Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Want to plan your financial future - Know your personality

Another year is coming to an end and we all are geared up to welcome the New Year with grand celebrations and loads of plan for the future. While going through I came across an interesting article on planning financial future while considering your personality and thought of sharing it with you.

All of us want to make a financial plan which would be appropriate and helpful for us in future. For that you need to recognize your personal way of living, spending habits, and your mind set. Based on such related factors, the founder and CEO of the Money Coaching Institute, Deborah L. Price have categorized different profiles that may help you to have a clear perception to take financial decisions. Here are the different profiles:

Innocent - One who rely on others' opinion and advice and seems to be overwhelmed by finance related information. Such a person easily trusts people and often end up in making bad decisions.

Victim - This is a person whose attitude is to blame his/her woes on outside factors and generally tends to live in the past. This type of person have the notion that he does not have control over his situations.

Warrior - As you can get a hint from the name itself, a Warrior is a person who is often to be successful in financial works. He will be be a good listener but will take his own decisions.

Martyr - A person whose nature is to help others with money, which sometimes proves costly in the long run.

Fool - One who does not have the ability to make his own decisions and may act ruthlessly. It can be described as a mixture of Innocent and Warrior.

Artist/Creator - This profile is well described with an appropriate phrase "love/hate relationship with money". They do not care for their money.

Tyrant - The Tyrants save and store money and often use them to manipulate others. However they are never comfortable and always think that they are going to lose control of their money.

Magician - A perfect type you can say. He is absolutely clear about his situation and his responsibilities.

Amazing, isn't it? I had never thought that you can plan your finances based on your personality. I hope this characteristics will help you have a clear vision about your financial decisions and begin the New Year with a fresh financial plan.

Wishing all of you a very happy and financial stress free New Year!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pay your bills on time and keep your house

These days, no matter who you talk to, it seems like finances are a huge source of stress. People are worried about losing their homes like never before in recent memory, and keeping up with bills is more of a challenge for more people than it has been in a very long time.

Bills can be such a troubling topic, in fact, that many of us are tempted to ignore them all together. This is a huge mistake. Letting your bills go unpaid could cause your credit score to fall and your interest rates to rise—it could even put your home in jeopardy. The best way to eliminate debt-related stress is not to ignore it, but to face it head-on.

There are lots of things you can do to help yourself breathe a little easier when it comes to your finances. The first, and perhaps simplest, is to pay your bills immediately upon receipt or on the following payday. With so many banks and companies today offering online and phone-based pill paying, the process is made that much easier. Paying things off as soon as possible keeps the bills from piling up, the mere sight of which can trigger incredible anxiety.

Another way to keep your bills under control is to create a list of all your monthly bills and how much they cost. This allows you to budget, which is an invaluable tool in eliminating debt. Once you know how much you need to spend on bills every month, you can develop a plan of action for payment. If your bills are more than you can afford, you may want to consider taking out a loan. Cash loans can help you consolidate your debt or provide you with an even starting point from which you can keep up with your payments in the future.

Facing your finances is the most important thing you can do to keep them in check. Once you know what you’re up against, tackling your bills becomes surprisingly worry-free.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mortgage arrears: how could debt management help?

At a time like now, more and more people will be experiencing difficulties when trying to keep on top of their bills/financial commitments.

Some people may find that they can't afford their mortgage payments for a number of reasons, and they have ended up in arrears. For example:

  • Their income has dropped.
  • The cost of living has risen too much.
  • The payments they are making to their unsecured / non-priority debts are taking up too much of their monthly income.

Debt management and non-priority debts

The way a professional debt management plan works is simple: the individual asks a debt management professional to talk to their unsecured lenders on their behalf, asking them to agree to reduced monthly payments, and also asking them to lower/freeze interest and/or waive charges where possible.

Lenders understand that anyone's circumstances can change, and individuals may no longer be able to repay their debt as they had agreed - in this case, they may accept the new changes.

However, it can, in some cases, be difficult getting mortgage providers (and other secured creditors) to agree to accept lower payments.

Debt management and priority debts

There are two possible ways debt management could help an individual afford their mortgage payments:

  • Debt management can 'free up' the money someone needs for their priority debts (such as mortgage payments). Non-priority lenders understand that the individual needs somewhere to live and money to live on, and if a person can't afford the full amount laid down in their repayment agreements, then their non-priority lenders may well accept a pro rata payment - a portion of the individual's disposable income (total income minus essential expenditure, such as secured debt repayments), based on how much they owe that particular lender.
  • The debt management company may be able to contact the individual's mortgage provider and arrange an affordable way of paying off the arrears.

