Get in Control of Your Credit Card Debt

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Using credit cards can make day to day life more simple, reducing the need to carry cash and making it easy to shop online and by telephone. However, spending with plastic can sometimes be a little too easy, and many people find their balances get out of control.

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Few people would deny that using credit cards can make day to day life more simple, reducing the need to carry cash and making it easy to shop online and by telephone.

However, spending with plastic can sometimes be a little too easy, as it doesn’t always feel like you’re actually parting with any cash. This means the temptation is to spend without thinking about the consequences too carefully, until you hear the ominous thud of a huge credit card bill hitting the doormat.

If you’ve been caught out like this, the size of your card debt may seem overwhelming, but don’t panic – there are a few simple steps you can take to start getting your debt back under control.

Try and make a little more than the minimum payments:

The minimum payments required by credit card companies have steadily fallen over the years. Where once it was typical to have to repay a minimum of 5% of your balance every month, it’s now common to only have to pay 2.5% or 3%. With repayments this small in proportion to your debt, a large chunk of each payment gets swallowed up in interest charges. Depending on the APR rate of your card, up to 75% of each payment could be ‘lost’ in this way, meaning that it takes a very long time for your balance to reduce to any great extent.

By trying to repay more than the minimum, even if only by a little, you can speed this process up, and in the long term you’ll end up paying much less in interest charges.

Prioritize your card debts:

If you have more than one card with different rates of interest, it makes sense concentrate on the one with the highest interest charges. This means not just the one with the highest interest rate, but the one which actually charges you most each month, which could have a lower rate but a higher balance.

Check your statements to see which card is costing you most in interest each month, and try to focus on repaying this card first by putting any spare cash you have into extra payments while keeping to the minimums on your other cards.

Change your card:

The credit card market is very competitive, and rates have fallen over the last few years. You may be stuck with an old card charging an old rate that is much higher than newer cards. If you can get a new card with a lower rate and transfer your account balance on to it, you could save a lot in interest charges, helping you to bring down your debt. If you can get a card with an introductory rate on balance transfers then all the better – you’ll get a few months of interest free credit which you can use to really drive down your balance as 100% of each repayment will be helping to clear your debt.

Debt consolidation:

If getting a cheaper card isn’t an option or isn’t something you feel happy about, then maybe a consolidation loan would be worth considering. If you take out a loan and use the money to pay off all your card debts, you could benefit from a lower rate as loans are normally quite a bit cheaper than credit cards.

The downside to these loans is that the repayment period might be quite long, and so even though your monthly repayments will hopefully be lower, you’ll stay in debt for longer and so end up paying more in interest. Done carefully, however, consolidation can be a sound move if there’s little chance of clearing your debt in any other way.

Watch your spending!

All the above strategies for getting your debt under control will only work if you stop getting deeper into debt – and this means stopping spending on your cards. Ideally, you’d cut them up so that you can’t use them again, but this might not be realistic as you may need to keep them as a credit option in an emergency. In any case, cutting your spending to an absolute minimum will keeping your repayments as high as possible is the only sure strategy to clearing your debt in the long term.

Check out monzi personal loans for short term loans up to $10,000.

Effective Ways Of Getting the Best Rates for Your Credit Cards

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How many times a day do you receive offers through email or phone for free credit cards with money back schemes, low introductory rates and other perks of credit cards? All banks and financial institutions vie for maximum customers by pouring umpteen perks to tempt you, the customer, in one way or the other.

credit card,credit score,free credit cards,borrowing money,credit card plan

How many times a day do you receive offers through email or phone for free credit cards with money back schemes, low introductory rates and other perks of credit cards? All banks and financial institutions vie for maximum customers by pouring umpteen perks to tempt you, the customer, in one way or the other.

Remember that a credit card is just a form of borrowing money that has to be paid later. However, it is better to choose a credit card with good rates to avoid ending up paying too much interest to the banks. Make it a point to compare credit card terms and fees before opening a credit or charge card account. Once you find the credit card that has an interest rate that best fits your needs and budget, you can then open an account with that bank.

