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Personal Finance – How to Manage Your Finances and Eliminate Credit Card Debt

Personal Finance – How to Manage Your Finances and Eliminate Credit Card Debt

Personal finance is the basic building block of an individual or a family. If required you might need to take a diary and a pen and make a budget or financial planning, else a computer savvy can always make use of the

Excel or the different personal finance management software available on internet. Most of this software is inexpensive and easily available, so any one can use it. Now, using the software is not really our concern, what we want to concentrate in how to manage the finance and eliminate all debts.

Plan out your budget for the year, the key areas of income and expenditure, and chalk out a plan for loan repayment. Most of us have taken a loan for one or the other purpose -home loan, education loan, personal loan and it need to be carefully planned and repaid. It is possible quite a few of us might not be really doing it so far, it might not have been so necessary, but today it is the need of the hour. The recession has defaced the economy and unless we take corrective measures at an individual level, not much can be changed. The US government came up with a bold plan on reviving the economy and introduced the federal stimulus package to recover the huge financial loss.

All this effort to bring back the economy in shape would not really stabilize until each one of us start managing our personal finance. We don’t want to end up in a situation where the debt kept mounting and people are forced to declare bankrupt. The problem would not just affect the borrowers but the government will have a tough time taking care of millions of them. With a wiser approach towards spending and saving, we can make a lot of difference. Besides, you now have a chance to settle your unsecured debt amount with a waiver of up to 60 percent. It’s recommended to refer to the debt relief agencies that have experts to guide you through debt negotiation, debt consolidation and eliminate credit card debt.…

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A Troubled Bridging Market

A Troubled Bridging Market

With the whole financial sector seemingly emerging from it’s near 2 year slumber, you could be kidded into thinking that all was rosy in the lending world right? Wrong!

With the majority of lenders still not passing on the record low rates and “fees” increasing with every refresh of Trigold, it can be difficult for the mortgage broker to make sense of his world around him.

It is over a year now since I joined the NACFB, and on my travels up and down the country, I have talked to many of the members about bridging finance. We have discussed the way that it can help clients out of difficult situations and also how it can help them make the most out of usable equity that they may have in their own residential property or a BTL portfolio.

Bridging Finance companies are no longer viewed as the lender of last resort, but a sensible way for clients to finance cases that fall outside the criteria of mainstream lenders.

So, when would you use bridging finance?

One of the main uses for bridging loans at the moment is for the purchase of property at auction where you need to raise the cash usually within 28 days of the hammer falling. You may also need the cash to ease a temporary business cash flow problem, or to pay a tax bill.

A great deal of our clients use bridging finance to provide capital to add value to an existing property such as in a refurbishment project which they will then sell or let out.

Buy to Let investors use bridging finance to facilitate the purchase of property to add to their portfolio before remortgaging onto a traditional BTL mortgage.

So, why would you use bridging finance?

Speed – Investors are increasingly using bridging loans as a useful way to expedite the completion of their proposed transaction. Bridging lenders regularly provide funds to clients within seven working days, but in urgent cases funds can be released within 72 hours.

Condition of property – Traditional lenders, especially on buy-to-let mortgages, will often put 100% retention on a mortgage if the property has no kitchen, no bathroom or is in poor condition. Choose a bridging lender that does not operate this retention system and instead bases its lending on the value of the property in its current condition.

Chain breaking – You may have found your “dream house” but are unable to sell your current house within the necessary time frame. In these situations, a bridging loan secured against your current home in order for you to transfer your current residential mortgage to your new property. You will then repay the bridging loan from the proceeds that will be generated from the sale of your current home.

Non status – As with any property based lenders, Income multiples and rental calculations do not form part of the underwriting process and they are often open-minded regarding your credit history.

Second charge lending – Bridging lenders are often willing to provide loans even when there is an existing mortgage on the property. This service can be useful if you have a significant amount of equity in your property, require funds for a short period of time (less than one year) and would prefer a second charge loan rather than a remortgage or a further advance on your current mortgage.…

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Simple Tips On How To Find A Realtor

Simple Tips On How To Find A Realtor

Whether you intend to buy or sell a home it is important to have the best realtor you can find. After all, you need someone who is professional enough to take care of the little details, so you do not have to worry. The following tips on how to find a realtor will serve as great pointers and will help you select the right agent.

