Blog

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Credit card debt is one of the most wide spread financial problems throughout many countries of the world. The convenience of using credit cards, combined with the special offers, discounts and reward systems offered by the credit card companies make this method of paying for goods the number one favorite for hundreds of millions of people. However, irrational spending or simply gradual uncontrolled spending habits can lead to a lot of accumulated debt. Preventing this is essential, as it is much easier to avoid credit card debt problems before they grow strong, instead of battling them when they are already at maximum intensity.

The temptation to use credit cards repeatedly a fact that is also supported by the reward systems and lower monthly payments – will often lead to debt problems. Here are a few tips that will help you use your credit cards more wisely and enable you to prevent the unpleasant situations of having to pay off credit card debts: Set your budget create a framework for a monthly budget, as this will enable you to get a better sense of what your earning and spending balance is. Much notice that they simply can’t stick with the planned budget in this case you should leave your credit card at home when going shopping, and use cash instead. Try to pay as much of the balance for each month. Don’t settle for the minimum payment, as that will gradually develop into credit card debt as you are loosing quite a lot of money to interest rates.

Always remember that your credit card is a cash substitute, nothing more. You can either carry a balance, which comes with a high interest loan or you can make the minimum payments. Although the amount of the minimum payment seems insignificant (it is usually around 3% of the entire balance), this approach will gradually put you in debt. The credit card company accepts such low payments because they get their money back from keeping you in debt for an unlimited period by using high interest rates.

Many studies have been carried out on the psychology of the credit card owner. We tend to spend more than we can afford, own things that are above our financial reality levels and gratify an immediate need with a debt that might take years to pay off. Try to adapt your spending habits to your life style and earnings. If you can’t pay off the balance on a monthly basis, then you are going into a vicious circle of overspending and credit card debt. Don’t use the credit card anymore, until you pay off the outstanding balance. You should also make sure to pay it off on time, as there might be late fees and different other financial penalties that will further complicate your debt problem. Your credit record will also get damaged if your payments are inconsistent and you are often late with them.

Prevent credit card debt by making sure to keep your finances simple. Use only one or two credit cards, if possible. The more cards you have the higher are the chances that you will not be able to pay them off in time. Never pay off one credit card balance with another credit card. If this happens, you need to drastically change your spending habits and come up with a good credit card management plan. Cash advances might sound attractive, but the truth is that they come with higher interest rates and you don’t get a grace period. There are also transaction fees to worry about.

The credit industry is extremely dynamic, and credit card issuers are always trying new ways to convince more people to sign up with their services. Different forms of rewards, life insurances, protection plans or point systems were created to make the credit card plans more attractive. Make sure you don’t let your emotional side dictate when you make a credit card related decision. Getting free gifts or free air miles sounds amazing, but is it really worth it? Try to base your choice on hard facts and a realistic financial plan, not on an advertising created fantasy.

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People often ask can you be sued for credit card debts and the short answer is yes you can. You owe this money and you need to repay it or your creditors will take action against you. But the good news is that there are various laws and regulations in place that these financial institutions must adhere to. You, as a consumer, are very well protected especially when compared to practices outside of the US.

There are two types of law, State Laws and Federal Laws. Every State will have their own rules with regard to debt collection so it is best if you read up on your local ones. Your bank or financial institution will be able to provide you with a copy of the relevant laws. There should be a statute of limitation which will dictate how long your creditors have to file a lawsuit to recover their money.

This does vary but usually lies within 3 to 10 years but you should check. Federal laws apply to everyone regardless of where you live. The law you are probably now most interested in will be the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This law covers how your creditors must behave when attempting to collect monies due. It also dictates where and when lawsuits can be filed if you live in a different state to your creditor. Another act you should familiarize yourself with is the Credit Card Reform act. Depending on your age and circumstances, you may find that some of these provisions are relevant to your case.

If you are having problems repaying your debts, make an emergency appointment with a local debt counseling service. You should be able to find a free advisor in your area such as one provided by a charity. If possible avoid the paid debt negotiation advisors as any spare funds you have should be directed towards repaying your creditors. Your advisor and the people you owe money to will want to see a full income and expenditure account. You will need to write down exactly how much money you make from all sources and what you spend this money on. Some debts are a priority meaning that you should always pay these first but your advisor will go through this with you.

Whatever you do, do not ignore the situation you are in. It will only get worse. All credit card debt problems can be resolved one way or another. Bankruptcy is always an option although one you do not want to enter into lightly and definitely not without proper advice.

Suing you isn’t your creditors’ only option. They could sell your debt onto a third party company who won’t care what your personal circumstances are. But if you have had a good record with your bank and your money problems are recent, you may find that they are willing to work with you to reach a solution.

