Friday, April 12, 2019

Credit Repair Companies can Help Fix your Credit Score


Credit repair companies, Credit repair services, Best credit repair companies.

There was a time, and it was not so long ago, when you could get a home loan from pretty much anyone you wanted to irrespective of how good or bad your credit score was. Today, lenders are looking for much improved credit scores if you are to get a loan from them and for some reason or the other that just doesn’t happen. People don’t have that kind of score on hand. And so if you are looking to get a loan or a mortgage you will be left high and dry as one lender after the next lets you down nicely or not so nicely. And did you employers also use credit scores to decide who to hire? What can be done about a bad score then? Well, simple. You turn it over to credit repair companies.

Credit repair companies, as the name might suggest to you, helps you fix up that credit score and makes you much better off financially than you were before. You can do all of the legwork yourself or you can hire one of several possible credit repair companies. And these credit repair companies will get the job done for you if you feel you’re not capable of fixing up that credit problem of yours yourself. If you don’t, that broken credit score could be a real problem, so it does make


sense to fix things one way or the other. A basic Google search or a glance at the telephone directory will reveal to you that there are several credit repair companies out there that are ready to help. Some are more evil than the rest though, so choose wisely.

Choosing the right one among several credit repair companies will help you boost that credit score of yours rapidly and it is the big decision you have to make. But how do you choose the right credit repair company? Well, see, that’s the easy part. The right credit repair company will not demand a large sum of money upfront. They’ll make a promise and deliver it and offer client references whenever asked for. Their contract will clearly state what they will do for you and will not pressure you. And of course, they will have some para legals on their team for assistance. See if all those check boxes are ticked off.

Of course, they will be more expensive than doing it yourself, but it’s always better to hire them when you don’t know how to go about doing things. These credit repair companies take at least 3-6 months to get the job done and they will charge a monthly fee. Some will also have a setup fee. That money is used to order your credit reports and develop a plan to improve your credit score. If you are still looking to not spend that money, find out ways to get it done yourself.

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Getting Preferred Stocks and How to Buy Them

Preferred stocks and how to buy them

To know if a company has outstanding preferred stocks and if you can get them, grab hold of its annual reports or even the financial statements, if you can get hold of it. Now, take a look at its shareholders equity. If any preferred stocks have been issued, a mention would be made of it here. If this is outstanding, then you can read more about the company’s prospectus for more information. Generally speaking, all banks issue preferred stocks as a prime source of Tier 1 capital.

If you want an overview at large, check out the Quantum Online website. It is a terrific tool for investors of any type, and of course that would include those looking at investing in preferred stocks. You are required to register with the site in order to gain access to their tables and list of securities, but it is well worth it since it is free. If you look around, you’ll find information about preferred stocks detailing its ratings from credit agencies, share prices, retraction information, dividend amounts, etc. You can look at several good options, such as the Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund. It is a fund that is actively-managed and made available only for accredited investors.

If you are an individual investor, you can also be accredited. You need to be able to hold financial assets worth a net realizable value of over $1 million (either in an individual capacity or in a household). Failing that, you must have income before taxes of more than $200K in each of the two preceding years or $300K if you are married. But the simplest option is that to be recognized as an accredited investor, you need to invest at least $150K in the fund. Who says money can’t buy you everything?

But there are several options for you as an investor, such as the JOV Leon Frazer Preferred Equity Fund (also an actively managed fund) that manages to create dividend income by investing in preferred stocks. ETF’s too can be an option, given how they are all the rage at the moment. The management fee on these ETF’s are obviously lower than it is with mutual funds and that is one of the key benefits of ETF’s. For example, the Claymore S&P/TSX CDN Preferred Share ETF tracks the preferred share index and does so for you at a management fee of 0.45% per annum.

There are some key differences between stocks, bonds and preferred stocks and if you are looking to invest further in preferred stocks, hopefully you would have gained a better idea of how to do so. The key is to take a look at the company’s prospectus, since it will be available online and easily accessible.

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Dividend Mutual Funds Offer Investors Protection

Dividend Mutual Funds Offer Investors Protection

One of the best ways newbies to the world of investing can get started is to try and learn as much as they can about investing and start to diversify their portfolios as best as they can. Mutual funds, and dividend mutual funds are an excellent way of doing just that. There are several choices that can be made when choosing between several mutual funds, but dividend mutual funds are a great way to invest since you get a little more back than you normally might and it’s great for investors that are beginning to earn their stripes. What dividend mutual funds do is pick out investments that pay off dividends.