If you're wondering whether debt management could help you, you should contact a professional debt adviser.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Few basic tips to find Great Mortgage Loans

Like many things of the world, all mortgage loans are not similar. It's really a tough ask to figure out and find a great mortgage loan from amongst thousands available online or that you come across from mortgage lenders. Following few basic tips can help you save valuable time together with chance of getting quick approval.

Tip 1:

The foremost step is to do proper research and select an experienced mortgage consultant. If you have an idea about the real estate industry and think of doing it for yourself, you need do a lot of homework so that you know your options and select the most appropriate one. Shop around and compare the various rates from the mortgage lenders.

Tip 2:

Next thing that you need to know is your credit report. This is because of the fact that these loans are issued on the basis of credit score. So before applying for any mortgage loan, make sure you have a current report, without any errors. Check properly for yourself if you have any doubt, as this is one of the most important information provided during the loan application.

Tip 3:

Now is the time to organize your paper work. All the financial documents necessary here like bank statements, tax return, etc. must be kept well organized and you should have copies as well. Sometimes these little things can keep you away from your low mortgage rate.

Happy Thanksgiving to all :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

“Pennies on the dollar”

It’s what you always hear when the talk turns to debt settlement or debt negotiation. You are usually promised a debt settlement worth “pennies on the dollar.” But, in reality, the truth might be a little more scary and a little more involved. Fraudulent debt settlement companies may not always be what they are cracked up to be, and it’s up to you to understand and notice the difference between the good guys and all the rest.

In the past five years, 21 states have sued 128 debt-relief programs, according to the National Association of Attorneys General. – The Wall Street Journal

It is for this reason, and the fact that many states have varying legislation regarding debt settlement rules, that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is getting involved. With complaints at an all-time high, and consumers in deeper debt than ever, the FTC is hoping to change the rules nationwide to protect the consumer and regulate the debt settlement industry.

The FTC is hoping to require full transparency from debt settlement companies, as well as limiting their ability to charge upfront fees.

Fee structures vary, but a common variant is that the consumer pays about 40% of the fee in the first few months, and the rest within the first year--though the settlements, if successful, may not occur for months or even years beyond that. Fees vary but often range from about 10% to 15% of the consumers' debt. – The Wall Street Journal

While almost every single debt settlement company in existence charges upfront fees for services not even started, there are a few reliable companies out there that have taken their outreach to the next level by charging no upfront fees. The Debt Settlement Program, as well as Your Debt Negotiator are just a few of the ACCORD certified debt settlement companies that charge no upfront fees and are attempting to change debt industry for the better.

As for the FTC wanting debt settlement companies to be more transparent about their settlement practices, The Debt Settlement Program and Your Debt Negotiator are completely honest with clients in regards to time frames, amount of monthly payments, and settlement estimates.

“I was very happy with the services and the ease of the program. You said it would take about three years, and it did. The program was very simple and the process very clear, and the instructions were easy to follow,” said T.B., a debt settlement client. “My assigned representative was extremely helpful. She answered my telephone calls or returned them promptly. She was always available.”

It’s true that debt settlement companies do not work for every client, but that is why The Debt Settlement Program as well as Your Debt Negotiator holds strict requirements for enrolling new consumers. The enrollment process is just the beginning in determining how successful any client will be, and though the debt settlement process takes work and time, with their strict enrollment process these two companies are able to work diligently to get clients out of debt.

So, as for the “pennies on the dollar” promise that many fraudulent debt settlement companies will promise their clients, it’s best to take that with a grain of salt. In following FTC suggestions, making promises upfront is no different than charging upfront fees for services not yet even started. It’s pointless, it’s fraudulent, it’s definitely not transparent, and it hurts not only the consumer who is struggling to get out of debt, but it hurts the entire debt settlement industry as well.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Franchise Business: Right option?

Have you ever thought of becoming your own boss? Then buying a franchise can be an option for you. As more and more companies are rationalizing, millions of people are actually thinking of a second option for them. And amongst them buying a franchise is proving to be quite famous these days.

