Saving Money at the Pump

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A recent report in the Financial Times predicted that the average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States may soon reach $3.00 . . . that’s the bad news! The good news is, skyrocketing gasoline prices have caused many Americans to start looking for ways to either cut back on the miles they drive or find ways to make their cars more fuel efficient.

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A recent report in the Financial Times predicted that the average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States may soon reach $3.00 . . . that’s the bad news! The good news is, skyrocketing gasoline prices have caused many Americans to start looking for ways to either cut back on the miles they drive or find ways to make their cars more fuel efficient. That’s good news because these fuel-saving attempts and attitudes will help reduce the fuel emissions that regularly foul our atmosphere. The question remains, just what do we need to do to spend less on gas and reap the reward of cleaner air; a few tips follow:

Get your car in shape

A well maintained car will burn less gas than one that has been neglected:

1. Keep your tires properly inflated; check your car’s user’s manual or look for the sticker that gives you the recommended tire inflation pressure. If your tires need replacement, look for tires that are rated as LRR (Low Rolling Resistance). Proper tire inflation along with the LRR tires will be your biggest fuel savers.

2. Change your motor oil at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals and be sure to use the recommended ‘weight’ (viscosity) motor oil. While changing your oil, change the oil filter and check the engine air filter — the air filter may not need to be changed every time you change your oil but it should be checked every time.

3. When you buy gas, pay attention to the octane rating marked on the gas pump — it should fall within the octane range recommended by your car’s manufacturer.

4. Buy your car a ‘tune up’ at the manufacturer’s recommended interval — on modern cars a tune up is mainly replacing the spark plugs, checking the engine timing and checking the spark plug wires.

Drive smart

How, where and when you drive are equally important factors in your attempt to save gas money and keep the air clean:

1. Do you really need to drive? Every trip to the store does not require car keys; walking a couple blocks will not only save your gas money it will help keep you in good health. More than just a couple blocks? Dust off your bicycle (or buy one) for those trips that are not more than two or three miles. Also consider public transportation and car pooling to and from work as gas-saving alternatives to your ignition key. If telecommuting is an option for your job, take it!

2. If you do need to drive, plan your route! Sometimes the shortest route has the most traffic congestion so you are wise to take the longer, less-traveled route to save gas by not being stuck in slow traffic. If possible, arrange your work schedule to allow you to drive to and from work in less congested traffic.

3. Slow and steady wins the race.?When pulling away from a stop light or stop sign, go easy on the gas pedal and gradually increase speed — jackrabbit starts are really bad for fuel efficiency . . . sudden stops don’t help either, if you find yourself jamming on the breaks, you are driving too aggressively — slow down and ‘mellow out’!. When you’re finally on the highway, keep your speed at the posted speed limit and, if you have a cruise control use it.

Some other fuel saving tips

1. Don’t spoil your car’s aerodynamics by placing luggage or other things on top of your car.

2. Keep your car windows closed; in the summer air conditioning won’t effect your gas mileage as much as open windows.

3. Travel as light as you can — more weight in your car equals poorer gas mileage.

4. If you rent a car you’ll be buying your own gas so rent the most fuel-efficient car available.

5. If you are ready to trade your car in for a new one, give serious consideration to a hybrid vehicle or at least a vehicle with the best gas mileage rating you can find.

Rising gas prices will probably be with us for quite a long time so take some of these tips to heart to save money and save our environment.

Tips to Consider Before Buying an Annuity Policy

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Annuities may be a useful tool for those who want a steady stream of income throughout their lives. While most annuities include a death benefit, an annuity is almost the opposite of a life insurance policy – annuities offer financial protection against outliving your income.

Tips to Consider Before Buying an Annuity Policy

Annuities may be a useful tool for those who want a steady stream of income throughout their lives. While most annuities include a death benefit, an annuity is almost the opposite of a life insurance policy – annuities offer financial protection against outliving your income.

Buying an annuity can be a complicated decision. Following are a few key considerations for buyers before deciding whether to purchase annuity policies:

* Review all of your other savings plans, pensions or retirement funds to determine whether you need an annuity and whether the annuity you are considering is the right one for you based on your age, financial status, investment objective and risk tolerance. Is there a possibility that you could outlive your assets? Will you keep the annuity long enough so that the charges do not eat up your investment?

* Determine whether you want your investment to be steady and fixed or variable. While variable products offer an opportunity to capitalize on market highs, they also carry additional risk in a downturn.

