Be Cautious When Using Your Nest Egg as an ATM

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If your home truly is your nest egg, be smart about how use its equity. Make sure that it fits in with your overall financial plan and golas. Otherwise, you could be left without a nest and just the egg!

About five years ago I moved from the ranks of being a renter to that of being a homeowner. Now, not a week goes by that I don’t receive some type of offer through the mail encouraging me to refinance my mortgage, open a home equity line of credit (HELOC), or apply for a home equity loan.

Payoff High Interest Credit Card Debt! Lower Your Monthly Payments! Buy A New Car! Refinance And Get Money Now! scream the slogans splashed across the envelopes.

The promotional letters inside point out how easy it will be for me to “get the extra cash you need NOW!? They promise “no out of pocket costs?with a newly refinanced 30-year loan.

Could I use some extra cash NOW? You bet I could! Who needs high interest credit card debt? Not me, no way, no how! Buy a new car? Hmmm, I like that new Pontiac G6 I’ve seen on tv, maybe in a sleek titanium color with black trim?

For thousands of U.S. households “Home Sweet Home?is rapidly being replaced with a new sentiment – “Home Sweet ATM.? According to the latest Federal Reserve study, 45% of homeowners who have refinanced their mortgages pulled cash out and 74% wound up lengthening their mortgage by about six years. Only 17% shortened their loan term opting to downsize to a 15-year mortgage.

In a period of six years, Americans have more than doubled the amount owed on home equity loans and lines of credit, nearing $766.2 billion, according to the Federal Reserve.

If you’re in your 40’s and you refinance on a new 30-yr. loan, you’ll be in your 70’s by the time your loan ends. Even if you shave off a few years by paying down your principle, you’re still risking not owning your home “free and clear?as you approach retirement age.

What happened to the era when your home was considered your nest egg to be used only for life-threatening or life-changing events like paying for a child’s wedding or for a medical emergency? And worst of all, many new homeowners are using their home’s equity as another source for financing new debts.

Think twice before using home equity to pay off credit card balances. If you’re already overspending on your credit cards now, what makes you think anything will be different after you pay them off with a loan or line of credit? Many people just wind up deeper in debt or facing bankruptcy because they couldn’t resist charging their cards up again.

Keep this in mind before tapping your home’s equity – Your loan or HELOC is secured by your home. Default on the loan and you could lose your house, even if you declare bankruptcy!

The best use for home equity is to make improvements that add value to your home. Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, adding an extra room or creating a master suite are just a few of the “hot?improvements that can really pay off when it comes time for you to sell.

If your home truly is your nest egg, be smart about how use its equity. Make sure that it fits in with your overall financial plan and golas. Otherwise, you could be left without a nest and just the egg!

Cash Advance Loans – Online Financial Help In A Hurry

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Everybody at some point in their lives gets in a tight spot with money, which is where finding cash advance loans online can become helpful. A cash advance loan can have money in your hand in less then 24 hours, many times even the instant that you are approved.

cash, advance, loans, online, loan

Everybody at some point in their lives gets in a tight spot with money, which is where finding cash advance loans online can become helpful. What is a cash advance loan you might be asking and how will one help me?

A cash advance loan is also commonly referred to as a payday loan. When you have applied for a cash advance loan online you will need to have an active checking account or savings account, as this is the method that the loan company will use in order to collect the money that they are owed.

The term of cash advance loans online are normally between one to six weeks and usually no more then two or three months.

How can a cash advance loan help me?

A cash advance loan can have money in your hand in less then 24 hours, many times even the instant that you are approved. This can be very helpful if you have a dire need for money. You don’t need to have stellar credit in order to qualify for a cash advance loan. Most all cash advance companies will only require and active checking (or savings) account and that you have proof of how much money you make in a month. Many companies additionally require that you have been at your current job for at least six months. Cash advance loans can also help you bring your credit score up if the company happens to report to any of the three major credit reporting agencies.

Why would a cash advance loan not be a good idea?