The annual percentage rate is the measure of the cost of credit the bank offers and is expressed as a yearly rate. Make sure you are aware of this rate before accepting a credit card as some credit card plans have interest rates that change when other economic indicators change. This plan is called a variable rate program. In such a case, when you first get the credit card, you may be offered 5% interest, but in case of index changes, the interest rate may go up to 8%. This means you will later have to pay more interest with the increased interest rate! So confirm if the credit card offers a variable rate program or ‘fixed rate’ program where there is no change in the annual percentage rate, even when economic indicators change.

It is beneficial for you if the credit card you have has a ‘grace period’. This is the period where you can avoid finance charges by paying your balance before due date. This is because with a free period, you will be sent your bill at least 14 days before the due date, thus giving you enough time to pay. Check if the credit card charges annual membership or participation fees or any other costs like transaction fees. It is better to choose the credit card company offering the least ‘extra costs’! This is because the more extra costs there are, the more money you have to pay the company!

When applying for a credit card, it is better to first consider if the credit limit is up to your requirements. Then only is it beneficial for you to apply for the credit card. To get the best rate for your credit card, make sure you understand all terms and condition of the card before accepting it. This is to avoid any future misunderstandings and misconceptions with the credit card company.

Of course, the main point that is taken into consideration to get the best rate for your credit card is your credit score. The better the credit score you have, the better will be the rates the credit card company offers you! This is the reason it is always advisable to have, and maintain a good credit score!

Family Budget Secrets to lower Household Expenses, Higher Family Income and wise money management

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The Home Budget, finances and uncontrolled expenses have caused unhappiness and divorce. Learn the three areas to look for wealth if you want to increase the Family Income and reduce household expenses.

The Family Budget: Consumer Secrets to lower Household Expenses, Higher Family Income and wise money management.

Copyright 2006 AAA Consumer Credit Solutions

A healthy home budget is the key to wealth, success and even a healthy family life. American and Canadian Families could create a much healthier home budget with a bit of discipline and planning. Ask a Consumer and she may tell you, up front, that paying the Grocery Bills gives the greatest cause for concern in the family’s home budget. Too often, money creates family fights. Paying bills, the Home Budget and family finances too often cause divorce. Parents can avoid such calamities with financial discipline, greater research and some professional help. Unfortunately, areas for greatest financial relief too often lie off limits, outside of the usual scrutiny for possible savings in the family’s home budget.

These three areas: Mortgage Payments, Taxation of Income and Credit Card Debts drain away the family’s fortunes in ways we least suspect. In trying to reduce expenses from the Home Budget, you can dismiss high gas prices as a temporary event. Fluctuations in fruit and vegetable prices due to vagaries of the weather can impact the monthly home budget too. Those numbers pale in comparison to the heavy hitters in a home budget, such as Income Taxes paid, Mortgage Interest and excessive and un-necessary loan or Credit Card Payments.

An annual, Income Tax Refund Check can offer relief in many a Family Budget. In order for your family to benefit, you must arrange your finances to profit from all income tax deductions you might be entitled to. You may hear about certain deductions. But since you, like many an employed Consumer, are no Finance Wiz, you tend to ignore them to your peril. Unfortunately, as an Employee, your income tax deductions are limited. They are almost cast in stone by government legislation. As a Business Owner, however, the rules are much more generous. You could save huge sums in income tax payments because of business expenses. Fortunately the distinctions and the rules are not quite as rigid as you might think. Let’s leave out the obvious personal deductions, medical, and educational expenses and similar employee and work related expenses. Here are some additional income tax deductions you can snag if only you had the know-how. These tax deductions, when astutely applied, would add considerable income to your home budget:

1. You can create a Home Based Business and immediately qualify for related expenses as income tax deductions
2. You could increase your Savings for Retirement and for your Pension to create additional income tax deductions
3. You could use Other Peoples Money for Investments. Here again is a third very legit means for tax deductions most Consumers are not familiar with.

