Category Archives: Personal Finance

Top 3 Money Protection Techniques

Money may feel somewhat scarce these days in comparison to the more prosperous times of the past. While we do not want to have to lock ourselves away and never part with our cash again, many of us do want to know how to protect the remaining finances we have and insure ourselves against further tough economic times.

Invest your money sensibly

With interest rates from bank accounts continuing to decline in several countries, more and more people are turning to alternative methods of investing their money. From stocks and shares to solid gold, with many other new and exciting markets also emerging; having a portfolio can be a great way to boost your balance. However, not only must you choose carefully where to place your money, you must also choose carefully how much money to place on each asset; early successes must not go to your head and spur you on to risk too much of your cash. While investing can be a great long-term method to grow your savings, you must always ensure you retain enough to survive comfortably in the meantime.

Be on the lookout for hidden charges

There are on-going calls for courts to be granted additional power in the fight against hidden charges that continue to lumber consumers with unwanted debts and over-inflated monthly payments. In the meantime, you can protect yourself against ending up in such a situation by remaining diligent to the small print of any contracts and by carefully scrutinising the terms and conditions of any deals long before you agree to sign them.

One of the most widespread cases of unsolicited, hidden charges came in the form of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). This policy was mis-sold by banks in poorly organised policies to thousands of consumers who had no need for it; most of whom were not even made aware that they were paying for it until they found their bank accounts sorely hit by extra charges.

While the likes of PPI has led to the public naming and shaming of those involved and a call from governments to reimburse wrongfully taken cash, other companies are still employing this rogue technique. From phone network providers, to supermarkets, to airlines; almost any business will try it if they believe they will get away with it.

Protect your identity

One of the best ways to protect your money is to protect your own identity. It is not just cancelling lost credit cards and informing banks of changes in address that can protect us however: Many of us now use smartphones as part of our everyday lives but fail to realise what a goldmine they are for potential identity (and monetary) thieves. Apps contain detailed information about us; they provide quick access to all our emails and contacts and many of us use them for remote, internet banking and fail to even bother logging out of our accounts.

Smartphones should always be password protected and passwords for separate devices, websites, online accounts, etc. should never be the sameor else if a hacker cracked it, they would immediately have access to everything. Software even allows you to lock your phone or wipe its data completely from another computer should it become lost or stolen.

About the Author

This post was written by Gladstone Brookes; a company based in the UK that helps consumers to reclaim money from mis-sold PPI policies. With an 87% success rate, they have already aided in the reimbursement of over £300 million so far and continue to accept applications from those who believe they have been wrongfully charged by their banks.

Repair your Default Status as soon as Possible

It’s the duty of each and every loan borrower to repay the entire loan amount to one’s lender. The majority of college goers take help of student loans to continue education flexibly, and thereafter, they are asked to pay back the loan in time. Since it’s not easy to start making repayments just after completing graduation, the loan lender sets a time period that can be convenient for the borrower to meet all his installments. However, it’s found that many students fail to make their payments despite getting sufficient time. When the loan lender finally discovers that the borrower has not provided payments for nine consecutive months, he categorizes the loan as a defaulting student loan.

With a defaulted loan, life can turn into a mess. Whether it’s your work or domestic life, everything will be affected once your loan lender transfers your defaulted loan account to the credit bureau. Moreover, your credit score will drastically fall and this will deprive you of getting further financial help from loan lenders and banks. Well, if you are one of the student loan defaulters, you have to take smart initiatives and that too in almost no time to get rid of your defaulted status. The more you delay, the more the complications.

So, here are some of the best possible ways that can help loan defaulters stay out of dire straits:

  1. If you are burdened with too many loans, you can still manage to meet them with the help of consolidation scheme. Well, it’s not easy to make each loan payment at the end of every month. In this respect, student loan consolidation will allow you merge all loans into one and make a single payment. In fact, your repayment time period will also get extended.
  2. You can always file for bankruptcy. If you think that it’s not possible for you to make the loan repayments along with other due debts, filing bankruptcy will always be a good option. Get in touch with a professional attorney who will help you get your loan erased.
  3. Enroll in special programs designed for defaulting student loan. There are loan rehabilitation programs and loan deferment programs for which you can always apply to improve your credit score. You can always take help of your lender who can help you make all the arrangements in time.
  4. The Federal Student Aid rehabilitation program is probably the best scheme to keep you miles from getting your credit report stained. So, you can either talk to your lender or consult any financial advisor.