There are large fees associated with getting a cash advance loan. When you get your loan the loan company will be requiring you to pay anywhere from $15 to $50 per hundred dollars that you plan to borrow. If you need to extend a payday loan for whatever reason you will be charged additional fees each time you do so. You can end up paying more in fees then the amount that you wished to borrow in the first place.

Do thorough and complete research and make yourself well informed about how these types of loans will work. Then you will be able to be absolutely sure that cash advance loans are the best option for you to choose.

Credit Cards For People With Bad Credit- Facts

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Credit cards for bad credit are certainly not going to be the best credit deals, but credit cards for people with bad credit might the only options available.

credit cards for people with bad credit, credit cards for bad credit, bad credit credit cards

Credit cards for bad credit are certainly not going to be the best credit deals, but credit cards for people with bad credit might be your only option available. The interest on credit cards for people with bad credit are usually much higher than on a regular credit card. These types of credit cards are especially designed for people with a bad credit history and don’t qualify for a regular credit card. If you are a young person just starting to build credit, or if you’ve had circumstances that has damaged your credit history, you usually can qualify for credit cards for bad credit.

Bad Credit Deals

Bad credit, credit card deals are readily available online with easy, secure applications. Bad credit deals are often divided into secured credit cards for bad credit that need a deposit and bad credit unsecured credit cards, a bad credit card with much higher fees. These types of bad credit offers people with a poor credit score or no previous credit history a quick and easy way to re-gain a good credit history with bad credit cards. If you keep your credit balance under the limit and make your payments on time, you’ll become eligible for much better deals on your credit card rates and improve your credit score.

Interest

There are many temptations by having credit cards and while using bad credit cards to hold you over in tight situations, remember it is only temporary relief as the interest rates on credit cards for bad credit are extremely high. Shop around and look for credit cards for bad credit with an interest rate that you are absolutely sure you will be able to pay. Probably the single most important part of picking credit cards is the interest rate, especially for people who will be rolling over balances from month to month.

Tips

A person must always keep in mind that credit cards for bad credit are very easy to use so don’t go overboard or you might find yourself in a much worse situation. Check out the interest rates and fees before you start applying for credit cards for bad credit. Don’t apply for every bad credit card there is as this will effect your credit score, only choose two of the best bad credit deals you can find.

Energy Tips To Help Your Pocketbook And America

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According to the Department of Energy, household energy costs have increased a whopping 12 percent from 2004.

Energy Tips To Help Your Pocketbook And America

According to the Department of Energy, household energy costs have increased a whopping 12 percent from 2004. Even more startling is the price of natural gas, which rose by 23 percent.

The good news is that there are many actions Americans can take to lower their energy bills, and at the same time help the nation become more energy independent.

Keep Your Cool This Summer

• Use a microwave oven instead of a conventional oven.

• Use a power strip to control your electricity use. A large number of electrical products-especially home electronics-can’t be switched off completely without being unplugged. These products draw power 24 hours a day. Plugging them into a power strip to shut them off will save you money.

• Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 115?and take showers instead of baths.

• Wash only full loads of dishes and laundry.

Landscape For Efficiency

• The shelter from three trees, properly planted around a house, can cut annual heating/cooling costs up to $250.

• Grow vines on trellises to shade windows, the side of a house or AC units.

AC, Appliances And Lighting

• Open windows, when conditions permit, and use fans instead of air-conditioning. Use a fan to maximize and spread the cooled air from air conditioner units.

• Use a programmable thermostat with the AC to adjust the unit at night or when no one is home.

• Keep lamps and TVs away from the thermostat. Heat from appliances and lamps could cause the air conditioner to run longer.

Shade The Windows

• Install white shades, drapes or blinds to reflect heat. Close curtains on southwest-facing windows during the day. Sunny windows can make an air conditioner work three times harder.

• Replace single- and double-paned windows with Energy Star-labeled windows to save energy and money for years to come. Install them before December 31, 2007, and qualify for a tax credit.

Weatherize

• Caulking and weather stripping will help keep out hot outside air, thus keeping indoor air cool. If you see holes in ducts, hire a professional to repair them.