In a franchise business, you do not have to start your own business from scratch, rather you are given a particular right to distribute or market its products. The odds of success are generally greater with famous companies as compared to the less known or newer ones. There is a wide range of categories available in market today. So be wise enough to select the one that would match your skill and interest, coz even though it's your business, you will have to follow certain rules and regulations.

The popularity of franchising is increasing at a greater pace. One of the reasons being its lower failure rate. Moreover, the security level is higher as compared to small businesses. However, before thinking of wading into this business, you must carefully go through some questions to get a clear picture of it. For example, check some of them below:

* Do you have sufficient money to finance your franchise?
* Are you choosing the right category of the business?
* Are you familiar with the risk involved in it?
* Have you done enough research on your prospect franchiser?
* Do you have the right character for a franchise (a must)?

These are just a few of them, you need to figure out all such questions and then decide how to go about it. I came across an interesting video on buying into a franchise and thought of sharing it here:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Apply for Payday loan: most stable and trusted opportunity today

In the economy collapse, all major credit cards and credit agencies raise their fees, and it’s pretty hard to get a credit with the bad credit history. Let me present you the most stable and trusted opportunity of today.

Welcome to payday loan cash advance - it’s the real answer for everybody who needs some emergency money. Unlike other credit company’s our online cash advance payday loan lowered fee's and offer you America’s easiest and fast approve ever. So you can get your money right within an hour. There are huge opportunities open for you by using payday loan cash advance, you are be able to earn some amount of cash and pay all your expenses, late-bills, get some presents for Christmas and other stuff.

Apply today for your payday loan cash advance online - its absolutely easy and time-less, immediate approve and cash just in minutes. By using this amazing online solution you can get up to $1,500 dollars no hassle, no faxing, and no credit check. What you need to receive your cash, is type in our free and secure online application, its simple and quick, receive money you looking for just in hour right to you bank account, no extra charges and fee's. Most affordable cash loan on the market today, there is no easier way to get your self $1500, for all your needs and expenses.

Use our safe and secured source at this is a fast and amazing online payday loan cash advance, we provide you with money no question asked, it’s really helpful and easy to use, most affordable and lowest fee. Trust our professional payday loan company; we have a great experience, fast approval and great solution for everyone, to get some emergency cash right away. Amazing service, fast approval and satisfaction are guaranteed.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Save Spooktacularly this Halloween without saving on Fun:

Halloween day is here again with barely few hours left for the celebrations. 31st October - the fun time of year and is particularly great fun for the kids. You and your kids transform to totally different person by dressing up in fun costumes. Not to mention, a time when American families will have to spend great amount in Halloween candy, costumes, decorations and other things for their little ones.

Most of us are still recovering from our financial crisis, but don't be disheartened, you can still create a fun and enjoyable Halloween. A lot of money can be saved by making decorations and costumes yourself by utilizing the items already present in the closet. This would help you to avoid purchasing expensive outfits, that too only for single use. Also a great idea will be to swap costume with relatives, friends or neighbors.

Let us come to decoration part. There are many items which can be recycled and re-used for decoration purpose. So be smart and pick your choice, and keep them in safe place so that when October comes again next year you can use them again.

Halloween equals lots of candy for kids. And you will not like to disappoint your son or daughter by compromising with candy. Buying in bulk always saves money and you can certainly go for it. If you think that there is too much, you can always split the packets with a friend or neighbor. This will make both, you and your kids happy.

These are only some tips to help you save this Halloween without saving on fun.

Have great fun this Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Budgeting to Win

We all know the basic idea behind budgeting "cut your expenses and increase your savings". Very simple to say but you need great determination to actually follow a well planned budget.

Budgeting to win...winning here means to maintain a balanced financial status and be successful in saving money. Begin with smaller achievable goals so that you can get motivated. In the following video, the top ten budgeting tips has been very well described and presented. I am sure this will be of great help to many of you.

Please give your valuable comments and suggestions.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is Recession coming to an end?

Is recession coming to and end? Is economy showing an improvement? Has the employment rate recovered? ... These are some of the most common questions that you will hear these days. Recession is generally described as "a period of economic decline". Lets find out some signs which shows that recession is coming to an end.

* From the economists' point of view, the larger percentage is of the opinion that the recession is over, though it will show slow recovery till the persistence of high debt and unemployment rate.

* The second sign comes from the prediction that home prices are expected to rise in 2010 and will be a big factor for the overall economic growth.

