Why is it so hard to get ahead?

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Today’s generation fears not that they won’t have something, but that they won’t have everything. Twenty-five percent to 50 percent of purchases are unplanned. What’s the big deal? The average American will retire with only $57,000 to live on.

My grandfather bought his house for $6,500. He had no retirement after 20+ years of working for the same employer. They gave him $100 each month in lieu of a retirement check. He saved more than $200,000 over the course of his life. My grandfather clearly had respect for money. Our culture today has lost sight of this respect.

Today’s generation fears not that they won’t have something, but that they won’t have everything. Twenty-five percent to 50 percent of purchases are unplanned. What’s the big deal? The average American will retire with only $57,000 to live on.

Debt
Personal debt has increased by 123 percent. Do you know how long it takes to pay off your credit card if you pay only the minimal amount? 20 to 30 years!

Taxes
Most Americans severely overpay their taxes.

Care for a challenge?
Here’s my personal challenge : Track your expenses for one month. Set your expenses up in categories. Write down every penny you spend. If you don’t want to track your business expenses, do at least your personal expenses (date, what you spent, what you spent it on). This will help you get a really good grasp on how much you’re spending.

I spoke with someone recently who has been selling stock to finance his lifestyle. That’s upside down. If you’re selling stuff to support your lifestyle, you’re upside down financially. Live on less than you make, save and invest with the difference. If you’re doing anything else, you’re upside down financially.

Finding A Personal Budget That Can Work For You

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A good way to prevent yourself from digging yourself further and further into debt is to form a personal budget that can work for you

loans, uk finance

A good way to prevent yourself from digging yourself further and further into debt is to form a personal budget that can work for you. Many people spend their hard earned money frivolously without having much regards to how much money they will have left before their next paycheck comes. They will often find themselves having no money left and ending up having to borrow from a lender just to pay essential bills or provide for their family. The problem with this type of spending is that you tend to incur debts that will begin to cause added problems with your finances that you become unable to pay off your debts when needed.

This is not the correct way of handling your finances. By creating a personal budget you will begin to plan all of your financial aspects and prioritizing items. Eventually you will achieve a successful financial situation you will enjoy. The first thing you need to do is take a careful assessment of your needs on three different basis:

?Short Term
?Medium Term
?Long Term

Ask yourself a few questions, what are you objectives? What is it you would like to achieve over time? What are your targets for your budget? Make a list of all of these things, then you should begin to layout your financial means.

Itemize your income and your expenses monthly, then itemize the expensive starting with the most important ones, important expenses, and then least important. Find and implement a prioritizing formula that will work well for you and your situation. Assess your consumption costs monthly write your figures down. After you have done this, jot down your sources of income and what each one brings in on a monthly basis. Place your expenses on the right and your income on the left hand side. Add each column up then subtract to find the difference. You will want to figure out rather you have a deficit or surplus.

Figure out what you can actually afford and amend the budget, once you have established a working budget that will help you, print it out and stick to it. Sticking to the budget is perhaps the most important aspect of creating a personal budget. If you fail to adhere to the budget, you will not have helped your financial situation by any means, it is likely you will only further your debt.

Don’t make these seven mistakes when dealing with debt collectors.

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Here are seven mistakes people make when dealing with a debt collector. DOn’t you make them.

debt collectors, debt, debt colelctions,fair debt collections practices act

The number of complaints about debt collectors is on the rise. From 13,950 reported to the Federal Trade Commission in 2000, the number has ballooned to over 66,000 in 2005. And these are just the ones reported–the greater number of complaints go unreported. But this isn’t the worst; a significant number of complaints are coming from consumers who do not even owe the debt.

So what’s going on here? It is apparent that debt collection agencies are becoming increasingly competitive and that they are getting more aggressive in an effort to improve their bottom line. And to do this, they have to put more pressure on the one who owes the debt-the consumer, you.

What can you do if you are caught in the crosshairs of a debt collector? Enforce your rights. As a consumer, you have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA.) These rights mean that you cannot be lied to, abused, or harassed when a debt collector is trying to collect from you. And these rights have teeth. When a debt collector violates the provisions of the FDCPA. when he or she violates the rights you have under the FDCPA, you can sue for damages and for attorney’s fees.

But when dealing with debt collectors under the FDCPA, don’t make the following four mistakes:

1. Not knowing your rights. You need to remember that you have rights even when you haven’t paid what you owe for whatever reason. We don’t have debtor’s prisons anymore and debt collectors can’t buy a license anywhere to have any kind of open season on anyone who is delinquent in paying debts. This is true because of those rights. So make sure you understand just what those rights are. You can’t claim them if you don’t know them.