• Add insulation around AC ducts in attics and crawl spaces.

• Consider investing in insulation for the whole house.

Whenever possible, purchase products with the Energy Star label. The label means you are investing in energy efficiency, value, comfort and high performance.

Homeowners can save an estimated 30 percent (about $450) a year on their home energy bill by using Energy Star-qualified products.

Change A Light, Change The World With Energy Star

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Most people want to do their part to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save on their energy bills, but don’t know what they can do. Using energy efficiently at home is an important start, and, it can be as easy as changing a light bulb.

Change A Light, Change The World With Energy Star

Most people want to do their part to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save on their energy bills, but don’t know what they can do. Using energy efficiently at home is an important start; and, it can be as easy as changing a light bulb. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) are calling on Americans to join the growing number of individuals switching their current lighting to energy-efficient light bulbs and fixtures.

Many people don’t realize it, but the average home is responsible for twice as many greenhouse gas emissions as the average car. In fact, if every American home replaced its five most frequently used light fixtures or the bulbs in them with ENERGY STAR qualified ones, the amount of greenhouse gases we could prevent is equivalent to the emissions from more than 8 million cars. Not only does energy-efficient lighting help protect the environment, but it also saves consumers money since lighting accounts for nearly 20 percent of home electricity costs. Each home making this “5 light fixture change” could save about $60 a year in energy costs.

As part of the annual ENERGY STAR Change a Light, Change the World Campaign, the EPA and DOE have declared Oct. 4, 2006 “ENERGY STAR Change a Light Day.” Americans are invited to take a pledge online at energy star.gov/changealight and commit to replace at least one incandescent bulb or fixture in their home with one that has earned the government’s ENERGY STAR for energy efficiency. Individuals who have pledged are already having a dramatic combined impact. Pledges taken in 2005 alone will result in the reduction of 33 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to encourage at least 500,000 individuals to join the community and take the ENERGY STAR Change a Light Pledge. This is a step in the right direction, to ensure that our children have a bright future ahead.

ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program helping individuals and businesses save energy and protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.

Cash Is King

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Cash Is King is the basic principle of using cash instead of debit/credit cards whenever possible

Budgets,cash,personal budgets,personal finances

If you understand and follow the basic principle of “Cash is King?you can change your life forever. Your life will be less stressful financially and you will be taking your first major step toward “financial peace of mind?

“Cash is King?is an easy principle to understand; however it may be difficult to follow. This principle is the key to less stress within your financial life. Many things tell us how to manage our finances and it seems that none of them address the “root cause?of our financial problems.

The biggest problem is that we live in a world of plastic and for all practical purposes we do not respect or understand the value of cash.

If you follow this simple but different principle of “Cash is King?you will start on the road to “financial peace of mind? Here are two basic suggestions on how to follow the principle of “Cash is King?

When you are paid make sure you allocate enough money to pay your rent/mortgage, utilities and any other fixed expenses you may have. Any amount of cash that is left should be withdrawn from your checking account to be used for food, clothing, gifts, entertainment, gas, etc. The best way for you to control this cash would be for you to divide and allocate certain amounts of cash for each variable expense and store this cash in labeled envelopes, like the envelopes found in the BUDGETkeeper SYSTEM.
Now remember that this cash is the only way you can spend. Once you have used all your cash there will be no spending until your next paycheck. This is tough! No credit/debit cards? You must be kidding! How will I ever get through to my next payday without using my credit/debit cards? They say smoking is hard to give up, I think sticking to the principle of “Cash is King?may even be harder!

Stick with “Cash is King?and manage your money. You will start by finding the cheapest places to buy gas, run your errands more logically and take your morning coffee from home instead of buying that latte every day. You will have to find many new ways to manage your cash and the first few weeks will be the toughest. You may even run out of cash before your next payday, however, you will stick to the principle “Cash is King?and eventually find “financial peace of mind?

After several weeks it will get easier to manage your cash and you will be surprised to find extra cash available before your next paycheck. What will you do with that extra cash? Many say put the extra cash into a savings account or pay a little extra towards one of your debts. I say put it in a coffee can and let it accumulate then take yourself out and have one great party!

