In Debt Over Your Head? These 5 Simple Steps Will Help

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Debt has reached epic proportions in our society. Whether you’re rich, poor or in between, you probably have enough debt to make you feel like giving up on your dreams of financial independence and living the comfortable life. There is a way out of this situation. The five simple steps to make this happen are listed below.

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The next 5 steps are not difficult. They only take commitment. You can do it. The feeling of freedom and success when the bills are not hanging over your head will make this all worthwhile.

Ready to get stated? Let’s go.

Step #1. Work out where you are now

You may not have looked at your financial position for a while. Maybe that’s why you are suffering under a load of debt presently. But you need to take stock of your financial position now. Unless you know where you are now, it’s hard to work out how to fix things.

Just get a pen and paper and all your credit card bills and look at the situation honestly. List out all your debts and their interest rates and the minimum monthly repayments.

Don’t get worried about how much you owe. It’s been said that anyone can get rid of all their debt within 5-7 years, including their mortgage. That means you too.

Step #2 Stop spending more than you earn NOW

This is the first thing that must be done to start the ball rolling for your financial success. This is most probably the reason you need to take action now. Look at your living expenses and cut out those things you can’t afford.

Also cut up all the credit cards except one for emergencies and commit yourself to only spending what you can afford from your own income.

Step #3. Find some cash to pay down those debts

Once you have come to grips with Step #2, the next step is to work out ways to put some money aside every week or month to start paying down those debts, preferably faster than the minimum monthly requirement. Pay as much as you can. It’s better to pay down these debts than to put the money in the bank. This is because the credit card interest is a lot more than you can receive from the bank for funds on deposit. The aim is pay down the highest interest debt first.

If you have 2 credit cards with the same interest rate, pay off the one with the smallest balance first. That will give you a boost and the resolve to keep on going.

Step #4. Build a Savings Fund

Once you have those credit cards under control it’s time to think about putting some funds aside to start building some savings. You’ll be surprised how fast your money grows if you religiously keep adding to the balance and don’t touch it. If you really need to purchase an expensive item like furniture or car it is better to save for it than to borrow, if at all possible.

Step #5. Pay Down That Mortgage.

Since the interest rate on your mortgage is usually a lot less than credit card and store debt you can leave this item till last. Also it is increasing in value over time – unlike your car, TV, Video, furniture and boat. You will be surprised how many years you can cut off your mortgage repayments by just adding a few extra dollars each month to the payment.

These a just a few basic rules to help you get back on your feet financially. The main principle here is to work on reducing your credit card debt. Once that is done use those freed up funds to build your nest egg and pay off the mortgage. That’s the plan that works.

Now get those documents out, do the sums and start on your road to financial freedom.

The dangers of comparison websites when searching for the cheapest gas and electricity.

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Finding the cheapest gas and electricity is fast becoming a necessity given the latest round of domestic fuel price increases. But there are dangers if we think the online utility comparison websites hold all the answers!

cheapest gas and electricity supplier, domestic fuel bills, utility bill

The price of domestic gas and electricity has been a regular topic in the UK press over the last couple of weeks and for good reason. The current round of price increases that have just come into effect from many of the big utility companies have hit many people hard, not least the elderly and the lower wage earners. It is estimated that those who remained with their original supplier are now paying 20 ?30 percent more for their domestic fuel than those who have switched. With the current 14.2% extra added to the bill, and with the figures banded around that British Gas has lost nearly half a million customers this year alone, it is no surprise that the British public are saying enough is enough. Privatisation and deregulation was supposed to put an end to the exorbitant prices these monopolies once could charge, but from where I stand, loyalty only seems to be rewarded by fleecing. New customers of these giant utility companies are treated preferentially to get them on board but only for a very short period before they too are moved to the ‘standard rate?higher charges.

