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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Please Help Me Get Out of Credit Card Debt

By James Johnson

With not enough money at the end of each month, you may find yourself charging more and more of life's necessities. Help me get out of credit card debt is an issue haunting many people these days as personal finances are continually eroded by rapidly rising prices in everything from food to gas. Paying only the minimum due on high interest credit cards will result in your paying much more than you have actually spent and as such getting out of debt will continue to be a problem.

If you face the situation and make a plan to get out of debt quickly, you will be much further ahead in the future. Keep in mind that the money you spend now to get out of debt will save you far more in the future.

For debt management, you have to put in writing the amount you owe and to whom. For this you can make a spread sheet on your computer or write it by hand. List the total balance that is due, the least monthly payments and the interest rate that is charged to you. Use it as your "Help me get out of credit card debt" work sheet and refer to it each time you make the monthly payment.

Once youve established the amount of your total debt. It will be extremely helpful to start making extra payments to start getting it paid off as quickly as possible. One of the key elements to making your "help me get out of debt" plan work requires that you to make additional payments and when you don't do this, the plan wont work.

Most people only have so much money to put toward paying off debts each month. If this is your situation, your best strategy is to get out of debt by paying off the lowest balance first. This will help you see immediate success. By paying off a credit card with a low balance, you immediately improve your credit rating. Your credit report will look better with one less zero balance credit card than it will with several cards that are only partially paid off.

A credit card holder must be able to learn and manage credit responsibly. Getting out of heavy debt provides a great feeling of accomplishment when you finally pay off all your outstanding loans and credit card bills. The relief from mental stress alone is worth the effort.

Stay firm with your goal to pay off your credit card balances and in no time at all, you will not have to say, "help me to get out from under my credit card debt." You will have your finances back under your control and will be able to put your income to use for more important matters.

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The Mistake with your Billing Statement

By Paul J. Easton

In paying your debts, you always dread to look at the billing statements because of the horrible amount you are to be paying for the next decades to come. Not studying these bills actually makes you more a victim of the credit card companies. I know that there are many emotional reasons why you prefer not to look at it but consider the small changes and you can end up saving a lot of money.

By taking the time to meticulously look at your billing statements before making payments, you will attack the problem upfront. Most utility companies do their billing process electronically. But this does not mean that an error cannot be made. Sometimes, it pays to check that you are paying the right amount or find those mistakes. By inquiring to their customer support, mistakes can be taken care of and remedied. This prevents you from paying more than the supposed payment because of one unintentional yet costly mistake for your part. They can even offer something to relieve you from that inconvenience they brought due to that mistake.

Find out too what you can do with your credit card debts. Some credit card companies offer their debtors with financial assistance when they observe that you are having some problems paying your bills. If will probably offer you a plan to consolidate your loans with lower interests and free from other charges. Always read the fine print with these deals. Make certain that you are in the position of really getting out of debt instead of acquiring more.

Compare all your bills and prioritize expenses that you can maintain and are very necessary. If you can't afford it, find a cheaper alternative or just cut off the service. One of the examples for these common expenses that keep you in a debt cycle is the cable TV subscription. Is your cable TV so expensive you are struggling with paying it on time? Try a cheaper alternative that will work just fine. This package might have lesser choices but this is part of an important move you are making to get ahead with life financially later. Moreover, you can still live without that cable package, so ditch that off now.

Another thing you can eliminate to cut costs is your landline and cell phone postpaid plan. Just choose between the two to maximize its use. Find better deals with your cell phone plan provider.

By merely looking at the bills, you become conscious of what you pay for. You become more aware of the things you are expending at and you end up making the most from the services you subscribe to. This is what you call focusing yourself with what you have. Surely, if you are paying more than the things you can afford, you might have overlooked payments in your statement. So find out how to reduce your expenses today. You'll be happier when you did it finally. Get debt-free today with tips on how to get rid of debt here.

For information on how to get rid of debt, go to by Paul J. Easton.

Compare Student Loan Consolidation Rates in Selecting a Lender

By Torrie Cantor

One of the most important thing to consider in choosing a lender is to compare student loan consolidation rates. Most students who've graduated find it wise to consolidate student loans upon graduation. The next crucial step would have to be choosing the right lender from which to apply a student loan consolidation from. Nowadays, there are many lenders that offer you different loan consolidation programs, each with various requirements, interest rates, and etc.