These are three key areas around which you could build substantial tax deductible expenses and hence keep a much larger portion of your income. They could add to the Income portion of your Household Budget and significantly reduce expenses.

On the expense side of the Home Budgets, American and Canadian Families pay way too much in housing costs. A recent study of home finance revealed that the cost of housing approaches closer to 50% of the household budget than the 30% and 40% debt service ratios, which bankers use in screening applicants for mortgage financing. Rising House Prices and lower interest charges have allowed many to occupy homes they may soon be unable to afford. Tenants have used rent money to purchase homes. As interest rates continue the recent upward trend, foreclosures will increase and Canadian and American Households as Tenants or Home Owners will be priced out of their regular home expense budget.

Newer approaches to mortgage payments have uncovered huge sums of excess profits that Lenders have been enjoying for years at the expense of the average Home Owner. These studies found that over the life of a mortgage, Consumers typically hand over DOUBLE the Purchase Price of their Homes as extended and un-necessary mortgage payments. At a time of record low interest rates, these large sums represent a voluntary contribution to the Lenders?Profit margins. In the event you are hearing of these developments for the first time, then this over payment of a mortgage applies to you too. Almost every mortgage holder pays too much! Consumers as a group have been cajoled into giving our infinite trust to the Loan or Bank Officers. What we failed to realize is that in the lending industry, no one represents the interests of the Consumer. You must seek out your own professional for help.

The final item of Credit Card Debt relates to impulse buying of clothes, shoes, trinkets, entertainment and vacations, CD’s, snacks, lattes and other consumables. Such expenses dramatically increase the monthly household expenses. As a Parent or Single Mom, responsible for the Home Budget, you would be shocked to review actual expenses from impulse and non-essential purchases. One Bank engages a prominent Financial Planner, who advises Customers to refrain from needless expenses on items such as cigarettes, lattés, candies, coffee, and gum. These savings, they claim, could help to create a tidy retirement fund.

With a bit of discipline, Consumers could reduce expenses by huge amounts in differing ways: 1. At $10.00 a purchase, you could drive a Mercedes Benz by giving up 6000 Trips to the Dollar Store. 2. At $40.00 a pack for cigarettes, a Consumer could have the entire gas bills paid if he simply quit smoking 3. A $250.00 a month Retirement Savings Contribution could result from ignoring the daily craving for an expensive latt?or the three cups of coffee a day habit.

These expenses, when paid by cash, reflect an unnecessary drain on the household budget. Because of service charges, the drain is even more severe when you use Credit Cards and even Debit Cards for small and impulse purchases. All of a sudden, that Latt?which costs you $3.50 is in fact $4.50 if the Credit or Debit Card Company charges a $1.00 fee for each transaction. After one month, that two Lattes-a-day habit becomes a $140.0 a month cost. With maximum financed credit or debit charges they become a $200.00 to $250.00 a month expense.

Consumers can generate huge savings to the Family’s Home Budget from a bit of research and from prudence and discipline in household expenses. It is vital for you to understand mortgages, loans and credit expenses much better. With a little tax planning, some stinginess and some savvy, Consumers can improve the household budget in ways they least expect. As a thrifty Consumer, you must start the search for more efficient ways to run your family’s home budget. The pay back would be terrific.

Have no apprehensions about your personal needs – Immediate decision Bad Credit helps you!

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Don’t despair, if you have accumulated bad credit score and dread to take finance to meet your personal needs. Immediate decision bad credit loan offers ultimate solace to you.

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Your bad credits will usually affect your credit standing. County Court judgement, arrears, loan defaults, or bankruptcy affects you and accumulates a bad credit score. Don’t despair, if you have accumulated bad credit score and dread to take finance to meet your personal needs. Immediate decision bad credit loan offers ultimate solace to you. Bad credit personal loans are more often a way to fix your negative credit score. Every time you go for a loan, the bad credit trademark hurts your odds of finding a loan. For a bad credit personal loan, it is necessary to discover your standing as a loan claimant.

