• Lower your monthly payments
  • Reduce stress and live your life
  • Avoid personal bankruptcy court

Know about Payday Loans

Payday loans are a perpetual trap that many American families rely on to make ends meet every payday. Many families’ incomes fall short within that time frame, and they have a hard time providing just the necessities.

To make up for this shortfall, may families take out a “quick” payday loan, in which they borrow a small amount of money that must be paid back by their next payday. However, these loans are laden with finance charges and costs that cause the borrowers to sink deeper and deeper into debt. Consumers are rarely able to pay back the loan within the two weeks. Actually, many consumers believe that they will be able to repay the loan within the two-week time frame with no problem.

Initially, it sounds like a good idea. The consumer borrows money to tide them over. In two weeks, they make the minimum payment, say $50. They feel like they are making progress on their loan because they made a payment. But in actuality, they total amount is the principal, plus the $50. Each minimum payment made is merely an extension of time to pay the debt, with fees continuing to incur every time a small payment amount is made.

Another downfall regarding one of these types of loans is that consumers rarely completely understand the terms of the loan. Many payday lenders advertise an interest rate of $15 per every $100 borrowed. This sounds like a great deal, especially considering that most credit cards charge an average of 20-plus percent in interest. In actuality, that’s a very high rate. Consider a loan of $375 with a fee of $55. If you were to roll over that loan for an entire year, you would pay over $1,400 in fees. That’s almost four times the original loan amount.

One reason consumers choose payday loans over other lending options is the lack of knowledge that other viable options exist. For example, many consumers do not realize that many banks offer similar products as payday loans, but at a much better rate. Some banks offer a product called a deposit advance loan, which charges between $7.50 to $10 per $100 borrowed, compared to the $15 per $100 borrowed that most payday loan companies advertise.

The government is attempting to impose stricter requirements on payday loan businesses practices, particularly when it comes to substantiating the debtor’s salary prior to authorizing an extension of credit. Some states restrict payday loans by putting a max on the number of times a borrower may borrow per year. And, some states have placed limits on the maximum annual percentage that can be charged. Unfortunately, some states are not doing as well when it comes to placing limits on these payday loan companies.

There are currently state laws administering checks and balances against these payday loan companies, but the federal government wishes to become a watchdog for the American people as well. The federal government believes that it is common sense for a lender to verify a potential borrower’s income before approving a loan. The federal government believes that these loans are bad news and need to be closely watched and monitored.

These new regulations would apply to those companies presenting themselves as payday loan companies, as well as car title loans. These companies force the debtor to sign over their title to their vehicle as collateral in the event the debtor fails to repay the loan. Moreover, the borrower must pay the entire loan back in only 45 days. That is not much time to repay something in which such a high-valued asset is at stake. As with payday lenders, car title lenders would be required to certify the person’s income and ability to repay the loan.

Additionally, a mandatory waiting period would be enforced after the last loan. This would prevent the borrower from taking out another payday or similar loan within sixty days from their previous loan. And, reasonable payment choices would be mandatory, loans must be less than $500, and these companies would be disallowed from requiring a vehicle as a surety, or charge sequential fees.

Payday loan companies disagree; pointing out that too many people would lose access to any loans if these stricter rules and regulations were put in place.

So what are some other viable options for consumers who may need a short-term boost to their income? Some suggestions are obtaining a second job for a short period of time, performing miscellaneous side jobs, or if push comes to shove, borrow money from a friend or relative until your finances can smooth back out. Payday loans and car title loans are extremely risky and high-cost, so use these financing methods as an absolute last resort. The government is doing what it can to watch out for the consumer, but we must also be our own advocates. So, do your research on these loans and possible other financing options, and borrow responsibly.

5 Key Retirement Factors Your Financial Plan May Not Address

Planning for the future is extremely important if you want your life to go smoothly when you begin to grow old. It’s quite important that you make a financial plan immediately as soon as you can in order to live life fully and comfortably in the future. You might not believe it, but other factors greatly influence the effectiveness of your plan. And no, they’re not your math skills or how much you earn in your job or how much you think you’re going to earn in the future. Things that you probably take for granted such as yourself, your habits and your mindset is what will determine your wealth in the future. What you need is a financial plan.


You’re probably thinking that I’m not making any sense right now. But the truth is, it’s the small things that ultimately determine where you will be in the future. The small things may not look like anything at first, but they’re actually going to be the one’s you’re going to wish you would have changed back when you were young. Things that your financial plan will show you to help you improve.