Take into consideration some of the points discussed in this article if you want to choose the right lender . Although it is very important for you to compare student loan consolidation rates, you should also take into account some details in choosing a loan consolidation program and a lender.

Comparing School Loan Consolidation Rates

It's true. By consolidating your student loans, you could cut your student loan payments by up to 50% or more. This could mean big savings and thousands of dollars on the life of your loan. You could also be able to lock down a low and fixed interest rate for your monthly payments.

Look into the rates. When choosing a lender, you should ask them about the rates that they can give you. Usually, the interest rate on a consolidation loan is calculated by getting the weighted average of the interest rates (as of the date the application is received by the lender) on all the loans you are consolidating, rounded up to the nearest one-eight of a percent.

Other Things to Consider

Rates is just one thing. It will also be wise if you ask your lender to figure out your monthly payments and how long it would take for you to fully pay the total loan balance. Also, you should try asking about incentives, like additional breaks on interest if you make your payments through automatic debits each month or if you consistently make on-time payments for a specific period of time.


Different lenders have different requirements. There are some lenders that will require you to have a co-signor, some optional, and some do not require this at all. In lending companies that posts this as optional, having a co-signor with a good credit background will let you enjoy some benefits like lower interest rates.

While some lenders require collateral, some don't. Some lenders also set a minimum balance policy, and the amount varies from one lender to another.


Easy application process is also one thing to look for in a lender. Now, there are some lenders that provide online application that can be accomplished in just a matter of minutes. The process is quick and all information released is kept confidential. After 15 minutes of submission, you will be immediately called by a customer service representative on the contact number that you provided.


In the end, it's also about service. If you're comfortable and satisfied with your current lender's service, then you can just check with them to see if they offer loan consolidation. Either that, or you can check your school's financial aid offices for a list of preferred lenders who have provided tried-and-true working experience to former students.

These are the basic key points to consider. So if you are choosing a lender, compare student loan consolidation rates and other details.

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Easy ways To Get The Lowest Mortgage Rates

By Mijnadviseur

Most people make a decision for a certain lender based on the mortgage rate quoted. Even though the lowest rate quoted doesn't mean you always get the best deal on your mortgage. You can get rates online from hundreds of different lenders, but mortgage advice should be based on your individual situation.

First off, it's important to select the right mortgage for your situation. It all depends on your goals and long term plans. If you go with the lowest rate, you might be happy today, but in a few years you might be forced to take on another mortgage, because your current one has not made you debt free. That's why you need to think about your situation and make sure you do an apples to apples comparison when comparing mortgages. Don't make the mistake if comparing rates, not discriminating between types of mortgages.

A very popular form of mortgage, when you are looking for the lowest rates, is the ARM mortgage. ARM stands for Adjustable Rate Mortgage. ARM mortgages are very popular when the interest rates are low, because they give you the biggest advantage in these periods. There are many different types of adjustable rate mortgages, but the important thing to keep in mind is that interest rates fluctuate and you might be looking at a higher monthly payment in a couple years or even months.

The opposite of an adjustable rate mortgage is a fixed rate mortgage. With this type of mortgage, you know what the interest rate is, because you pay the same amount each and every month. You'll never be surprised by a big riser in your mortgage payments and therefore this is a very safe choice. On the other hand, it's a very rigid choice and you can not easily change it to profit form certain interest rate dips. Most fixed rate mortgages are paid off over 30 years. Sometimes, there is an insurance policy or investment plan connected to the mortgage that makes sure you can make the balloon payment on the end of the mortgage period.

Getting the lowest mortgage rates is a good goal, as long as you make sure you choose the right mortgage for your situation. Get expert advice, do the research, so you avoid getting into trouble somewhere down the road.

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Starting a Business but don't have Enough Capital?

By Paul J. Easton

Are you starting a business but cannot raise the necessary capital to invest? Why not try to consider opening a self-directed IRA? This tool will let you finance a business with your retirement funds.

Have you heard about Guidant Financial and their offerings? Guidant Financial offers you the ability to set up and manage a self-directed IRA. In addition to that, it enables you to use your retirement funds to finance a business later. Financing a small business using retirement funds is now possible with Guidant Financial.

The popularity of self-directed IRA to finance small businesses catapulted the Guidant Financial Group from a mere start-up business founded last 2003 to a market leader in the industry of financing small business. This steady growth of the company enabled them to provide better control and services to their more demanding clients.

