Whether you’re saving up a down payment for a house or want to reduce your credit card debt, reaching your financial goals can be made easier by using simple money hacks. Here are seven ideas to get you on the road to achieving your goals and avoiding the potholes along the way.

Automate to Avoid Being Late

Think about how many late fees you’ve paid in the last year. Then consider that all of that money could have been Seven Simple Money Hacks That Actually Workapplied to your goals instead of frittered away on fees. To avoid late fees forever, set up automatic bill payment. You can do this through your bank or by authorizing your lenders and utility companies to debit your account each month.

Negotiate Your Bills

Is there a reason that the first year of your cable service ended six months ago and you’ve been blindly paying regular price since then? Almost everything is up for negotiation, if you call and ask. Your cable, Internet and cellphone carriers know that you have other options and may be willing to offer you a lower rate. If you have a stellar payment history with your credit card companies, call and ask for a reduction of your interest rate. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask!

Automate Your Savings

Setting up an automatic transfer to scoop $10 every payday and deposit it into your savings account. Chances are, you won’t miss the money at all and it will pile up until you’re ready to use it or roll it into a higher-interest CD or IRA. Kamloops debt consolidation experts D. Thode & Associates Inc. suggests leaving six months of living expenses in savings and investing the rest.

Pay Every Time You Receive a Paycheck

For mortgages and vehicle notes, you likely have a monthly payment but get paid every two weeks or every week. Instead of sending out one lump sum 12 times a year, send a piece of your payment with each paycheck. This will add up to you making one extra payment a year, as well as cutting down on interest charged to your loan.

Use Cash for Daily Purchases

Swiping a debit card makes it easy to over spend. Using cash makes you accountable for dropping eight dollars on a fancy cup of coffee. At the end of the day, dump all of your change in a tin and deposit it at the end of the month to go towards your goal.

Consolidate Your Credit Cards

If one card is charging nine percent interest and another is offer four percent, push the higher-interest balance onto the lower one, when possible. This streamlines your bill paying and saves you money.

Refuse to Pay Retail

With the proliferation of online shopping, coupon codes and big-box stores, there is no excuse to pay retail for any item. Spend an hour or two searching for better deals on everyday products a week and watch the savings rack up.

Careful money management can save you a ton. These money hacks can save you thousands of dollars over the course of a year, so use them to your advantage!

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Is Crowdfunding a Good Idea for Start-ups?

by Admin on February 12, 2014

Crowdfunding is said to be the future of the finance and mortgage industry. It is a virtual platform created to connect investors and entrepreneurs via the internet.

How does crowdfunding work?

To be honest, it is as simple as logging into a dating website.

If you have a business idea and are looking for a potential investor, post your idea, upload the business profile and essentials onto one of the crowdfunding websites, and interested candidates will get in touch with you.

Crowdfunding will save you from running around banks and door-to-door visits to find venture capitalists and angel investors. And, you can have more than one financer investing in your project.

Crowdsourcing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the advantages?

  • ·Someone to hear you out

As mentioned, you don’t need to go to anyone.

If your project idea impresses an investor, he will come to you and you can present the details of the startup.

  • ·Spreads the word

It is an easy forum wherein investors can share profiles with other investors. The probability of escaping notice is very minimal.

  • ·Investors from the same domain

Usually investors who have experience in the domain you have chosen would be the ones interested in your idea. In that case, half the work on pitching is minimized, if not done.

You too can choose industry experts who understand the complications and challenges of the specific market segment.

  • ·Run campaigns in style

Crowdfunding is an amazing opportunity to run campaigns.

Bring out innovative pitches and videos that will capture the investor’s attention. And who knows, you might just go viral the next day.

  • ·Recognitions and rewards

If you keep building a good profile and get your work recognized, members of the online forum may reward you with equities or shares.

Some serious risks exist in Crowdfunding

  • ·Miscommunication and misunderstandings

We know that the internet has its flaws.

There are chances that conditions and deals are perceived differently by the financer and the entrepreneur. Anticipated results may not be delivered and it can leave both parties agitated.

  • ·A noob in the game?

This can be a disaster for the investors.

If the entrepreneur has a business idea but is not equipped to efficiently execute it and acquire results, the money from the investor goes for a toss. Even if it is the investor who overlooks, money is at stake.

  • ·Deliverance is like a problem child of crowdfunding

There are times when entrepreneurs are unable to get the promised results, resulting in waste of time and worthless use of money for both sides.

Crowdfunding can be much riskier than traditional funding methods.