So, it’s crystal clear that defaulting student loan has several unpleasant consequences. Therefore, the sooner you talk to your lender, the better it is.

Author’s bio:

The author here has provided us a number of ways that can help student loan defaulters stay miles from falling prey to legal complications. One should get rid of one’s defaulting student loan without any delay.

Protect Your Retirement: Don’t Make These Tax Mistakes

Saving money for retirement is important and can be done more easily with the help of tax-advantaged accounts such as an IRA or an ISA.

However, when you have worked hard, put your money into an IRA or ISA and done everything right, you can still jeopardize your successful retirement by making some simple money mistakes. To help make sure you do not lose what you have worked so hard to save and earn, here are some tax mistakes to watch out for.

1) Rolling over your IRA too often or improperly

When you move money from a 401K to an IRA or from one IRA to another, there are special rules in place in order to avoid tax consequences. If you fail to follow these rules, your money move can be considered a distribution rather than a roll-over.
This can have serious tax consequences as you may have to pay taxes and penalties for taking the money out of the IRA. Before you move your money, check with an experienced financial advisor to make sure you do it right. You also need to avoid moving your money too much as you are allowed only one IRA to IRA roll-over per year before you are considered to have taken a distribution.

2) Failing to consider your retirement account when you are planning your estate

You must remember to name a beneficiary for an IRA or an ISA account in order to make sure that the money goes to the person you want it to go to.

If you are going to leave your money to more than one beneficiary, you will also want to spell out exactly who is to receive what. This is so there is no money wasted as your beneficiaries squabble over who is supposed to receive funds from the IRA or ISA.
In some cases, you may wish to use tools like an IRA trust when you name a beneficiary. This would prevent your beneficiary from spending the money all at once and taking it in one lump sum.

When setting up the trust, it again needs to be done carefully and in accordance with your financial advisor in order to make sure that you are doing everything right and following all guidelines. Otherwise, your efforts could be ineffective.

3) Not understanding the tax rules of your retirement account

When you invest in an IRA or an ISA, there are rules associated with maintaining the tax-advantaged nature of the money. For instance, with traditional IRAs, you must begin to take distributions when you reach a designated age.

It is also very important to not withdraw money before you have reached an age where you are allowed to do so, or unless the reason for your withdrawal falls into an exception and is permitted.

When you take money out of an IRA prematurely, you may have to not only pay taxes on the IRA distribution, but also pay penalties associated with early withdrawal as well. These penalties can be significant.

Cashing in your IRA or ISA can thus deplete the money you have tried to save, leaving you with far less than you would have had if you had followed the rules and waited to take the money out. Not only that, but cashing it in too often at improper times can trigger multiple penalties and tax consequences that could dwindle your investment down to nothing.

Whether you have an IRA, an ISA, a 401K or any other type of special retirement account, do not take action without knowing the implications.

Are you on top of your Finances?

An occasional late fee on your credit card or a few extra dollars each month in insurance payments may not have been such a big deal in the past, but now every dollar counts. Find out how you can get on top of your finances and keep your pockets full with these easy tips.

Save on credit card payments

This may be one of the easiest areas of your financial life to save in. The top ways to save yourself from having to pay unnecessary fees on credit cards boils down to two simple acts: pay on time and never overdraw your account. The first of these is particularly important considering that many credit card companies drastically raise your interest rate if you pay late. You could see a jump of as much as 15% in interest, all for making your payment a few days late. An easy way to stay on top of your credit card is to sign up for online banking so that you can access your account from your computer and your mobile phone.
You should also check with your bank to see if you can categorize the purchases that you make on your credit card. Many credit companies will allow you to pay toward “everyday” purchases such as gas and groceries first, so that you don’t have to pay interest on these smaller totals from month to month. Then, you can pay towards your bigger debt balance with the money that you have left.