Let’s analyse some of these “small things” and see how fixing them can improve your chances of a successful retirement. Your financial plan will be the key to help you identify any areas where your finances need improvement.

Start Working On Your Assets That Aren’t Associated With Your Portfolio

This is one of the first and most important rules for your financial plan and that’s why it’s at the top of the list.

We have many material possessions, and is probably the reason why we have houses. Our houses are there to protect us and our family, to keep us cosy despite harsh weather conditions, and it’s there so we can store our possessions there. The problem is that most of these material possessions are just cluttering up our houses and most of us refuse to see that. Many of these material possessions can be immediately turned into cash and that cash can be used to invest in different things that can make your money multiply by tenfold. It’s important to note that a lot of those things can actually be an old bike or an old car you don’t use anymore, that rusty screwdriver collection in the attic or those old antique books you’ve been keeping for Christmas. Try selling these for a profit. Someone’s bound to buy these things and when they do, you’re left with a pile of cash that can go places.

Start Working On… Yourself

You may or may not know it, but in reality, YOU are your biggest asset. You are your own asset and what truly matters is what you’ve accomplished, what you can do in the future and what skills you currently have. Think about it: it doesn’t matter what type of job that you can get if YOU’RE not there to do it. Your best investment is yourself. So start maximizing that investment by expanding your horizon, learning more skills and budgeting your money assets better. 

Your Biggest Asset Is… Still You

Health is wealth. That’s probably one of the truest sayings in the world. If you’re sick and down all the time, you’re probably not going to be able to earn as much as you could if you were energetic and healthy.

  • Be sure to always take care of your body any way you can.
  • Exercise when you get the time.
  • Eat right.
  • Sleep early.

These are just some of the things you can do for yourself. It may not seem like much, but without good health, there’s not much you can really do.

Start Working On Your… Habits?

As mentioned earlier, the little things you do often determine the big things in the future. If you behave recklessly and splurge all of your money on shopping, then you’re bound to be on a one-way course to failure. It’s the little habits that matter the most. Money doesn’t grow on trees. You have to make ways to earn money. Discipline is the key. If you’re undisciplined and cannot control yourself most of the time, a good place to start would be with your habits. Do your best to start practicing good discipline. It’ll pay off more than you could ever dream to even think about.

Invest In… Your Family?

You may not know it, but your family is one of the biggest investments you could ever have. Apart from the inheritances you could gain from them, their love and care, their support and emotional care are the truly important things you can gain from them. Studies have shown that a person who was supported dutifully by their parents was more likely to succeed in life when compared to a person whom has had a rocky relationship with their parents. Our families are the people that care and support for us, and it’s quite important that we support them back. By investing in time with them, we are strengthening not only a family bond, but a financial bond as well. When you are faced with a myriad of troubles with your money, a strong bond with your family is bound to help you get out of it.

Examine and imbibe your financial plan. Your retirement will arrive in time and you will be ready for it if you do.

Six Steps To A Better Business Budget

Everyone wants a better business budget however, not everyone knows exactly how to do that. If you are one of many who are looking for some simple steps that make all the difference you have come to the right place. Here are some simple steps to a better business budget that anyone can apply.

Often the simplest advice goes a long way. To start use a sheet of paper and write down the exact money you have coming in versus the money you have going out. This will help you visualize what needs priority and what does not.


Step One: Adding Up Income

It’s very important to add up your after taxable income. For some of us this is no easy task because our income varies from month to month. In this case you can add up your income over a couple of months to give yourself a general idea of the money you have coming in. Do not however add any kind of bonuses you “may” receive. A better business budget starts with being very smart about your finances and adding bonuses that you may receive cannot be applied because you cannot be certain you will be getting them.

Step Two: How Much Are You Spending?

For this you will want to make a list of all your re-occurring monthly spending. Draw up a list that includes; rent, mortgage, childcare expenses, utilities, car note payment, gas, groceries, etc. You want to add everything that you pay out even entertainment costs. This can also include, credit card payments, past due medical bills, and vehicle upkeep. Remember, A better business budget starts with you being honest with yourself about your finances.

Step Three: Everything Adds Up

Remember that everything adds up and often it is hard to think of all the things you may be spending money on. These kinds of “smaller expenses” can include, money you withdraw from the ATM on a daily basis. Everyone has from time to time taken “a few bucks” from the ATM. These smaller expenses cost money. If you do not use a bank machine you are being charged a withdrawal fee. If you drive to work and are required to pay a toll this is an expense that needs to be calculated. Some of us opt to take public transit to work and though this is a small fee, it is still important to add this to your smaller expense list because everyday these fees add up. Include in your better business budget even parking, drink stops, basically everything you are spending. This will show you exactly where the money is going and let you know if you have more going out than is coming in.

