a lot of money considering how little value the car has actually lost.

29. Be patient. Don't buy that new gadget today. Wait a month or two and the price will certainly go down.

30. Buy airline tickets as far in advance as possible. The cheapest flights are the ones the are bought at least two months in advance. For holiday travel especially, buy as soon as you can.

31. Get the most bang for your airline miles. Be sure each airline mile you redeem is providing you with at least 1 cent toward the price of a ticket.

32. Never buy the extended warranty. Often times, your new product already comes with a 90-day or 1-year warranty (when most "faulty" things will break, anyway). There's a reason everyone wants to sell you an extended warranty: they're hugely profitable (for the business, not for you).

33. Make your own meals. Eating out gets to be expensive if you do it too often.

34. Make your home more energy efficient. Bankrate.com has a list of 17 ways to do so.

35. Get a better cell phone plan. If you've had the same cell phone plan for a couple of years, chances are there's something better out there. Look around or call your current provider and ask for a better deal.

36. Banking fees are for suckers. A lot of banks will charge you checking fees or minimum account balance fees. Find a bank that does not.

37. Keep track of your spending. At least for a month, keep a journal of everything you purchase. At the end of the month, review your spending priorities and make adjustments.

38. Ditch your car. Walk, bicycle, or take public transportation. You'll save on car payments, gasoline, parking, and speeding tickets.

39. Use your frequent flier miles often. They may expire before you know it. There's no sense in stockpiling them. If you have enough for a free flight, use them.

40. Buy through your favorite airline's partners merchant store. AA.com, for instance, has multiple retail partners from whom you can earn frequent flier miles with each purchase.

41. Negotiate fees. For example, ask a bank to waive late fees. Often enough, they will.

42. Get your free money. Money might be owed to you. Get it.


43. houseUpgrade your old bathrooms and kitchens. These are often selling points on a house. A modernized bathroom can provide over a 100% return, while a modernized kitchen can return about 90%.

44. Refinance your mortgage if you can cut at least one point. The costs of refinancing are considerable, so it should only be done if you can trim your interest rate by at least 1%.

45. Never spend more than 2 1/2 times your income on a home. Know what you can afford and what you cannot.

46. Put at least 20% down on a home. Making a down payment of less than 20% will usually result in a private mortgage insurance (PMI) fee being added. This is usually 0.5%, meaning it could cost you about $1,000 a year on a $200,000 principal.

47. Use a mortgage broker. The better your mortgage, the more you'll save. Shop around.

48. Investigate different types of mortgages. There are dozens of mortgage options out there. Find the one that suits you best.

49. Buy a house that needs repairs. Buy for cheap and then add to the value with repairs. You'll save money

50. Deal directly with the seller. Avoiding agents' fees is a good thing. If you do decide to hire an agent, do your homework and get one who will be on the same page as you. You should be the one calling the shots.

51. Find out about homeowner taxes. Know what the property tax is in your area and be prepared to have enough to pay it.

52. Find out about secondary costs. In addition to monthly payments, be prepared to incur some secondary costs, including repairs, notary, escrow fees, and title insurance.

53. Get the house inspected by a professional. Have the house thoroughly inspected before making an offer.

54. Negotiate the selling price. Home prices are almost always negotiable. Never offer the asking price, but rather a few percentage points below it.


55. Insure yourself against financial ruin. There should be no higher financial priority in your life than health insurance. Without it, if your health takes a turn for the worst, hospital bills could easily bankrupt you and your family.

56. High deductible is your friend. Keep those monthly premiums as low as you can.

57. Don't use insurance as an investment vehicle. Liquidity and certainty are not on your side.

58. Have enough. Have enough life insurance to replace at least five years of your salary, ten years if you have kids or significant debts.

59. Don't have too much. You need health insurance. If you're single and have no dependents, you don't need life insurance.

60. Think about insurance before you buy a car. Typically, the more expensive your car, the higher your insurance cost will be. Take this into account when buying a car.

61. Choose the right car insurance. Don't assume you should get the cheapest auto insurance or the one with the most protection. Find out exactly how much coverage you need.

62. Consider dropping collision coverage. Especially if you have an older car, there's not much sense in protecting it against getting wrecked if it's already a wreck.

63. Buy homeowner and auto coverage from the same insurer. You'll usually get a better deal than you would if you bought the two separately.

64. Write a will. If you have any dependents, you need a will. Write one and protect your loved ones.


65. stock graphBe wary of mutual funds. Few mutual fund managers can beat both the market and the expense fee that they charge.

66. Don't try to pick stocks. Picking stocks can be a very dangerous game, unless you know what you're doing.

67. Avoid fees. With long term investing, fees are a primary factor in total return. Avoid brokers who take high commissions and avoid funds with high management costs.

68. Stocks are high risk, high reward. Over the long term, stocks have historically outperformed all other investments. But over the short term, they can be risky if they lose a lot of value in a short period of time. So, do invest with stocks, but only with funds you won't need to withdraw over the short term.

69. Stocks first, bonds later. Invest in stocks when you're young, and then move into bonds are you grow older. Stocks are a good long-term investment strategy. If you're still young when the market turns south, you'll have plenty of years left ahead of you to make it up. As you get older, invest in bonds. They're less risky.

70. Past performance is not a guarantee of future success. Just because a stock has been up for the last six months does not mean it will continue to go up tomorrow.

71. Diversify your portfolio. Never invest more than 10% of your portfolio in any one company. Even if it's a "sure thing".

72. Build a nest egg that is 25 times the annual investment income you need. Don't think you can rely solely on social security.

73. If you don't understand how an investment works, don't buy it. Research an investment vehicle thoroughly before you get into it.

