Balancing A Budget And Saving Money

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Your finances are your business. But unfortunately it seems like you need an accountant to help you understand and decode the mysteries of balancing a budget or saving money. At some point you might need to get a loan. When that day comes, this article can help you understand which is the right one to get.

An unsecured loan is simply a loan you get based on your good name and your credit rating. Often the interest rates are higher on an unsecured loan than on a secured loa…

Your finances are your business. But unfortunately it seems like you need an accountant to help you understand and decode the mysteries of balancing a budget or saving money. At some point you might need to get a loan. When that day comes, this article can help you understand which is the right one to get.

An unsecured loan is simply a loan you get based on your good name and your credit rating. Often the interest rates are higher on an unsecured loan than on a secured loan because the risk is higher to the lending institution. If, for some reason, you are unable to pay back the loan and the lending institution does not get any money back. However, your good name and your credit rating are potentially ruined.

On the other hand, a secured load is a low you get when you put up some assets. The advantage of a secured loan is that you often get more money at a lower interest rate for longer repayment period that you would with an unsecured loan. This is because you have some assets to backup your loan. The lending institution prefers this kind of loan because if you find yourself unable to make payments, they can see your assets as an alternative form of payment. Because the risk to them is diminished they are able to provide you with more attractive loans at a better rate.

You might think of a mortgage as a secured loan. The bank lends you money to buy a home and they use the home as a way to back up the loan. If you do not make your mortgage payments, the bank can seize your house.

Or you can think of a secured loan as a pawn shop that lends you the money you want but lets you still use the goods you pawned!

So which one is the right one for you? It’s a tough decision to make. In most cases, a secured loan will get you a better rate, so you just might prefer that.

However, perhaps you don’t have any assets available, or you don’t want to risk the seizure of certain assets if you are unable to make payments. In this case, you just might not mind paying a little more for the benefit of having an unsecured loan.

Both unsecured and secured loans are good options to have when you are doing your financial planning. You can use them to consolidate your outstanding bills, leverage your home investments, or get the things you need and want. And, with the choices between unsecured and secured loans, you have the benefit of being in total control of your financial destiny!

Top 5 Reasons To Opt For An Internet Bank Account

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There are many different reasons why people decide to opt for an online bank account, and in the space of around six years the number of consumers using online banking has more than doubled.

internet bank account

Over recent years online banking has become increasingly popular, and many consumers have started to enjoy the benefits of banking online. There are many different reasons why people decide to opt for an online bank account, and in the space of around six years the number of consumers using online banking has more than doubled. Here are some of the top reasons for opting for online banking.

1. Convenience and ease. With online banking you do not have to even leave the house or pick up the phone in order to conduct your banking transactions. Thanks to the Internet you can now perform these transactions from the comfort and privacy of your own home, and at any time of the day or night, so there are no time constraints to worry about.

2. No queuing or rushing necessary. Many people with full time jobs have had to rely on their lunch hour to try and get to the bank and conduct a transaction in the past. Often this resulted in lengthy queues and rushing around, with little time to actually enjoy your break and have a bite to eat. With online banking this becomes a thing of the past.

3. Choice of transactions. With online banking you can perform most transaction that you would be able to perform by visiting the branch or calling the bank. This includes setting up or calling standing orders or direct debits, transferring cash, making bill payments, checking your statement, and even ordering a new check book or card. You can also apply for other services such as a credit card via the Internet.

4. Special offers and incentives. Often you will find that online banks offer special incentives and offers to those that open up a bank account or savings account with them, such as a sum of cash credited into the account once you have been a customers and met the necessary requirements for a specified amount of time.

5. Saving valuable time. In this day and age time is of the essence, and people simply don’t have much time to dedicate to their finances. With online banking you can conduct your transactions or check your statement at the touch of a button, saving you time and hassle when it comes to managing your bank account.

Roth 401k ?New Retirement Savings Plan.

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Brand new employer sponsored retirement plan is a hybrid of a traditional 401k and a Roth IRA.

Income tax rates have been cut, the marriage penalty done away with, and the “death tax” is also on a path to no more. All of this is a result of the Bush administration’s Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act which was passed by a Republican congress in 2001. Another provision of that act went into effect on January 1st, 2006, a hybrid of a traditional 401k and a tra…

Brand new employer sponsored retirement plan is a hybrid of a traditional 401k and a Roth IRA.