  • ·Chances are that it may take time

One cannot draw a defined timeline on when an investor will approach you. If you are seeking to start your business immediately, the probability of procuring an investment in time is low.

What are investors looking for?

The majority of investors is looking to fund short-term ventures which are time bound and offer definite results. Enterprising efforts like book writing, filmmaking, music recording, event promotion and mobile, gaming or web-application development usually receive quick responses.

Observation says that funding for long-term businesses, marketing and operational expenses are hard to come by, probably because the nature of returns can be uncertain.

You definitely have to prepare yourself

  • ·Research profiles similar to yours

Before preparing a pitch, go through as many profiles as possible, preferably similar to yours. This will give you an idea of how different an online pitch can be.

Present a very clear and simple pitch and plan.

  • ·Show off your team

Come up with an insight into your team.

Exhibit the support you have from experienced and skilled employees who would lead the way to a successful venture.

  • ·Show Your Customers

Demonstrate the niche market you would be catering to, and what makes them desire your products or services.

The bigger the market, the better is the opportunity of netting an investor.

  • ·Be transparent and state the risks

Don’t keep your investors in the dark.

Be honest with your plans and strategies, however late the returns are going to be. It will only save the entrepreneur and the investor from severe downfalls.

Wait for the right investor who is as excited as you are about the business idea.

  • ·Keep them updated

A failed strategy or an early gain; the investor has the right to be aware of every big and small change occurring in your firm. They will be able to help if you run into losses, but only if you keep them sufficiently informed.

Crowdfunding has made its mark in the finance industry. Fundraising as well as big investments are made possible. Have a look at the top 10 crowdfunding sites:

  • ·Kickstarter
  • ·Indiegogo
  • ·Crowdfunder
  • ·RocketHub
  • ·Crowdrise
  • ·Somolend
  • ·Appbackr
  • ·AngelList
  • ·Invested.in
  • ·Quirky

Each has groups of investors inclined towards different objectives. Surf through the sites and you will know where to put up your profile.

Author bio:-

Matt Davis a partner at Empire commercial Finance, a firm specialising in business mortgage Chester seeking to serve client of UK with ease.  A company with expert professional commercial finance brokers providing financial support and business ideas for new start up’s.

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The Cheapest Houses across the Globe

by Admin on January 15, 2014

Thanks or no thanks to the global financial crisis of 2008 we have seen house prices plummet in countries across the world in the past number of years. However, as our infographic reveals, the recession isn’t solely responsible for all the cheap houses out there.

Take for example, the Nano flat-pack house which is made in India. You can purchase this house for a measly $700. Yes, believe it or not, a whole new house for less than a 1000 bucks. The house uses coconut fibre for wall cladding and interiors and has a life expectancy of 20 years! Of course, there may be extra costs involved in the actual building process, however, it won’t add up to anything close to what your average house costs.

Advancements in building technologies isn’t the only reason for slashed priced housing. In Australia, a six bedroom, three bathroom home that sits on a huge block, was valued at $630,000 but sold for just $1000 at an auction. The explanation – the house was seized by a Sheriff and sold without a reserve price after the owner incurred debts of up to $96,000. Supposedly, he incurred the debts after going guarantor for a friend on a failed deal–that friend failed to pay, and is now in China!

Find out about some other really interesting factors from around the world that have led to the cheapest houses ever in our infographic below.

house-locators-infographic

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Tips for Homebuyers and Sellers for 2014

by Admin on January 8, 2014

The process of home buying and selling is a lengthy process and is always subject to market structures; so come 2014, certain trends are expected to govern the real property market. Explained below are some of the expected trends of 2014. Read on to know more.

Last year, homebuyers had enjoyed the growth of double-digit that greatly exceeded the predictions’ of the experts. But this year, things have been very different. It has been understood, that new homes are being constructed with more investments coming up in the forthcoming year. Some of the things that you need to check in the coming years are explained below in the paragraphs:

For Buyers: Be Credit-Ready

Competition for home buying has increased in leaps and bounds so do not tarry. Gather your credit reports and start off as early as possible; if you need to work on your credit reports; ensure that you have enough credit as getting a conventional loan will be somewhat challenging. Some buyers end up getting a lower rate; so make sure that you receive a pre-approval letter. Acquiring this is very essential.

home pic

For Sellers: Approach your Agent and Follow his Advice

This makes for a potential decision. Opt for a smart real estate agent and get all your work done with élan. Discuss with them what you are exactly looking for, your budget and your current credit scores; if you need to improve your credit scores discuss it with them and act accordingly. But make sure that your agent holds a decent enough reputation so that you can approach him or her. The more knowledgeable the agent is, the more help would you receive from him. They can advise you on pricing, marketing and of course negotiating.