So the answer for the savvy consumer is to shop around ?but therein lies another problem. Phoning around for quotes or visiting showrooms (those that are left) is time consuming. Very time consuming… and also challenging in so far as making the comparisons between all the different tariffs and options available. Hence, many are using the internet to do their searching. Typing “gas and electricity comparison?into a search field such as you’ll find on the Yahoo! homepage brings up plenty of sites claiming to make an ‘independent?comparison. Probably the best known of these is Uswitch.com. I’ve read several articles recently in leading national papers extolling the virtues of these ‘independent and unbiased websites?and how they “give you a completely impartial and objective assessment that leads to recommending the absolute best deal for you?

But please, before you go off and start entering all your personal details into one of these online services, I implore you to stop and think just for one minute. How do you suppose these huge sites ?that take a lot of man-hours to continually update and maintain ?make their money? As a general rule, they don’t have lots of advertising banners plastered all over each page so they must get their revenue from elsewhere. And, yes, just like most other advisers or consultants, they get it from commissions. These are paid by the big corporate utilities to these ‘independent?websites for each consumer that switches to them through the website.

Doing a little research by typing in exactly the same details, I found that different comparison websites produce different results even when they list the same companies! Clearly some of these websites are getting bigger commissions by recommending me certain deals over others. As well as having a tendency to recommend the deal that best suits them, they also only list ones that they can get a commission for, which mean not all of them list every option available for the individual consumer. Hardly independent and impartial! For instance, none of them list the Utility Warehouse and only a relatively few list Equipower/Equigas as neither of these providers will pay commissions to comparison website owners.

Yet for the vast majority of the British population, the Utility Warehouse are by far the best option provided you are happy with paying by Direct Debit. They guarantee to be the cheapest gas and electricity supplier in the UK for normal usage customers. Those on very low usage who can pay quarterly by cheque may find Equipower a better option. My advice is dig a bit deeper and you’ll discover more deals than these comparison websites have to offer. But that comes back to time and effort?two valuable ‘commodities?most of the general public aren’t willing to use just to get lower bills.

So let me help you by leaving you with my research conclusions:
If you are like the vast majority of households in the UK on standard average or high usage, check out the Utility Warehouse guaranteed cheapest gas and electricity tariff! You’ll need to apply through one of their representatives ?a good one can be found at www.cheapest-gas-supplier.co.uk or www.cheapest-electricity-supplier.co.uk .
If you are on a very low usage, then you may want to check out the Equipower/Equigas scheme by going to their website at www.ebico.co.uk .

Getting the cheapest gas and electricity shouldn’t be such a trial?but then again maybe that is what the big utility companies are relying on! Too bad you and I now know differently?

Your Retirement… Will it be Fact or Fiction?

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It becomes more apparent each day that inflation has crept back into our lives even though government statistics may not support
this viewpoint. Rather, it’s the real world cost of food, drugs, fuel, utilities and education that indicate the inflationary trend.

If you’re like most Americans, your retirement account hasn’t grown much over the last 5 years. In fact, it’s been pretty flat

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Keep Your Banking Information Safe
by Tomas Cullin

It would seem that the computer is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives each and every day. There’s good reason for that perception… it’s true. One specific area that is becoming incredibly popular is online banking. Customers love it because it is very convenient and a great time saver. The banks love it because it automates a great many functions for them and cuts down on their overhead.

The number one concern of anyone that deals with online banking should be security. Putting your personal information over the Internet can be risky, there is no denying that. Fraud and identity theft have become huge problems in the modern age. There are any number of hackers and thieves out there in cyberspace just waiting to prey on innocent people. They lurk in the deep spaces of the Internet just waiting for some of your private information that they can steal.

Fortunately for us, the financial institutions of the world are very aware of this problem and are working aggressively to combat it. There was a time when a bank’s chief security concern was whether they would be robbed or not. I think we’ve all seen the old movies about Bonnie & Clyde, John Dillinger and the like…to say nothing of the daring train robberies of the wild west. Now banks face a new and much deadlier challenge than ever before, and instead of wearing a mask and using a gun, the bad guys are now invisible and use keyboards. They can access information from the safety of their homes and apartments. And even at the local coffee shop through wireless connections.