Income tax rates have been cut, the marriage penalty done away with, and the “death tax” is also on a path to no more. All of this is a result of the Bush administration’s Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act which was passed by a Republican congress in 2001. Another provision of that act went into effect on January 1st, 2006, a hybrid of a traditional 401k and a traditional Roth IRA called the Roth 401k.

Yet another employer sponsored savings plan, the new Roth 401k works in almost the same way as a traditional 401k plan. Workers invest a portion of their income into a fund along with contributions from their employer (if any). The difference is that the traditional 401k is funded with “pre-tax” dollars and the Roth 401k plan uses “after-tax” dollars. However, with the Roth 401k, withdrawal of your money at retirement will be tax free like a Roth IRA. The traditional 401k plan defers the tax owed during your career until retirement.

Although it may sound like the best of both worlds, it is important to note that no employer is required to offer this new Roth 401k plan. In fact, a recent survey by employee benefits consulting firm Hewitt and Associates found that only 31 % of employers currently offering the traditional 401k plan are considering implementing the new Roth 401k.

Contribution limits for the retirement plans are: in 2005, $14,000 for a 401k and $4,000 for an IRA, whether Roth or traditional. In 2006, this amount will increase to $15,000 for both 401k and IRAs.

Debunking Common Knowledge About IRAs

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According to a recent “Retirement Trends” survey by Fidelity Investments, 96 percent of Americans saving for retirement don’t know the current contribution limit for an individual retirement account, with some guessing as low as $1,000. The reality is that for tax year 2005, IRA contribution limits increase to $4,000 — up from $3,000 in 2004.

Debunking Common Myths About IRAs

According to a recent “Retirement Trends” survey by Fidelity Investments, 96 percent of Americans saving for retirement don’t know the current contribution limit for an individual retirement account, with some guessing as low as $1,000. The reality is that for tax year 2005, IRA contribution limits increase to $4,000 — up from $3,000 in 2004.

When it comes to knowing the facts about retirement, misperceptions can lead to missed opportunities. Today’s workers will face rising health care costs when they retire, as well as declining pension benefits and a higher cost of living. That’s why it’s important to save as much as possible, and as early as possible, in tax-advantaged accounts like IRAs.

Knowing the facts can help dispel common myths that may keep some investors from making the smart move of saving in an IRA.

* Myth No. 1: My 401(k) savings should be enough.

Nearly one-third of Americans in their prime savings years who have not yet opened an IRA account think their 401(k) savings will be sufficient for retirement, according to the Retirement Trends survey. However, Fidelity estimates that retirees will need approximately 80 percent to 100 percent of their pre-retirement income to live comfortably. Using an IRA now to supplement workplace programs can help investors make sure their savings will continue to grow and last throughout retirement.

* Myth No. 2: I have to come up with thousands of dollars all at once to open an IRA.

For the one in four non-IRA owners surveyed who say they can’t afford the initial investment required to open an IRA, opportunities to save even more for retirement may be daunting. But getting started without an initial lump sum is as easy as setting up automatic monthly payments through a Fidelity SimpleStart IRA.

* Myth No. 3: IRAs are for older people with lots of money to save.

The truth is that younger investors could benefit the most by starting to save early because they have time on their side. Nearly two-thirds of young adults have started to save for retirement before age 30, according to the Retirement Trends survey. That’s good news; starting to save as early as possible is one of the best ways to prepare for the future.

Tips For Success In The World’s First Sports Stock Market

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The AllSportsMarket is a financial exchange using a professional trading platform to buy and sell issues of sports teams. It is just like the stock market, but with sports teams! You compete with other players for real money. Money is earned from the ups and downs of the prices of teams and from dividends paid when teams win. The AllSportsMarket is 24 hours, 365 days a year – you can trade at anytime and as often as you would like.

You can fund an account for as little as …

sports stock market, sports gaming, fantasy sports, sports, allsportsmarket

The AllSportsMarket is a financial exchange using a professional trading platform to buy and sell issues of sports teams. It is just like the stock market, but with sports teams! You compete with other players for real money. Money is earned from the ups and downs of the prices of teams and from dividends paid when teams win. The AllSportsMarket is 24 hours, 365 days a year – you can trade at anytime and as often as you would like.