* Be careful about exchanging one variable product for another. For instance, exchanging a variable annuity for a fixed or equity-indexed product may result in a “surrender charge” and higher annual fees, along with a new period of time during which you cannot withdraw money from your account without substantial surrender charges. Always check the schedule of surrender charges and other fees. They may be higher on the variable annuity with the bonus credit than they were on the annuity you already own.

* Make certain the company from which you are considering buying an annuity product is reputable. A good place to start is to look for the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association logo. Only companies that have proven through extensive outside review that they adhere to IMSA’s stringent Principles and Code of Ethical Market Conduct can display this logo. Visit www.IMSAethics.org to see if the company is listed and for other information.

* Be sure the company offering the annuity product is financially strong. Many independent services rate the financial strength of insurance companies, such as Standard & Poor’s Insurance Rating Services (www.standardandpoors.com), Moody’s Investor Services Inc. (www.moodys.com), Fitch Ratings Inc. (www.fitchratings.com) and A.M. Best Co. (www.ambest.com).

* Check with your state’s insurance department to be sure the company you’re considering buying from is licensed to do business in your state.

* Remember, an annuity is a legally binding document. Read the annuity contract carefully and be sure your agent has answered your questions thoroughly before you buy. – NU

Planning For Your Retirement Tips

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When you are planning for your retirement, a 401K plan is a good place to start. This a very special account that you fund with pre-tax earnings and is deducted from your paycheck each pay period

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When you are planning for your retirement, a 401K plan is a good place to start. This a very special account that you fund with pre-tax earnings and is deducted from your paycheck each pay period. These funds are then invested in a variety of bonds, mutual funds, and stocks, and no taxes are charged upon it until the funds are withdrawn from the account. Congress created this in the early 1980’s and is used as a vehicle for saving for retirement. There are many benefits of a 401k plan that can make an excellent financial net when it comes time to retire. Some of the advantages include, tax, match programs initiated by employers, the flexibility to customize your investments, portability, and the ability to withdraw for a loan or hardship cases.

Most employers match a portion of the employees 401K contribution as a appealing factor of keeping employees. Some employers will even increase the amount of their match when the employee works for them for so long, it all depends on the company. It is of your best interest to invest the maximum amount you can to the 401K to fully benefit from this program. Additionally, the 401k plan allows you to customize your investments and are flexible in this manner as well.

One very flexible and appealing option of the 401K plan is the fact that if you decide you change employers you have a variety of options available to you. These options include, leaving the 401K plan with the employer you are leaving, the administrators could begin to charge you money for keeping the records and managing your account. You also have the option of rolling over your 401K to your new employers 401k plan. You could also do the rollover and put it into an IRA. This will allow you to control the allocation of your assets meaning you are not limited to only what your employer provides. Your last options is to cash out, pay the taxes, plus a possible penalty fee.

It is important that you investigate all options and properly weigh the pro’s and cons of each, this will help you to make informed, educated, and practical decisions that will benefit you and your future retirement. After working hard all of your life, many people like the comfort of knowing that when they retire they will have some sort of financial backing to help them out.

Online Cash Payday Loans ?Have Access to Money the Same Day

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You can get urgent money within 24 hours through online cash payday loans, without wasting time in making personal visits. The loan approval is for two weeks and bad credit history is not a hurdle. Go through the article for different aspects.

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A loan must be available on time if there is some urgency involved in it. There may arise many hurdles in taking out an instant loan by making personal visits to the lenders. This is where Online Cash Payday Loans come into play. However, these timely loans sometime become a burden on the borrowers, whose income is smaller one.

As is clear from its name, the loan comes on an online application of the lender. From filing, the application to processing and approving of the loan becomes free of hassles, as the borrower get the loan without moving out of his house or office for the purpose. However, make sure that you provide correct details in the application. Otherwise, you will create doubts in the lenders?mind and the approval will come with delay.

Through these this way of availing the payday loan, you get it into your bank account within 24 hours for urgent use. You must have an active bank checking account. To qualify, you must have a job for past six months at least, with a fixed monthly salary.

The loan amount will depend on your monthly salary cheque. Usually, you are eligible to borrow anywhere from 100 to 1500. The approval is for a very short period of two weeks only. You can rollover the loan for a month as well.

A disadvantage is that payday loans carry a very high interest rate, which could go up to 30 percent. You will make huge interest payment on total amount of loan. Some time the borrowers incur debts when they opt for extending the loan, which requires them to make exorbitant interest payments. Ensure that you borrow the money for urgency and that too when there is no other alternative left.

Your bad credit history is usually not a hurdle as the loan approval comes without any credit checks. One can say that you can make improvements in your rating on timely repaying the loan.