They can sometimes also offer a larger rate if you are planning to borrow a lesser sum of money. You absolutely would not benefit from lots of activity on your credit report due to the fact you have made an application to a large number of various personal loan companies to ask how much interest rates will be, so how can you find out about quotes without applying?

Although the financial watchdogs have given notice to personal loan companies that they should promote their typical APR in place of their best quote, you may continue to notice you are given a different interest rate than that which you assumed. The reason why rates of interest could be dissimilar from what you see advertised to that which you are offered is a result of the personal loan companies’ lending conditions.

Immediate decision bad credit loans are designed keeping in mind the borrowers’ inconvenience while dealing with these kinds of situations. As the name suggests, these loans are approved within the same day. The main advantage of availing such loan is that it is available to all sorts of borrower. This implies that borrowers with bad credit, good credit, students, tenant and self employed are all eligible for this loan.

The tenants who have a record of bad credit history due to late payments, arrears, defaults or CCJs can also get immediate decision tenant loans easily. They are only required to satisfy the lender of their repayment ability. The borrowers can easily get these loans from banks or financial institutions. They can also apply through online mode which is an easy and fast method comparatively. You can compare the interest rates and then you may choose the best suited option for yourself.

Creating Surplus Cash For Savings and Investments

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Living below your means is more a matter of self-discipline. A few adjustments here and there could be all it takes to have the necessary funds available for saving and investing.

Saving, investing, money, debt, spending less, credit cards

You know you need to be saving money but you never seem to have enough at the end of the month or worse, you are further in debt.

Living below your means is more a matter of self-discipline. A few adjustments here and there could be all it takes to have the necessary funds available for saving and investing.

Some mutual funds can be opened up for as little as $200 with minimum contributions around $50.

Here’s a list of ways to save money by spending less.

*Open up bank accounts that have little or no service fees. Keep a cushion to avoid accidental bounced checks. These can eat you alive. Be sure to maintain your minimum balance to avoid service charges.

*Try to avoid banks that charge you a transaction fee for using their debit cards. If you have no choice, plan how much money you will need in a given period and then withdraw it all at once to avoid too many transaction fees.

*Compare credit cards. Look for the ones that have little or no annual fees. It’s not too hard to find those with no annual fee.

*Avoid specialty store charge cards as they often have interest rates six or seven points higher than major credit cards.

*Never choose a card based solely on incentives or reward programs. These include auto reward points and air travel miles. These cards may lead you to spend more money over time than you can afford.

*Most importantly, avoid unnecessary interest charges by paying off the complete monthly balance. You can avoid hundreds of dollars in interest expenses on an annual basis.

*When you buy a car, consider buying one that is one to three years old. A one-year old car will be about 20% to 30% less than a new car. A three-year old car is a good buy because it could be around half the price of a new car. A car depreciates the most in its first three years. After that the depreciation levels off and it will lose less of its value.

*Another good saving when buying a used car is you will pay less for the insurance.

*When going on vacation, consider staying in your home state instead of long distance trips or even international travel. It’s often cheaper to travel within your own borders, that way, you avoid visa and passport costs, border hassles, currency exchanges, tropical shots, medication, and additional health insurance. Frequently, people travel thousands of miles to see sights not nearly as spectacular as what’s next door.

*You should consider off-season vacations. Travel at a time when everyone else is at work or school, and the staff will actually be glad to see you. You may also save 50% or more on the usual travel expenses.

*Avoid large cities and tourist traps; you’ll save a ton by avoiding these places, where you pay more to eat, drink, sleep, and travel. If you do decide to visit a big city, consider accommodations in a smaller town close by.

*If you have a lot of credit card debt at high rates, look into consolidating your debt at a lower rate.

*Refrain from making impulse purchases. Exercise self-discipline.

*Refinance your mortgage or debt at a lower rate.

*Refinance your car loan at a lower rate.

*Shop around for cheaper car insurance rates. There can be a big difference.