So now you know the answer to can you be sued for credit card debts is yes, you need to do everything you can to avoid this scenario.

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As the real estate price are booming up for the last five years, homes are selling for 33% higher than the last few years, this has made more difficult for the home buyers to purchase the homes by making huge payment as lump sum. Over these years many mortgage options are available for the homebuyers that reduces the burden of purchasing the home.

Forward mortgages are also known as traditional mortgage that are used to buy a home, so this also creates debt against your home you purchase, and this affects how much ownership value or equity you have in the home you have purchased.

Debt is nothing but the amount you borrowed from the lender and this includes cash advances that is made to you or made for your benefit along with the interest. Home equity means it is the actual value of your house less of the debts you owe it, incase if your home value is $150,000 and you owe mortgage of $30,000 then the home equity would be $120,000 only that is Rising equity and falling debt.

When you have purchased the home by making a small down payment and mortgage the rest of the amount you require to purchase it, then you must be repaying the forward mortgage loan every month for many number of years, while making the repayment of forward mortgage your home equity gets increased and your debt gets decreased

With forward mortgage you would be using your income for the repayment of debt and this will increase the equity of you home ownership. For borrowing forward mortgage, the borrower has to sign on dotted line for a huge amount of money and should make repayment monthly for a fixed period of years that reduces the amount he owed. To qualify in this forward mortgage the borrower should present his income proof or any kind of asset requirement to prove that he can afford to make repayment, the younger the owner the more amount he can mortgage.

As and when you make your forward mortgage repayment the amount you owe that is your loan balance or your debt gets decreased, but at the same time the value of your home that your equity or home ownership gets increased, ultimately when you finish your final mortgage payment you owe nothing to the lender and the value of your home is equal to the home equity, In brief the forward mortgage is “rising equity and falling debt”

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Copyright 2006 Billy Williams

Momentum stock trading has been around for awhile and has been proven to a sound method for creating incredible wealth in the stock market. During the 1990s, for example, Clear Channel Communications went up 5,615%, Emulex rose 6,412%, Dell Computer went up 10,198%, Activision went up 13,819%, and Semtech rose 15,231%.

It is not uncommon to find stocks that accelerate in price that go on to make 100% to 300% returns in less than year or even in a few months. However, for beginning investors it can be a confusing and frustrating experience to find such stocks.

While many momentum stock traders all have different criteria when searching out tomorrow’s big winners there are typically six key steps when screening for a big winner.

They are:

1) Accelerating earnings or EPS (earnings per share). 2) Annual earnings up 25% or more in the last 3 years. 3) Minimum volume of 100,000 or at least increasing volume. 4) A 17% ROE (return on equity) or better. 5) Has leadership role in the market place. 6) Price at an all-time high.

Potential stocks for momentum trading should show strong fundamentals on there balance sheet and show that they are growing at an accelerated rate. By selecting stocks that are showing high EPS ratings and accelerating rates of growth over previous quarters you can be sure that you have a company that is growing out an above average rate. Wall Street loves earnings that are growing quickly and a company that does will be rewarded with institutional sponsorship by the big funds further causing share value to increase.

Momentum stocks also have shown that they are strong players in their market and prove there value by exhibiting strong annual earnings. Less than a 25% annual increase in annual earnings will not stimulate interest by the big mutual funds or investors resulting in a stock whose price will likely remain stagnant or increase in value at too slow a pace for momentum investing.

Stocks for consideration should have a daily average of 100,000 shares or at least see there average daily volume increase as the value of the stock rises. Any volume less than this shows little interest by the investment community and you could find yourself having trouble with liquidity in the stock if you need to sell and get out.

A potential stock should show a ROE of 17% or better. ROE is the net income divided by the number of shares held by investors. It shows the responsible return on capital by investors and the higher this ratio is the better for investors. In my opinion, this is one of the most important attributes for any stock investment.

Momentum stocks are also leaders in the market. When the major indices have declines true stock leaders exhibit strength by holding or even exceeding there highs or near there highs. When the major indices rally these leaders typically lead the rally and go on to make new highs and outpace the market.

Momentum stocks should also be traded at there all time highs. Buy trading at these levels at key technical entry points you are likely to ride the trend as the stock increases in share price. This type of characteristic increase your chances for profitability because a up trend in place is six times more likely to stay in place so you have the odds on your side.

You can stock for scans like these at Yahoo Financial or MSN Financial for free. Begin keeping a list of potential candidates and then track there performance. It may take a little practice but with time you will be able to spot the stocks that go on to make the big moves of 100% or more.