Step Four: Unforeseen Expenses

Unforeseen expenses can be the downfall of a better business budget. Birthdays, Holidays, a new pet, pet expenses, even a death in the family can certainly cause a hardship when trying to boost your budget. These are things that often can not be avoided so, it is important to give yourself a little extra when creating your budget and your out of pocket year end expenses.

Step Five: What To Cut Back On

We all have extras in our budget that we could and can cut back on. This could include buying different cloths that cost less. Buying a different cut of meat that you can save a few bucks on. If you have high entertainment costs like, movies, golf, go carts, etc. You can cut these out or not go out for these types of entertainment as often. You would be amazed how these cuts can affect a better business budget and get you on track to making more money and spending less.

Step Six: Look For A Free Virtual Financial Assistant

Sometimes the mere thought of a better business budget can scare many of us into thinking we can not possibly do this ourselves however, that is not true. You can “hire” yourself a virtual assistant for FREE. There are many programs on the market that you can use to help keep track of your finances right down to the very cent. There are even apps for your smart phone that allow you to track your spending and even the money you have coming in. Apps such as My Money Tracker, Mint Finance, or even Webexpenses are all worth downloading to give you a one-up on your finances. You don’t have to hire out an accountant to keep your money in check.

In general, any expense you can live without is a good expense to cut completely or cut back on. Having a better business budget does not mean you have to live in an expense free bubble. What it means is you control your money and not the other way around. It means you have the freedom to make financial decisions for the better of your future and stop living from paycheck to paycheck. If you are smart about your finances and use these six steps to a better business budget in time you will find your business portfolio has a little more room for comfort.

The Biggest Financial Hurdles For 20-Somethings

A person’s 20s are there most fun, exciting and stressful parts years of their life. This part in their life is full of so many opportunities, yet hard because of the change that you are sure to encounter. You will need to stay strong in this time because you will need to pay for a lot of things that you will need. Your financial status will be extremely important in this stage. In this stage, you will realize just how important money really is. Fortunately, you will also develop different means and ways to get money (legally, of course). In this article, we will tackle how you can get over some of the biggest financial hurdles you will experience in your life.


Focus And Do Your Best

It might be cliché but it’s true. You are your strongest self during these times, and it’s best to exploit it as much as you can. When you land on your first job, do your best to outperform everyone else. Ask for overtime work hours. Do more projects. Show your boss and your company that you’re one of the best assets they have. If you work hard enough, they will recognize your effort and will reward you immensely. Many young people at the age of their 20s usually focus on having a good time. Time is passing you by, and it’s best that you focus on having a good record while you’re still young.

Seize Opportunities 

Don’t complain if your first pay check is much lower than what you had actually expected. You’re still starting out, and you’re starting out at the bottom of the ladder. You need to prove yourself first before you start earning the big bucks. However, if your pay is still low, and you feel that you’re not getting anywhere, don’t quit your job just yet. Feel free to ask for a promotion or a raise if you’ve done more than your job to earn it. If you get declined, then go ahead and look for a new job. It’s important to make yourself aware of the many opportunities that lie while you’re at this stage in your life.

No Credit No Problem

If you happen to be a fresh graduate, chances are that you don’t have any credit history behind you. Having a credit card is one of the best things that can happen to you, so long as you handle the responsibility. The new credit card law dictated that college students need to have a parent or a grown up the age of 21 or older to co sign with them. This has hampered their ability to explore the world of credit building. Make sure you apply for a credit card as soon as you reach the required age. Being responsible and knowing about credibility at a young age can help you hand credit cards better in the future. Make sure you do not fall behind your bills though, as doing so can negatively affect your credit. Make sure you show people that you’re more than ready to handle credit and that you can handle paying the bills just fine. Doing so can make people trust you and in turn, will give you a higher credit rating.

No Financial Experience? No Problem!

There are many financial hurdles that await you. There are also many financial opportunities that await you as well. You might choose to purchase a vehicle or a house or an apartment. At this time of your life, everything is up in the air. It all might seem intimidating… because it is. Here are some tips to help you in this intimidating part in your life:

• Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. There are many people who are willing to help you so long as you take the time and effort to ask them. Oftentimes, the best advice you can have is actually free. Just ask your neighbours, family and friends.