Just in case you’ve been curled up under a rock and don’t know what mutual funds are in the first place, here’s a quick recap. Mutual funds are a collection of investments clubbed under one head. The mutual fund manager chooses what to invest in and when you invest in it you invest in everything the mutual fund holds. For beginners this is excellent since you won’t have to pick out stocks and end up losing a lot of money. In addition, it will let you diversify your holdings and spread the risk around. So you can choose between money market mutual funds, bonds, or commodities, pretty much anything when picking out mutual funds. And dividend mutual funds are obviously also an option since they choose dividend paying investments and help you recover your initial investment faster.

The little bit extra that these dividend mutual funds offer makes them a very safe bet. After a pre-set period, some companies will pay out money from its profits to its shareholders. This can be quarterly, monthly, annually or even bi-annually. This is money you get simply for holding the stock of the company. You can do whatever you want with it and only have to remember that there are taxes to be paid on it. Some companies even allow these dividends to automatically be ploughed back into buying some stock. That means you get shares for nothing and your holdings and earnings are boosted steadily just for participating in these dividend mutual funds.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Personal Finance Loans Might be Just What you Need

Personal Finance Loans Might be Just What you Need

Perhaps you are hard up for money but no one will extend you a loan. Maybe you have made late payments on your credit cards to the extent that you have shot your credit score to bits. Now, in your hour of need, no one will be giving you a loan. What do you? Have no worries, because like a knight in armor come to save the fading day, you can always use personal finance loans as a way out of this little mess that you’ve made for yourself.

Normally, getting personal finance loans are easy as hell and you can get them without much of a hitch at all. Normally, the formalities of these personal finance loans are easy to complete and you won’t have to wait a lot at all. The fact is that these loans are much smaller than the common loan that you find out there and so they can be put towards any use imaginable. Want to fix up the car? Check. Want to do up the home? Check. Want to go on a vacation? Check. Want to use it to pay for hookers, alcohol and drugs? Check. See how easy it is to get one of many possible personal finance loans?

Many people that do get this kind of loan make sure that it is an unsecured loan. The problem with getting an unsecured loan is that the interest rates that will be levied on this loan will be higher than normal. But that is only true if you are asking for a large amount of money. After all, if you’re going to take an unsecured loan the banker will want some kind of proof of good faith that you’re not going to vanish with his money forever! Financial institutions don’t really care what you intend to do with this money so long as you repay it in a timely manner and in full.

Depending on how much you borrowed and the terms of the borrowing, the repayment of the article can go on for a few months or even a few years. The general rule of thumb though is that you should try to repay it as soon as possible so as to avoid hefty interest charges. Not only will you save on interest, but you will also be able to improve the credit score that saw you head for personal finance loans in the first place, nipping the root of the problem in the bud.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Retirement Planning: No One Ever Said it Would be Easy

Retirement Planning: No One Ever Said it Would be Easy

One question that keeps on coming back to me like a faithful boomerang is on retirement and more specifically retirement planning. Everyone always ends up asking me just how much they should save up for their retirement. How do I put this delicately; there is no one number that I can give everyone. It’s just a personal thing. If I know you better, yes, I can give you a number. But allow me to explain why it’s such a point of personal reference. For some people a Volkswagen Golf GTI is their everyday car and a BMW M3 is a car they’d love to keep in the garage. For some though, the BMW M3 might be their everyday car while they’d love to see a Ferrari 458 Italia in the garage. Perspective; it’s a funny thing.

But how do you save up money like the numbers some people tout? Look, I never said retirement planning is easy; I did say it can be done though with some discipline, dedication and diligence. That’s the only 3D you need.

Just how much do you need to save?
Imagine you plan to work from 20 till you’re 60 (for calculation’s sake). What that means is you have to work for 40 years to get through potentially 20 to 30 years of your life. So your nest egg will be used up for almost as long as you will take to build it up. Now, let’s assume some more things. For one, let’s say your income matches the rate of inflation perfectly. Let’s also assume the same for your investments. Let’s also assume that your lifestyle remains unchanged. If that does happen, you will have to save something like 35% of your income each year. And that’s something not many people do.  Most people only save 5-6% per year, so you now see where the problem lies.