You can fund an account for as little as $25 or try the “no catch guest entry?to check out the user interface. Unlike the stock market, where you need a hefty upfront amount to get started, and gambling where you can lose all your money at once, you can start off with a minuscule amount of money and not lose it all in one shot.

Buy Low and Sell High

Just like the stock market, you make money off of the ups and downs of the underlying security. In the case of the AllSportsMarket, the security is the issue of the team. Buying shares with the intention of selling them later at a higher price to make a profit is called long. In ASM, you make the difference minus the total commissions you pay.

This is the simplest way to make your gains, but it does take some timing and patience. The big question is what do you consider high low? A good thing to look at is the prices of the rest of the teams in the league. You should expect that the better teams will have higher prices, but there will be the occasional discrepancies for one reason or another. With that said, you have a range of prices and you should look to buy good teams that are in the low price range. Do as much research as possible to find out what teams are being undervalued.

Dividends

Another way to make money (and one of the keys to success in ASM) is dividend payouts. Every game your team wins, the dividend pot grows. You are paid dividends based on league specific pay outs and payout schedules.

The dividend strategy is an approach to make gains from dividend payouts. This is where you buy shares of a team specifically to capture the dividend payout. There are different dividend payout schedules depending on the league you own shares in. The teams that have higher dividend reserves pay higher dividends. Dividend reserves change from game-to-game depending on the leagues specific rules of dividend transfers for the winner and loser of the game. In the trading platform they list the highest dividend reserves (see the figure on the right).

Dividends are great in the sense that they reward for choosing winning teams. For example, over the course of a long season, the Detroit Pistons will likely win more than they lose, and will therefore pay out a good amount of dividends.

You need to be careful when buying shares solely for dividends – the share price may go down leaving you with a net loss even after you capture the dividend.

Selling Short

You can also make money selling short. This involves borrowing a share and selling it expecting the share to decline in price so you can buy it back at a lower price. Selling short can be more risky due the fact that you can lose more than what you put in since the price has an unlimited upside potential. When you long, the stock can only go as low as $0.00 and you only lose as much as you put in. When you short you could lose what you put in and more.

For more tips and strategies, visit http://allsportsmarket.sportslizard.com/ and download our free eBook.

Reform Aimed At Personal Finance And UK Savings

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The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) has issued a report which supports the Pension Commission’s recent demand for reform in the structure of the basic state pension. In fact the report goes further than simply backing the report, it calls for reforms to be implemented more rapidly than the Commission has recommended.

Essentially, the reforms that are proposed are for simplifications to be made to the current variations in available state pensions for those who are eligible…

Uk savings, pensions policy institute, personal finance providers, uk pensions

The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) has issued a report which supports the Pension Commission’s recent demand for reform in the structure of the basic state pension. In fact the report goes further than simply backing the report, it calls for reforms to be implemented more rapidly than the Commission has recommended.

Essentially, the reforms that are proposed are for simplifications to be made to the current variations in available state pensions for those who are eligible. Means testing, currently used in determining eligibility and the extent of the pension available, would be dropped in favour of an across the board pension rate. Additionally, tax breaks for those who try to save for a personal pension would be put in place to encourage saving.

These reforms would serve to make pension availability, and budgeting for retirement, much clearer to understand and buy into, thereby preventing nasty surprises for the individual late in life, or the government as a generation becomes dependant on a state pension. A recent survey by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) concluded that very little provision is being made for the future by those aged 18-40 and that a very large number of UK citizens could well become dependant on state pensions.

Personal finance has become a boom sector amongst that same generation, with online access to personal finance databases such as Moneynet (http://www.moneynet.co.uk ) and Motley Fool (http://www.fool.co.uk ) providing a wealth of options for UK consumers. However despite the fact that many of those options include savings and pension schemes, it appears that they are rarely taken up, with consumers opting for credit card deals, mortgages, insurance, and personal loans instead.

Pension experts have showed their backing for the proposed Pension Commission reforms with their overwhelming response in the PPI report, and it is to be hoped that the simplifying of the state pension will bring the importance of the issue to the attention of the age range identified by the FSA.

Disclaimer

All information contained in this article is for general information purpose only and should not be construed as advice under the financial Services act 1986. You are strongly advised to take appropriate professional and legal advice before entering into any binding contracts.