Save on mortgage payments

Most of the saving strategies for mortgage payments are applied at the beginning of your term. If you are on the market for a new home, you should first “clean up” your credit by paying off as much of your debt as you can before applying for a loan. This will increase your appeal to your bank or any other lenders that you may choose. Next, you should focus on saving up as much money as possible for a down payment on your home. You can significantly cut your mortgage term if you pay more towards your home at the outset. This may also earn you a better interest rate with your lender. Both of these benefits add up to paying off your home years earlier than you may have expected.

Save on insurance

The need for insurance, whether it is auto insurance, home insurance, or life insurance, is simply a fact of life. However, making sure that you protect your financial well being doesn’t have to be unpleasant. Find an insurance agent that you get along with well and this could open the door to fruitful negotiations on premiums and deductibles. The best and easiest way to save on insurance is to get a bundle package; that is, buy all of your insurance policies from the same companies in order to take advantage of discounts.

When it comes to auto insurance, you can keep your payments low by driving a safe, reliable car and taking care not to sully your driving record with too many violations. You can also save when you purchase home insurance by installing safeguards such as a security system and more smoke detectors in your home. Overall, you can ask your agent for discounts on all of your policies based on any professional organizations that you belong to.

Author bio: Michael Edmondstone is a personal finance expert that specializes in advising consumers on how to keep more of their hard-earned money.

What Is Backing Your Deposits in the Bank?

By Elliott Wave International

Is the bank really the safest place to keep your money? Robert Prechter joins the Mind of Money host Douglass Lodmell to discuss what backs bank deposits and how you can keep your hard-earned money safe.

We invite you to watch the interview below. Then read Robert Prechter’s free report, Discover the Top 100 Safest U.S. Banks.

What is the best course of action to safeguard your money?

Read our free 10-page report, Discover the Top 100 Safest U.S. Banks, to learn:

  • The 5 major conditions at many banks that pose a danger to your money.
  • The top two safest banks in your state.
  • Bob Prechter’s recommendations for finding a safe bank.
  • And more!

Download your free report, Discover the Top 100 Safest U.S. Banks, now.

This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline What Is Backing Your Deposits in the Bank?. EWI is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.

Why You Have To Shop Around For A Loan

Whenever you are looking to make a big purchase, you rarely have the money upfront. Instead, you get a loan to finance your purchase, or use a combination of financing and a down payment. Another reason to take out a loan is to pay off other loans, but with a better interest rate. Whatever your loan needs are, it is a good idea to shop around so that you can get the best deal.

Interest Rates Vary

When looking for personal loans, you should shop around because the interest rate your receive will vary depending on where you get your loan from. For example, if you get a payday loan, the interest rate will be quite steep, however, if you get a loan from a local credit union, you could end up paying as little at 3 percent interest. Instead of taking the first deal on the table, it pays to find a lender that can save you the most money over the long haul.

Your Credit Matters

When it comes to personal loans, your credit is very important. A good credit score can mean a better rate on a loan and more flexible payment terms. One thing to watch out for is how a particular lender views your credit score. Lender A could see your 640 credit score as a risk and not want to lend to you without a co-signer and a higher interest rate. Lender B could be willing to overlook your shaky past because your recent payment history has been solid. That lender could be willing to give you the same deal as someone with a credit score of 700.

Get The Money You Need

Depending on the lender you choose to work with, you might not get as much money as you hope for. If you are looking to purchase a home, and you only get 100,000 dollars from the bank, that isn’t going to get you far. To buy that dream home, you are going to have to shop around and find a lender who offers cheap personal loans for the amount that you are looking for. There will be someone out there for you, you just have to know where to look and which lenders will fit your needs.

When it comes to money, you have to be sure that you are not overspending or getting a raw deal. There needs to be a combination of the right interest rate, proper loan amount and terms that fit what you are looking for and that reward your good credit standing. Until you find that right combination, you should keep shopping around to find the best deal possible.