74. Don't borrow from your 401(k). Think of it as robbing yourself. You'll get hit with high fees and taxes, too.

75. Invest for the long term. There is no such thing as a guaranteed get rich quick scheme. And in investing, there is no high reward without a high risk. Use caution and diversify your portfolio for the long run.

76. Seek professional help. Don't feel the need to turn yourself into a day trader. Hire a personal financial advisor if you can afford to.

77. "Fee-only" is your friend. Go with a fee-only financial advisor, not a fee-based or a commission-based. Only fee-only advisors are legally obligated to act in your best interests.

78. Index funds are your friend. Index funds are passively managed and are generally cheaper and more tax-efficient than actively managed funds.


79. Optimize your 401(k). If your employer offers employer match, you must set your 401(k) contribution to at least that amount.

80. Play the IRA game smart. Max out your 401(k) first, your Roth IRA second, then your traditional IRA.

81. Increase your 401(k) contribution. Especially when you get a raise. Some employers even give you the option of having your contribution automatically taken out of your paycheck.

82. Don't buy stock in the company you work for. This is the opposite of diversification. What happens if the stock tanks, and you lose your job and pension because of downsizing?

83. Don't be afraid of stocks. More than two-thirds of 401(k) money is in low-yielding bonds. Especially if you're still young, invest in stocks. Over the long-run, they perform the best.

84. Sign up for Medicare. Don't forget to sign up for Medicare before you turn 65, even if you haven't retired yet.

85. Plan. Use the Social Security Retirement Planner to ensure that your retirement goes smoothly.


86. Save now. It doesn't matter if you're six or 60. You should be saving a little bit every month, aside from retirement savings. The sooner you start, the better.

87. Pay off high interest debts before you start saving. Earning 5% in your savings account isn't going to do much good if you're accruing 17% interest on your credit card debt.

88. Save at least 10% of your annual salary for retirement. This should help to provide a nice retirement fund when you need it.

89. Keep at least three months' worth of living expenses in a savings account or high-yield money market account.

90. Open an online savings account. Online savings accounts, such as Emigrant Direct or HSBC Direct, offer yields of greater than 5%.

91. Set up an automatic savings plan. You should be able to set up your checking account so that a certain amount is automatically transferred to a savings account each month. It's a good way to force yourself to save.


92. 1040 income tax formKnow when to file your taxes. If you expect a refund, file your taxes as early as you can. If you owe money, file as close to the due date (usually April 15) as possible.

93. Consider itemizing your deductions. If all of those tax breaks receipts you keep add up to more than your standard deduction, it is definitely worth filling out all of the extra paperwork to itemize.

94. Be aware of other tax deductions. Contributions to a traditional IRA, student loan interest payments, alimony payments.

95. Save money on tax credits. Some tax credits to look out for include the Hope Scholarship Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Credit, and Child Care Credit.

96. Bunch your deductions into one year. If you're taking the standard deduction this year, consider making charitable contributions and office-related purchases after January 1, so you can possibly itemize your deductions next year.

97. Recheck your withholding every year. If you get married, have kids, or become the head of a household, you'll want to add these allowances on your W-4 so you can have fewer taxes withheld.

98. Keep your receipts (especially on big ticket items). You'll want them if you plan to itemize, or in case you get audited.

99. Concentrate on tax-free investments. Tax-free investments, like bonds, allow you to earn interest without being taxed.

100. Buy a hybrid vehicle. Hybrids tend to be more expensive than their traditional counterparts, but you can save money on gasoline and possibly receive a tax credit of up to $3,400.


101. Take a deep breath. Even if you're only able to follow the first seven tips, which are the real basics, you will have already succeeded in making a huge positive difference in your financial life.

102. Money isn't everything. Health, family, and happiness are important, too. And remember, money can't buy you love


Newlyweds and Housing: How can Newlyweds afford a home with today's soaring home prices

Washington Metropolitan Newlyweds are frustrated by the high home prices and the financial inability to put money down towards a down payment and closing costs on a home. Newlyweds and Housing: How can Newlyweds afford a home with today’s soaring home prices?

Newlyweds are frustrated and concerned over today’s home prices and their lack of finances to buy a home.

Washington Metropolitan Newlyweds are frustrated by the high home prices and the financial inability to put money down towards a down payment and closing costs on a home. Many newlyweds fear that they will never be able to afford a home in the area and are concerned about their future to build a better quality of life.

Mark Morrison of Green Leaf Mortgage hears these grumblings at his mortgage shop from newlyweds and young couples. One couple that lives in Montgomery County indicated to me that they may have to move to Hagerstown, MD where home prices are much lower. Another couple told me they were fearful of not being able to buy a home in their younger years where it would allow them to build a net worth much quicker than buying one when they were older.

After listening to several of these concerns, a light bulb went off in Mark’s head. “Why not create a Mortgage Bridal Registry™ for couples getting married. I remember my parents helped me out when I got married by giving me money for down payment and closing. Well, not everyone can borrow money from their parents. So I decided to have a Mortgage Bridal Registry™ where the wedding guests could contribute towards the down payment and closing costs of the couples first home.”

This would not necessarily take the place of their normal bridal registry unless they want to. It could be in addition. Of course by having the Mortgage Bridal Registry™ only, you can expect to have more of a contribution. The money would be used towards the purchase of a home for the Newlyweds to live in and start their life together.

Wedding party guests would make checks payable to the sponsoring title company and that money would be held in an escrow account for them to use. Before a Mortgage Bridal Registry is set up, Mark Morrison would speak to the couple and make sure they are mortgage ready or will be mortgage ready in the near future.