Retirement is getting earlier for most
Generations before us saved more and worked for more years than us and yet we want to retire earlier than them despite doing none of these things. We have a very materialistic mind and if you’re banking on your investments getting you to the Promised Land, you could be in serious trouble. Save more, invest better and work longer if you have to. Mind you, it doesn’t have to be a full-time job; even working as a consultant or part-time counts. Once you feel confident about money, you can always stop working and do whatever you want to.

Don’t ask when you can retire. Instead, know what you want to do and start planning towards it, whatever it may be.

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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Meditations on Money for the Inner Soul: Understand Road Blocks, Karmic Blocks, and How You Manifest Wealth

Meditations on Money for the Inner Soul: Understand Road Blocks, Karmic Blocks, and How You Manifest Wealth

We live in a time in history in which wealth has taken on a new collective meaning. There are more wealthy people than ever before, and in the collective imagination, we have a newly created vision of a standard of living that we consider our birthright. Credit cards, mortgages, and car loans mean we can experience ourselves as being well-off without it necessarily being based in reality. Whole countries live off debt and fake money. It’s all very confusing when there are still large areas of the world dealing with famine and disease on a scale that is unheard of in what is termed the ”developed” world.

The inequality and illusory nature of wealth are not the only reasons to be wary of its seductions. Even if you thought you were well-off, chances are that whatever wealth you thought you possessed has diminished in recent times. The upheaval in the world’s financial markets has made it only too clear that worshipping at the altar of materialism is a risky business.

So how do we navigate this treacherous territory at a time when material greed and expectation have reached heights that Socrates probably never even imagined? At a time in which global finances are in such rapid flux that no one can predict what will happen next?

First of all, stay close to yourself. Listen to your dreams and imaginings, and your inner promptings. Take yourself seriously. The soul will not lead you in the wrong direction if you pay attention. Learn to distinguish between the inner soul voice and the conditioned fantasy voice, and pay close attention to how manifestation functions for you.

The following are some questions that will help you work through your thoughts about money. Write these in your journal, and take some time to meditate on and write about each one.

  • Where does your money tend to come from? Do you get funds from your family, from your spouse, from hard work, from throwing big parties, from creating works of art?
  • How does money come to you? Does it come in sudden wind-falls or in regular paychecks? Does it come happily or unhappily?
  • What are your open gates for receiving money, and where do you think you might be closed? Visualize the gates through which money comes to you and see why some are closed. Find out what it would take to open them.
  • How does stuff come to you? Is it different from how money comes to you? (Sometimes people have a knack for attracting things over money because they have a negative belief about money itself.)
  • Look for where life is easy for you and see if that lesson can be applied to the realms that are more difficult. For example, if you have easy, plentiful friendships with women, think about working in a field in which women will be your clients or customers.
  • Examine your family of origin issues. Every family has its trips about money. What did you learn about money as a child? If money was lacking, what concepts has that imparted to your thinking? If you were born into a family that had money and that you have inherited, accept this as your fate and use the money to further your soul dream, which will often be philanthropic and/or socially responsible.
  • Look at where you disrespect money and waste it, and clean up your act. Look at your ethics and see if you feel entirely comfortable with all your choices.
  • Add up how much money you spend a year in interest and see what you can do to turn that negative into a positive by earning the money before you spend it.

Gratitude practice is useful in clarifying our relationship with money. Think about all the financial help you have received in your life and give thanks for it. Gratitude blocks can often arise around money because it can be such a charged issue, bringing up issues of entitlement in particular.

If you feel you don’t have as much money as you need, look at what useful function the lack of money might serve for you spiritually. For example, if you tend to be scattered in your thoughts and actions, a lack of money might serve to focus you on what is really necessary. Imagine having all the money you think you need and see how you feel. Within that you may find clues to why you might be blocking yourself from being wealthier.

Practice respect for but also detachment from money. The gods and goddesses of money seem to like us to pay close attention but to also be relaxed. (That applies to just about everything, though, doesn’t it?)

Give space in your perceptions for the possibility that everything right now is absolutely perfect – that the restrictions you experience on the material level are actually part of the divine plan of your soul for your ultimate fulfillment. Do this while vowing to free yourself of karmic restrictions brought about by erroneous thoughts and actions regarding money, work, and material anxiety.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lara Owen, author of Growing You Inner Light: A Guide to Independent Spiritual Practice (Copyright © 2009 by Lara Owen), has trained with spiritual teachers all over the world and has made a lifelong study of spiritual practice in several traditions. 
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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Time Management Training: What It Entails

Time Management Training: What It Entails

Are you an office manager or a business owner? If you are, you must know the importance of time management in the office. Did you know that when your employees don’t know how to manage their time, they likely end up costing your company money?  Whether you are a business owner or an office manager, you do not want to see this happen.