2. Not keeping records. To be able to enforce your rights, you’ll need to keep some records. This will mean a phone log (the number of calls and when can both be violations of the FDCPA); notes from the calls (what they say to you may not be abusive, harassing or a misrepresentation); and all the letters they send to you (they must have the proper notices and may not confuse you about what you need to do) as well as the letters you send to them. All of these must be kept for you to better make your case.

3. Not responding on time. You have certain rights that must be exercised within a certain period of time or they are lost. (The right to verification information is one.) So be vigilant about any time limits. Respond when you need to and file suit on time–if it comes to that.

4. Avoiding the calls. Don’t avoid the phone calls either. It is only by dealing with the debt collector that any of your rights under the law may be exercised. And exercising those rights–for example, the all-important right of verification– might just make the problem go away. (If the collector cannot verify the debt, he or she cannot continue to collect it.) So it is better to take the call and talk.

In dealing with debt collectors, it also pays to be smart. So, for example, don’t also make the following three mistakes:

5. Not negotiating. Debt collection agencies most often buy the debt. And they buy it for less than you owe on it. Their profitability comes from getting you to pay more– and possibly a lot more– than they paid for it. So make sure you try to negotiate a lower figure. They just might accept it.

6. Ignoring the debt. Ignoring the debt is only going to cause more problems. If the debt collector understands that his or her efforts are not going to get you to pay, that may start the clock on any lawsuit they can bring on the debt. And that only gives the debt collector the advantage. Keep the advantage with you.

7. Paying by personal check. Paying by personal check gives the debt collector your account number and the name of your bank. That can create some problems with unscrupulous debt collectors who might be tempted to do something shady like setting up an electronic payment. (It’s been done.) And that isn’t good. But it also gives them information they can use if they want to enforce the debt through legal means. Why make it any easier?

If you are faced with any attempt to collect a debt, make sure you get all the information you can. If you do, you’ll be more able to enforce your rights–and they will be less able to intimidate you. Both of these come out on your side of the ledger sheet.

How to transfer a retirement account

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As you probably know, an individual retirement account requires that you decide where your money is going to be invested in order to work with the retirement account.

transfer, retirement

Make sure you know where you intend on moving your money in advance!

As you probably know, an individual retirement account requires that you decide where your money is going to be invested in order to work with the retirement account. Essentially this is called a “custodian” for your investments. You should generally chose a safe custodian – some of the most common ones are mutual funds, savings accounts, and bonds. While you should definitely be careful as to which custodian you choose for your retirement account, don’t worry! You are not stuck with the same investment until you retire.

However, unlike a normal investment, you should keep in mind that you are only allowed to transfer or “roll over” your retirement account once a year. Also, there are some very specific rules that you need to follow. It is generally a good idea to find out how to transfer a retirement account before you even begin to invest in one. That way if you ever need to do a roll over in the future, you’ll be ready.

First of all, you should probably have a good idea of where you want to invest the money before you start the rollover process. The reason for this is that after you take the money out of your original IRA custodian, you’ll only have 60 days to put it into the new custodian fund. If you take too long, then you will be subject to a large penalty tax – and penalties are definitely not worth the few extra days that you take!

Something to keep in mind is that if you do a roll over, you will need to report that at the end of the year. Just like anything else that is involved with your finances, you should make sure that you keep track of which custodians go with your individual retirement accounts and how much money is in each account.

If you are going to do a smaller transfer from one existing IRA to another, then it is possible that you won’t even have to report your transfer. These transfers are also tax-free. This is a good idea if you do not want to change all of your money from one custodian to another, but you think that it would be a good idea to change how much money you have in each IRA.

Trading – A Probability Game

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Taking a loss on a trade is always hard, especially when the trade appeared to be a sure thing. It is easy to feel like a failure when experiencing 3 or 4 losses in a row. Treating trading as a probability game can help accept these losses.

stock market,trading,day trading,swing trading

As a trader, you have to forget about finding a sure thing. You must accept the fact that the stock market can do anything at anytime. If you are not convinced, consider that there are millions of traders trading for institutions, funds, investors, swing traders, scalpers, etc?all acting together in different time frames and using different types of analysis.

Fact: Trading is not about guessing the future because it cannot be done.