For Buyers: Adjust your Expectations

Understand that, low offers are less on availability, and this could be your chance of consideration. Master the art of responding to counteroffers as quickly as possible and also keep buyers away from the picture. It is better to avoid a bidding war. But always be prepared to face and fight one. Avoid focusing on only on property and eye multiple ones. If plan A does not work out, leave open enough space for plan B.

For Sellers:  Your Market also so explore it as much as Possible

So, sellers it your market after all! There you go and make the most of it; while you indulge in interviewing multiple agents, always speculate those who are offering prices that are a little too good to be accepted. Do not jump over at prices that seem somewhat generous at the first go. Tray and avoid letting others know, especially buyers as to who what you are exactly planning to do. It’s better that you let them ask about what is your business plan.

For Buyers: There’s life after Foreclosure

Faced a foreclosure? There you go! Join the bandwagon; well yes you might have to wait for some time for the next mortgage loan so that you qualify; be careful about non-conforming lenders. They often appear in the picture and end up taking advantage of buyers who are not much aware of the financial policies of the process of home loan.

For Sellers: Hesitating to Renovate

Did you hear that newly renovated home make for an easy sell-off? But this idea does not seem to work this year; Surveys reveal that renovating the entire house and by giving it a new look might not be lucrative enough to lure buyers. So, consider these aspects before you take the plunge; however, spending some amount in painting and fence replacement can be a good idea.

For Buyers: Ask and be prepared to hear a Know

There would be times when you may be dismayed by several sellers when it comes to buying a property; but do not be perturbed. The year is predicted to be like this for most buyers; so it is best to avoid worrying over these matters and make the best move.

On a last note, whatever you do, understand that investing on a real estate requires much effort and research work. Whatever you do, put in your best efforts and ensure that you make the best possible decisions.

Author Bio: A follower of the latest trends in Real Estate, Sampurna Majumder has been lending her expertise to 99acres by writing articles and blog posts on the in-news topics such as these. She is a passionate writer as well as a blogger. The above post throws light on the trends that are expected to rule the property market in 2014. 

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Strategies for Investing In 2014

by Admin on January 1, 2014

While health and happiness may top the list when it comes to prevailing hopes for the new year, prosperity is also on most people’s shortlists. If your resolutions for 2014 include ending the year with more than you started, maintaining wise and informed investment strategies can help generate new wealth in the new year.

Strategies for Investing1

Reconsider Convention

2013 was a year of significant turmoil, particularly as it pertained to the “fiscal cliff” that loomed over the start of 2013. While investors have no such immediate concerns in 2014, other new risks are expected to arise with the unfamiliar economic environment ahead. Smart investors will look toward refining their asset allocation in order to achieve a more diversified portfolio.

Some experts are advising a reconsideration of conventional wisdom due to the unlikelihood that the recent bull market will continue. While the commonly accepted rule of thumb suggests a 60 percent stocks/40 percent bonds split, it’s uncertain whether this allocation will continue to be beneficial because of the possibility of rising interest rates, high unemployment and an overall stagnant economy. In short, a savvy investment strategy for the year ahead is a comprehensive diversification of assets with less focus on stocks and bonds and more on alternate types of assets.

Diversify and Prosper
Two additional asset classes offer diversification potential: cash and alternative investments, a category which includes everything from real estate to natural resources. With the security of stocks and bonds in jeopardy, many analysts consider cash — in the form of savings accounts, money market funds and short-term CDs — a safe bet as part of a sensible investment approach.

Alternative investments, meanwhile, can be less secure, particularly in the unpredictable economic climate. Those considering real estate, for example, may be wary of rising interest rates. Gold and silver, meanwhile, were both poor performers in 2013, and there’s no indication of a forthcoming turnaround, although some experts predict gains in the middle of the year if a market correction occurs. Bitcoins and art are both high risk investments best suited for those with a high level of risk tolerance and a keen understanding of the market.

Strategies for Investing2

Keep in mind that while the year may have changed, the trends don’t reverse with the flip of a calendar page. A complete overhauling of your assets is not in order, but retooling is a wise long-term measure.

At the end of the day, the best investments are the most informed investments. By educating yourself about the current market and mood, and by seeking to understand trends and themes, you can make smart investment decisions rooted in knowledge as opposed to speculation.