* After the scariest drop in the GDP (gross domestic product - a growth forecasting measuring rate), forecasters are expecting a 3 percent gain in the coming year.

* According to the Reuters, inflation wont be an obstacle for the economic recovery.

Lets hope that these signs are correct and the technical predictions become practical in near future.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Loan Modification Program hits target before schedule:

The Obama administration had launched a program called Making Home Affordable (MHA) few months back, around March 2009, which had shown a bit bumpy start at the beginning. The program was designed so as to reduce foreclosures and help 3 million to 4 million borrowers prevent foreclosure within three years.

According to the reports, it shows that the loan modification plan reached its initial goal of 500,000 trials more than three weeks ahead of schedule. Despite the disappointing launch, the mortgage relief effort by the government has touched its interim target of 500,000 trial loan modifications that was scheduled for November 1. Even thought this is just the beginning, at least we can see a glimpse of hope to ease the foreclosure crisis.

The main objective of the MHA program was to help the struggling homeowners modify their mortgages to prevent foreclosure, and as a consequence revive the housing market. The government tried to do so by reducing the interest rates and prompted the homeowners or the borrowers to refinance their loans. The result shows that the industry is working hard to reach the goal. The 500,000 mark has been praised by the chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association as “great news for consumers, homeownership and the economy in general". He has also said that MBA is willing to work with the government and provide help particularly to those borrowers who were unable to qualify for the modification program.

Let us hope that the MHA program fulfills their target, reduce the number of foreclosure cases and stabilize the housing market in near future.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wisconsin has a no down payment mortgage loan program

All home buyers in Wisconsin have a mortgage program available that does not require a down payment. The program is a Rural Housing mortgage loan.

Minimum down payments on other loan programs have made it more difficult for home buyers to qualify for a mortgage loan in Wisconsin. The Rural Housing program allows a true 100 percent financing loan for any home buyer in Wisconsin. You do not have to be a first time home buyer to qualify for this mortgage loan.

One of the most important things to remember about this program, is that it requires the home to be located in a rural area. Wisconsin home buyers are in a better position to qualify for this loan, because the majority of the state is made up rural areas.

Here are additional details of this program:

  • This program is called "Rural", because there are certain areas that are not eligible for this program. All of Milwaukee county is NOT eligible, but many areas throughout the entire state of Wisconsin are eligible.
  • Lenders are approving loans with credit scores as low as 580. Typically, a 620 is best, but if there are compensating factors to help offset the risk of a credit score below 620, it’s very possible you will be approved.
  • There is absolutely no PMI (private mortgage insurance) required with the total mortgage payment. Yes, no PMI, even though you won't need a down payment.
  • There are income limits, but they are based on the county the property is located and how many people will live in the property. If you have child care expenses, these can help to reduce your total income and help with staying under the income limits.
  • Maximum financing is allowed up to 102% of the appraised value of the home. So, it’s possible all the closing costs can be financed into the loan and not required to be paid out of pocket.

It’s very important home buyers take the time to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan, before looking at homes. Especially, if you are looking to buy a home with no money down, because sellers are going to want to work with serious buyers and serious buyer have pre-approval letters.

Learn more about no down payment mortgage loans in Wisconsin, so you understand what is available.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Payday Loan Tips

A payday loan provides an excellent option to help you deal with the late payments and other charges in the time of financial crisis. This is one of the best options for finding quick cash in a hurry. You will see that sometimes certain situations arise when you are in need of money but hesitate to ask any favor from your friends or relatives. These short term payday loans are ideal for such emergency cases.

A number of types of payday loans are available these days. Let me list few of them for your review:

*Online Payday Loan
*No Fax Payday Loan
*Bad Credit Payday Loan
*Instant Payday Loan
*Low Fee Payday Loan
*Military Payday Loan
*24 Hour Payday Loan
*Paperless Payday Loan

You have to decide and choose accordingly the type of loan that will be suitable for you. Just keep in mind few points before applying for payday loans.

  • As there are a number of companies providing payday loans, collect information about the company, for how long has been in this business, about its clients and references before selecting the company.
  • Since they are available instantly do not go for huge amounts as the interest rates are generally very high. It is better to apply for the amount that you require.
  • Do a little bit of market watch so that you do not miss out the option of the lowest rate available for your loan.