When looking for an instrument to invest with, Guidant Financial provides you with much greater control of your IRA using this self-directed model. A self-directed IRA model gives its policyholders complete control over where the money is invested in. Unlike most IRA where the money invested is trusted to an investment department or managers, you are given the opportunity to direct where your funds will be invested. You can venture in real estates or invest in private businesses you have already entrusted. And most certainly, you can have personal loans as well.

Guidant Financial also has an amazing product which allows you to invest your retirement funds for a new business venture. By investing them in a new startup or a franchise, they provide you more flexibility by eliminating the incurring distribution penalties. That's like working to grow your own business and have a direct positive effect on the value of your IRA.

This type of money management is not for everyone though. Many individuals especially with business background find this form of retirement vehicle more worthwhile to invest in. A lot of skeptics doubt the management of their IRA funds and they can't be blamed for that. With the proper skills and the knowledge, they believe that they are able to achieve much better interest gains in the long run. As an additional bonus, the freedom of controlling your IRA is definitely considered a great feature of this model according to most account holders. So get your IRA account in a self-directed model now.

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Fraudsters target UK credit card users

By James Gladstone

London has been named and shamed as the credit card fraud capital of the UK for the second year running, according to figures recently released. Insurance company CPP reported that 38% of the capitals credit card users had been the victim of fraud in 2008 " a jump of 10% on previous figures. In just 12 months nearly three million people had their identities stolen and their credit and debit cards scammed. This number constitutes a third of all credit card fraud in Britain and is on the rise. The average amount stolen was 650, although some people suffered much higher losses. Often completely unaware that they had been the victims of criminal activity, the first customers knew of the attack was when notified of it by their bank.

These frightening statistics show how easy it is for fraudsters to get hold of personal details including credit card details, pin numbers and other sensitive information. Online fraud is a continuing problem with many falling victim to convincing emails pertaining to be from legitimate banks asking for customers to confirm their details online. Once the victim has responded the fraudsters have immediate access to their details and can begin emptying accounts and running up credit card debts.

However, there is a very easy way to protect yourself against this kind of attack and that is never respond to any email asking you to confirm sensitive information. No bank will ever ask you to do this legitimately either by phone or by email, so you can be sure those that do are scams. If you have any doubts, contact your bank directly. The growth of online auction sites and Internet shopping has given criminals a new route into peoples personal details, but again it is fairly easy to carry out a few basic checks to ensure that the site you are using is secure. A secure site should have a URL address that includes the prefix https and a padlock icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If these are missing then the site is unsecured and so are your credit card details.

Skimming credit cards has become an increasing problem in Britains busy high streets and 21% of credit card fraud is a result of this practice. The insertion of readers that skim the details of your credit card as you use an automatic cash dispenser or a small camera that photographs pin numbers as they are punched in are examples of increasingly high tech methods employed by fraudsters. If an ATM machine shows any indication of being tampered with, avoid using the machine and report your suspicions to the bank. Covering the keypad with your hand is a very low-tech way of beating any spy cameras that may be trying to photograph your pin number as you enter it.

Passwords are another weak link in the chain, with many people using the same password for all their Internet activities. The problems can start once this password becomes common knowledge to a fraudster as they will then test its use against your other activities. Keep your passwords secure at all times and dont go for the obvious such as pets names or mothers maiden names. All of these are simple measures that the average person can take to give themselves a level of protection against fraud, but what are the banks doing to ensure that your details are safe?

After a flurry of reports about personal banking details being left in rubbish bags for refuse collection, the banks and financial institutions are now much more conscientious over the security of their customers details. They are also working much more closely with the Police serious fraud and high-tech units in an attempt to combat the rising tide of fraud and identity theft. It is a continuous battle as many of the fraudsters operate outside the UK. But by pulling together in a concerted effort perhaps the UK can shake off its reputation of being an easy target for the cyber-criminals and fraudsters and secure the general publics details from prying eyes.

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How to Select a Great Mortgage

By Alex Velez

When you look at all of the choices that banks and lending companies offer you for your new mortgage you might be a bit confused. How do you know which one is the best one? Well, picking a mortgage loan is more complicated than a lot of people think and it is going to take a lot of research, a lot of calculations and a lot of time on your part to get the best deal.