Mark Morrison of Green Leaf Mortgage is located in Montgomery Village, MD and has helped many couples buy their first home and offers a broad range of mortgage products


The True Economics Of Refinancing A Mortgage

On a household's balance sheet, a mortgage is a liability and, as such, is subtracted from a household's assets, which include the value of the home, to determine a household's net worth. Too many consumers fall into the trap of refinancing a mortgage in order to lower their monthly payments without considering how that refinancing affects their total net worth. (To learn how to read a balance sheet, see Reading The Balance Sheet, Breaking Down The Balance Sheet and Testing Balance Sheet Strength.)

The Payback Period
The most popular method for determining the economics of mortgage refinancing involves calculating a simple payback period. This equation is made by calculating the sum of the monthly payment savings that can be realized by refinancing into a new mortgage at a lower interest rate and determining the month in which that cumulative sum of monthly payment savings is greater than the costs of refinancing. (Find out more about payback periods in Understanding The Time Value Of Money.)

For example, if that calculation says that it will take 20 months for the cumulative monthly savings to be greater than the costs of refinancing and the homeowner will hold the new mortgage for a minimum of 20 months, then this method would say that refinancing is an economically wise decision.

Refinancing Affects Your Household's Net Worth
However, this simple payback period method ignores the household's balance sheet and the total net worth equation.

Two primary things are unaccounted for:

1. The principal balance of the existing mortgage verses the new mortgage is ignored. Refinancing is not free. The costs or refinancing must be paid out of pocket or, in most cases, are rolled into the new mortgage's principal balance. When a mortgage balance increases through a refinance transaction, the liability side of the household balance sheet increases, and all other things being constant, the household net worth immediately decreases by an amount equal to the cost of refinancing.

2. Refinancing a 30-year mortgage with a 25-year remaining term into a new 30-year mortgage means that you might end up paying more total interest over the life of the new mortgage, even though the interest rate on the new mortgage is lower than you would pay over the remaining 25 years of the existing mortgage.

Look at the True Costs of Refinancing
A more financially sound way to determine the economics of refinancing that incorporates the true costs of refinancing into the household net worth equation is to compare the remaining amortization schedule of the existing mortgage against the amortization schedule of the new mortgage. (Find out more about amortization in Appreciating Depreciation.)

The amortization schedule of the new mortgage will include the costs of refinancing in the principal balance. (If the costs of refinancing will be paid out of pocket, then the same dollar amount should be subtracted from the existing mortgage's principal balance based on the assumption that if the refinance transaction does not take place, those monies could be used to pay down the principal balance of the existing loan.)

Then, subtract the monthly payment savings between the two mortgages from the new mortgage's principal balance. (This is done because, in theory, you could use the monthly savings generated from refinancing to reduce the principal balance of the new mortgage.)

The month in which the modified principal balance of the new mortgage is less than the principal balance of the existing mortgage is the month in which a true economical refinancing payback period based on household net worth has been reached.

Note: Amortization calculators can be found on most mortgage-related websites. You can copy and paste the results into a spreadsheet program and then perform the additional calculation of subtracting the monthly payment differences from the new mortgage's principal balance. (Check out Investopedia's Monthly Mortgage Payment Calculator.)

For example, using the above described calculations, a refinance analysis of an existing fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 7%, 25 years remaining term and a remaining principal balance of $200,000, into a new 30-year mortgage with an interest rate of 6.25% and refinancing costs of $3,000, which will be rolled into the new mortgage's principal balance gives the following results:

If a simple payback period analysis is used to determine the economics of refinancing in the above example, the cumulative monthly payment savings are greater than the $3,000 costs to refinance beginning in month 19, or in other words, the simple payback period method tells us that if the homeowner expects to have the new mortgage for 19 or more months, the refinancing makes sense.

However, if the net worth approach is used, the refinancing decision would not become economical until month 29, when the principal balance of the new mortgage minus the cumulative monthly payment savings is less than the principal balance of the existing mortgage. The net worth approach tells us that it takes 10 months longer than the simple payback period approach before the refinancing is economical.

The Bottom Line
By calculating the true economics of refinancing your mortgage, you can accurately determine what real payback period you have to contend with if you choose to refinance your mortgage. Crunching the numbers takes a bit of work, but it's entirely possible for everyone to do. Especially if you are planning on moving in the near future, taking a few minutes to calculate the true economics of refinancing your mortgage may very well help you avoid damaging your net worth by thousands of dollars.

To learn more about refinancing and paying your mortgage, see Mortgages: The ABCs Of Refinancing, Seven Common Financial Mistakes and Paying Off Your Mortgage.

By Barry Nielsen, CFA

G. Barry Nielsen is a homeowner with a large household of six children. Nielsen holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and has worked for several large mortgage lenders and financial institutions, including Freddie Mac, American General, Washington Mutual and Countrywide Home Loans. Nielsen owns and operates MortgageGraphics, Inc., a web-based software tool designed to help consumers make educated, risk-based mortgage decisions.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Debt Consolidation Loan and Consolidation Loans

Debt consolidation loan services act as a third party intermediary to assist you in negotiating lower interest fees and monthly payments with your unsecured debt holders. If you are falling behind on your monthly payments, as many consumers are, you can quickly build up late fees and over limit fees. Debt consolidation loans allow you to have only one monthly payment, which is less than the total of your previous monthly payments combined. Most debt consolidation loan services cost anywhere from approximately 30 to 75 dollars per month and some debt consolidation loans require an initial account set-up fee. Of course, this will vary among the different debt consolidation loan companies.