Please share your experience and suggestions regarding payday loans, and feel free to add any points that I have missed out here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Are you striking the right financial chord?

Choosing the best money management software among various available tools can be a mind boggling task. Many a times, we end up choosing the wrong money management tool and realize at the later stage that most of the features, if not all, are left unused. Most money management tools sport a host of features in an attempt to cater to the need of a diverse user base. In addition to this, money management tools can be distinctively different in certain aspects though they might look identical on the surface. Therefore, it is imperative that proper research is done before choosing a money management tool.

Selecting a money management application that is right for you is crucial but to be able to make the right selection you would have to be absolutely sure of what you want. This mini guide is an attempt to help users navigate the labyrinth of money management tools.

Bank account Aggregators: This section of money management tools primarily acts as a single interface to various bank accounts that your may have. People who want to avoid logging into different bank accounts to track their finances and/or get rid of manually adding their income & expense transactions could really benefit from ‘Bank Aggregators’. For people who just want all their bank accounts under a single hood, they should opt for money management tools that offer bank integration. Prominent money management software such as Mint, Wesabe, Yodlee etc. seems to be the right option for them.

All in all, money management tools that offer bank integration can be really effective in today’s fast & busy life. However, applications like these can be limited in scope and may not provide essential features for money management.

Day-to-day manual money management tools: This section of money management caters to the needs of the masses; people who want to manage their expenses incurred on daily basis. They can be students, homemakers or anyone who wants to keep a track of every single penny they spend. While cash expenses will have to be entered manually, such applications also allow users to import bank/credit card statements detailing their income and expenditure.

Money management tools that fall in this category also provide add on features like multi level reporting, budgeting, bill payment alerts, schedulers, recurring transactions, and more. Such applications are quite useful in expense tracking, budgeting and financial planning. A few money management applications that fall in this category are Omnispense, Pennyminder, manageME7 etc.

Comprehensive money management application: This set of money management tools are comprehensive in nature and present a hybrid variety of money management tools mentioned above. In short, they offer the ‘best of both worlds’.

They offer the ease of bank integration and the goodies of manual money management application. So you can not only sync up your bank and import bank statements, you can also run reports and perform advanced budgeting. A good example would be Buxfer.

So if looking for a money management tool or likely to make a switch from the existing one, be sure to know what to you want to get what you want.

Guest post by Saurabh Kanwar

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mortgage Calculator : A Handy Financial tool

If you are going to get a mortgage to buy a home for the first time, the first step is to assess your financial situation. This is a vital point to remember that before taking out a mortgage, you should be able to know where you stand financially so that you do not face any problem paying off the monthly amount. Otherwise the dream of your house will eventually disappear and you will have to walk away from your home sweet home.

A number of free mortgage calculators are available online for your convenience. Using these calculators, you can yourself find out the variation in payments for FHA loans and conventional mortgage loans. Moreover it will be easier for you to decide your right option - 15-year fixed rate mortgage or 30-year fixed year mortgage.

A mortgage calculator is a very handy tool to compare the rates from different mortgage providers. There exist a variety of calculators online which are quite simple to use. You just need to fill in your loan amount, length of term and the interest rate, and then simply hit "calculate mortgage". Entering different rates you can decide for yourself the best option for you that you can afford. Basically you can check the "what if" scenarios - changing the term, loan amount or the rates, you can work out your budget accordingly.

I have listed below some of the common types of mortgage calculators that can be beneficial for you. Just search them online and choose accordingly.

  • Simple monthly mortgage
  • Home affordability
  • Mortgage comparison
  • Mortgage qualification
  • Amortization schedule
  • Mortgage refinancing

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Forex currency trading - a wise investing option

In the past decade, the popularity of forex currency trading has immensely grown and has become one of the common form of investment. The forex currency market is amongst the world's largest financial markets.

As the term 'Forex' is an abbreviation for foreign exchange, likewise forex currency market is a place where different currencies from all over the world are being exchanged. You name any major currency and you will get it, be it US dollars, Pounds, Euros, Rupees or whatever major currencies you are looking for. If you observe you will see that foreign exchange rates does not remain constant, they keep on changing from time to time. Due to this volatility, you have the option of making a lot of money in the forex market with currency trading.

One simple example is the exchange of one currency from other while traveling overseas. Trading in forex is quite straight forward, but you need to know the basics properly to be successful in the market. You should be familiar with certain terminologies for the trading process, like currency pairs, pips, bid price, margin, long and short position and so on. You must be clear with all the related terms before you get started.