When going mortgage shopping, you are going to want to make sure that you have a budget made out. When making a new budget, plan for the expenses that come for a new house, including property taxes, insurance and repairs; also don't forget about your nest egg. You never know when something is going to come up and you will have to make repairs on your house, so be prepared. Once you have your budget on paper, you should be able to see how much money you can spend every month on a mortgage payment.

So how much is your dream house and how much can you afford? If your dream house is more than your budget allows, you are going to probably want to find a new house. You don't want to take out a mortgage for more than you can afford even if you take out some of the non-standard mortgages out there because it can be a financially risky move. What's risky about it is that in the future you are going to have to come up with more money. Sure, you may be counting on getting a raise with your new job but it's not a sure thing yet so you shouldn't put all of your eggs in one basket. By not being so optimistic about the future, you are going to make sure that in the future you can stay in your house and that you don't have financial troubles.

After you have decided how much money to borrow, you need to think about how long you plan on living in your new house. If you are buying a starter home and plan on moving in a couple of years, get a mortgage that is going to be advantageous to you right now, rather than one that is going to be stable for the entire length of the mortgage. An adjustable rate mortgage might be the best bet, because it is going to give you a lower rate of interest for the first couple of years. If you plan on moving for any reason, this is going to possibly be the best mortgage for you.

Now it is time to talk to some banks. Only once you have figured out how much you want to borrow and what type of home you want will you be able to go to some banks and ask them to give you a recommendation for the best mortgage for you. A bank should be able to tell you exactly how much the fees, monthly payments and interest rates are going to be on each mortgage that they recommend. The first thing that you are going to see is that the interest that you pay every month is a good chunk of your total payment. To reduce the amount of interest that you pay, consider making double payments if you can and try to pay off your mortgage early. Making extra payments in the long run will help you out for years in the future.

Picking the right mortgage loan is difficult, and it is going to take research. But, this research is going to pay off for the next fifteen or thirty years while you are saving money because you made the right choice.

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Prepare an Expense Spreadsheet to Help You Plan for Retirement

By Michael Geoffrey

It is important to use retirement planning expense worksheets so that you can estimate what your expenses will be after you retire. You will be able to budget your monthly expense more wisely if you take advantage of retirement planning expense worksheets.

With an expense spreadsheet you can see how far the money you save for your retirement will go. It will help you make future projections about your expenses over the next 10 or 20 years. You can also use this expense spreadsheet to help you find ways to invest your money so that it will go farther for you.

There are different types of retirement planning expense worksheets. Most importantly, you would start with the one that helps you with managing your current expenses and then future expenses. You can take the mystery out of your finances, if you wisely plan for your retirement with effectively utilizing retirement planning expense worksheets.

A good spreadsheet helps you stay clear about what your financial situation is. If your goal is to maintain the same standard of living in your golden years as you are enjoying right now your expense worksheet can show you how to do that. It will help you identify areas where you may need to adjust your spending so that you can stay on track with your retirement goals. It gives you a clear view of the money you have coming in and what you are spending.

It is Wise to Plan for the Future

It is nave to think that things will not change in the future. Inflation is a fact of life. The financial world is ever changing. A good expense spreadsheet will help prepare you for these changes and will teach you how to adjust your plan if you find yourself falling behind.

You will be equipped in analyzing and strategizing your financial welfare and not be caught by surprise. You will be able to establish a solid and successful retirement plan. You will be able to finance your dreams and goals more effectively. You will be better prepared for the change that is about to take place in your life. You will be able to make better decisions and make amends to any short falls that you may experience.

A significant number of employees are never ready to face retirement and end up going back to work after retirement because they did not prepare themselves for the inevitable. The sooner you begin forecasting your income and expense for the future, the more confidence you will have when it comes time to retire.

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Facts you should know about your Home equity loan

By Doc Schmyz

Home equity loans are a great source of cash. However, before you plunge right into the process of drawing out a loan out of the equity of your property; you should take a look at the fine print and what it means to you.

Are you debating on getting a home equity loan? Home equity loans might be an easy to acquire type of loan, but somehow even a seemingly great deal might turn out to be bad if the process of getting one is not done right.

Lets take a look at the following areas and terms for the loan process.


How are you affected by this? Most of these lenders charge a part of the loan for commissions for themselves and for their sub-agents. Actually such points vary from little to exorbitant; it all depends on the company and the type of loan. If you are charged 1 point, this would mean 1 percent of the loan. And so 1 percent of a 100,000 dollar loan is an up front charge of 1000 dollars. Do not worry, there are lenders that do not charge points.