Joanna Hughes writes on all subjects, ranging from style and fashion to the latest in the investment and tech world, including the continuing importance of maintaining a positive online reputation.

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Unsecured Business Loans

by Senior Editor on December 9, 2013

Safe

Unsecured business loans are for people who do not have any collateral to use with the loan. These kinds of loans are usually for entrepreneurs that want to get their business off the ground without having to go to a venture capitalist. They can be used for simply buying equipment, leasing property and to preserve cash to use as working capital for your business. This can save an entrepreneur a lot of money in the long run if they end up having a successful business. Imagine if an entrepreneur sells 50% interest in their company in order to raise startup money and then the company becomes successful. That means 50% of the profits will always go to the investor forever. If you just take out a business loan, you only owe the bank the money that you borrowed plus interest. So, if you borrow $10,000 to start the next big social media website and it becomes worth millions, you don’t owe the bank millions like you would with an investor. This is the reason why unsecured loans are so popular.

An unsecured loan means the lender is basically giving the loan to the borrower with no security to back it up if the borrower defaults. This is very risky and most lenders don’t like to do this. They may make an exception if the borrower has a good credit score. However, unsecured business loans tend to have a higher interest rate because of the risk involved. The reason being is if you default on the loan then the lender has nothing to gain except a bad loan approval on their record. Not only would this cost the bank money, but the loan officer that issued the loan would have points against them at their job. Even though it’s not the borrower’s responsibility to keep the loan officer employed, you are putting their job at risk when you default. That is one big reason why they are so strict on loan approvals now. When you present your business idea to a loan officer, they will want it to be an idea that is realistically good. If you go to them and present a silly business idea for glow in the dark underpants, they’ll likely not approve you. However, if you present them with a business idea for a super social media website than they’ll likely approve you. It is similar to presenting your idea to a venture capitalist, except the loan officer has no stake in the company. They only have a stake in the loan itself.

photo by: rpongsaj

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Student Debt Infographic

by Admin on October 28, 2013

For those of us who have been to college and obtained a degree, our stories and situations each vary from one to another. However there is one consistency that has likely affected almost every higher education story: Cost. The price tag for a college education has been steadily climbing since the 1970s, leading to today, where starting salaries are lower and the unemployment rate (particularly for young adults and recent graduates) rests at a chronically high level.

What’s even more disturbing is that as we look to the future and the life that we can expect for our kids, we see an even steeper climb to pay for college, as costs are continuing to increase. In fact, our current generation won’t be done paying off their college debt until right about the time that their own kids are ready to go to college, at which point they’ll face much higher tuition costs.

So how do we make sense out of all this? Infographics like the one below help us understand the big picture. Created by debt solutions company Consolidated Credit, it offers us a quick snap shot of how history has shaped this issue, and what we can expect in the future.

College Student Debt

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When one decides to withdraw their funds untimely from annuities, there can be dangerous disadvantages that must be known.

Immediate annuities in most cases won’t allow you to simply decide withdrawing earlier than scheduled. The solution everyone should go with (if they reached such a decision) with immediate annuities is putting the annuity on sale.

On the other hand, if you own a deferred annuity, then you can choose to pull out your funds partially or entirely, but then you need to face the consequences. The consequences in such cases might include additional fees you will get to pay as a penalty and you might even end up paying huge fees to your insurance company.

Disadvantages to know

Here are the main disadvantages you will likely face if you decide to retreat money:

When you take out funds from your annuity early you can expect the following:

  • If your age isn’t 60 or above then you will most likely end up paying a penalty of 10%
  • Normally, the system would motivate you to keep your retirement money in place. Everyone knows that an ahead of time withdraw from any individual retirement account can be a costly decision and the same amount of money is spent in case of annuities.
  • There are so called surrender charges. These are paid only if you withdraw before scheduled. An option to get around this part is waiting for the charges to be invalid, in other words these charges don’t apply after a certain period of time.

Since you can have profits by selling or pulling cash out of annuities, it is legally classified as personal earning. This means that regular taxes apply to your annuity income. There is also a fee of 10%, which is mostly applied if pulling out is done ahead of schedule.

Sometimes, one might decide to give up on their annuities just to buy different annuities. Even if this seems to help you get rid of fees, it won’t save you from any penalty fees.

Annuity surrender charges

These charges only apply when you decide to retire money from your annuities before scheduled. These penalty fees come down to 1% yearly from 8% yearly. These charges are generally nullified in a couple of years. In some cases, there are discharges from these charges that would be applied. In luckier cases, you will be able to collect the interest for free or even a percentage of the total worth, without penalty fees.