Moreover, in the present time, you can easily use Internet to access and carry out trading online. There are a number of free information available for you to educate yourself and use it to its maximum benefit for online trading. Here is an currency converter for your use.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fed Chief falls victim to Identity Theft

The serious crime of identity theft has been affecting millions of Americans, but who could have thought that the Federal Reserve chief himself will be one of the victims. Yes you read it right, Ben Bernanke, the Federal Chairman, has fallen victim to an identity fraud ring.

According to the news and reports, the Federal Chairman became entangled in this identity theft scheme after his wife Anna's purse was stolen from a coffee shop on Capitol Hill Starbucks last August. There were four credit cards, personal checks, Social Security card and IDs in her purse. Though it was not revealed how much money was stolen, but somebody had started cashing checks on their bank account. Immediately Mr.Bernanke had reported them to the bank, filed a police report and alerted the credit card companies when the purse was stolen.

Later it was found that although the thief did not target Anna specifically, he was a part of a crime ring for which many investigations were going on for months. In a way this theft helped fuel an ongoing investigation. If we go by the statistics given by Newsweek magazine as on Wednesday, the identity theft ring had stolen over $2.1 million from financial institutions and individuals.

Cylde Austin Gray is one of the ringleaders, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in federal court in Alexandria,last month. The court record showed that he was involved in employing an army of thieves, pick pockets and office workers to swipe cards, checks and other personal records.

Mr.Ben Bernanke, in a statement to Newsweek, showed his gratefulness to the law enforcement officers who worked patiently and diligently to solve such financial crimes.

No one is safe from identity theft. So if any of your personal information is stolen, be it credit cards, checkbook, IDs or any such thing, immediately alert all your financial institutions and act wisely to protect yourself.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reader's Digest filing Bankruptcy to condense debt

The publisher, of the world famous family magazine Reader's Digest, announced that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reduce its mounting debt. According to the New York Times report, the 88-year-old company has fallen pray to US$2.2 billion debt and hence has agreed to file for bankruptcy to slash down its debt to around US$550 million.

Reader's Digest is one of the largest selling magazines in the world, which was co-founded by Lila Bell Wallace and DeWitt Wallace in 1922 and based in New York. At one point of time, it had claimed around 130 million readers across 78 countries. But since 2005, the company had been under snowballing debt due to which it suffered a 18.4 percent fall in ad revenue in 2008.

The economic slowdown and availability of free internet news are amongst the causes that have affected its falling advertising revenue. The company has also announced that it will reduce its frequency of publishing from 12 times to 10 times a year, because of a 7.2 percent drop in ad revenue in the first six months of this year.

Reader's Digest has always been a must-have in the middle class living rooms. One of the reasons behind its popularity was the variety of the topics that it covered - famous people, inspiring stories, money-saving tips, crossword, jokes and much more.

Let us hope that we can continue to cherish Reader's Digest for a longer period of time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mixed Mortgage Rates this Week

This week mortgage rates did not have a particular trend, it was rather mixed. According to the latest weekly survey by Freddie Mac, longer term mortgages had gone up and even fixed rate conforming 15-year as well as 30-year mortgages moved up further above 5%, after it had reached a record low this year.

The average 30-year rate of this week showed a 0.07% percent hike, moving from 5.22 percent f last week to 5.29 percent. Freddie Mac said that last year in 2008, at this time the rate was around 6.52 percent. On the other hand, 15-year average mortgage rates were up from 4.63% to 4.68%, which was around 6.18% a year ago.

So this was regarding the current mortgage rates. Let's check out the interest rates of adjustable mortgage of this week by Freddie Mac. The ARM rates showed a mixed performance as well. The five-year adjustable rate averaged around 4.75%, up from 4.73% where as the rates on one-year ARM slipped from 4.78% to 4.72%. However at this time last year, both one-year and five-year adjustable mortgage rates were around 5.49%.

On the whole we can say that current mortgage rates are showing mixed performance with slight improvement and housing market is beginning to stabilize.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fight debt - but how?

Today, a large number of middle class people are drowning in debt. To be under debt burden has practically become a way of life for thousands of Americans.

However, you should not be disheartened and neglect it. Don't think that you cannot get out of debt anymore. I know that getting rid of debt is really difficult, but not impossible. You can always fight debt.