Debt consolidation loans will provide the service of having the intermediary to contact your creditors and set a new payment schedule with them. This will eliminate "over the limit" and late fees and save you hundreds of dollars in monthly payment amounts. If you have fallen behind on your monthly payments, some of your creditors may be contacting you. When you obtain a debt consolidation loan and the loan company negotiates a new payment schedule and brings your account up to date, the creditor will no longer call you. Debt consolidation loans help provide peace of mind in knowing that you can become current on your unsecured debts and have some extra money each month to go toward other debts, such as a mortgage payment, and living expenses.

If you are faced with needing to obtain a debt consolidation loan, choose a reputable company that guarantees results. You want to be sure and do your best to keep your credit score up. Debt consolidation loans can keep you from damaging your credit scores by allowing you a lower monthly payment. A debt consolidation loan can turn what could be a very bad financial situation into a good one, providing that you do not continue to incur debt and learn how to best manage your money with an ultimate goal of becoming debt free.

Home equity loans are a form of debt consolidation loans if you use the equity in your home to pay off other debts. This leaves you with one monthly payment to your bank or mortgage company at one low interest rate. Some of the debts that qualify for a debt consolidation loan are student loans, credit cards, medical bills, department store credit accounts, and car loans. Debt consolidation loans can keep you from having to file bankruptcy, but it is important to take steps to learn how to manage your debt and be a good steward of what God has blessed you with. "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

About the author
Christian N


Saturday, March 17, 2007

How to Control Your Expenses To Eliminate Debt

Controlling your living budgets will definitely help you to get rid of you debt faster. It's sound so simple but for many people, it's a hard mission which need a lot of sacrifice to live on a budget. Read this article to find out what expenses you can control and it may not as hard as you think.

This sounds simple, but to control your expenses you first must understand what they are. The only way to be sure you know what you spend is to record everything. This is hard to do. Then you will need to do something even more difficult, Sacrifice and Live on a Budget.Ouch, all people including you and me hate those two words. But it will take sacrifice to get out of debt. The good news is that it will be worth it.

Every time you make a sacrifice and stay on budget you will be investing in your future. Always keep that in mind. Every step you make towards getting out of debt means you are closer to having your money work for you.

The major expenses you can control on a day to day budget are:

General Expenses It could be music equipment, car washes, computer games, anything. Any things you can figure out which are not your needs. Maybe there isn't anything you can think of, but there probably is. Maybe at least once a month, when you go to buy something on impulse, you force yourself not to do it.

Food Expenses Stop going out to eat. This will be a huge sacrifice for most, but you have to stop going out to eat;it's too expensive. You need to bring your lunch to work and, if you have a Starbuck's addiction, stop buying $2 cups of coffee. Many people can save $50 a month just by brewing their own coffee, another $100 by bringing their lunch to work, and another $200 by not going out to eat for dinner.

Clothing Expenses Always decide what you are going to purchase before you go into the store and stick to it. Do all your "shopping" at home. If you truly need a new jacket because the old one has a hole in it and it's really cold outside then you can go get a jacket. But don't start looking around for the skirts and hats while you are there. Get the jacket and run!

Entertainment Expenses You like to have fun and you need to have fun. However, if you are in debt then, you need to sacrifice at least one major entertainment expense a month. Whatever it is you like to do (movies, concerts, plays, out to eat, sports, etc.) you need to reduce the frequency by at least once a month.

Gasoline Expenses As everyone is aware,gas prices have grown astronomically in recent times. For many years gas prices had been relatively level and it seems that they are making up ground ina short period of time. At $3 and more per gallon, gasoline has become a major expense for most households and needs to be specially addressed when looking at ways to control expenses. Getting a car with a good gas mileage and reduce your total driving miles can save you some significant amount of money. If you have colleagues leave close to you, then get them to carpool with you and share the gasoline expenses.

If you follow some basic rules on each of these tips on reducing debt and budgeting expenses and are willing to sacrifice you can save a good significant amount of money each month. That will put a dent in your credit card debt in no time.

About Author
Cornie Herring is the Author from http://www.studykiosk.com/creditbasics . "StudyKiosk-Credit Basics" is an informational website on credit basics and debt consolidation. Visit "StudyKiosk-Credit Basics" to get more information on "Debt Relief & Debt Consolidation"

: http://www.1888articles.com/author-cornie-herring-2384.html

Unsecured Personal Loan – Easy Access To Finance Ensured

Unsecured personal loan is approved without collateral and are totally risk free offer for the borrower. The loan approved without hurdles even to bad credit people. On some efforts a comparatively lower interest rate is possible. Read the article for details.

You are in greater need of financial assistance for meeting host of expenses. But since you do not own a property, you have very limited options in terms of a loan offer. Unsecured personal loan provides you an opportunity in such a case. You may be a tenant or non-homeowner, or even a home owner, or you may be having a bad credit tag, unsecured personal loan is easily available to you in these days of growing competition amongst the lenders. You can avail an unsecured personal loan for variety of purposes like paying for wedding or educational bills, enjoying holiday tour or clearing smaller debts or for home improvements.

You can even complete home improvement works through the loan amount.

Unsecured personal loan is completely risk free offer for the borrower as the loan is approved without taking collateral. In the absence of security, however, the lender makes sure the borrower has sufficient income or repayment capacity at hand and has a good credit history. This is to ensure the safe and timely return of the loan amount. But at the same time, in order to cover for the risks, the lender charges higher interest rate on unsecured personal loan. Still, if numbers of unsecured personal loan providers are compared extensively, a comparatively lower interest rate can be availed.

The loan amount as unsecured personal loan depends on repaying capability of the borrower that includes annual income and the actual money left at hand after paying for various expenses. Usually lenders approve up to £25000 as unsecured personal loans. Also the lenders offer unsecured personal loan for shorter repayment duration of 5 to 15 years.
But it usually is enough duration for paying back a smaller loan.