*Lower your phone bill by using self-control on long distance calling.

*Use a phone card for long distance or international calls.

*Use coupons when you shop.

*Don’t buy things just because they are on sale.

*Wait for things to go on sale before buying them. Keep a record of when things go on sale. Some items will seasonally go on sale. Ask stores when certain things will go on sale.

*Buy generic, or non-name brand merchandise. Most times the quality is just as good.

*Stop smoking. This habit is extremely expensive.

*Contribute the maximum each year to your 401K or to an IRA.

*Remember, paying down debt is also a way to save money. If you can make extra payments on your mortgage or go for a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year mortgage. The savings are enormous.

*Reduce the number of times you eat out. Oftentimes eating out at a restaurant involves paying a lot of money for over-priced and over-sized meals. For healthy meals and to save money, eat at home.

*Watch videos or DVDs at home instead of going to the movies. Pop your own popcorn instead of paying a lot for theater popcorn.

*Evaluate your entertainment and recreational activities. Many are very expensive to participate in. There are many others that are just as fun and entertaining that are at the fraction of the cost.

*Don’t try to compete with your friends and neighbors. Sometimes, an apparent prosperous lifestyle can be an illusion. Those illusions come with a lot of debt. It’s much better to have peace of mind.

Be alert. There are always ways to save money. Soon you will yourself with money you never knew you had. The key is to put that money to work for you instead of spending it.

2006 Economy: How to Avoid Overextending Yourself

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The U.S. is the world’s largest economy and is moving into its fifth year of expansion. The biggest risk is the housing market which is expected to slow this year and potentially drag the economy down with it. Many people are betting that the housing market will avoid a major crash but instead will plateau leaving prices stagnant. The resulting rise in interest rates could put a lot of families under financial stress.

finance, housing, credit card, economy, 2006

The U.S. is the world’s largest economy and is moving into its fifth year of expansion. The biggest risk is the housing market which is expected to slow this year and potentially drag the economy down with it. Many people are betting that the housing market will avoid a major crash but instead will plateau leaving prices stagnant. The resulting rise in interest rates could put a lot of families under financial stress.

A housing market that is not growing quickly turns into a buyer’s market. People will have a number of houses to choose from which will block any increasing value for current home owners. To most home owners this will not be a problem because they have conventional fixed-rate mortgages and only need to wait until the market improves. People who have unconventional 5-year arms and interest only loans may be seriously hurt; especially if interest rates rise.

“I think one of the principal risks is whether or not home prices decline and the impact that that will have in terms of influencing the savings rate and personal consumption growth as we have already seen in the U.K. and Australia?said David Rosenberg a U.S. economist at Merrill Lynch (Wolk, 2005).

A bigger problem is people’s personal savings rates. Because debt is so easy today and most families are at a maximum borrowing limit many people who will see a jump in their interest payments may begin to default. This default raises the interest rate even further due to increased risks associated with lending money. In the end many people will not have money to spend or save which could have serious consequences for the economy as a whole.

The best measure to avoid such pit falls is to put a larger sum down on your house during purchase which gives you a cushion to work with incase you need to sell your house quickly. The second measure is to avoid all credit card balances, home equity loans and charge cards. Finally, only engage in fixed-rate mortgages.

8 Money Myths

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8 Myths about money that harm our financial lives.

Personal Finance

8 Myths About Money
I grew up on a farm in Nebraska. My family had always worked hard for their money, and as a result, I always equated working hard with making money, with no idea that my beliefs could not have been further from truth. As I educated myself on human behavior and financial strategies, I learned that it’s actually the people who make their money work hard for them, rather than the people who work hard for their money, who end up with more of it. Since creating my millionaire-making program, I’ve learned that I was not alone. There are many people who shared this same myth.