Don’t Trap Into A Credit Card Debt, It Too Costly!

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While swiping the credit card is a very effective way to pay without using any type of paper money, it has led many people into a debt trap. Read this article to find out how much your credit cards actually cost you.

credit card debt, credit card, debt, debt consolidation, pay off credit card, debt free, debt relief

While swiping the credit card is a very effective way to pay without using any type of paper money, it has led many people into a debt trap.

Majority of people simply look at whether or not they can afford their monthly repayment when using at their credit cards. Many of them don't even try to figure out how long it will take to pay them off and how much they are costing them over the long run.

For instance, $2,000 doesn't seem like a huge balance on a credit card. In that case at an 18% interest rate, your payment is only around $40 a month. Sounds pretty affordable at the moment, doesn't it?

Well, if you take a closer look at the number, approximately $30 of your payment goes towards interest. As a matter of fact only $10 is paid towards the $2,000 balance each month.

In case if you are only paying the minimum balance each month, it will take you over 30 years to pay off that $2000. Thirty years, that is too long. In addition you will have paid back $5,000 in interest in that time. Therefore your $2,000 credit card bill will really cost you $7,000 including interest in the long run.

The above payment does not include the extra payment incur in the case when you miss or delay your monthly repayment. In fact, many credit card companies are hoping you will miss your repayment so that they can charge you with extra interest and late payment fee and this would normally extend your payback period for the rest of your life.

There are many credit card debt calculators available on internet and you can use these calculators to calculate how long it will take you to pay off your current credit cards by using the minimum payment method. You will normally be shocked. And it is worth for you to put effort in finding ways to reduce and pay off your credit card debt.

If your credit card debts are reached to an unbearable stage; then, you may need to get service from a debt consolidation company to consolidate all your credit card debts. They are widely expert in dealing with creditors and help you to negotiate with your creditors for a better repayment plan. Follow the plan to pay off your credit card debts.

Credit cards have successfully minimized the use of paper money and become one of the most convenient ways to make payments for a shopping spree or while traveling. Though, if not used with restraint they may soon lead to a huge mountain of debt which leads you to a tizzy of financial woes. In simple terms credit cards are a really costly form of credit. If you must have one, paying off the balance in full each month so that you will not trap into a credit card debt.

Cutting Heating Costs

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Proper furnace care and smart purchases can help you reduce the high costs of heating your home.

Cutting Heating Costs

Proper furnace care and smart purchases can help you reduce the high costs of heating your home. That’s good news considering that energy bills-which are already historically high-are expected to continue to climb. In fact, a recent article in USA Today reported that homeowners on average will see a 25.7 percent increase in heating costs compared to a year ago.

To reduce heating costs, experts say that the energy efficiency of your furnace is extremely important. According to Jim Miller of Amana brand furnaces, “Homeowners don’t have much control over the price of natural gas, but they can take steps to minimize the impact of home heating costs.” He offers these tips:

1. Have Your Furnace Checked. “If you haven’t already done so this year, have a licensed HVAC contractor inspect your furnace now,” Miller emphasized. “He can perform a safety inspection and clean your furnace so that it runs as efficiently as possible.”

2. When Buying a New Furnace, Choose High-Efficiency. A furnace’s efficiency is indicated by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency percentage, or “AFUE,” a measurement developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. The higher a furnace’s AFUE, the more efficient it is. “Furnaces older than 15 years operate at efficiencies of approximately 60% AFUE. This means that for every dollar spent on heating costs, only 60 cents actually helps warm your home, while the remaining 40 cents is wasted.

“If you were to replace that 60% AFUE furnace with a high-efficiency unit, such as the Amana brand AMV9 96% AFUE Variable-Speed Furnace, you would get 96 cents worth of warmth for every dollar you spend toward heating your home,” said Miller.

He added that furnaces with a variable-speed blower are even more efficient because the blowers typically require up to 75 percent less electricity than a standard motor. In addition, a furnace’s blower also works with the home’s cooling system, meaning consumers experience increased efficiency year-round.

3. Investigate Tax Credits for High-Efficiency Furnace Purchases. Thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT), homeowners who purchase furnaces with an AFUE of 95% or higher in 2006 and 2007 may qualify for a tax credit of $150. And if that furnace uses a variable-speed blower, they may qualify for an additional $50 tax credit.