Make certain you are prepared before meeting any agents. You can do this by writing down a list of questions you might have regarding previous experience, success rates, and the type of service you should expect. Determine if the person is in the property business on a full-time basis or if he or she sells homes as a sideline. Although experience does not always reflect the capabilities of agents, it is a good indicator of the kind of knowledge they possess.

Communication is essential during the entire process. You need to know the realtor you select will provide you with a regular update on the efforts he or she is making to sell your house, or find you the home of your dreams. This includes any advertisements, feedback, showings, and other relevant information.

Find out from each agent you are considering whether or not he or she has an online presence. These days people can take virtual tours of homes before seeing the actual property. This can greatly increase your chances of selling, and increase your choices if you are in the market to buy.

Besides reaching a larger market you will also be able to provide additional details that will help entice buyers. Agents who have a website featuring available listings can save you a significant amount of time and money, especially if you are looking for the perfect home. You have the opportunity to choose your favorite houses before you waste time touring ones you do not like.

There are a few mistakes you should try to avoid making when considering your options. For instance, having a family member or friend with experience in the property industry does not automatically mean you must hire the individual. You should ensure the person competes for your business along with all the other realtors on your list. Even though it might be tempting to select someone you know, you need to hold that agent to the same standards you hold every other realtor.

In addition, you should never pick someone who agrees with you all the time. You need someone that will help you realistically look at your property options, especially since it is significant investment. Look for someone who understands the selling points of your home. If you are buying, then you need someone who will look out for your interests during your search and highlight the problems and the potential of each property.

Always be cautious and pay attention to your instincts. Finding the right person could mean the difference between making the best or worst property decision of your life. Ultimately you need an individual who understands your needs and is able to work with you to achieve your property goals. These tips on how to find a realtor will help you find the best person for the job.…

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Finding the Best Annuity Quote

Finding the Best Annuity Quote

When a person retires they will usually look to convert their pension fund into a regular income. This is the purpose of annuities. A lifetime annuity will transform the pension fund that you have accumulated over your working life into an income that will be paid until you die. When purchasing an annuity you have a number of options and so finding the best annuity quote for you can be a difficult process.

People reaching retirement age often mistakenly believe that they must purchase their annuity from the same company that holds their pension. However this is not the case and under the Open Market Option people are free to shop around for the best annuity quote available. In the UK there are several companies offering annuities. Annuity rates offered by these companies will tend to vary significantly and so to ensure you are receiving the highest income possible from your pension fund you should always search for the best deal.

There are many different types of annuities. Common types of annuity policies include lifetime, with profit, enhanced life and unit linked. The suitability of these different policies will depend on your own individual circumstances and preferences. Your age, sex, marital status and health will all affect the annuity rates you are offered and so which type of annuity is right for you. For example, an enhanced life annuity is a good choice for people who due to a medical condition have a reduced life expectancy.

When purchasing your annuity it is recommended that you make use of professional advice before you make a decision. Independent annuity advisors can help you choose the right annuity for your circumstances and find you the best annuity quote available. Once you have purchased your annuity you won’t be able to reverse your decision and so if you haven’t taken the time you compare the annuities on offer then you may miss out.…

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Tips for Choosing the Right Health Insurance in the Midst of a Pandemic

In the midst of this uncertain situation, it is undeniable that health is one of the most valuable things that must be maintained. In addition to keeping your body healthy and free from various diseases, extra protection is needed so that you and your family can still enjoy a calm and comfortable life. One of them is to prepare health insurance .

Currently, insurance companies are always trying to innovate and give birth to various new insurance products that can be chosen by the wider community. This is done to be able to provide options according to the needs of users. Then, how to determine it? Here are tips on choosing health insurance that you need to know.

1.Understand Your and Your Family’s Needs

The first tip in choosing health insurance is to understand your needs first. This will certainly make it easier for you to find a choice of insurance products in the midst of an uncertain situation like this. By understanding the insurance needs that you need, then you can get the maximum benefit from the insurance product. In addition, don’t forget to study the services provided by insurance companies in detail.