Much like our views about many things — people, relationships, food, and health to name a few — our beliefs came from our parents, our teachers, and other adults in our lives. And it goes back even further, beyond them, back to the circumstances through which they lived, or what they learned from their parents, what their parents learned from their parents, and so on. These beliefs are ingrained, and because they’re usually subconscious, the cycles are continuous — until someone breaks them. You can break the cycle. Beliefs about money are many and varied, but in my research, I’ve discovered that there are a few that predominate.

Money is scarce. Several of us have parents or grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, an era that rooted an entire generation in a scarcity mindset. These people passed onto their children the idea that money was in short supply and that when it did surface, spending had to be limited and saving was imperative. If any of the following ever crossed your mind?A penny saved is a penny earned,?”Don’t dip into savings,?or “We can’t afford it?– then you have this perspective and rainy days loom ominously. Money doesn’t grow on trees. These threats create a fearful relationship with money.

Money is evil, dirty, or bad. Several of us have parents or grandparents who believe that the road to bad places is lined with green. They’ve only ever seen the drawbacks of the rat race, the downside of the money chase, and the audacity and indulgence of those with too much money. Some even believe that wealthy people are bad people. Novels and films often highlight the idea that it’s the crooked ones who make the money. The meek shall inherit the earth. Such prophecies create a hands-off relationship with money.

Money comes monthly. The most common way to make a living is to be employed, either with a company or as a skilled professional, with a weekly wage or an annual salary. Historically, this provided the safe, sure thing required by heads of households. Yet, that level of risk was usually balanced with an equal level of reward — low and low. For most, even those who do very well, working for a company or as a skilled professional is a constrained opportunity. Except for the outrageous exceptions, the average CEO of the average company making six figures a year will still experience only a small increase in salary during his or her lifetime. Slow and steady wins the race. Such fables create a cautious relationship to money.

Money is not for me. Some people feel that they don’t deserve to be wealthy or that there is only so much of the millionaire pie to go around. Creating wealth and financial freedom is available to everyone. It is our right to be wealthy, and my hope is that people take their space and know they deserve it. By making money, you are not taking it from someone else; this isn’t Bonnie and Clyde Go to the Bank. By making money, you create a greater capacity to contribute, and it’s your duty to do this. Better them than me. Such adages create a defeated relationship to money.

Money is a man thing. There was a time that men made and managed the household money. That time was not so long ago, and some of you may have grown up with such conditioning. Though there are gender tendencies, for example, men tend to carry more money in their pocket than women and are more likely to invest than women, the reasons behind this are not genetic; they are realities falsely fabricated from years of conditioning. Women and men need to understand that money knows no gender. One of my programs that really resonates with up and coming wealth builders is “Wealth Diva: A Man Is Not a Plan.?This is a must-do seminar for every man and woman, and the daughters and sons they love. Let him bring home the bacon. Such perceptions create an apathetic relationship to money.

Money is good medicine. For some people, retail therapy goes a long way; there’s no difficulty a new blouse can’t cure. At the moment, we live in a culture of consumerism, and many of us use money to fill the unsatisfying holes in our lives. Some people grew up with a sense of entitlement about money, assuming their parents or a trust fund would always pay for everything, and in the process, they became careless about what they had. This is a vicious and unproductive cycle. The new car gets old, the closet fills up with clothes, and the toys pile up in the playroom. This is notto say there aren’t wonderful things to buy and spend our money on; after all, money should be fun. But as with overeating, too much spending on the wrong things can get any of us feeling sluggish and sad. Shop till you drop. Such bombarding messages create a disrespectful or nonchalant relationship to money.

Money is always a menace. For too many of us, money was always a problem. Bills were a hassle, keeping up with the Joneses was exhausting, entrepreneurs were considered nuts, and one’s station in life was, well, stationary. And getting rich would be worse. Money can be such a burden, not to mention all that paperwork and responsibility. These views of money create a perspective that money is actually a problem, not a solution. It’s hard enough just to survive, let alone thrive. Such pessimism creates a negative relationship to money.