When it comes to poor time management at the office, there are many office managers and business managers who choose to provide their employees with time management training.  If this sounds like a good idea to you, you may be looking for more information.  You may be curious as to exactly what time management training its, how it works, and what your staff members will learn.  If these are all questions that you have, you will want to continue reading on.

When understanding time management training, it is important to remember that it does come in a number of different formats.  For example, most companies choose to hire outside specialists.  These are individuals or teams of individuals who come in and teach staff members the importance of proper time management, as well as share tips on how to get the most done through the day.  A good example of this is by showing or helping your staff members get their office desks better organized.  This is key, as organization and time management go hand in hand.

As nice as it is to hire outside help from professional office organizers and time management specialists, the cost of doing so may be a put off for you.  If it is, you may be able to host your own time management training sessions.  Doing so is actually a lot easier than you may originally think.  In fact, many business owners and office managers like this approach as it gives them complete control over what their staff members learn.

Speaking of what your staff members will likely learn in time management training, it will vary.  As previously stated, you can hire outside help or you can perform your own training sessions.  Regardless of which approach you do take, there are some things that you will want to make sure that your staff members know.  First, make sure that you not only tell them the importance of properly managing their time at the office, but show them ways that they can improve the use of their time.  These ways may involve keeping a clean and organized office desk, completing a to do list each morning, and so forth.

It is also important that you outline the consequences for employees who continue to waste company time.  After time management training as has been offered to all employees, there is no reason why employees should be seen standing around, socializing with each other, or using an office computer for personal use.  State that these things are okay for break time, but not during normal work hours.  You may want to go as far to show your staff members just how much their wasted time is costing the company.  Let them know that additional warnings may come, with termination being a possibility.

As a reminder, time management training is not required by many means, but you may find it a relatively easy and effective approach, especially when compared to terminating and rehiring new employees.
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How to Sell Your House by Lease Options

How to Sell Your House by Lease Options

How to Sell Your House by Lease Options - Many people buy a house then have to move within a few years, due to divorce, relocation or financial difficulties. Without any equity though, it can be nearly impossible to find buyers and you still have realtor fees to contend with. There is a simple, easy way to have your payments taken care of for you and find a buyer, so that you can move onto your new life quickly and easily.


Homeowners can sell their homes by lease option.

What are the benefits of selling my house on a lease option?

When you lease option your house, you sell the right to purchase your home at a set price within a predetermined period of time. During that time, the purchaser of the lease option pays you a set monthly fee. They pay what amounts to their "rent" to you with the provision that they can purchase your house within a certain period of time and have part of the rent that they have paid you applied to their final purchase price.

Q What are the advantages of selling my home by lease option over listing it with a Realtor?

By selling your home in this way, you avoid realtor fees and some other closing costs. You also have a tenant who intends to purchase your property. They will take better care of the home than a renter would and may even fix it up a bit for you. You also, naturally, have your payments taken care of and keep the tax benefits of owning your home, until the final sale.

Q How long does it take before your tenant/buyer cashes me out?

A That depends on a number of different factors. Many people with less than perfect credit can rebuild their credit and receive a mortgage from a mortgage broker within 6 consecutive payments.

Q Why don'’t I just sell the house myself?

If you have little or no equity in your home, it will not be considered a good investment by most buyers.

Q What if my tenant/buyer doesn'’t buy the house?

A It is important to pre-screen buyers to make sure that they want to buy the house and are able to buy it at some point in the future. However, circumstances can change in someone'’s life, such as an unexpected job transfer, that make it necessary to move. In situations like that, a new tenant buyer would have to be found.
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Friday, April 5, 2019

What To Do With Employees Who Don't Properly Manage Their Time

Employees Who Don't Properly Manage Their Time

Are you a business owner? If you are, there is a good chance that you have employees in your staff who do not now how to manage their time. What do you do with these employees? If you are unsure as to how you should proceed, please continue reading on.

First, it is important to do something.  The last thing that you will want to do is let an employee who has bad time management fly under the radar.  Many business owners do not think about this at the time, but there are a serious consequences for not calling out poor performing workers.