• You may even choose to hire a financial adviser, so long as you have the money for it.

• Always do your research and study about the different things you can do with your money.

• Also, if your parents happen to have a financial counsellor, then don’t be afraid to ask advice from that counsellor or from your parents themselves. You are like a sponge at this part in your life; you simply absorb a large amount of information within a short time. Make the most of this by asking as much as you can about money. Stocking up on knowledge is the best thing you can do to prepare for the future.

Don’t Hold Yourself Back With These Money Lies?

There is always a time in life you plan to do something, which never goes quite as planned. Ever happened with you? We all have that time were reality comes crashing down on us and reminds you to have a precise look at your savings and not believe the money lies you hear. It maybe that you are getting ready to purchase a home or a car, but it’s not until you don’t set eyes on your savings you really know whether you can or not. After this, you usually go about fixing your finances, which means you may:

• Set up your budget

• Revise your budget

No matter how perfect your budget is, it may be that you are still unable to save any money. In such situations, you need to take a better look at things and see whether it’s actually the money or the money lies you are getting caught up in. you will usually get the answer that it is you lying to yourself.


Turn A New Leaf

In this situation, you usually have to turn a new leaf and be more honest with yourself and stop falling into the money lies. Lying to oneself is something the majority of us do so we do not feel bad about shortcomings. However, the danger of this is there does actually come a point where we begin to believe these lies and stop improving. So, if you truly wish to turn your life around, it is time to have a good look at what you’re doing and stop doing this. Some of the most common money lies you will come across are listed below.

One To Five Money Lies

• I won’t retire so don’t need to save

• I will begin to save from tomorrow

• I don’t understand investing and it is too risky

• Unless I buy a car or home, my credit score is not significant

• I won’t have kids or get married, which means I don’t need to save for them

The first of the money lies is telling yourself you will not retire, because the truth is, you will. You may love your job at the moment and may think you can easily work till 70, but the truth is that the job is not in your control. Anything can happen, which causes people to leave work where they are unable to work anymore. The second lie is when you tell yourself you will begin to save from tomorrow. The reality behind this is that tomorrow never comes, which means there will always be things that prevent you from saving. You may think investing is a risky option, but the truth is you never have to read complicated books and papers for this. Keeping your money in a bank account that is safe is all you need to do. In regards to the credit score, many think this is insignificant unless they are purchasing a car or home. This is not the case, as the credit score has found its way into many financial areas, such as:

• Utilities

• Rental companies

• Insurance

The fifth of the lies relate to you stating you will never get married. This means you do not have to save for a wedding. You need to accept the reality, which is even if you do not want to get married; another life event may come up. Alternatively, you may just fall in love and even decide to have a baby as it is life and anything exciting and surprising can happen.

Six To Ten Money Lies

• Renting is wasting money, so I should buy a house

• I don’t get paid enough so cannot save enough

• If I am approved with a specific loan, that means I can handle it

• If I make a budget I am unable to have a social life

• I am healthy therefore do not need health insurance

If you are currently renting and think you are wasting money, you need to know that purchasing a home is not always a good idea. This is because renting is much better than buying in some cities. One of the well-known money lies is saying you cannot save as you do not get paid much. Regardless whether it is $1 or even $100, a saver will always save, even if it’s only a little. If you are in the misconception of thinking you can handle a loan merely because the bank is letting you have it, you are making a big mistake. One thing you must know is that banks love it when you are in debt so make sure you don’t let them take advantage of you. If you think you have to sacrifice with the social life once you start to make a budget, you will be surprised to know that are budgets are actually life savers. You will never have to worry about affording something if you are always aware of the answer. You should never fall into the money lies that insurance is for sick people. Accidents usually happen unexpectedly and if you happened to suffer from one, what would you do?

Eleven To Fourteen Money Lies

• I don’t need savings as I will get Medicare and Social Security

• I am set in life as long as I have a college degree

• To build wealth, I need to be rich

• During retirement, my expenses will be much less

One thing you must understand is that Social Security is never enough to cover all your needs. You are never set in life with a college degree as this also includes a massive student loan, which needs to be paid off. A degree in no way guarantees you a job. You do not need money to make money, as you can always opt for freelance. Your expense may decrease in retirement, but there will be a whole lot of new expenses.