Identity theft has now become so prevalent that thieves are rifling through garbage to attain any information that they can use to steal from their unsuspecting victims. With this said, there are some simple, common sense approaches that will go along way to securing personal bank information.

1. Do not share your passwords with anyone and make sure if you write it done put it in a safe place where only you know where it is.

2. Keep important documents locked in a safe or safety deposit box.

3. Shred documents that you no longer need and use a cross cut shredder.

4. If you bank online, make sure your bank is using a secure, encrypted site (It’s OK to ask what security features they employ). Make sure they use https in the address and you should see the lock symbol in the lower right hand corner of your browser.

5. When using an ATM make sure no one can see the codes you enter.

These are a just a few of the things that can be done to keep banking information secure and to avoid possible crimes against you. While many of these suggestions seem to be glaringly obvious, all to many times they are taken for granted or just plain ignored. It is at these times when the criminals are at their best. Individuals that grow careless and complacent are exactly what criminals look for. Don’t be counted as one of the careless!

You may copy this article and place it on your own website, as long as you do not change it and include this resource box including the live link to the Credit Repair Advice site.

Personal Finance. Credit Agencies Refused Access To Information About Student Loans

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These days, when you apply for a mortgage, loan or other form of credit, the lending industry will automatically scrutinise your personal credit history. In practice, you hardly need to tell them anything as within a fraction of a second, the lenders computers will lock into your credit file held by any one of the big three credit agencies; Experian, Callcredit or Equifax And you’ll be amazed what they know about your finances!

For many years now banks, building societies…

student,loans,personal,finance

These days, when you apply for a mortgage, loan or other form of credit, the lending industry will automatically scrutinise your personal credit history. In practice, you hardly need to tell them anything as within a fraction of a second, the lenders computers will lock into your credit file held by any one of the big three credit agencies; Experian, Callcredit or Equifax And you’ll be amazed what they know about your finances!

For many years now banks, building societies and other lenders have been providing information about your finances to the credit agencies. They know about every credit applications you’ve made, the occasions you’ve been late or missed paying a loan, mortgage or credit card, the balances on your loans and credit cards and whether you just pay off the minimum each month – even your credit limits! The agencies also accumulated lots of other information about you provided by public records, the voters’ roll and the public register of court actions where all county court judgements are recorded. Their computers then statistically analyse all this information and assess your application. So in this context, the credit industry argues that the more information they have about you, the more accurately lenders can make lending decisions.

Yet within this mass of information, there is one notable omission. Despite representations to the government, information about student loans and their repayment history’s, is not provided to the credit agencies. The data is refused because student loans are a debt to the taxpayer, not a commercial business.

Prior to September 1998, graduates repaid their student loans by mortgage style direct debits collected once the graduate started earning over ?5,000. But more than 59,000 of graduates from before 1998 graduates are understood to be in payment arrears to the tune, on average, of around ?,750 per graduate.

After September 1998, the system of collecting student loans changed. These days, repayments are deducted directly from salaries by employers along with national insurance and income tax. This method is far more efficient and avoids the possibility of bad debts.

The credit industry argues that it needs the information on student loans as they can represent a significant strain on the graduates’ finances ?especially following the introduction of top-up fees which results in the average student loans being much larger. These loans are repaid at the rate of 9% of the graduates’ income in excess of ?5,000 and can represent a significant drain on their monthly income.

Therefore, to fully assess graduates’ financial situation the credit industry argues that it needs student loan information. The Association Consumer Credit Counselling Service agrees. A spokes person said, “Knowing whether a young person has a student loan and whether it is being paid back, is useful.?

Yet despite the pressure to share its information, the Department for Education and Skills remains steadfast in its decision to refuse permission to the Student Loan Company to provide information to the commercial sector.

Even the Citizens Advice Bureau wants this decision changed arguing that lenders need information on student loans to help ensure that graduates avoid taking on so much debt that they can’t maintain their repayments.