One of the many consequences to allowing one of your employees to keep on wasting their time and yours, is that others are likely to follow suit.  Even some of your best performing employees are likely to waste time socially or by surfing the internet when they see that others are able to do the same and get away with it.

Your business profits will also likely be put at risk.  When an employee spends too much time surfing the internet or wasting time in general, it will likely take much longer for you to get projects completed.  This can have an impact on your business profits.  For example, you may later end up paying your employee overtime to complete a task that they should have finished during normal work hours.

If your business deals directly with the general public, an employee who does not know how to mange their time can also have a negative impact on your company’s public perception.  Deadlines should not be missed, but proper time management is vital when working with clients.  Did you agree to have forms drawn up on time for a client of yours?  If you did, they should be ready when expected.  If not, your client may look elsewhere.  Also, places that have employees just hanging around the office and socializing tends to look unprofessional in nature.

So, you now know the consequences of letting an employee with poor time management slide, but what should you do?

It is important to bring a lack of time management to the attention of your employee or employees.  Let them know that wasting time on the clock is not acceptable, especially when there are other tasks or projects that they could be working on.  Clearly state that socializing is for break times only.

Next, be sure not to let the same behavior continue.  Workers who have been warned about wasting their time and the time of the company should not have any excuse for doing so.  Give one more final warning before taking evasive action.  This action may include terminating your employee’s position with the company.

Despite the fact that termination is an option, you may have what you believe to be an otherwise good employee.  If that is the case, you may want to opt for time management training.  This can be done yourself or with the services of a third party.  In fact, if you have a large number of employees who seem to not know how to manage their time, you may want to opt for company wide training.

Should you decide to host your own time management training seminar, as opposed to using outside help, be sure to share tips with your employees, outline the importance of making good use of their time at the workplace, as well as the consequences of not doing so.  This leaves no room for exceptions and you should see a significant improvement in productivity in your workplace.

As a recap, if you are a business owner or even just an office manager, it is important to make sure that all of your employees are working to the best of their ability.  Your company and your own personal reputation may end up taking the fall for those who do not perform to the best of their ability.
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The Secret System For Getting Completely Out of Debt and Reaching Financial Independence on Your Present Income, in 3 Easy Steps

The Secret System For Getting Completely Out of Debt and Reaching Financial Independence on Your Present Income, in 3 Easy Steps

The Secret System For Getting Completely Out of Debt and Reaching Financial Independence on Your Present Income, in 3 Easy Steps - All families and home biz owners have to think about debt, finances, bills and income almost every day. There is no reason to be overwhelmed by something that can actually be CHANGED. How?

This article will show you how to:

  1. Eliminate all of your debt (including your mortgage) in 5 - 7 years
  2. Take control of your finances
  3. Become financially independent (the dream of most Americans) by retirement.

The First Step is to get a copy of your CREDIT REPORT. In it you will find your entire credit history. It may be shocking to you, but it will be revealing. I suggest that you do it today. At the bottom of this report is a link to help you get started.

The Second Step is to make a list of all the debts you have using the

"ROLL DOWN SYSTEM." This is a powerful but little known system that will allow you to pay off all your debts, including your mortgage, in half the time or less than you may have thought possible.

Start by calculating the entire amount you are spending on all debt payments each month, including your mortgage. Then list the credit cards, credit lines, car loans and other short term debt, from the smallest to the largest. From this time forward, simply spend the same amount each month to service your debt you have always spent. Here'’s the secret to accelerated payoff...

Once you have completely paid off your first debt, DO NOT begin spending the amount of the payment '– add it to the payment of the next debt on the list! As each debt pays off, continue this process. In a year or two, you will get to...

Your MORTGAGE! But now you have considerable extra money to pay each month. Using this strategy, you should be able to pay off all your debts, including your mortgage, in 5 '– 7 years! So, after you pay off everything, you can begin living the life of Riley, right? NO!

Now it'’s time for Step Three. You simply take the ENTIRE AMOUNT you were using to pay off your debts and begin INVESTING it in sensible mutual funds. This will be a considerable sum, and will allow you to reach that enviable state of FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE that most Americans truly want to reach.

Here are two bonus strategies to create wealth even faster...

  1. Add as much as you can to your monthly debt payment from the beginning. The more you can add, the sooner all will be paid off and the sooner you can begin investing.
  2. Start a sensible home business to add extra income to your budget, but use its profits in this plan, not for high priced "fun." Added attraction '– having a home business offers numerous tax benefits for even more savings.