As with all types of investing keep in mind to cut your losers quickly and ride your winners with a good money management plan.

Good luck and good trading.

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Balance transfer credit cards can be many things. On the surface, yes, they excel as credit cards that permit an individual to consolidate his or her other credit card balances onto one piece of plastic, but what else can they do? Not much research has been done into the question, though I am thoroughly convinced they can be used as a method to cut down on crime. Allow me to explain.

Let’s say, hypothetically, I happened to be in serious credit card debt. Like many Americans, I took out more credit cards to pay off old ones, effectively closing myself in a nasty little circle. Having multiple cards, I was getting charged interest rates and late fees on each one, killing my chances of ever paying them all off.

The stress and strain of always worrying about my finances began to wear down on me. Nights would go by where I could not sleep, partially due to my worrying, and partially because I couldn’t stop planning witty retorts for creditors that were calling me at all hours wondering just where the hell their money was. Oh, yeah, this is hypothetical still. Really.

So finally on a rainy Tuesday in the awful month of March, I snapped. How it happened was kind of funny. See, I was getting paranoid, probably from not sleeping. I started confusing the creditors with my company’s upper management. Anyone wearing a suit that cost more than $300 became suspect. So my boss called me in for my annual review and strategy brainstorming. I sat there white-knuckled, pouring sweat, as he talked about things like “trimming the fat” and “hunting down clients that haven’t paid like the savages they are.” I thought the hammer was coming down, so I seized him by his trendy tie and comb-over, threw him into his charity golf event trophy case, and fled the scene.

Knowing I was guilty of assault, I proceeded to lose all self control. I began, again, hypothetically (I swear), robbing liquor stores and girl scouts on their cookie routes all across the country. I thought if I could steal enough money to pay off my multiple credit cards, I’d be free of my nightmare. Ironically, the real nightmare was when I ended up spending five nights in a Reno prison for mugging an old woman that was really a 25 year old cop who had a thing for off-duty cross dressing.

Now how could I have avoided this entirely untrue story that did not occur two months ago? Well, I could have not been born a complete maniac, yes, though there is another way. Let’s pretend I had transferred all of my credit card balances onto a balance transfer card. With only one interest rate, and hopefully no (but probably one) set of late fees, my debt would have been easier to carry and manage. If I had done that, perhaps I wouldn’t have come to know an ambitious cell mate named Benny who kept mistaking me for a woman named Rita.

The point I want to make, aside from stay away from poorly dressed bag-ladies in Reno, is that balance transfer cards are a convenient answer to a common problem. Plenty of people I know have taken out multiple credit cards to pay off other cards. If you find yourself in such a cycle, consider loading all your troubles onto one balance transfer card. Or, you could always do what I did. What I hypothetically did. Yes. Right.

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A new company has emerged in the St. Louis Real Estate market. On June 15, 2006, Jim Hurley and findingstlouishomes.com began carving out a niche as the premier website for Expert Realtors in Metro St. Louis Missouri. The website features the latest technological innovations to allow home buyers and sellers the opportunity to access more information in one place than ever before. Consumers can easily navigate, search, and find updated information and the most updated home listings among the jungle of outdated, obsolete real estate websites. Findingstlouishomes.com focuses on the one-stop shop for visitors. Latest in market trends, daily blog posts, easy MLS search with home details and photos, and smooth navigation all play a role in providing the consumer with the most up to date and relevant information on the web.

Jim Hurley who is considered one of Missouri’s top Real Estate Brokers recently sold his interest a top 20 St. Louis residential real estate firm. As managing partner at his previous company he drove it from 15 million in sales and 11 agents, to nearly 300 million in sales and 70 agents in just a few years. "The website launch is just the beginning for Expert Realtors" says Hurley, "we are in a changing marketplace and most consumers start on the internet. Our concern is providing the interface today’s consumers’ demand which is specific information, current market trends and options, and a quick clean format."

There are a variety of surveys that show between 74 and 79 percent of home buyers and sellers start in the internet. This is true for local buyers as wells as those relocating to another market.

Dynamic WebPages, pod casting and a web log provides an avenue for the consumer to get any information they want or need. This provides international exposure immediately. It is the ideal match for the consumer. "You click search, enter the criteria, and every matching listing with multiple photos and details is right there." Currently you can’t get that in any other medium. That’s why the majority of today’s real estate advertising is focused on driving traffic to websites.

For more information on findingstlouishomes.com, please contact Jim Hurley at 314-749-7909.