Don't forget, man is a powerful motivator. If you can follow the right strategy and stick to it, you can definitely lead a debt free life. While searching, I came across this video in which one of the most famous financial experts, Dave Ramsay have shared his experience of debt and some useful tips on how to attack debt and stay out of it.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Investing in Stock Market - Beginner's guide

In my last post I had discussed about the common myths about stock market investment. Today I would like to share with you, whatever knowledge I have gathered or came across, on how to invest in stocks, or rather say how to get started with stock market investment.

Investing in stocks has always been a frugal financial strategy for many, and statistics show that it has been successful in providing returns that exceeded much more than many other investments. Here are some of the things that you can do if you are looking for investment in stock market.

The first and the foremost thing is to get educated about stocks. There are a number of new terms like short selling, dividend yield, bull market, asset backing and so on. You can get all stock related information online from various financial sites, or you can read about stocks,attend seminars - collect proper information in whichever way you like. Before you proceed any further, you must have the background knowledge and make sure that stock market investment is for you.

Once you have decided on investing, next step will be to choose from the two options - buy stocks directly or go through a broker. Even if you go for a stock broker, it is advisable not to rely totally on him for all the stock market related decisions, try to collect as much information as possible.

The next point that you must keep in mind is diversification, that is do not put all your money in just one or two stocks. Successful investors diversify in multiple stocks. For the beginners, it is always better to go for long term investment.

There are a various strategies that contribute largely to the making of quality returns. A great deal of research work and dedication is the key to success in stock market.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Stock Market Myths:

Stock market can be a very good option for investment. However, you will find that there are a number of stock market myths existing among the common people. These unrealistic and wrong beliefs can sometimes prove to be very dangerous. Here we go over those common myths about the stock market.

Investing in stock market is equivalent to gambling - This is the most common myth which I found among the common mass. The belief is that when someone makes money, someone else loses it. They are of the opinion that money never grows in stock market, it only gets transferred from one investor to other.

Next comes the traditional wisdom - Buy and hold. Many people think that the best strategy to make money in stock is to buy, hold them for years and sit on them for as long as possible, and you will definitely beat the market.

An equally popular myth is that investing in stock market is full of risk, since the market is random and unpredictable.

There are many more such wrong beliefs which prevent the common people from investing in stocks and keep a realistic view of the stock market. If you think that I have missed out on some important point, please feel free to leave your valuable suggestions.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Some steps to get mortgage refinance approval:

Earlier getting approval for mortgage refinance was quite easier as compared to the present scenario. The homebuyers who had honest credit history and can afford a first installment, just had to do a few paperwork with a refinance company and the dream house was there. At present, the picture is totally different and have to face challenging conditions before getting approval for mortgage refinance.

Here I have just jotted down some steps for mortgage refinance approval:

1. Some basic research: It is always advisable to do some basic research about your current interest that you are paying, how much is your house worth and how can you get the maximum
advantage from the new agreement.

2. Check out the finances: Calculate how much finances you can obtain. Approximately 80% of the value of your house will be the amount that you can obtain on refinancing if you have good credit
history .

3. Save time with proper documents: If you want go ahead with no check credit refinance, try to have the necessary documents ready, that the lenders generally asks for, to save time.

4. True evaluation of your property: Once you have decided on the lender, it is very important to ensure that your property is in a good state. If necessary do some repairing, so that it is evaluated at the maximum price. Also don't forget to compare the rates and choose the one that best suits your requirements.

5. Go to closing: Always remember that you are in control now and do not do anything stupid with your money. There are many lenders and banks who will work with you. More the number of creditors, more is the possibility of getting your mortgage refinance.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mortgage Revolution - THE Mortgage event of 2009

Mortgage revolution is a revolution by mortgage professionals for mortgage professionals. It will be a 3-day conference and the main aim will be to focus on education through participation and help to raise $250,000 for charity. Unlike the other conferences, Mortgage revolution will be a non profit and free of spam conference and the main purpose is to provide a new breed of leadership to a battered mortgage industry.

The objective behind the event is to educate and inspire originators, irrespective of whether they are new, seasoned, banker or broker. The conference will be held at Cobb Galleria in Atlanta,GA. The following video is a must watch and will help you know what it is all about - THE Mortgage Revolution.