For many people, doing all of this seems a little complicated and difficult. That'’s why most have not implemented such strategies in the past. Many of these things can be done automatically with the right service. WealthLink is one such service which I highly recommend. It helps you get your credit report, analyze it, creates your debt payoff plan, helps you make a sensible investment plan and even offers an excellent business opportunity by giving you your own website to promote the service. Here'’s the link: http://www.wealthlink.com/familybiz

Good luck on the road to financial independence!
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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Learn To Save Hard Cash This Festive Season

Learn To Save Hard Cash This Festive Season

Learn To Save Hard Cash This Festive Season - Time was when shopping was a painful experience, a chore to be lived with. Cash Back schemes have now brought the fun back into shopping. One can now shop online and purchase all that you need without even leaving home. What's more, these online purchases also pay you back a certain amount on your purchases. Online purchase stores are now offering its customers up to 40% Cash Back on every purchase made. For shoppers, who do not like to venture out for their shopping and make all their purchases from online stores, these Cash Back rebate programmes actually pay them back for just the pains you are taking to go online.

Now, you may say that all this seems too good to be true, and might be skeptical about the whole idea. But all the skepticism becomes mud once you have the hard cash on your hands's. Yes, the Cash Back. The Cash Back Rebate Programme works once you make a particular online shopping site, such as ours, your gateway to make all your online purchases. The share of the commissions which we get from our online stores for bringing customers to them is then shared with who else, but YOU.

The Cash Back Rebate Programmes on the web consist of Cash Back on Credit Cards, Cash Back on Real Estate, Cash Back on Mortgage and Cash Back on Juvenile Money, apart from Cash Back shopping. When you log on to an online site offering Cash Back on Real Estate, find a good real estate agent who can buy you a good property or sell you a good one, and you will receive a share of the commission that is paid to the site by the agent for finding him a customer. This same principal operates on all the online sites which provide Cash Back Rebate Programmes to its surfers. Cash Back Mortgages provide you with a very useful cash injection at a very expensive time of your life.

The unique concept of Cash Back must have become clear to you by now. You can now prepare yourself to just sit in front of your computer and not only make your purchases, but also get paid back for it. Cash Back is shopping made bliss when you get all that hard cash in your hand after all the purchases you have made.

Sites which offers Cash Back opportunities to its surfers have quality stores like eBay, Circuit City, Hotwire, Advanta, TechDepot, Best Buy, Target on its site. So you're purchasing from quality stores as well as saving on cash. It's a veritable windfall for you, so don't miss out on such opportunities which you can find plenty on the net.

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Five Sure Fire Way to Secure Your Financial Future

Sure Fire Way to Secure Your Financial Future
Five Sure Fire Way to Secure Your Financial Future

"You can be poor when you'’re young, but you can'’t be poor when you'’re old." That was the tag line used some years ago in a financial services television commercial.

Truer words were never spoken.

I was relatively poor when I was young. Just about everybody I knew was and it was kind of fun. We lived an almost communal lifestyle, sharing money, accommodation, food, beer, cigarettes and other essentials of post-pubescent life. Would it be as much fun if I had to do it again today? Could I do it again? Not on your life!

Now I'’m anything but a financial genius but there are five basic principles that I'’ve learned and used to secure our financial future. And while far from wealthy, I have every confidence that I will not have to live in a refrigerator box whenever I quit working and that my wife will be able to comfortably carry on in the event of my premature demise. (You should know I'’m at an age where I think eighty-five is a premature death!)

Is building a secure financial future akin to rocket surgery? Absolutely not'— you need to do five key things to get started:

1. Determine your short and long-term financial goals. Start by taking a comprehensive snapshot of your current situation'—your assets, net income, debts and living expenses. Once you'’ve done this you can start setting long and short-term financial goals. Decide what lifestyle you want to enjoy between now and when you retire; what retirement lifestyle do you expect to have and what sort of education do you expect to provide for your children.

2. After you've assessed where you are now and where you want to be in the future take steps to protect your ability to get there--and stay there once you'’ve arrived. A major part of your family'’s financial program is to insure against major financial loss. There are simply no guarantees against serious illness, accidents or untimely death. So take the steps necessary to insure against loss of life, loss of income and loss of physical assets.