2. Make a Comparison

With so many companies providing health insurance products, of course you will have a variety of options to consider. One of the tips for choosing the best health insurance in the new normal era that you can do is to make a comparison list. By doing this, you can see the differences between each insurance product more clearly, so you can more easily find the best health insurance product that suits your needs.

3. Find out the Credibility of the Insurance Company

Next, tips for choosing health insurance in the pandemic season that you can do is to study the credibility of the insurance company first. This is important to do so that you avoid losses that may occur in the future. Therefore, make sure to choose insurance products from companies that have good credibility and reputation.

One of the insurance companies with high credibility that you can choose is Zurich Indonesia. Zurich offers a wide range of general insurance and health insurance products and services to choose from. One of the insurance products that can be chosen is Zurich Smart Care. Zurich Smart Care provides life protection as well as investment, complemented by additional insurance for comprehensive protection according to the needs of you and your family. Interesting right?

4.Choose Health Insurance with an Extensive Hospital Network

In addition to ensuring that health insurance products can provide maximum benefits for your needs, also note that the registered hospitals have an extensive network. Do not make the mistake of choosing health insurance that offers a lot of disease protection but is only limited to a small number of hospitals.

5. Have Flexibility in Determining Premiums and Benefits

Tips for choosing the next health insurance is to pay attention to the flexibility offered. Choose a health insurance product that allows you to change premiums or benefits flexibly. This will certainly make it easier for you to adjust your financial plans in the future.

6.Has an Easy Claim Process

Next, tips for choosing health insurance in the pandemic season that you can do is to pay attention to the claim payment system. Good health insurance not only offers protection for the risk of disease, but also in realizing the benefits of protection with an easy claim process . An easy and straightforward claim procedure can be an option for you to save time and reduce the burden of thinking if something unexpected happens in the future.…

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Part Time Finance Director – When Half is Better Than a Whole

Part Time Finance Director – When Half is Better Than a Whole

Any MBA or business studies course will point out the importance of having a properly controlled and well disciplined accounting function. There have been many catalogued disasters where lack of this vital process has resulted in the ultimate demise of the largest of organisations let alone the new start-up.

Take General Motors for instance. GM’s share price dropped more than 12% in one 3 day period after delaying the filing of its accounts. GM restated its historic profits and was forced to admit “The lack of effective internal controls could adversely affect our financial condition and ability to carry out our strategic business plan”.

Dell is another company who a year or so ago  had to delay its results because it had found “a number of accounting errors, evidence of misconduct, and deficiencies in the financial control environment.”

So no argument, every company needs good financial control and how better to protect yourself than to employ a full time Finance Director (FD)? The GM and Dell issues also highlight the huge responsibilities of the FD.

But who is this colossus on whose shoulders can be borne the weight of investors’ trust, with responsibility for accounting for the Sales Director’s complex deal whilst massaging the CEO’s ego? Interestingly, apart from the odd Monty Python-like parody little time has been spent analysing what sort of person wants to become an FD and what makes a good one.

The starting point is to understand what are the origins of the typical FD? Around 80% of graduate chartered accountants come from a mathematical, accounting or scientific background, people who like definite answers to a problem. Many of these individuals ‘fell’ into accounting unable to decide what to finally do in life. Accounting offered a safe option, good pay, good prospects, something one could succeed at, but still a qualification with so many options open. Our budding FD still didn’t need to decide what they really wanted to be when they grew up!

The best FDs I have met also combine two other significant qualities. Firstly, they have the ability to picture the story behind the numbers their favourite word is “because”. After every accounting fact that the FD relays comes a “because” statement. The second quality is the ability to communicate this picture in a way that everyone in an organisation can understand easily. An FD that resorts to complex jargon to explain a company’s performance doesn’t understand what is actually going on behind the numbers.

But these are the skills we associate more readily with a salesman or a marketeer. So are we looking at a problem solving, risk-averse salesman that does not quite know where they want to end up in life?

Well yes, and I believe this is why so many FDs make the transition from FD to CEO. In fact more than one in five FTSE 100 CEOs are accountants.