Simple Yet Effective Financial Tips for Women

It has been widely known that women are more careful when it comes to money. They tend to be very critical, and carry more cash than men and less likely to take risks in terms of investments. Unfortunately, this is also the reason why they tend to save significantly less funds for retirement.

Typically between men and women, there is this division of labor, and is discussed as part of the important topic which is family finances. It has been shown that men are more focused on growing wealth for the long term, while women focus more on day-to-day financial activities. So basically, they have contrasting priorities and outlooks. It is evident in the common household setting, as the wife takes care of the daily expense, while the husband covers the bigger financial commitments like housing, cars, among others.

Financial Tips for Women

However, it is important to somehow, have a common ground to make ends meet. Financial experts were able to create simple yet effective financial tips for women. This brings balance and sound financial status. The family’s financial status is one of the most important aspects for families, no matter what the family’s age is. It is important that there is a common goal, even if women and men  do not share a particularly similar outlook. That way, financial needs are addressed, and conflicts are minimized.

Here are some financial tips for women who would like to gain more control and knowledge in budget and expense.

Identify what you do and don’t know

The division of labor in a relationship should be clearly understood. It is enveloped with strengths and weaknesses, but you should not totally rely on either way. Compromise is important to make ends meet. You as a woman should be able to capture the big picture, and identify where you are financially. It is best to keep your financial records organized, and be receptive to learning the aspects of finance that you are not totally aware of.

Early engagement and communication

Finances should not be treated like medications, and just self-medicate in cases that you are not feeling well. It does not work that way in the world of finance. It is important to touch base with a financial expert or consultant. There are several professionals that are more than willing to help you in this aspect, to provide you better information and keep you updated on what aspects of your finances need professional help, or what can be improved further to make your finances work for you.

Identifying your Achilles’ Heel

It is totally alright to embrace your weaknesses in the aspect of finance. The only time that makes it wrong is when you don’t do anything about it to improve your finances. Numerous financial tips for women are available online, that may help you address your financial concerns. When you know your weakness, you can counter it with your strengths.

Preparing for Storm

When we say storms, those are the unexpected financial hurdles that may include divorce, widowhood, or even a massive crash in finances. Keep in mind that in managing finances, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. You should be able to save up enough to sustain you once unfortunate life events will just work as a roadblock, not as end of story. It is important that this aspect is carefully planned with the help of a financial advisor or counselor that can provide numerous financial tips for women.

Prioritize Retirement

Retirement is something that will eventually happen. This is something that is definite in any woman’s life. Saving up, even by small amounts, prepare you for retirement and keeps you financially stable while at the same time gain peace of mind that when it is the time to retire, you have money to sustain your needs. By forming a personal profile for retirement assists you in establishing a vision and careful planning for your retirement.


Despite all these financial tips for women that provide separate approaches in financies, annual financial surveys indicate that the goal is unanimous in terms of financial decisions. The common response is that men and women seriously plan financial aspects in their lives. It just varies on the starting point, but what’s good about it is that the target is the same. Women should be receptive enough to learn the ropes of financial stability. Being interested in preparing finances not only adds valuable knowledge, it is also something that can prepare you for the bigger picture, possibilities, and the latter part of life. The ultimate goal of financial stability is to enjoy life without the stress and woes of not having a carefully planned financial map. How sweet it is to wake up to a life that you long to live, and to make the best out of it. Planning early, learning more, and setting goals will bring you to greater heights.

Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Card

When you have an American Express card, it doesn’t really matter what flavor it is. Whether it’s Gold or Platinum, there’s a sense of prestige and assurance instantly available to the card’s holder. The temptation of credit is evident with these cards, but not so much the debt, so what’s the big deal about AmEx cards, and when you measure the Gold vs. the Platinum AmEx card, how does each stack up? Most importantly, how do you tell which is the credit card for you?

Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Card

Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Card

Here are some things to consider when comparing Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Cards:

  • Yearly cards and fees
  • Point systems
  • Insurance options provided and types of protection available
  • Benefits

In the Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Card decision, it has to be understood that both cards have fees. This includes an annual fee of over a hundred dollars, the Platinum card is actually just under $500. It can’t be ignored that those prices add up over time. When choosing one of these cards, the best one will ultimately end up being the one with the most attractive features attached, so that these fees are worth their price.

With the Gold AmEx, there is no fee the first year, but every year following, you’ll have to pay $125. Certain points are acquired for your commitment, however. Both cards earn you points depending on how much you spend and whenever you book through the AmEx website. So, the more you spend, the more you win.