Money talk is taboo. Many of us have been brought up to believe that conversations about money are in bad taste. Money and financial success, and failures, are considered personal subjects that shouldn’t be discussed and certainly shouldn’t be taught. Few of us asked our parents how much money they made, and even now, there are people who don’t know their spouse’s salaries. The results have unintended consequences and have created a world where very few people are having real conversations about money and finances, the very conversations they need to learn and succeed. These things are not discussed in polite society, dear. Such a scolding creates an ignorant relationship to money.

In each of these examples, it’s clear that unless your parents made a conscious choice to think and act differently, they conditioned you to have the same mindset as them. If you make a decision to break this cycle, you will have the opportunity to teach your children to have more productive beliefs about, and a more profitable relationship to,money. As you come to understand the beliefs you hold, you will work to change them. Through the action steps in this process, and with the help of mentors and respected friends, you will change your behavior. By sharing your desire for new beliefs and asking your mentors and respected friends to help you spot the subconscious limitations you may be putting on yourself, you will teach your brain to follow your behavior. Begin now by restating your beliefs. For example, if you’ve discovered that you hold any of the above examples as beliefs, you will

1. Change “money is scarce?to “money is abundant?and support a courageous relationship to money.

2. Change “money is evil, dirty, or bad?to “money is good and acceptable?and create a hands-on relationship to money.

3. Change “money comes monthly?to “money comes from a range of sources?and create an opportunistic relationship to money.

4. Change “money is not for me?to “who better than me for money to come to?and create an empowered relationship to money.

5. Change “money is a man thing?to “I can and will know about and understand money,?and create a thoughtful relationship to money.

6. Change “money is good medicine?to “money is a tool to help make my life better?and create a respectful and concerned relationship to money.

7. Change “money is a menace?to “money is a solution?and create a positive relationship to money.

8. Change “money talk is taboo?to “money talk is vital?and create a knowledgeable relationship to money.

You can see how much better it is to be courageous, hands-on, opportunistic, empowered, thoughtful, respectful and concerned, positive, and knowledgeable than to be fearful, hands-off, cautious, defeated, apathetic, disrespectful and nonchalant, negative, and ignorant. The choice is yours and it looks like you’re well on your way. You’ve already taken a huge step by deciding to actually take the first step. By making the decision to start right now, you have created the opportunity to raise your financial consciousness and change your life.

Copyright ?2006 Loral Langmeier from the book The Millionaire Maker McGraw-Hill; December 2005;$24.95US/$00.00CAN; 0071466150

Loral Langemeier is a master coach, financial strategist, and team-made multimillionaire who reaches thousands of individuals each year. She is the founder of Live Out Loud, a coaching and seminar company that teaches her trademarked program Wealth Cycles.

401(k) Participants Turn to Pros For Help Managing Their Money

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You’re a computer engineer, or a nurse, or a graphic designer. Just keeping current in your own specialty is an effort. So what happens to your 401(k) retirement plan while you’re off doing what you do?

401(k) Participants Turn to Pros For Help Managing Their Money

You’re a computer engineer, or a nurse, or a graphic designer. Just keeping current in your own specialty is an effort. So what happens to your 401(k) retirement plan while you’re off doing what you do?

Does it just languish, forgotten, in some dusty corner of your mind? Are you, among millions of others, crossing your fingers and hoping your portfolio will provide?

Thanks to changes in the industry, investors now can get more help managing their 401(k) accounts. In the past, to prevent conflicts of interest, defined contribution plan providers could make only general asset class recommendations. But regulations now allow financial service companies to hire independent, third-party financial advisers like Ibbotson Associates to manage individual investors’ 401(k) accounts.

Those who choose professional help will find that the money in their portfolio will be allocated appropriately to funds in their existing plan, rebalanced regularly and adjusted over time to meet changing life circumstances. And these programs are catching on.

Ibbotson is the independent third-party advisor for 401(k) managed account programs run by AIG VALIC, Fidelity, Great-West Retirement Services, Merrill Lynch, the Principal Financial Group and TIAA-CREF. Although 401(k) managed accounts are only two years old, participation in such programs is increasing rapidly. Currently there is over $10 billion in 401(k) managed account programs, and that number is expected to reach $300 billion in 2010, according to industry research firm TowerGroup.