If you can follow this principle, you will be on your way to establishing a personal/family budget. Let the BUDGETkeeper SYSTEM show you the way to “financial peace of mind?

Advanced Prepaid Credit Card Features

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Technological advances have been made in prepaid credit cards which give them features not seen in traditional credit cards or ATM cards. In this article we will go over these advances, and how they make using prepaid credit cards easy and convenient.

credit cards, visa, master cards, prepaid credit cards

Technological advances have been made in prepaid credit cards which give them features not seen in traditional credit cards or ATM cards. In this article we will go over these advances, and how they make using prepaid credit cards easy and convenient.

Because prepaid credit cards do not come with a line of credit, customers can load money onto the card via ATMs or at online websites. From here money can be transferred to a paypal or checking account. Some services still allow people to write a check in order to have the funds loaded onto their cards.

More recent advances in this technology have allowed people with cell phones, laptops, or other wireless devices to receive payment alerts about transactions which have been completed. You can also keep track of your credit line using these devices.

When using a prepaid credit card you don’t have to balance it the way you would balance a checkbook. The balancing is done in real time and can be viewed via the internet or phone. This technology is allowing people to change the way they spend and manage money.

Many people are becoming aware of this technology since many employers are starting to use prepaid credit cards as an alternative to sending out standard checks. Once employers begin using prepaid credit cards to pay their employees they will save large amounts of money on check printing costs and other expenses.

People are beginning to see the benefits of electronically transferring and receiving funds. People will be able to avoid the high check cashing fees that for too long have been charged just to cash your own checks. Prepaid credit cards are changing the way that people conduct business.

Our society beginning advance closer to being cashless. There are both pros and cons to this that people need to be aware of. While using prepaid credit cards to make purchases and transfer money is convenient, cyber thieves are also anxious to begin defrauding and stealing money from people.

It is always best to use your prepaid debit card in safe locations, and keep track of all you transactions. If you see something on your account that looks strange or out of place, immediately report it. If your card is ever lost or stolen, cancel it as soon as possible.

No one wants to become the victim of fraud. Keep track of your expenses and if something looks suspicious, it probably is.

Financial Education Can Pay Dividends for Youth

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According to statistics from the National Council on Economic Education, only seven states require high school students to take a personal finance course while eight others require courses with personal finance content.

Financial Education Can Pay Dividends for Youth

According to statistics from the National Council on Economic Education, only seven states require high school students to take a personal finance course while eight others require courses with personal finance content.

This was from a 2004 survey that also showed only nine states test personal finance knowledge. These numbers are beginning to change as the state of Missouri joins the fray and will require one-half unit of credit in personal finance instruction for graduation in 2010.

A 2004 national survey by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy measured 12th graders’ knowledge of basic personal finance. On average, students who participated in the survey answered correctly only 52.3 percent of the questions – an “F” in most high school classrooms.

Financial illiteracy isn’t a problem limited to students. Half of U.S. adults received a failing grade for their knowledge of basic economic concepts, according to the NCEE.

But there is hope in education. The National Endowment for Financial Education has confirmed that as few as 10 hours of classroom instruction can improve spending and saving habits.

Because financial literacy is fundamental to personal success and a benefit to society, American Century provides support for financial education.

In cooperation with a premier education consultant, the investment manager developed Tips for Kids and Tips for Life, curricula for use in the classroom. To date, these programs have been used by more than 3,000 educators in all 50 states. The free programs are delivered via the Internet to educators and are presented to education conferences to help users implement the programs in their schools.

American Century’s efforts to improve financial literacy extend beyond the Tips for Kids and Tips for Life programs. Free educational materials and tools are available on its Web site. And the information presented in American Century founder James E. Stowers’ “Yes You Can…” book series is designed to share the personal experiences and ideas that helped him become successful.

Educating today’s students on basic financial principles will pay dividends in the future because they are tomorrow’s social, political and economic leaders.