It’s also important to delve into what kinds of insurance is available when considering Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Card. Each card covers a certain amount a damage or loss when concerning rental cars. They also insure hundreds of thousand dollars in accidents when you’re traveling, so that means more perks for you can receive, like baggage replacement as well as hotel room security. These features fall into place as extra coverage, so you can travel with no problems. This protection also extends to purchases made with the AmEx cards. It’s best to compare the extent of coverage and also, the length of time that certain coverage plans extend until when choosing which in Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Cards. If you’re willing to pay more, the benefits will greatly increase.

More Benefits with Platinum 

While the cards are fairly the same in terms of protection, only varying in the amount of coverage, there are some very prominent differences between the Gold vs. Platinum AmEx cards. Highlighting the Platinum card for a bit, it’s worth note that with this card, there’s traveling benefits that are exclusive to its members. For instance, the lack of any airline fee up to $200 as well as the the access to Delta’s private lounge within the airport. These cardholders also are allowed the option of Priority Pass to lounges in airports all over the world. To obtain these perks with a Gold AmEx card, it’d cost you a pretty penny, so it’s vital to really weigh your options to see if these benefits ends up paying for themselves with the cards’ fees or if you come out ahead in some way.

If you find yourself in another country, the Platinum AmEx card doesn’t charge you an additional foreign transaction interest fee. Also, depending on where you travel, there’s free wireless through Boingo with the Platinum card purchase and through a partnership with the government, Platinum cards offer something called Global Entry. This allows Platinum AmEx cardholders a speedy screening and even offer reimbursements for signing up for this feature. If you’re someone that travels internationally quite a bit, it seems like an even choice when stacking up Gold vs. Platinum AmEx cards.

Along with these amazing benefits, there’s also corresponding enrollment with the Starwood Hotel’s Preferred Guest- Gold status, so the Platinum cardholders get a 5-star treatment with little hassle involved. Like this elevated status in hotels, Platinum membership also gets you an elevated access to private events, like Super Bowl and California vacations. Cardholders get million dollar perks. They can live lavishly on vacation, even when they’re not on vacation, because Platinum AmEx offers a heightened lifestyle with discounts on private jets, limo rentals, and aid when placing reservations at the best restaurants around the globe.

The Negatives

The points don’t add up. If you’re the person that equates value to the point rewarding system, it really doesn’t matter which card you choose. Gold and Platinum cards offer points per dollar amount of purchase, however, they don’t offer many point, and it seems to take forever for them to accumulate to something of value.

The American Express Gold card with upgraded features is the one you might be looking for if you want to build on the points system. In fact, it’s designed to work for points and focuses on reward card management. It is more expensive than the standard Gold AmEx, but it gives you many more points and offers better  discounts when you make a lot of gas and grocery expenses.

When it comes down to it, you have to seriously evaluate your needs and what benefit works for your lifestyle. American Express cards could be worth their fees in their many benefits and the prestige of being one of their cardholders.

Picking the Right Lender for Refinancing Your Home Mortgage

Refinancing a mortgage can benefit you in a number of ways.  It could lower your monthly payments, save you thousands in interest, and it could even make the life of the loan shorter; meaning you pay it off early.  If this is what you want to do you should take the time to find the right lender for your situation.  It is always easy to walk into your local bank and request a loan, but, this may not be the best idea for refinancing a mortgage.

refinancing a mortgage


How to Find the Best Lender

The first people think of for a home loan is banks and credit unions, but, there are other potential sources that should be considered.  There are savings institutions and consumer finance companies and it is well worth the effort to research any of them available to you.  This time can have a substantial effect on the amount of money you spend out of pocket to secure a loan and the amount of money you will spend over the period of the loan.

Remember when you are looking into refinancing a mortgage loan officers will be getting paid off the transactions that they secure.  An actual mortgage broker can assist you to compare the lenders and help you to secure the best possible loan.  They will receive a fee from you the buyer for their assistance.  The broker will also get a fee from the lender for bringing business to them.  Lenders are allowed to make their own decisions on the fees they will charge their clients so, shop around don’t sign with the first lender you talk to.  The may also have different charges for filing so be sure to ask all the questions and be clear about everything before you sign any paperwork.

Key Factors to Keep In Mind

First and foremost make certain that you understand all the terms of the loan you are getting when refinancing a mortgage.  You should know the monthly payment, how many years you will be paying on it, the interest rate, if there are fees and how much they are, and if there will be a penalty if you pay the loan off early.  As for the fees and costs involved with the loan the lender should supply you with a “good faith estimate” that includes all the fees and costs you will be expected to pay at closing.