In today’s competitive world, you can find online cash payday loans at comparatively lower interest rate. You shall have to compare number of such offers on internet. A lower fee can be an advantage of taking out these loans. Make timely repayments to avoid debts.

Instant Payday Loans: Fast Cash to Tide Over Pay Day

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Instant payday loans are short-term money provisions. These money provisions provide instant cash direct into your account in less than 24 hours. You can apply for such loans online and offline, though online applying is preferred these days.

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The problem is that you borrow money for a reason ?the reason to tide over to payday, to fund a holiday, some home improvement etc. the focus on what the way we want to get the fast cash. For Instant Payday Loans has given a good answer to the spending question and suggested to spend now and repay the amount tomorrow. Altogether, it has become an ethos of the day.

Here is certain eligibility criteria that you need to fulfill in order to qualify for these payday loans. For example, it is must for you to be at least 18 years of age and to be permanent citizen of the UK. Besides that, the most important factor is that, you must have a stable employment and an active checking account. Your present job should be at least three months old. As older your job, the more your chances of securing instant approval gets brighter. A checking account is a bank account, in which your monthly salary is credited every month on the payday.

Before you hit the shops you should start with a planning of your expenses. You know that borrowing will almost always cost you money. Is saving is a possibility instead? You should think also about what you would do if interest rates rise again. Most people will look no further than their own bank or building society, but a variety of providers now offers instant payday loans. It is certainly pays to shop around. Do not assume that your bank will offer you the best deal. Go to a name that you can trust and steer clear of dubious-looking adverting sections.

Using Internet, many lenders have gone online to provide payday loans. Gone are the days when you had to submit supporting documents to apply for a cash loan. All you need to do now is simply login to a lender’s website, complete online application form, and wait for them to do verification. The whole process can take as quick as one hour or so. And a little later, you will get the money deposited directly into your bank account.

The Difference Between Down and Out

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As turnaround investors, I prefer to invest in companies that are down but not out. This is important because a lot of times, investors misunderstood the two. Often times, these two types of companies are trading near or at their 52 week low. But the similarity ends there.

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As turnaround investors, I prefer to invest in companies that are down but not out. This is important because a lot of times, investors misunderstood the two. Often times, these two types of companies are trading near or at their 52 week low. But the similarity ends there.

Company that is Down. This is the company that experiences problem and it seems like it can weather the problem. It just needs time to right the ship and get back on track. How can we be certain that the company can weather the storm? The ultimate guideline is to look at the company’s balance sheet and income statement. Does the company have a positive net cash? Is the company expected to post a profit? If the answer is yes to both questions, then the company in question is most likely is just down, but not out.

Company that is Out. This is the company that experiences problem but its future existence might be in doubt. It might right the ship but by then it might be too late. As a result, shareholders will be wiped out and lose 100% of their investment. How can we be certain for the company that is out? Again, we have to check the ultimate guideline, which is the balance sheet and income statement of the company. Does the company have a negative net cash? Is the company expected to post a loss for the foreseeable future? If the answer is yes to both questions, then the company in question has the high probability of being out of business.

Using analogy without illustrations are confusing, in my opinion. Therefore, I will choose one company for each situation. Please do not treat this as a buy or sell recommendation. This is merely my observation as someone who had watched these companies for a while.

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) might be categorized as the company that is down. Stock price slumped to 8 year low this week due to weak sales of its drug franchises and tepid guidance. Management has refused to update guidance for 2006 and beyond due to uncertainty. So, let’s look at Pfizer’s balance sheet, shall we? The latest information on Pfizer shows that the company has $ 15 Billion of cash and equivalent and $ 5.517 Billion in long term debt. In other words, Pfizer has $9.5 Billion of positive net cash. How about earnings? Is Pfizer expected to post a loss? Nope, it is expected to post earnings of $ 1.95 per share for year 2005 or $ 14 Billion of net profit. Profit is plenty while balance sheet is solid. Pfizer clearly is a company that simply has a small bump in the road.

How about AMR Corp (AMR)? This is an excellent example of a company that is out. Looking at the balance sheet, AMR has a negative net cash of $ 9.5 Billion. What this means is that it has $ 9.5 Billion more long term debt than it has cash. Is AMR profitable? Not a chance. It is expected to post a loss of $ 4.36 per share for 2005 or $ 714 Million. It doesn’t look pretty. High amount of debt and big loss is the recipe for a company that is down. If AMR doesn’t turn its ship anytime soon, it might be forced to file bankruptcy.

To consistently make money, investors need to be able to differentiate the company that is down and company that is out. Weed out the company that is out and your investment return will be so much better.