Energy Conservation Begins at Home

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The pressure to reduce energy consumption and costs is inspiring homeowners to challenge the relevance of old heating and hot water solutions and consider other cost-effective options, such as wall-hung boiler technology.

Energy Conservation Begins at Home

As Americans face rising fuel prices, many are looking for ways to save money and energy in their homes.

The pressure to reduce energy consumption and costs is inspiring homeowners to challenge the relevance of old heating and hot water solutions and consider other cost-effective options, such as wall-hung boiler technology.

Wall-hung boilers have been common in homes throughout Europe for the past three decades and are now emerging as a popular alternative for heating homes and businesses in North America.

Baxi Luna wall-hung boilers, for instance, are helping homeowners throughout the U.S. cut their home heating and hot water fuel consumption in half. These boilers are fully modulating, meaning they start at a preset, high-fire position and gradually reduce fuel output until the heating demand is met. At this point, the boiler automatically shuts off.

Billed as one of the quietest boilers on the market, Baxi Luna boilers are fired by propane or natural gas. No bigger than a kitchen cabinet, a Baxi Luna boiler can be installed in the closet – saving valuable living space in homes of up to 6,000 square feet.

The boiler also is making commercial buildings more efficient. For example, this year a heating specialist in Biddeford, Maine, installed eight Baxi Luna high-efficiency condensing boilers in the City Hall and City Theatre. People living in the city expect the new heating system to reduce fuel use by at least 50 percent and save taxpayers money even in the face of rising fuel costs.

Baxi Luna wall-hung boilers are approved by the American Gas Association and Canadian Standards Association. Consumers can take comfort from the boilers’ Energy Star certification (for energy efficiency) and H-Stamp rating (for operating effectiveness).

These environmentally friendly products are quiet enough to install in the back of a large closet, even in the master bedroom. They are ideal for in-floor radiant heating systems and are compatible with any type of air handler, wall or baseboard radiators and custom radiant applications, such as heated towel racks or snow melt.

Building Long-term Energy Savings Into Your Home

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While new homes are 100 percent more energy efficient today than those built three decades ago, most people are not familiar with how to actually design energy savings into the infrastructure of their home.

Building Long-term Energy Savings Into Your Home

While new homes are 100 percent more energy efficient today than those built three decades ago, most people are not familiar with how to actually design energy savings into the infrastructure of their home.

Here are a few ways to save energy in your home:

* Windows and doors: Today’s architecture takes advantage of increased window space and elaborate entry systems. This style enhancement certainly adds to the appeal of a home, but it increases the importance of having energy-efficient windows and doors.

On average, a household spends nearly 50 percent of its annual energy costs in heating and cooling. You can reduce this expense by up to 15 percent by using energy-efficient windows and doors, which help decrease the transfer of heat. Start by looking for products that have the Energy Star label. This label identifies products that meet the strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

* Construction materials: Wood or vinyl (for windows) and steel (for doors) offer high energy efficiency. For windows, dual-pane insulating glass units and low-emissivity glass also increase the products’ energy efficiency. For steel doors, look for a polystyrene core, which helps the door retain its energy-saving properties longer than steel doors with a polyurethane core.

Rest assured, however, that you will not have to forgo style and beauty when seeking energy efficiency. Many manufacturers, such as Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors, offer a variety of Energy Star-qualified products that are attractive, durable and provide superior performance. In fact, upgrading windows and doors is a great way to build energy savings into your current home.

* Insulating your home: In addition to diminishing heat transfer through windows and doors, you can ensure even temperatures in the home by selecting proper insulation. Well-insulated homes can save up to 30 percent on heating and cooling costs. Pay attention to the R-values used to rate the energy efficiency of insulation – a higher R-value indicates a better ability to resist heat flow, meaning that it is more energy efficient.

* Heating and cooling engines: Installing oversized heating or cooling equipment is a common practice to provide customers with immediate results. However, oversized equipment is not necessary if your home is designed to conserve energy; it will only add to the growth of your energy bill.

Visit a local home improvement center to learn more about heating and cooling options.