There is no law that regulates what lenders charge for fees and cost, but, the good faith estimate gives the customer something to use to compare one lender to another.  Your prospective lender should also be able to answer your questions in a timely and reliable way.  When you are getting a loan for refinancing a mortgage you are going to be expected to supply a lot of personal information and therefor your lender should be readily available for your questions.  If you find that you are having a hard time contacting your lender or they often don’t have the answers to your questions; you may want to find a lender that spends more time worrying about the customer’s needs.

Another issue that often comes up when you are working with a lender is, paperwork not being ready and available at the time of closing.  If you have a good lender they should be able to keep everything on track and keep everything moving smoothly so you can have peace of mind through the process.  If all documentation and information isn’t ready at the time of closing you could lose the opportunity for refinancing a mortgage.  A good lender should make a solid contribution to you refinancing a mortgage.

It Is Easier Than it Used to Be

There was a time when learning about lenders and doing research on different companies as a very time consuming problem.  You had to drive from place to place and talk to someone at every company that you were considering for refinancing a mortgage.  If you weren’t driving around you were spending multiple hours on the telephone.  You can still do it the old fashion way if you want to, but, the advancement of technology has made it so much easier for you.  Now you have the information highway provided on the internet.

There are many ways to look online to see what the current interest rates are.  There are also ways to compare lenders on line that make it much more convenient for you. You will find that you can gain a lot of insight studying lenders online.  If you are like a lot of people you are going to want to have a face to face meeting before making a final decision; which is a good idea to help put your mind at ease.  Use all the tools at your disposal to make sure that you are making the most informed decision and getting the best deal you can.

Pay Off Your Credit Cards with 3 Simple Steps

Paying off any amount of credit card debt can often seem like a daunting and intimidating process. However, with just a bit of time, attention to detail and patience, paying off your credit cards in 3 simple steps is entirely possible. To start, follow these three simple guidelines to help you to save money and ensure a favorable credit score:

  1. Identify cards with the highest rate
  2. Focus on cards with the lowest balance
  3. Pay off  cards as quickly as possible

It is important to point out that paying off credit card debt is going to be different for every individual. Especially if you have a limited amount of financial capital, paying off debt is not always as “simple” as you would like it to be. Because the process of paying off debt might differ based on how much debt you have and how much debt you can realistically pay off, below are three tips to help make the process as pain-free as possible.

Pay Off Your Credit Cards

Identify Cards with the Highest Rate

Every credit card comes with an interest rate and the interest you pay varies based on the financial institution issuing you a line of credit. An interest rate is the percentage a financial institution charges you on the amount of money they loan you. You can usually find your interest rate on your monthly credit card statement. The interest rate will typically be labeled as an APR, or annual percentage rate.

The higher the APR, the more money you get charged in the long run. For example, if you take a year to pay off a $1,000 purchase on a credit card with a 25% interest rate, you can end up paying over a $100 in interest (depending on how much you pay for your monthly payments). With the help of an APR calculator, you can easily determine how much you should pay per month in order to pay the least amount of interest.

If you wish to pay off your credit cards with the highest rates, it is always a good idea to pay more than the monthly minimum. Oftentimes, the monthly minimum will only cover accrued interest, meaning you are only paying off interest rather than your debt. Paying more than the monthly minimum means you can pay off your credit cards by lowering your credit owed.

Focus on Cards with the Lowest Balance

Regardless of how much debt you owe, it is always ideal to first pay off credit cards that have the smallest amount of accrued debt. You will want to focus on cards with the lowest balance for two reasons:

  • Paying off lower balances is easier than paying off higher balances. Instead of keeping up with payments over 4-5 years, you might be able to pay off your credit cards in 1-2 years. Having a lot of credit cards open with small debt might reflect poorly on your credit report.
  • Paying off lower balances is more efficient than paying off higher balances. Since you will pay off your credit cards in a shorter amount of time, you will be less likely to continue adding credit debt. Studies show that completely paying off debt helps boost your financial confidence. By eradicating certain elements of debt, you are more likely to continue paying off other types of debt.

When you focus on cards with the lowest balance, you’re not ignoring cards with higher balances. Basically, your primary intent is paying off more money to cards with smaller balances and less money to cards with higher balances. For cards with higher balances, you might only be paying the monthly minimum, which is okay. Once you’ve completely paid off cards with smaller balances, you can continue to pay off your credit cards with higher balances.