Got Bills to Pay? You’ve got a Decision to Make!

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Sometimes emergencies or once-in-a-lifetime opportunities get to us and we find ourselves in financial straits afterwards. If that’s you, don’t worry

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Sometimes emergencies or once-in-a-lifetime opportunities get to us and we find ourselves in financial straits afterwards. If that’s you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. But what you may not realize is that it doesn’t have to be the case for you. There is a solution to your predicament. And the solution may surprise you.

A UK personal loan is one option that many people may want to choose because it gives them a variety of potential loan amounts and interest rates. If that’s you, the choice is yours! You can choose the loan amount that is right for your situation. And, the rate of interest on the principle is usually determined by several things. For example, the prevailing interest rates, the risk the lender faces from the recipient, the amount of money you want to borrow, and the repayment period. Also, a UK personal loan comes with several flexible repayment terms, including the repayment frequency and the loan period (which is the amount of time you expect to pay the loan back). That way, you can manage the loan over a period of time and suit it to your income.

Be sure to shop around. If you look around at the many options available, you’ll probably find a UK personal loan that provides you with a good amount to borrow, competitive rates, an attractive repayment period, and a repayment frequency that meets your needs. Consider this example:

If you have a large amount of utility bill debts, a UK personal loan might be a good option in order to help you consolidate those utility bills into one manageable payment. That way, you can keep the lights on and the water running! Get a loan for a little more than your current accumulated bill so that you can put a small credit on each outstanding amount. That way, you’ll gain back your good name from the utility companies, and you’ll have a month or two of reprieve before you have to start paying back both the loan and the new utility bills you incur. It may be a period of time where you tighten your belt, but it will allow you to live comfortably.

A UK personal loan has many options. One of those is to consolidate your utility bills and let you begin the fight to win back your good name while keeping the lights on in your home. Many people are choosing to add a personal loan to their financial portfolio. Is it the right thing for your out-of-control utility bills?

Trading the Wrong Market

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Traders who play favorites in this area are setting themselves up for catastrophe. It’s easy to get comfortable in one market, but it’s easy to get comfortable in one pair of socks, too. The bottom line is the same: you need to diversify. Thankfully, it’s not hard to do ?there’s just one thing you need to look for.

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If you know the pitfalls of trad┬Čing, you can easily avoid them. Small mistakes are inevitable, such as entering the wrong stock symbol or incorrectly setting a buy level. But these are forgivable, and, with luck, even profitable. What you have to avoid, however, are the mistakes due to bad judgment rather than simple errors. These are the “deadly?mistakes which ruin entire trading careers instead of just one or two trades. To avoid these pitfalls, you have to watch yourself closely and stay diligent.

Think of trading mistakes like driving a car on icy roads: if you know that driving on ice is dangerous, you can avoid traveling in a sleet storm. But if you don’t know about the dangers of ice, you might drive as if there were no threat, only realizing your mistake once you’re already off the road.

Too many traders are fixed on only one market. They may trade only the forex USD/EUR, or the E-mini Russell, or the E-mini DOW, or just cer┬Čtain stocks, etc. While they may feel a certain sense of expertise or mastery over this one market, no one, no matter how experienced they are, can predict what will happen all the time. These people are setting themselves up for catastrophe, because there will inevitably come a time when they’ll make a mistake. And, with no diversity in their trades, they will lose everything they’ve worked so hard to gain.

The key to choosing a market isn’t to look for one you seem to understand better than the others. That will always be something of an illusion. But there is one market you can always depend on: the one that is moving. You know you should buy when the market goes up and sell when the market goes down. A moving market will always be profitable, even if you’ve never traded a single share there before.

Pay close attention to trendlines, both in the markets where you’re already trading and the markets you’re considering. If one of your markets is consistently choppy or just moving sideways, get out of it and move on to another. If you think of successful trading as sticking not with a market but with a trend, no matter which market it’s in, then you’re thinking successfully.

The key, of course, is that you have to keep an eye on markets where you aren’t currently trading. Keeping up with your options is just as important as watching what you’re familiar with. This is where research and experience come into play. Getting to know a number of markets (and how to find out about them) takes time. But don’t let that discourage you. Also, don’t feel like you have to understand every option at the very beginning. Pick a few different markets to actually trade in, but also choose a few just to watch. That way, you’ll see how your own trades work, and you can also compare that activity to markets you may not know much about (yet).

The only way to learn about which markets are right and wrong for you is to watch them. Watching a variety of markets will give you the knowledge you’ll need to use when it’s time to change gears and find that elusive moving trend.