Switching to immediate annuities from deferred annuities

It is highly advantageous to decide on changing to immediate annuities, especially if you previously had deferred annuities. Such changes don’t mean that you gave it away or surrendered your annuity, but it basically means you’ve changed the rules. Even if some fees apply with these switches, it is a safe way for you to start earning money from annuities instantly.

Closing thoughts

The best decision is not to invest in annuities unless you are at least 60 years old. You should also avoid putting hope into annuities that you might make use of before the penalty fees get to be nullified.

Author Bio

Mark Long is a finance expert and writer. He has published several articles, blog entries and guest posts on various financial topics. His latest work focuses on selling annuities for profit and the general advantages of selling annuity payments

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Soccer Debt Infographic

by Admin on October 18, 2013

Millions of people every day find themselves paralyzed by overwhelming amounts of debts whether from student loans, mortgage loans or even just having an uncontrollable amount of credit card debt.

As the economic recovery slowly begins to trickle down to average citizens, many are still finding it difficult to gain control of their personal finances. Often times paying the minimum amount to loans and credit cards can only be more damaging as you end up paying much more than you owe in the long run.

Some solutions to major debt might be consolidating your loans or filing for bankruptcy, no matter what road you take to debt relief it is important to find a solution early.

There are some strategies that you can implement to help your financial situation such as paying your bills timely and negotiating with your creditors to find a repayment solution that works for your current budget. While there is not an instant solution to debt relief, taking some simple solutions such as keeping a budget can help you get control of your expenditures.

For other everyday solutions for overwhelming debt, check out this infographic by Consolidated Credit to find other ways to tackling debt.

Soccer Debt Infographic

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Shopping for a mortgage is not a fun process.  It never leaves you with any “feel good” moments, even after you close.

There is however a way for you now to get the upper hand in your mortgage rate negotiations. But before we give you the secret that can save you thousands of dollars, you must first understand more about the different sources of where you can get your next mortgage.

Different Mortgage Sources

  • Mortgage Broker: 
    • Approx. 10% market share
    • Was above 30% prior to the 2005 mortgage meltdown.
    • They provide loans to the consumers that are funded through retail or mortgage banks.
    • Highly Experienced and customer service oriented
  • Mortgage Banker:
    • Approx. 35% market share
    • Control the process from start to finish.  Underwrite and funds the loans.
    • They make loans to consumers and sell them to retail banks, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or HUD.
  • Retail Bank:    
    • Approx. 55% market share
    • Big Box Brand
    • Wells, Chase, B of A, Citi

OK, so now that you know a little bit the three players who can help you get your next mortgage, let’s get down to the “secret”.  There are different rules that must be followed for each of these different sources of mortgages.  Here’s an example:

  • John Doe closed on a $300,000 mortgage to buy a home.
  • The mortgage acquired was a 15 year fixed at 3.25%.
  • He received a $3,000 credit from a local mortgage broker to cover his closing costs
  • He had also shopped for his new loan at a mortgage banker and a retail bank who offered him the same rate of 3.25% but with zero credits.

The Difference Mortgage Brokers Can Provide

How did the mortgage broker have the ability to provide a $3,000 credit and the others did not?

It is simple, the local mortgage broker is REQUIRED by regulations issued by the Federal Reserve to disclose all their fees upfront to the consumer.  Mortgage Brokers have a pre-determined amount of compensation they can receive before the application can be initiated.  Therefore Brokers can NOT choose to “pocket” more money on a specific transaction, if a consumer chooses a rate that has a premium, the extra money must be credited to the consumer.

The regulations imposed by the Federal Reserve Board do not have the same impact on Bankers and Banks.  Because these institutions lend their own funds the rule does not apply, therefore any closing cost credits are completely discretionary.

This is a huge deal!!

It is estimated by NAMB (National Association of Mortgage Brokers) that over 2 billion dollars of credits were issued in the calendar year of 2012.  The mortgage broker has much more flexibility and will help you get the best rate/fee structure on your new loan.  Can you imagine how much money was not credited back to consumers by the other 90% of the loans that were funded last year not by mortgage brokers?

About the Author:  Kirk Chivas is a licensed Loan Officer and co-owner of First Commerce Financial, LLC, a mortgage brokerage based in Wixom, Michigan.  With over 17 years of experience, Kirk has committed to providing Michigan residents with accurate and honest mortgage advice.  If you have any questions about your current or future mortgage needs, please feel free to ask Kirk a question over on his website.

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