If you accept this fact, then it is much easier to take losses without destroying your self-esteem. You take a trade, you accept that you don’t know what will happen next. You have no expectations that this trade will turn into a winner. Your only expectation is that something will happen.

So how do you make money not knowing what will happen next? You treat trading as a probability game. Here is an example of a probability game:

Let’s say I roll a dice:

– I pay $1 each time I play
– If I roll a 3, a 4, a 5, or a 6 then I win $2. If I roll a 1 or a 2 then I don’t win anything.

Clearly, every time I roll the dice I have no idea what the outcome will be. But I know that for every roll the odds are in my favor. In the long run, I will win 4 times out of 6, which means that I will pay $6 to win $8. I will be a consistent winner if I play long enough.

In mathematical terms, your expected win each time you play is

(4/6) X $2 = $1.33 meaning $0.33 profit (you pay $1 to play)

Another version of this game could be that you win $3 if you roll a 4, a 5, or a 6, and nothing if you roll a 1, a 2, or a 3. In this case the expectation each time you play would be

(3/6) X $3 = $1.50 meaning $0.50 profit in the long run

So how do we translate this into trading?

Each time you roll the dice, you don’t know the outcome, the same as for each individual trade. But each time you roll the dice, you know the odds are in your favor to make money, and you will make money if you play long enough.

So for each trade you enter, you must know that the odds are in your favor to make money. As you can see in the second example, it does not mean that you have to win more often that you lose. It also depends on how much you win when you win and how much you lose when you lose.

How do you put the odds in your favor?

You have to develop a trading edge using technical analysis, fundamental analysis, market internals, etc.. You have to have a number of variables that must be present before you enter a trade and always use the same set of variables. Your edge is your strategy to enter and exit trades and should be well defined in your trading plan.

All that can be summarized as follows:

– For each trade you take, you don’t know the outcome, you accept that anything can happen, and therefore you have no expectation for that trade.

– You believe in your trading strategy, that is you believe that for each trade you take the odds are in your favor.

– You believe that the outcome over a series of trades is relatively certain and predictable.

To go back to the dice example: will you get mad or feel stupid when you don’t roll a winning number? No because with a dice you accept the fact that you cannot know the outcome. You have no expectation. Apply the same idea to your trades and save your self-esteem.

This idea of treating trading as a probability game made a big difference in the way I feel about losses. I learned about it in “Trading in the Zone” by Mark Douglas. I strongly recommend this book.

If you have a good trading plan, with a strategy to enter and exit trades, then a successful trade is one for which you followed your plan, not necessarily a winning trade.

And remember, you will never know if your strategy works if you don’t follow it.

One-Stop Shopping-Now Available At Your Local Bank Branch

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In today’s fast-paced culture, convenience is king. Consumers are becoming less satisified with establishments that offer only one product or service, and “one-stop shopping” venues are gaining popularity for the time and effort they can save.

One-Stop Shopping-Now Available At Your Local Bank Branch

In today’s fast-paced culture, convenience is king. Consumers are becoming less satisfied with establishments that offer only one product or service, and “one-stop shopping” venues are gaining popularity for the time and effort they can save.

The convenience trend has changed the face of many types of businesses, and financial services is no exception. In the past, customers visited local bank branches to cash checks and make deposits and were content with these limited services. Today, customers expect more from their banking relationship-they look to their local bank to help them effectively manage all of their financial activities.

Banks of all sizes-from national institutions to community banks-now offer a wide array of financial services and products, including annuities, life insurance and financial planning. Customers can obtain these services in the same convenient location where they have conducted every-day bank transactions for years.

While most banks offer some type of financial planning and investment services, the scope of these programs varies greatly from one institution to the next. Customers should carefully examine their bank’s offerings and determine whether they are receiving the level of assistance they require and deserve. Many institutions claim to be committed to empowering clients, but fail to actively reach out to customers and provide the support they need.

In the U.S. retirement market, investors face a number of significant financial challenges-rising health care costs, dwindling Social Security and increased longevity mean that many people are in danger of running out of money in retirement. Furthermore, most Americans are not taking the necessary actions to ensure a secure financial future. Financial institutions should proactively engage their clients to make them aware of these risks and provide effective solutions.

More than ever, financial advisors are choosing to set up practices in bank branches and banks are recruiting experienced professionals. The expert advice and comprehensive services that today’s customers demand are available in a growing number of banks. If your current financial institution doesn’t provide what you’re looking for, maybe it’s time to find a new banking relationship that can meet all of your financial needs.