In case of bad credit, lenders confirm the capacity of the borrower for easily paying off the loan installments before approving unsecured personal loan. So if you are confident of safe and timely paying off the loan installments and have a convincing repayment plan in place, the lender is most likely to approve unsecured personal loan. Your credit score will only move higher as you clear the loan installments one by one.

About Author
Pamella Scott is an author who can certainly identify your kind of loan. An unprepared borrower might find it very confusing to get out of the jargon of loans in UK. A loans borrower/user demands for timely, reliable, accessible, comprehensive, relevant and consistent loan service. To find Unsecured personal loan, secured personal loans, unsecured holiday loans, secured home improvement loans that best suits your need visit http://www.easyfinance4u.com


Explore Ultimate Destinations with UK Holiday Cash Loans

After a long hectic schedule for such a long times, it is a time to repose, to be cherished with family and your loved ones. Yet, if proper planning is not done, vacations may leave you more stressed. There are a large number of tourist spots that may provide you exotic and amusing vacations. There you can witness the calm and peaceful comforting vacations getting rid of all the work pressure. Every thing in this world comes for a price and an exotic vacation is no less expensive. For that purpose, you can apply for UK holiday cash loans. Let us get to know what its requisites are and where you can search for best rates of these loans.

UK holiday cash loans are specially designed for covering more than one expense like travelling expenses, lodging expenses and many more. With these loans, you can borrow an amount ranging between ₤3000 to ₤25000 depending a great deal on your requirement. So, know your need well in advance and borrow up to that limit only. UK holiday cash loans are generally short term in nature. The repayment period for such loans is around 3 to 10 years.

These loans can be availed by all. Individuals with bad credit record, salaried class people, unemployed or a housewife etc can also qualify for holiday cash loans in UK. So no matter what your status is, you can avail holiday cash loans in the UK with ease and travel to your dream destinations.

You can search through various online sources. There you will get free quotes of UK holiday cash loans. It has innumerable benefits. Also clearly look at the terms and conditions of UK holiday cash loans before signing on the dotted line with the lender to avoid any fuss later.

The rates of UK holiday cash loans depend a great deal on the type and location you may be planning to visit. For nominal rates, you can make your search through online sources. There you will find a large number of individuals, offering UK holiday cash loans. Compare and contrast the quotes offered by different lenders and make you vacation an unforgettable one.

About Author
Aldrich Chappel has been associated with UK Holiday Loans. Having completed his Masters in Finance from Lancaster University Management School, he undertook to provide useful advice through his articles that have been found very useful by the residents of the UK. To find UK low rate holiday loans, UK holiday cash loans, UK secured holiday loans ,UK holiday cash loan,UK holiday loan quote ,UK holiday home loans visit http://www.ukholidayloans.co.uk


Personal Debt Management-Reduces Hassle Of Multiple Debts

Bad credit personal loans are to serve the money needs of those, having bad credit records like CCJs, IVA, or arrears. Also, this can be used to repair one’s credit record. The online process makes it faster and its competitive interest rates give the bad credit holders a secure release from worries

These are the days of multi facilities. And, loan industry is no exception of this rule. Earlier, bad credit holders used to face a bit of problems while applying for loans what today has been completely erased by several facilities in loans for the purpose of giving them support. Bad credit holders are no more taken as offenders, rather seen with much sympathy who have got some misfortunes only. They are treated separately with more care in certain loans, like, bad credit personal loans.

Today, a number of lenders have come up with a unique suggestion for these bad credit holders, the option of bad credit personal loans. In personal loans, one can avail loans for any personal reason. These loans are the best way to combat your unpaid debts. You can also take personal loans for holiday purpose or for any other personal need.

Bad credit personal loans are available either against collateral or without collateral. The secured bad credit personal loans charge lesser rate of interest in comparison with the unsecured personal loans. This is obviously for the security reasons. And, bad credit personal loans charge higher rate of interest than general personal loans. Yet, this rate of interest is not so high, as the lenders try to give you a low rate of interest rate due to the competition in the market.

However, one can use bad credit personal loan for the improvement of his credit record also. Each of the repayment installments will allow you to record a bit of improvement in your personal credit record. Ultimately, when the full repayment is made, you will find that your credit record has turned a lot from bad to good.

Moreover, the online process allows you to have the facility in simpler and easier as well as in lesser time. You submit your application and see how many lenders come up. You are to do nothing but choosing the best deal from several loan quotes.

About Author
Tess Ocean has been associated with Online Personal loans Uk.Having completed her Masters in Finance from Yale University, School of Management. She provide useful advice through her articles that have been found very useful.To find bad credit personal loan, Bad credit personal loan online, Online bad credit personal loans UK, UK online bad credit personal loan visit http://www.onlinepersonalloansuk.co.uk

Article Source: http://www.1888articles.com/author-tess-ocean-2297.html

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cash or Debit

Several years ago, my accountant recommended that I stop using my debit card and start using cash more often. I balked then, but over time I've really warmed up to the idea of using cash whenever possible. Using cash rather than a debit card has several benefits which this article will briefly cover.

First of all, using cash can make budgeting out of pocket expenses like lunches and random consumables from the store much easier than if you're using your debit card all the time. Using specific amounts of cash for different categories of spending, often separated in their own physical envelopes is old school budgeting the way our grandparents did it - and it works. Making purchases with cash also helps you keep a more tangible tally of what you're spending; handing over a hundred dollars in cash for something is considerably more dramatic than handing over a piece of plastic.