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There are many persons that run towards stock investment as a means to make some quick money. This is perhaps however not the best investment option for persons with short term rewards in mind. The best option when thinking of investing in stocks is if you are interested in accumulating funds over a long period of time. One such example is the investment for future needs such as a nest egg for retirement and so on.

In stock investment both short term and long term investments come with risks attached and therefore nothing is truly guaranteed in the stock market. Today could be very good and tomorrow very bad resulting in great gains or great losses as the case may be. However, in terms of long term investment, it is shown according to statistics that there are no 20 year portfolios that have lost on the stock market. The average returns have averaged about 10 percent and these accounts all have a broadly diversified portfolio of stocks.

In the short term the market is very risky. The market will go up and then go down so if you are only thinking of investing for a short period then this is not the best option. If you are nearing retirement age and now beginning to invest in stocks this is not a good option. The best option in these cases as a protection against inflation, rather than stocks, is to invest in stable investments such as bonds and other cash instruments. This offers more security than stocks in the short term.

So how long is considered short term? Many persons are under the misconception that short term means less than a year but this is in fact not so. In terms of stocks short term is considered to be five years or less and some persons will recommend more years rather than the minimum of five years. A good rule is that if you are going to need your funds in the next five years then stay away from stock investment. Another point to note is that unless you are an active trader then short term investments make no sense. If the funds being used are for retirement investment then being an active trader is also not recommended.

The average down time for some markets is a year but this has been seen to last much longer a well so though for a long term investor this downtime may seen to be a lifetime it will pass but if you are a short term investor you will lose a lot depending on the market fluctuations. Stock investment will offer many great opportunities but can be devastating for a short term investor. If you know that the funds you are investing will be required for use in a short time then choose investment options that are more secure and protected. It is true that you may get lucky and make a fortune but it is also true that the risks are high and that you can lose everything.

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A lot of people are taking stock today to make sure that the investments they have are the right choices for their long term goals. If anything good comes out of this current economic downturn it will be the fact that people are becoming more proactive with their money and investments. That new attitude will help everyone get closer to achieving their long term financial goals. One of the first things you will want to do when reevaluating your investments is to make sure you are getting the best interest rates.

If you have a savings account you can check various banks, online and off, to see who is offering the best rates. Before you decide to change banks, though, make sure you fully understand what other rules the bank has. Even if you could earn a higher interest rate you may find that you have to maintain a higher minimum balance, or the bank might charge more or higher fees. Just remember to find out all the details before you make a decision.

Generally speaking, when investing in certificates of deposit, the longer term your investment and the larger the amount invested, the higher the interest rate you will earn. That’s because the bank wants to use your money to lend to others. That’s how the system works. The longer you agree to let them use your money the more money they can make. In order to encourage you to leave your money invested longer they will agree to pay you more in interest.

One the downsides, though, is the fact that if you want to withdraw your money early you will lose a significant amount of interest as a penalty. CD’s can be a good investment for many people since they are government insured so they are less risky, yet they will still provide an attractive interest rate.

Remember that a high rate is only one element. There are other factors you will need to consider before opening an account. Here is a list of some things you need to be on the lookout for:

1. Make sure you always, always, read and understand that fine print. Many people think that since they are dealing with a reputable bank they don’t have to read the fine print since there’s no way this huge bank would rip them off. And that’s probably true, but, you do need to make sure you understand how much interest you will earn, how to access your money, what fees the bank charges and for what, and if you’re investing in a CD you will need to know if the interest rate is fixed or variable, how it will be paid out, what the maturity date is, etc.

2. How much money will you need to open an account, or buy a CD? Some banks offer more choices than others. Not everyone has an extra $100,000 sitting around to invest, and not everyone wants their money tied up in a CD for 10 years. These are things you need to know ahead of time, and don’t just take someones word for it, get it in writing.

3. Don’t make the mistake of just going with whatever bank has the highest interest rate. Remember, the interest rate is important but there are other factors that you will have to take into consideration before you open an account or invest.

When it comes to finding the best interest rates you can use a service like Bankrate.com. Make sure to only use rate information as a starting point. Once you’ve narrowed it down to several banks make sure you ask all the questions I’ve listed above so that your money will not only be working hard for you, it will also be easy for you to get to.

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NASDAQ, Dow Jones, BSE & NSE; Do they ring any bell? They surely must have. Not every one knows what the color of money is, but what people do know is they want to feel more money and see more money.

Another well known fact is that the ever increasing number of the average human being would never want to jeopardize his money, which for him, is the sole means of existence. In the end, it is the human craving for more that makes him succumb to his urge and makes him take a plunge.