Interest rate terms

You have to know if it is a fixed or variable type of loan. If it is a fixed loan, then you do not have to worry about external forces such as economic situations directly affecting your interest rate. But on the other hand, if you have variable type of loan, you may actually have an initial good interest rate. Interest rates that go up naturally makes your monthly payments go up too in the process. So what do you want " a home equity loan with interest rate that stays the same all throughout the duration of the loan, or one with the possibility of going up anytime?

Pre Payment penalties

Simply put pre payment penalties are a fee that the lender places on you in the event you decide to pay of your loan early. These "pre-pays" can cost several thousand dollars in some cases.

Late payment penalties

Does a home equity loans interest rate go up with late payments? With many lenders, with delinquent payment, penalties usually follow. More so, there sometimes is a clause on default interest rate increase in the loan which raises automatically the loan rates when payments are late. This can actually be costly for the borrower.


You have to check if the home equity loan that you are prospecting has insurance costs hidden somewhere, a cost that you definitely do not want. Whenever you get a loan, you can take in corresponding credit insurance. You can have credit life insurance, which takes care of your loan in the event that you die. However, if in the case of home equity loan, if you feel that insurance is just added cost, then by all means avoid the lender that requires you to pay for them.

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Safe Investments with Self-directed IRA

By Paul J. Easton

More investors as of now want a safe yet innovative option to invest for their retirement in the near future. With the baby boomers having the most influence in the economy today and they are retiring soon, this market of investment-seekers are going to grow dramatically even with the gloomy financial outlook.

Guidant Financial, as the leader in providing self-directed IRA services today, allows investors the control to make alternative investments in real estate, franchises, and businesses. The company, along with most financial services firms, anticipated the significant downturn in their business. But the trend in their business analysis shows that the traditional financial turmoil appears to encourage many investors to consider other platforms of investments for their security in their retirement. People have been traumatized by the meltdown in the real estate market and the volatility of the stock markets. With the instability in these markets, many people are avoiding the traditional securities markets altogether. People are more intelligent right now with their money and wanted a new and secure way of controlling their assets. This is probably the driving force behind the staggering growth of the Guidant Financial Group.

More investors are afraid of investing further and some are deciding to transfer their retirement savings out of the stock market. These investors are looking for other asset classes offering better control and monitoring for their money. They found that self-directed IRAs offer them the chance to control their investments without first committing to a specific investment. This concept, though had been there for a long time, was not very much promoted due to the absence of middleman profits for financial companies. Now, it has steadily gained some popularity since last year.

Guidant Financial Group's self-directed IRA is a form of retirement account where the investor has the ability to invest in both traditional and non-traditional assets. Most Guidant clients prefer to invest in rental properties or private loans. Similarly, they also considered private stock and tax liens with a little education in these fields. These alternative investments generated cash-flow opportunities making them a very attractive option for those retiring soon.

With more direct form of management, they have saved a few thousand of dollars from holding and administrative fees. They also monitored personally where their money is invested. This is peace of mind for most of them. This is the major reason behind the unexpected growth in Guidant's self-directed IRA business.

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How to Budget and Not Fail

By Jesse Mecham

Why does it seem that people quit budgeting before they even start? For one simple reason -- much like dieting -- they don't see the results they expect from the work they're required to put forth. Because they don't know how to budget, they don't see the results as quick as they'd like.

Truth be told, failure is almost certain with the way people are taught to budget these days. Some financial guru will announce they've come up with handy-dandy tables to compute what you should spend on every conceivable good and service...another will say you only need to worry about what you're saving (while that's great, you're leaving a lot of money on the table when that's your only focus!).

Examine the current balances (taking into account any outstanding checks, since those are already "spent") for your checking accounts and budget that money into your own spending/savings categories. What you're doing is giving every dollar a job.

Now, when you're paid again, take that money and give ALL of those dollars assignments as well.

You don't need to be able to see the future to learn how to budget. In fact, trying to estimate and forecast is a royal waste of time. What you're doing is planning a LIVING budget where you're planning what your money will do, and adjusting that plan as needs change. Assigning every dollar a job BEFORE it's spent will do wonders for raising your awareness about spenidng. You'll find that your values and your spending will begin traveling the same path (toward financial peace!)

So the old question of how to budget really is answered with one simple step: Once you have a dollar in hand, give it a purpose immediately, and find peace.

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