Since 1985, Investment Centers of America, Inc. (ICA) (member NASD, SIPC and a Registered Investment Advisor) has been a leader in offering investment and insurance products through non-affiliated banks. Securities and insurance products offered through ICA and affiliated insurance agencies may lose value, carry no bank guarantee and are not FDIC insured.

Mortgage loans ?Obtaining Mortgage Loans Depends on FICO scores

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Mortgage loans – Obtaining your loan depends on your FICO scores. Four tips to improving your score. Get pre-approved for a loan.

real estate, mortgage,mortgage loan, credit

FICO Scores were developed by Fairlsaac Corporation. Fairlsaac is a leader in the credit-management arena. Their development has become an industry standard for determining an individual’s credit worthiness. The score is determined by payment history, credit history, which includes how many credit inquires have been made on you over a period of time, how much credit you have actually used and what kind of credit you are using.

The score grades your history. It provides a snapshot of how you make your payments. If you make your payments timely, you will have a low credit risk score. The FICO score shows on credit reports. If you score is lower than 500, you pay a premium to obtain a mortgage. If your score is above 700, you can obtain better interest rates.

Ways to increase your score are:

1. Pay your bills on time. Late payments reflect negatively on your score.

2. Pay your medical bills. If you account is turned over to a collection agency, this will have a negative impact on your score.

3. Pay your school loans. In addition to reflecting negatively on your score, the government will find you and force you to pay this obligation.

4. Since the number of inquires impacts your score, less is better. The assumption is that more inquires indicate you have been turned down for credit.

You can obtain your credit report yearly from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Federal law makes this possible. The report will lay out your credit history for you to review. Correct all errors. When you find an error, notify the creditor and all three reporting agencies. The credit must send a letter for the mistake to be rectified. You need to stay on top of this process. Finding adverse credit issues when you actually need to obtain credit will hinder your ability to obtain financing.

Mortgage lenders look for at least three open credit accounts older than a year. Maintaining long term accounts will help you immensely. Pay your bills on time. Pay high credit card debt and pay off interest loans first. Don’t use your credit card to its limit.

You can seek a pre-qualified loan for a mortgage before you seek housing. This process is usually verbal and often free of charge. Once you have a pre-approved mortgage, you can complete and application easily. This is a legal loan agreement which should expedite the closing on your home. Of the two ?pre-approval and pre-qualified, the best is pre-approved. This approval gives you an idea of your buying power and determines what you can actually afford.

Your Real Estate agent can guide you in the right direction to start your process of applying for loans.

The Cost Of Talking

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With so many companies offering “the lowest call rates, and the best service” who do you believe and are there any additional costs hidden in the small print? Do they all give per second billing by email, full cost analysis, discounted BT line rental and personal account managers? On mobiles do they offer free connection, and line rentals from ??

mobile phones, video calls, friend, lower call rates, bt, watch, communication, telephone, services

With so many companies offering “the lowest call rates, and the best service” who do you believe and are there any additional costs hidden in the small print? Do they all give per second billing by email, full cost analysis, discounted BT line rental and personal account managers? On mobiles do they offer free connection, and line rentals from ??

There has never been a better time to review the cost of your telephone charges and the service you are getting. Does it really match your company’s needs? The telephone has been with us for so long we just take it for granted, along with all the services available. Mobile phones too are an essential tool in our need to communicate.

We never give a thought to the length or cost of a call, it’s just another bill that arrives at the end of the month.

Yet how many of us look at the cost of this communication? So it is important to know you are on the best tariff and your provider keeps it that way as well as giving you first class service.

Can you think of a friend or colleague who doesn’t have a mobile phone?. There are now more mobile devices in the UK than there are users. You can now make video calls on your mobile watch TV & play games. Mobile phones are fashion statements too. You can flip, slide, swivel,& twist. plus with so many options how do you know which company, tariff, or phone is the right one to go for? And where is the business benefit from so much choice?

Can your current provider offer you VoIP? (Voice over internet protocol) a type of software and hardware allowing you to use the internet to transmit your calls and save a fortune in line rentals by reducing the amount of lines you need. Can they provide a full VoIP telephone system or a simple converter for your ordinary analogue telephone?

When was the last time you checked if you are really getting value for money with rates generally falling ?

Perhaps the question to ask is what does my business actually need from all it’s phones, both fixed and mobile?

If you need low rates, consolidated services and reliability, then these are probably the same reasons you need to speak to your telecoms provider.