The only thing that makes the average investor lose out, is his inexperience. The Raging Bull lures many new people into its arena, but little do they realize what’s in store for them. The market trends are tough to gauge. No one can ever be sure how high or low will stocks leap! Everything on earth has a risk involved, so does this market. We can’t live with it but we can work around it.

Imagine a scenario where you as an amateur investor decide to take a dip. Based on a few tips from a few places, you make your pick. The possibility is that you might hit the nail, or may be you might get nailed. Every player who is a benchmark, be it a game, trade, business (depends on whatever you cal it) has had some level of practice and has learnt things the hard way. People have lost a lot of hope, money and many other things trying to figure out the market. They had to do it the hard way because they didn’t have a place to hone their skills. A place where they could learn tricks of the trade, where they could make an investment without the fear of losing anything and at the same time, learn a lot more than the others.

But the question still remains! Would there be such a place. Is it one of those wonderland parties that people always think about and never find? Well!! Not this time. This time round all you investors are in for a good time. It fills me with pride to present to you the game of your lifetime. The SenSex Simulation!! This game is an assortment of all that I have gathered over the years.

The Game is a complete replication of the stock markets with live feeds for the values of stocks. Registered members get to play around with money in their account, using which they can purchase and sell off stocks. The game would also give you your daily stats. These would include your portfolio, the value of your stocks, and whether you have gained or lost out, relative to the market. The SenSex Simulation provides you with a platform to stand out of the ring and get a look and feel of the rumble.

“By the time you know the rules, you’re too old to play the game!” It’s never too late to start learning. Life is a vicious circle. Someone, who does not stop learning, never stops growing.

It’s Time to tame the BULL!!

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99.9% of mortgage borrowers raise the money they need to buy their home in pounds sterling and pay the prevailing UK based interest rate. But it does not have to be that way..

Whilst by its’ own historical standards, the UK’s domestic interest rates are low, they are still significantly higher than in the Eurozone, America, Switzerland and indeed, Japan. Therefore, you can currently borrow the money you need in Euros, $ dollars, Swiss Francs or Yen, secure the debt against your house in the UK and pay a much lower rate of interest.

The following 3 month money market interest rates illustrate the extent to which UK interest rates are ahead of other parts of the world:

Sterling 4.64%

US $ 4.48%

Eurozone 2.46%

Switzerland 1.03%

Japanese Yen 0.12%

(Source: 3 month Money Market Rates, Financial Times, 9/12/05)

But don’t expect to borrow money for your mortgage at these 3 month Money market rates. You will have to pay a premium for borrowing in an overseas currency. Nevertheless, if interest rates remained as they are now, there will still be significant interest rate savings to be made.

So why are less than 1% of UK domestic mortgages taken out in overseas currencies? The answer: there are extra risks.

Interest rates could buck historical trends and narrow the gap between sterling based rates and the rates for the currency in which the mortgage has been borrowed. This would reduce the interest rate saving and indeed, at some stage, could make the interest rate more expensive than for a standard sterling mortgage.

But by far the biggest risk lies’ in changes in exchange rates. If you have borrowed in say, Yen, you eventually have to repay the loan in Yen. That would be fine if the Yen/Sterling exchange rates were frozen together but they aren’t.

If sterling strengthened against the Yen, then you would have to convert less sterling back into yen to repay the loan than the sterling value of the money you initially borrowed. That would be great, an interest rate saving and pay back less than you borrowed. But if sterling fell against the Yen the reverse happens you end up paying back more capital than you borrowed. So in this context, an overseas mortgage becomes a currency bet that sterling will not fall against the currency you borrowed. In other words you have converted your mortgage and what is probably your biggest personal liability, into a currency speculation. And secured your home against it! You could win but it’s not for the faint at heart!

Another point to be aware of is that you’ll need a deposit of at least 20% for your house purchase in order to qualify for a foreign currency mortgage.

Incidentally, there is now a second option. You can take out a mortgage in sterling and have the interest rate you pay linked to a foreign interest rate. Whilst you avoid the currency exposure risk, you are still taking gamble that the overseas interest rate plus the interest rate premium you’ll have to pay, will remain lower than the UK’s domestic interest rates. These types of mortgage typically have a 5 year tie in clause. Therefore, you’ll have a hefty penalty to pay if you want to pay it off early, although the mortgage can usually be moved to another property. For some that represents an acceptable risk, especially if the mortgage is linked to the Swiss Franc interest rate which has been astonishingly low and stable over past years. For example, the interest rates in Switzerland have not moved above 1% in the last 4 years and the Eurozone interest rate has not changed in 5 years.

Nevertheless, part of the wording for a regulated investment warning comes to mind .. past performance should not be construed as a guarantee of future performance

You pays your money and you takes your chance.