Finally, using cash doesn't just help you control your out of pocket spending better, it also acts as a safety buffer for the checking account to which your debit card is tied; if you've ever accidentally kicked in overdraft protection for this account due to a long weekend of partying, you know what I'm talking about. So if you're a debit cardoholic like I used to be, give cash a try for at least the bulk of your out of pocket spending - you might discover that you like the extra control and peace of mind that it gives you.


Positive Financial Goals

A good financial plan involves setting one or more goals that you want to achieve. There are many ways to set goals, but the more effective ones tend to be simple, specific, measurable and evoke a good feeling in your gut. Visualizing the outcome that you want to achieve can be very powerful in helping you reach your financial objectives. The focus here is on what you want to achieve - not on what you don't want to achieve. A positive financial goal, in its most effective form, is a happy image you hold in your mind as you take action to bring the image to reality.

I and many others have written about the importance of separating dry monetary goals from what the real end objective is - what you want to do with the money once you have it. It's hard to get fired up about a mere sum of money - it's what you can do with the money that's really exciting for most people. So, before setting your financial goal, you need to know why you want the money. Once you know the why, define an amount that will serve that reason and when you want it by. Don't worry about the how at first. Just visualize your intended objective with positive, good feelings - especially as you're waking up in the morning and as you fall asleep at night.

Focusing on your financial goals in this positive way will build your motivation to a whole new level and will release subconscious power within you that will tap into an efficient and effective method of achieving your goal. Any ideas for action that occur to you that feel good should be acted on! Now is the time to write specific actions to take and when to complete them by. Do not entertain any negative thoughts during this process - do your best to maintain a positive focus only in blind faith. With a positive feeling of joy as you hold the image of what you want to achieve, take courageous, inspired action to achieve your goals and anything is possible.


Financial Planning for Your Life

The purpose of financial planning is to enhance your life. Money is not the end goal. Money is the merely tool of measurement and method of payment for many of life's best achievements. Owning your own home, paying for your child's college tuition, taking your spouse on a romantic getaway - these are some of the objectives that you're really after when you set out to plan your financial future.

By focusing on your real life goals instead of always looking at the dollars and cents of your planning, you can make your financial plan a joy. This positive attitude focused on the end results you want to achieve will also help refine your financial planning efforts. Your plan will end up being much more appropriate and effective for you and your family by thinking about what you really want instead of some arbitrary amount of money that you think should meet your needs.

Focus on your life and all the enjoyable things you want to accomplish through your wise financial planning. Don't obsess over how much money you have now and how much you think you'll need by a certain date. This will help you avoid the common pitfall of believing in scarcity and lack. There's more than enough to go around for everyone. Economics is not a zero-sum game; if you end up with a million dollars in your bank account that does not mean some else has to do without. Money is fluid and loves to grow wherever it is well managed; but it is the things you do with your money that ultimately matters, not the money itself.


Save Money Automatically

There are many ways you can save money without expending a lot of effort. Most investment accounts offer a way to automatically have your checking account debited by a certain amount on a regular basis. Many of these accounts can be opened for as little as a few hundred dollars. If you work for a company that offers an employee investment program, most of the work is already done for you - and employer matching programs can't be beat! If your budget is constrained and you're struggling under a lot of debt, your first goal should be to pay down your debt rather than worrying about saving money; the interest avoidance you'll reap by doing this will almost always beat the best return you can hope for your money in most traditional forms of investment (with at least one exception being the employer matching investments.) Can you tell I like employer matching investments?

If you pay cash for a lot of daily expenses, you can save a surprising amount of unexpected cash that you can use to create a little extra buffer for things like holidays and out of the ordinary expenses. Just by saving and not immediately spending the leftover change you have each day, you can end up with hundreds of dollars in change within one year - easily converted to cash at your local bank (and even some supermarkets.) Some banks offer the electronic equivalent of this plan by rounding up all your checking account debits up to the nearest dollar and then depositing the difference into a savings account - a great idea!

Another way to save money automatically every month is to do a review of all your recurring expenses and cut out the excess. Every time I do this I find at least twenty or thirty dollars I can squeeze out of something with virtually no pain at all (besides the pain of simply sitting down and reviewing everything.) Extra cell phone charges, unwatched television channels, and optional subscriptions of various types are prime targets for this exercise.

I'm sure you can think of many other automatic ways to save money. The main benefit of doing this automatically is it takes most of the work out of saving money. And with all upside and virtually no downside, it's the best way to save.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mortgage Terminology for the First Time Home Buyer

Buying a Home for the first time can be a little "nerve racking". Mortgage terminology that brokers use everyday can leave you scratching your head or shaking your head pretending that you know what they're talking about. Here are some mortgage terms and definitions that you'll be hearing when shopping for a first time home buyer loan:

Adjustable-rate loans, also known as variable-rate loans, usually offer a lower initial interest rate than fixed-rate loans. The interest rate fluctuates over the life of the loan based on market conditions, but the loan agreement generally sets maximum and minimum rates. When interest rates rise, generally so do your loan payments; and when interest rates fall, your monthly payments may be lowered.

Annual percentage rate (APR) is the cost of credit expressed as a yearly rate. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees, and certain other credit charges that the borrower is required to pay.

Conventional loans are mortgage loans other than those insured or guaranteed by a government agency such as the FHA (Federal Housing Administration), the VA (Veterans Administration), or the Rural Development Services (formerly know as Farmers Home Administration, or FmHA).

Escrow is the holding of money or documents by a neutral third party prior to closing. It can also be an account held by the lender (or servicer) into which a homeowner pays money for taxes and insurance.