3. Pay yourself first. Save at least 10% of pre-tax income '– more if possible. Pay down your mortgage as quickly as possible, especially in times of low interest. In the short term, you'll be better off reducing a mortgage that costs you 6% than earning around a taxable 1.5% (or less) in a savings account.

Maximize your RSP/401K contribution every year and make the contribution at the beginning rather than at the end of the year. Simply doing that will substantially increase the size of your retirement nest egg when you'’re ready to cash out.

4. Avoid credit traps. If you use credit cards, always pay any money owing before interest is due. Consider paying off your credit card immediately if you have money in a savings account'—as with the mortgage, the interest earned on the savings is certain to be lower than what'’s charged by the credit card company. Avoid using credit cards for cash advances. Usually the interest charges are higher for these and the charges begin immediately. If you do carry a balance on your cards try to negotiate a lower rate with the credit card company. If you need money urgently, it's usually cheaper to negotiate a personal loan with your bank or credit union.

5. Finally, protect your family in the event of your death. Make a Will. If you die without leaving a Will in all likelihood the only thing you'’ll really leave your loved ones is a bloody mess'—one that could take many years and a whole bunch of money to sort out.

Without a Will, the court/government will decide how your property and possessions will be divided. I would expect there are two chances of them acting in a way consistent with what your wishes might have been'—slim and none!

Making a Will doesn't mean the Grim Reaper is about to pay you a visit. It simply means that your affairs will be sorted out in the ways you want and, as a result, you can go about your life with a peaceful mind because your loved ones are protected.

These five principles are only a starting point'—a few suggestions that any financial management professional can improve and expand on. If I have one regret about how I'’ve handled my financial affairs over time it is not enlisting enough professional help. When we were starting, the financial management business was neither as big nor as sophisticated as it is today. Who knows, with better help, I might be writing this from some warm Caribbean tax haven rather a cold Calgary office!

"Don'’t try this alone'—use a trained professional," is absolutely the best advice I'’m really qualified to give.

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Monday, April 1, 2019

Attaining A Debt Free Lifestyle

Attaining A Debt Free Lifestyle

Many people have been taught that you cannot get ahead without debt. We are also inundated with advertising telling us we can have anything we want. All we need to do is put it on our credit card.

We have become an impatient society, we want it right now. We have lost the ethic of working for what we want.

It is not how much money you make; it is what you do with it. By living without debt you can actually have a higher income since you are not paying out interest, you are actually getting paid interest on invested money.

All debt is not created equal. We will classify them as good debt and bad debt.

To simplify the classification we will say that good debt is a loan for something that you could sell at any time and repay the debt. This narrows down good debt to a home loan and possibly a home equity loan.

A bad debt, of course, is a loan on anything that will lose value.

Let's take a look at some debts that we would consider bad debt.

Home equity loans are in the gray area. They could be considered good debt if they are used to repair or improve your home, but you would be a lot better off to just save up the money for the project. Home equity loans become bad debt when used for purposes other than home improvement or maintenance. In other words a bad home equity loan is for anything that does not add to the value of your house. Do not jeopardize your home by taking out a home equity loan on unnecessary items.

One possible good use for a home equity loan is when the interest rates are low. You can use a home equity loan to refinance your mortgage. Home equity loans generally have lower costs than conventional home loans.

We consider school loans bad debt. If you finish school, get a good high paying job and then attack the loan like mad, a school loan may work out. The problem is that there are too many things that can go wrong. At best, even if you do graduate and get a good job there are always a lot of other expenses at this time in ones life. You are really behind financially when you start your working life in debt.

Auto loans are bad loans that have become common practice to us. We pay interest on a vehicle that will only be worth one half of its original purchase price in five years. Lately it has also been common for us to borrow more than a vehicle is worth. We can trade a car in that we still owe on, and roll that owed amount over into another vehicle. This gives us a loan amount that is higher than the value of the car that we drive away. We have lost our capacity to say NO.

Co-signing is a bad debt that usually and unfortunately involves family. If someone cannot qualify for a loan at a regular lending institution, they should not get a loan. The fact that they can'’t qualify for a loan elsewhere should tell you that they are a huge risk. Use this opportunity to teach them how they can get what they want by working harder for it and delaying the purchase.

If you want to get off of the debt treadmill, you must run as far away from debt as you can. You cannot use debt to get out of debt. Even if you do, you have not changed your habits; you must change your lifestyle.
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