But for now at least, the situation remains. The credit industry cannot obtain any history about student loans.

Here’s a secret: expenses can mean more income!

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Find me a person who doesn’t want to make more money. It’s nearly impossible to find! Everyone wants to make money and there’s nothing wrong with that because money makes the world go ’round!

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Find me a person who doesn’t want to make more money. It’s nearly impossible to find! Everyone wants to make money and there’s nothing wrong with that because money makes the world go ’round! But many people don’t know that you can actually make money with a loan! Did you know that? It’s true! One way that you can get more money is with a secured loan.

Wait a minute, you’re saying. How can a loan give me more money? Doesn’t a loan, by its very nature, reduce the amount of money I have?

It’s true that it may seem like that, but a secured loan is an ideal way to make money. Here’s how:

A secured loan is a loan that provides some kind of asset as a guarantee to a lending agency. So when you apply for a loan, you also suggest that if you cannot pay, you have some kind of asset that will cover the default amount. For some people, it’s their car. For others, it may be their jewelry or some stock certificates.

Whatever it is, lending institutes like secured loans because it reduces the risk they have when lending money. Unsecured loans are high risk endeavours for them because if someone defaults on the loan, there is little they can do to get their money back. On the other hand, secured loans have some kind of guarantee which makes them a risk-free investment for the lending agency. And because there is little risk to them, they are willing to pass some of that savings on to you in the form of reduced interest rates and longer repayment terms.

So here’s how you can make money from it. First, collect all of your credit card bills together. Add up how much you own. Many people owe in the thousands and are shocked to discover that the interest rate is abysmally high. Second, find an asset that you can use to get a secured loan. Third, shop around and find a loan provider.

Collect those debts together and consolidate them under one secured loan. That way, you’ll reduce the amount of interest you pay on each debt because secured loans have lower interest rates than credit cards. And, you’ll stretch out your repayment period beyond the short term that credit cards give you. And, even better, you’ll have a fixed amount of money you know you have to pay each month, rather than get surprised every few days with another bill from a credit card company.

Since people often pay half as much above the purchase price in interest on credit cards, you’ll make money you would have spent by consolidating your loan into a UK secured credit card consolidation loan.

Paying Your Bills On Time

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How many monthly bills do you get? You may have a mortgage bill, a car payment, heating, electricity, gas, telephone, television, and that doesn’t even begin with your credit card and store card payments. The fact of the matter is that people today have more monthly commitments than ever before. And with all these various bills it is very easy to forget to pay one on time.

Then there is the wholly separate issue of whether or not you can afford all your bills. Sometimes w…

Credit cards, insurance, payments, finances, accounts, instalments, credit, creditors, fees

How many monthly bills do you get? You may have a mortgage bill, a car payment, heating, electricity, gas, telephone, television, and that doesn’t even begin with your credit card and store card payments. The fact of the matter is that people today have more monthly commitments than ever before. And with all these various bills it is very easy to forget to pay one on time.

Then there is the wholly separate issue of whether or not you can afford all your bills. Sometimes we may simply have over extended ourselves financially and in such situations we may not be able to pay all of our bills as they fall due. And what if you were to lose your job, or become ill or otherwise unable to work? Even if this is only for a short time, you will have some very real problems meeting all your monthly bills.

Penalties

This can be disastrous. First of all most creditors will slap late payment penalties and other administrative charges to your account if you are late. Some may recall or try to repossess assets if they have security over them. This is most serious in the case of your house but can also apply to your car or any other purchase you have made by instalments such as a television, or computer.

How can you provide for such an outcome? Well having some savings is a very good start. This should be able to cushion you for a few months should you lose your job. Then there is the fact that it is perhaps not so wise to rack up so many commitments that you can’t reduce your outgoings at short notice.