A major reason for the growth is that many employees don’t know how to manage their retirement plans. Human resources firm Hewitt Associates found that only 16 percent of 401(k) plan participants made any changes to their accounts in 2004. The study also found that, while some employees were not aggressive enough with their investments, others took on too much risk. For example, participants concentrated about 27 percent of their 401(k) assets in their company stock.

Consumers Bear Brunt Of Cold Winter

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Even though Americans are feeling some relief at the gas pump from last fall’s record prices, their checkbooks are still likely to take a hit this winter as natural gas and heating oil prices continue to soar.

Consumers Bear Brunt Of Cold Winter

Even though Americans are feeling some relief at the gas pump from last fall’s record prices, their checkbooks are still likely to take a hit this winter as natural gas and heating oil prices continue to soar.

In fact, the Energy Department predicts that those using natural gas to heat their homes can expect to see their monthly bills rise 48 percent from last year. If it’s an especially cold winter, the cost will be even greater.

This can be a difficult thing for consumers to contemplate – especially when most homeowners already average $4,100 per year for energy.

While it is not always easy to understand the geopolitics and economics of energy, rising prices always indicate that there is too much demand, and for years there has not been enough domestic supply. Consequently, America has had to rely on foreign sources for its natural gas, due in large part to the fact that prices are so much cheaper.

In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the price of natural gas is 75 cents per million Btu, and in Kuwait, it is $1.25 per million Btu. Compare this with the U.S. price of almost $13 per million Btu and it is easy to see why America opts to import its gas.

But companies like Mammoth Resource Partners Inc., a Kentucky-based oil and gas exploration company, are beginning to put a dent in skyrocketing natural gas prices by tapping into the gas-rich Appalachian Basin.

“The Appalachian Basin, in my opinion, is the largest opportunity in North America to reduce America’s dependence on foreign gas,” said Mammoth President Dr. Roger L. Cory, a frequent guest speaker on the topic of “peak oil.”

Much of the rise in heating oil and natural gas prices can be attributed to last fall’s hurricanes, which disabled refineries and terminals in the Gulf Coast. Until hurricane Katrina, many did not understand that gas from overseas is liquefied and shipped to the Gulf Coast for offloading and re-gasifying, whereas domestic supply, such as that explored by Mammoth Resource Partners, can safely pass through inland pipelines directly to domestic markets for use in America’s homes.

Getting A Credit Card With Bad Or No Credit

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So you have decided that you want to get a credit card only you may have credit that is not so hot or even no credit history what so ever.

Getting A Credit Card With Bad Or No Credit

So you have decided that you want to get a credit card only you may have credit that is not so hot or even no credit history what so ever. Many consumers wonder how it is possible to build a credit history with no credit or credit that might not be so swell. Surprisingly enough it is very possible for consumers finding themselves in these two particular situations to begin building a solid credit history without having to have a traditional credit card.

A secured credit card would be quite simple for someone with no credit or less then perfect credit to be able to qualify for and receive. All you need to do is complete the application for the secured credit card and make the required security deposit. After those two steps are completed you are well on your way to building a solid credit history. Just keep in mind that you need to apply for a secured credit card that will report all of your credit activities to all three of the major credit reporting agencies.

Department Stores such as Sears and Macy’s will often take a chance on someone who may not have any credit and give them a credit card. So if your luck hasn’t been great in applying for traditional credit cards try your luck in applying for a department store card to use as a tool to start a solid credit history foundation.

Many gas stations will allow people with tarnished credit or no credit history to have a gas station credit card. If you are in either of these situations try applying for a card at your local gas station to begin building a credit history.

These are just a few suggestions of steps that you can take to start building a credit history if your credit record may not be so good (or non existent). With a little creative thought and research you will be well on the way to getting the credit and the credit cards that you deserve.