However, this may also explain why in SME companies so many FDs feel unfulfilled or worse, live in conflict with the rest of the management team.

This is often a more acute issue in Venture Capitalist (VC) backed companies. The VC quite rightly wants a solid controller of funds and someone with experience to manage the company’s finances from small to medium to large to exit. However, the problems comes in the length of time it may take for a company to become successful.

When the spectacular growth occurs, no problem, but what if the market or product is not quite ready yet and there is a delay in execution? After a while our FD starts to become a little bored and in a vain effort to add value starts to become the salesperson or marketeer that they really wanted to be all along.  When these efforts fail, the FD becomes de-motivated and can no longer implement the strict financial and budgetary measures necessary in the same cheery and light-hearted way they once did. In short the FD gets in the way.

At Isosceles the business accounting consultancy we have seen this issue on a regular basis.

Rarely is the person who is going to take the company public, deal with corporate financiers, investors and NOMADS the same type of person who is going to produce management accounts, the forecast and weekly cash-flow when the budget doesn’t run to a financial controller as well.

We have had clients who have had as many as four full-time FDs in two years. That’s four sets of recruitment fees, and four handovers.

This situation partly explains the rapid growth in part-time and outsourced FD services such as Isosceles’. These services have prospered not only because the client gets access to the higher FD skills they need in a cost effective way, but because the concept of running a portfolio of clients where the financial processing and controller elements are covered within one …

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New Credit Card Laws Result in New Credit Card Concerns

New Credit Card Laws Result in New Credit Card Concerns

In the past year, credit limits have been reduced while interest rates have been raised for tens of thousands of credit card users. The new laws meant to protect the public passed in 2009 but did not take effect until February of 2010. That left a big window of opportunity for lenders to position themselves to protect their profits under the new regulations and credit lenders used that time period effectively.

Perhaps the most important change for consumers this year is that cross default is no longer allowed by lenders. Prior to 2010, if you made a late payment on any account you could find all of your credit card interest rates skyrocket to over 30% for your entire balance of debt. The laws were so forgiving that lenders could use almost any excuse to raise your interest rates. This practice became widely used in the past two years especially and has driven many people into bankruptcy.

The big problem with cross default was that the total balance on the account was subject to the interest change. It didn’t matter if you had paid that account faithfully on time for years – if you had a late payment on another account your rates could be doubled or tripled. Sometimes it was an immediate change from 10% to 33% (which would more than triple the monthly payment due) but it could also be a small increase month after month.

Under the new laws lenders cannot permanently change your interest rate on past purchases. However, they can change that interest rate on a temporary basis as a “penalty” payment if you make a late payment. This has not been widely mentioned and many consumers are not aware of this risk.

One big change in current lending is to impose annual fees for credit card holders. Not all banks are doing this but the number is increasing. Annual fees were common years ago when credit cards were available only to those with excellent credit and were often not used frequently. If the annual fee card also offers a significantly lower interest rate, the fee may be in your favor. However, carrying a wallet full of credit cards will not be a good option if you must fees annually for each of those accounts.

The most dangerous change for consumers in current credit lending practices is that lenders no longer tell you what the interest rate will be on your new account. Instead, there is a range of interest rates that may be, for example, 13.24%, 17.24% and 22.24%. On the application, the lender states your Annual Percentage Rate will be based on creditworthiness.

Large lenders such as Chase Bank are still offering 0% introductory APR for new accounts but until your account has been approved you will not know what the actual interest rate will be. The lender offers a carrot of free transfer of existing balances and 0% APR for up to twelve months. That’s an attractive offer but consumers cannot afford to use credit accounts if the interest rates will be exorbitant a year from now.

Unfortunately, the new laws do not required lenders to state what the levels of creditworthiness are. You may know what your 3-digit credit rating is but unless it is very high you will not know whether you can qualify for the lowest rate of interest on a credit account.

The new credit card laws will protect consumers from the worst predatory practices that became common in the past few years. At the same time, new fees and strategies will continue to be found by lenders in an attempt to constantly increase profits. As a consumer using credit cards you cannot afford to make assumptions or ignore the fine print on your credit statement.…