Pay off Cards as Quickly as Possible 

Sometimes it is completely or nearly impossible to focus on paying off cards with smaller balances with higher rates. For some people, it might seem more effective to pay off all cards at the same pace. Though it really depends on your personal financial situation, regardless of what method you use to pay off your credit cards, the best method is to pay off your credit cards as quickly as possible.

The easiest way to find out which method of paying off debt is best for you is by making a spreadsheet. In your spreadsheet, include the total balance, interest rate, and monthly minimum payment, and monthly payment due date.

Credit Card Total Balance Interest Rate Payment Minimum Payment Due Date
Credit Card Name $XXXX.XX XX.XX% $XX.XX MM/DD

Figure 1: Credit Card Spreadsheet

Organizing your debt in a manner like the spreadsheet shown above can help you identify which credit card needs to be completely paid off in the shortest amount of time, and which cards should be paid off to avoid future debt problems.

Tips for Paying Off Debts Of Substantial Amounts

Credit cards are great until you find yourself in credit card debt that amounts to more than your yearly income.  A couple from Rochester, Minnesota found themselves in such a situation when the received a letter from one of their credit card companies informing them that their payments would be going up; they could not afford that.

Both of them had good jobs and lived well and had done so through their thirteen year marriage.  When the received the notice they were forced to take a serious look at their situation and realized that they had accumulated $109,000 in credit card debt, but, their yearly combined income was only $100,000.  The needed some information on paying off debts of substantial amounts.

Credit cards are not the only debilitating forms of debt that Americans find themselves in; it can also be contributed to;

  • Mortgages
  • Student Loans
  • Car Loans
  • Personal Loans

No matter how the debt happened the first thing you have to do is step up to the plate and own it; admit that you did it and face it.  Ignoring it will not make it go away and it can definitely get much worse if you don’t approach it head on.  The following tips for paying off debt will help you once you face the reality of the situation.

Cutting Expenses

Nobody likes it, but, once the damage is done you must do whatever is necessary to get you out of debt.  If you take an honest look at your life there are probably ways you can cut back like not going out to dinner so often, cutting out gym memberships, or shopping for clothes you don’t need.  If the situation is really bad you might want to consider moving into a smaller home or moving in with a family member for a while, taking your kid out of an expensive private school and have them attend public school, or sell your sporty car and get something more economical.

Make a Budget and Stick to It

This is a must in any situation where you are trying to pay off debt.  It doesn’t matter if you want to put in down on paper, enter it in a spreadsheet, or use the envelope method; just do it.  If you can also make yourself take the time to write down every dollar you spend for just three weeks; you will probably be very surprised to see exactly where your money is going.

Stop Using the Credit Cards

If you are trying to use the argument that you are getting cash back; think about it this way you are paying 10% in interest (if you are lucky) and you are getting 2% percent back, it’s a loss people.  If you just can’t do without swiping a card; go get a prepaid card while you are paying off debt.

Double Check Any Medical Bills

According to collections agencies about 52% of the bills they try to collect on are medical bills.  You need to sit down and go through any medical bills thoroughly.  Make sure the insurance company has paid their share and determine the exact amount that you owe.  Call the hospital and start negotiating.  You can ask for financial aid, discounts, or a low payment plan.

Get a Counselor

Before you sign on with a debt counseling company to help in paying off debts make certain that they are a non-profit that has been accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  You should also check with the Better Business Bureau to see that they have a good standing and have received some positive reviews from previous clients.  Most of these companies will offer a free initial visit and then let you decide if you would like to proceed further with them.

How this usually works is the counseling agency will negotiate with your creditors for lower payments.  They will receive one payment from you and they will pay directly to creditors while paying off debt.  They can also help with mortgage realignments and student loans.

Beware If You Are Offered a Settlement

It is a sad situation but you must be made aware that there are companies out there that will pretend to be on your side and then tack advantage of your circumstances.  These companies work for profit and will stoop to some bad tactics to make their money.  This is not to say that all of them are bad; there are some offers that are legitimate.  Most of them will tell you not to pay the bill in the hopes that you will let it go delinquent and then they can step in and make you an offer to settle.  This sometimes ends up in a lien or a lawsuit because; they have taken your money and then disappear with the debtor not collecting anything.

You now have some tips on how to get out of debt, but, you must commit to the one that is going to work for you or the combination of them.  If you truly want to get out of debt you can.