This is particularly for all mortgage professionals: Please come and join the revolution this November,2009. It is your duty and responsibility to protect the profession that you love.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

15-year and 30-year mortgage - Pros and Cons

Deciding on a mortgage term is one of the important factors for the home buyers. While talking of mortgage, we generally think of the interest rates alone. But the mortgage term is something more basic that you need to consider, which usually come with two options: 15-year or 30-year mortgage.

15-Year Mortgage

In a 15-year mortgage term you have to pay less interest rates as compared to 30-year loan. Even though the monthly mortgage payments are higher, but still people prefer as it allows them to build home equity quickly because of shorter amortization. Another reason for the popularity of this type of mortgage loan is that everybody wants to clear debt as quickly as possible.

Less interest
Loan cleared faster
Cheaper mortgage insurance

Higher mortgage payment
Less chance of benefiting from other investment

30-year Mortgage

The 30-year mortgage has the advantage of lower monthly payments due to which it has been a choice for many homeowners in the past. The fluctuation in the interest rate does affect you monthly payment in the entire time period.

lower mortgage payments
Capital repayment
Better than renting

More interest paid
Negative equity
Less flexibility

Choosing the length of the mortgage term is totally up to you. Here I have just jotted down the pros and cons of both the terms that can help you choose the best option for you.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Take action before you fall prey to Credit Card Debt:

Credit card debt is perhaps one of the most common financial problems which people face today. Millions of Americans have fallen prey to immense debt due to credit card debt. The main reason is that many of us are unaware of the concept of credit cards. People treat as if it's some free money and can be spend without any limit. They often tend to forget that it's their own hard earned money that goes for a toss.

Falling into debt is very easy but getting out of debt is an arduous task. So, as it is truly said, prevention is better than cure, take action before you get into credit card debt.

Lesser number of credit cards: The foremost step is to reduce the number of credit cards you use. Using too many cards will tempt you to spend more which will eventually catch up in form of debt. Compare the cards and use the one with least interest rates and best payment terms.

Use cash when affordable: Do not make it a habit to use your credit cards all the time, when you can pay with cash. Try to avoid using the cards for daily expenses like groceries. If you do not want to carry cash around it's better to use a debit card instead of credit card as it is equivalent to direct cash purchase. This will prevent you from unnecessary credit card debt.

Control your finances: The easiest way to avoid credit card debt is perhaps contolling your spending habits. It is always advisable to determine beforehand whether you can afford the item before buying it with your card.

Make your payments on time: If you can follow this rule, you can prevent yourself from falling in this financial trap. If you cannot make the full payment, try not to use the card until the next month till you have made the full payment. Otherwise it will eventually pile up and you will be building up credit card debt.

Implementing these small steps, little by little, will help you avoid the nightmare of credit card debt and improve your financial condition.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Common types of Bankruptcies:

Let's have a quick run down on the types of Bankruptcies:

Chapter 7: The most common and severe of all the existing types of bankruptcies. The other names for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are "Straight bankruptcy" and "liquidation". This type is particularly preferred by the individuals who have negligible or no property and is under the burden of lot of unsecured debt. Generally, for these cases, the debtor needs to sell most of his non-exempt properties to pay the creditors. The basic idea behind filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to pay off your debts. However you cannot keep behind any property like a home or a car in this law.

Chapter 9: This type of bankruptcy is for municipalities and functions much like Chapter 11.

Chapter 11: This bankruptcy law is primarily used by financially struggling businesses to reorganize them, and thus Chapter 11 is also known as "Reorganization". Since this type is complicated and expensive, therefore it is mainly feasible for large corporations or businesses, where they can get out of debt by some repayment plans.

Chapter 12: Chapter 12 bankruptcy law is available for farmers and fishermen. Its function is similar to that of Chapter 13.

Chapter 13: This is another law available for individuals. In this case, your income is the main source to pay your creditors and wipe out the debt over time. The duration of the repayment plan may vary from three to five years but the best part is that you can keep your valuable properties, like a home or a car, while filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Identity theft prevention

One of the fastest growing crimes in America is Identity Theft. The term identity theft refers to any fraud when somebody's personal information is stolen and used without his/her knowledge to commit crimes or frauds.

Day by day the number of identity theft cases are increasing and you will be surprised by the statistics shown below:

There are certain ways to prevent ID theft. The video below will help you understand it in a better way.