Insurance Protection

Another option to consider is payment protection insurance. This can be very helpful and is designed specifically for situations such as these. How it works is you pay an amount extra on top of your monthly bill. This is automatically added to your bill and depends on how much you have outstanding for each bill. For example, payment protection insurance on a credit card might be priced at ? per ?00 you have outstanding. What happens then is should you lose your job through no fault of your own, or should you become unable to work due to accident or illness, then the insurance should step in and make your repayments for you so that you don’t fall behind and rack up extra fees. This can be a great assistance to you financially, at a time when you need it most.

Multiple Streams Of Income Are Key To Staying Afloat

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In today’s society it is practically impossible to stay on top of bills, increasing gas prices and extraneous financial obligations with just one job. What’s more, it is becoming increasingly scary to rely on one stream of income because the economy is so shaky. Who knows when that one lifeline will falter? Many people are discovering that the way to stay afloat in today’s rapidly fluctuating market is by using multiple streams of income. This simply means drawing funding fro…

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In today’s society it is practically impossible to stay on top of bills, increasing gas prices and extraneous financial obligations with just one job. What’s more, it is becoming increasingly scary to rely on one stream of income because the economy is so shaky. Who knows when that one lifeline will falter? Many people are discovering that the way to stay afloat in today’s rapidly fluctuating market is by using multiple streams of income. This simply means drawing funding from various venues.

One venue that many people find convenient to their schedules and their lives is taking part in an Internet business. Since lots of people are only using their Internet businesses as one of several streams of income, they only do it on a part time basis. There are lots of opportunities on the Internet to earn multiple streams of income, including starting an ebay business, taking part in an affiliate program, making contacts for freelance work, and writing and selling an ebook. The flexibility of working a business on the Internet is valuable for many people who also work other jobs, and especially for those with loved ones who need to be taken care of.

Other off-the-web venues that people use as multiple streams of income include real estate, starting a small independently owned business, mail and phone-based freelance work, and childcare. Many of these businesses are owned and operated out of people’s homes, which is time effective for people who are multi-tasking.

If you are planning on using multiple streams of income to stay on top of your growing pile of bills, remember that it is important to think about your personal needs as well. Make sure that you still have enough time to sleep, eat, and spend quality time with loved ones. Time efficiency is very important, so think about cutting down on commuting by multi-tasking from home, or by commuting only to one job. Though more complicated than relying on one job alone, using multiple streams of income can be an effective way to ensure your financial stability.

Credit Card Debt and Interest

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Debt, especially credit card debt can accumulate very fast and many people soon find themselves barely able to even make the minimum payments. Remember if you are late on only one payment, your rate could increase drastically.

credit card debt, credit card interest

Credit card debt is one of the leading cause for needing to file for bankruptcy or take out mortgage loans on your home or other drastic measures. Studies indicate that credit card debt is slowly making a consumers financial situation bad or worse than ever before, and can also cause psychological depression and contribute to lower GPA’s and increased substance abuse among college students. Credit card debt can build up quickly, especially if you have more than one card and a habit of charging everything.

Interest

The interest is the money paid on a balance to a lender by the borrower, which is to be paid every month, if you roll over your balance from month to month. Interest doesn’t usually go down on its own, and when only minimum payments are made your balance can grow to un-manageable amounts. If you are late on a payment your interest rates can increase to 35 percent, making it very hard to pay off balances. With interest rates still on the rise, there’s no better time to take a good close look at your finances.

Payment

Debt, especially credit card debt can accumulate very fast and many people soon find themselves barely able to even make the minimum payments. Remember if you are late on only one payment, your rate could increase drastically. If you are not good at remembering payments, it’s wise to set up direct debits to pay your credit card bills. It’s always best to control your spending and try to pay more than the required minimum payment whenever possible.

The main problem with credit cards is that they make it very easy for you to spend money. The most important step take to reduce credit card debt is to not use your credit card for every little thing, use cash whenever possible. Studies show credit card debt is higher for males than female debtors, and even higher for joint accounts. The problem with carrying credit card debt is that the interest on the card will typically accrue much quicker when you only make minimum payments.