Fixed-rate loans generally have repayment terms of 15, 20, or 30 years. Both the interest rate and the monthly payments (for principal and interest) stay the same during the life of the loan.

The interest rate is the cost of borrowing money expressed as a percentage rate. Interest rates can change because of market conditions. Loan origination fees are fees charged by the lender for processing the loan and are often expressed as a percentage of the loan amount.

Lock-in refers to a written agreement guaranteeing a home buyer a specific interest rate on a home loan provided that the loan is closed within a certain period of time, such as 60 or 90 days. Often the agreement also specifies the number of points to be paid at closing.

A mortgage is a document signed by a borrower when a home loan is made that gives the lender a right to take possession of the property if the borrower fails to pay off the loan.

Overages are the difference between the lowest available price and any higher price that the home buyer agrees to pay for the loan. Loan officers and brokers are often allowed to keep some or all of this difference as extra compensation.

Points are fees paid to the lender for the loan. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount. Points are usually paid in cash at closing. In some cases, the money needed to pay points can be borrowed, but doing so will increase the loan amount and the total costs.

Thrift institution is a general term for savings banks and savings and loan associations.

Transaction, settlement, or closing costs may include application fees; title examination, abstract of title, title insurance, and property survey fees; fees for preparing deeds, mortgages, and settlement documents; attorneys' fees; recording fees; and notary, appraisal, and credit report fees. Under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the borrower receives a good faith estimate of closing costs at the time of application or within three days of application. The good faith estimate lists each expected cost either as an amount or a range

When shopping for a first time home buyer loan make sure you shop around and find a broker or a loan officer that's responsive to your needs. And don't be afraid to ask question. Remember, it's the questions you don't ask that could keep you from saving money.


Is Second Home Ownership In Your Future

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), a record 2.82 million second homes were sold in 2004. Given attractive interest rates, a strong housing market, and the increasingly mobile lifestyle of North Americans, it comes as no surprise that the resort and second home market is enjoying steady growth.

For some, purchasing a second home is a financial strategy to help them grow and protect their wealth -- and certainly vacation getaways may provide rental income opportunities to help savvy boomers offset the expenses of second home ownership. Others may be motivated to buy a second home because it can be used as a "family retreat," to be later transformed into a residence after retirement, and then handed down as a family legacy. Here are some interesting statistics from the NAR 2005 Profile of Second-Home Buyers:

The typical vacation-home buyer is 55 years old with a total household income of $71,000.

Investment-property homebuyers have a median age of 47 years with a typical household income of $85,700.

33 percent of vacation homebuyers wanted a second home close to their job or school; while 24 percent wanted the home close to their primary residence.

Nearly one out of five second homes will become primary residences after retirement.

Because technology affords the freedom of telecommuting and "working where you play," the decision to own a second home or resort property has been made easier than ever before.

If purchasing a second-home is in your future, whether as an investment or for personal use, now is the time to get the information you need to make an informed decision. A qualified real estate professional can help guide you through financial considerations, assist you in finding the right community and even refer you to a resort property specialist for the destination of your dreams. Your real estate professional may even be able to get you the information and advice you need to use the equity in your current home to finance the down payment on a second home.

If you are planning to use your second-home as a vacation retreat, make sure you consider your needs. Are you looking for a secluded location in the woods or somewhere with an active community? Natural beauty is great, but don't forget about cultural and social resources, as well as first-rate golf, tennis and other popular sports facilities when scouting locations. And what about location? For example, buyers from the Northeast are the biggest feeder market for second homes in the South. Many San Franciscans retreat to Lake Tahoe, while Bostonians gravitate to Cape Cod. However, there may be many great locations not more than two to three hours away from your home. You will likely get more enjoyment out of a property you can get to quickly and frequently. Since you know the area, chances are you'll make a better real estate investment closer to home.

If your second home is mostly for investment purposes, ask your real estate professional about property management options, which can be a crucial financial factor, as well as important to peace-of-mind.

Location is also a factor for those buying a second home as investment property, especially if appreciation or rental value is your goal. According to the NAR survey, the median distance between the primary residence and the investment property is 18 miles; and 44 percent are in the suburbs.

There are also tax implications to consider with your investment. If you rent your home for 15 days or more in a year, you may have to declare the rental income. However, your expenses may be deductible. You'll want to confer with your tax advisor to learn how your purchase will affect you financially.

How you use a second home is up to you, but make sure you look at each property with an eye toward tomorrow, because the vacation homes likely to appreciate the most are the ones that Baby Boomers can play in today and retire in tomorrow.

About the author
Neda Dabestani-Ryba is a licensed Realtor in Maryland. She is a member of the President's Circle of Top Real Estate Professionals. She can be reached at (800) 536-3806 or visit her website for more information: http://neda.dabestani.pcragent.com/ Prudential Carruthers REALTORS is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential Financial company. Equal Housing Opportunity.


Home Inspections or Home Warranty

Homebuyers are a curious lot. They routinely ask thought-provoking questions. A common question is, "If I get a home inspection, should I still get a home warranty?" Then there's always this question, "If I get a home warranty, do I still need a home inspection?"

The choice between having a home inspection and purchasing a home warranty is a question that I frankly do not understand. Each is intended to serve a separate purpose and ideally work together to protect and reduce the risk of homeownership.

Maybe an analogy will make the matter clear. An individual has just had a complete and through physical exam. The results of the exam and all associated lab tests are that the individual appears to free of all disease or illness. They are presently the picture of health!

Would it be prudent or responsible for the doctor then to recommend to the patient, due to their fine physical condition, that it is a waste of money to continue to pay for health insurance? Of course not!

None among us would consider the doctor even sane, let alone responsible to make such a recommendation. But, is that not the same situation to someone feeling that they need not purchase a home warranty because they just had a home inspection?

And let's view this same scenario from the opposite direction. Would we expect that our life insurance carrier would recommend to us that we forego the expense of regular physical exams, because, after all, we now have life insurance! Insanity!

The life insurance companies, in fact, feel so strongly that a physical exam is such an important part of risk reduction that a physical exam is often required to secure a life insurance policy, or at least has an effect on the insurance rate.

If insurance companies want to have you "inspected" prior to assuming the risk of your passing, it certainly makes sense for the homebuyer to have the home inspected prior to purchase. Doesn't it, therefore, make similar sense to warrant unforeseen failure with the home warranty?

When buyers fully understand risk and the cost-effectiveness of risk reduction tools, they almost always want all of the risk reduction tools available. It is in everyone's best interest to reduce risk by every cost effective means possible. Buyers love to be educated about understanding and reducing risk, and everyone loves a happy homebuyer!

About the author
Wally Conway is President of Florida HomePro Inspections, and is featured regularly on HGTV's "House Detective". As a speaker, writer, instructor, and host of The Happy Home Inspector radio show every Saturday at 3 PM on WOKV 690, Wally blends the right amount of up-to-date information with just the right amount of humor, insight, motivation, and real-world application. Visit http://www.wallyconway.com for more information!


How to Use a Home Equity Line of Credit Calculator

Most home owners know that the lower the interest rate, the lower the monthly payments. But then the process may get a bit fuzzy. While your monthly payments may be the same every month, you are not applying the same amount to the principal of the loan. Your amortization will vary month to month. So, you will have to use a little math to determine how much equity you are actually gaining. Are you confused yet? If you are, don't worry. There is luckily a very helpful tool that will take the guess work out of home equity loans. Before you commit to anything, you should play around with a home equity loan calculator to determine how much you can borrow. There are many sites available online that give you free access to a wealth of tools and calculators.

What is a home equity loan calculator? Basically, it is a mathematical program that will ask for a few key pieces of information. It will then calculate how much you can borrow, and show you an example of what your amortization schedule would look like. Your lender may use a similar program to determine the amount that you can borrow against your home.

Once you find a home equity loan calculator, you will need to enter in a little bit of information. First it will ask you the value of your home. Typically, the more accurate this figure the more likely you are to get an accurate end result. Most appraisal companies will take private orders, so you can order an appraisal at any time prior to actually obtaining a loan. Prices vary by location, but you can expect to spend a few hundred dollars obtaining a report. Second, you will be asked the amount owed on your current mortgage. This should include any first or second mortgages that you may already have out. Consult your mortgage lender to find out the exact amount owed at the present time. From these two figures the program will determine how much equity you have in the home. You may also be asked for the loan to value ratio required. This is typically 80%, 90%, 100%, or even 125%.

Once you have these figures entered into the program, you are likely to receive a graphical representation of your results. You should receive a chart or graph outlining the amount that you could borrow at 80%, 90%, 100% and 125%, and your estimated monthly payment. It may also include a sample of your amortization schedule, so that you can see how much of your monthly payment is going toward the principal at any given point during the loan. The graph may also show how much you could borrow if you the value of your home was more or less than your appraised value. This can be useful if you are using a ballpark figure or plan to make some improvements to the home in the near future.

The first step in obtaining a home equity loan should be researching your options. A home equity loan calculator is an excellent tool to compare and contrast different loan products and determine how much you will have to pay each month.

About the author
John Ross is a freelance author who writes articles about financial loans including: home equity loans company, online home equity loans, and fixed rate home equity loans. The Loanchbox is a user friendly website designed to inform beginners about home equity loans.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Home Equity Loans Refinancing

Home equity loans refinancing is available through many online finance lenders, as well as banks. However, you may get different offers from different lenders, as the terms they offer may vary depending on your credit rating and market conditions.

As a matter of fact, a higher credit rating of an applicant naturally obtains better loan terms compared to the situation where credit ration of an applicant is deteriorated. Home equity loans refinancing is a comparatively secure business with the home involved as collateral. But, as with original mortgage loans there are varieties of options offered for home equity loans refinancing. You can get a loan based on a prime interest or you can have a fixed rate loan.

Usually, home equity loans refinancing can be organized from 50% to 125% of the mortgage, depending on a finance lender you are dealing with. There is variety of reasons why doing a home equity loans refinancing including the benefit of obtaining a lower interest rate. So if the currently high interest on the loan can be lowered reasonably, then it is in your advantage to refinance. It should be taken into account that home equity loans refinancing is for set period of time, namely up to 25 years. Other reasons for people to get interested in home equity loans refinancing are complaints about the way the original loan was handled by the finance provider. So, there are extra costs might be involved into the original mortgage that might have been hidden aforethought, or lender just does not treat its customers well. A public relations is a very important factor when it comes to the finance lenders or banks dealing with its customers. Therefore, for you not to find yourself in abovementioned situation there is a need to do some research and check out ahead of time about your potential future finance lender’s public relations. Good lenders would provide you with customer details so you could contact lender’s customers and have a chat about banks’ or other mortgage company’s service to their clients.

Home equity loans refinancing is offered by most large banks, so there would definitely be a bank’s branch within reasonable proximity from your usual residence or place of work. Another attractive and favorable feature of home equity loans refinancing is the larger sum of money available to you as an applicant for a loan. This is a consequence of you providing as collateral your house, whereas at the time of obtaining original mortgage you had no equity available. But, as with any other commercial arrangement, act with caution, do comprehensive research, get professional advice if required and read everything carefully and thoughtfully before signing.