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March 25, 2009

Budgeting Activities for the Youth

. March 25, 2009

It is very important for individuals to know how to handle finances. Being thrifty is a good trait and very few youth possess it. Parents are the very first teachers of the children and so they must set good examples. As parents, you can give your kids budgeting activities so they will learn to handle finances at an early age.

A vey simple task or activity is to allow your kids to budget their allowance. You can start by giving them weekly allowances and then after some time, give them their monthly allowance. Once they have the money, they will be in charge of all their expenses. Don’t give them extra money especially if they spent their allowances unwisely. Let it be a lesson for them so that they will learn from their mistakes.

Another thing, parents should also encourage their teens to join youth groups in your area. That way, they can participate in the various activities of the group. In fact, some activities of the youth group can teach the members on how to spend money wisely.

Youth groups usually organize special occasions and the group is often divided into several committees. One committee will be in charge of handling the finances for the occasion. This is already a way of training the youth on how to appropriately distribute the available funds so that everything will go smoothly.

Out of town activities are also conducted. This activity will also improve the budgeting skills of your kid. Of course, as a parent you will give your kid allowance for the trip. If your kid is responsible enough, he/she will spend the money only on the necessary expenses. Thrifty kids will often go home with money in their pockets, and not empty-handed.

It seems that everything you do involves spending money. You have to pay the electric bill, the water bill, telephone bill, buy some groceries, pay the rent, and many others. If an individual knows how to handle these things, everything will be settled down to the last monthly bill, and will even have money left for savings. You as parents will surely be happy to see your kids grow to be responsible individuals.

Budgeting is very important and when your kids grow up, they will need it badly. If they fail to budget their money, then they will always end up borrowing money. Things might even go very badly because the credit standing may be affected. So while your kids are still young, teach them how to effectively budget their money. Your kids will surely thank you when they grow older.

Help your kid find a youth group and show him/her your full support. Encourage them to participate in the budgeting activities to enhance their skills. Give them enough freedom to take care of their expenses while they are still young. That way, the kids will be more independent and wise. They will learn the value of money and the importance of savings.

As soon as your kid reaches the teenage years, teach him/her to be a responsible individual who knows how to handle money. And of course, let your kid join a local youth group so that he/she will belong to a peer group that can help him/her become a better person. You will soon notice that your teen is growing up too fast.

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February 18, 2009

Debt Cures: A Review

. February 18, 2009

'Debt Cures They Don't Want You To Know About' is a book by Kevin Trudeau published May 2008 which claims to blow the lid off the finance industry. It is a follow up to his 2007 book, 'Natural Cures They Don't Want You To Know About' which exposed the pharmaceutical industry and medical practitioners for covering up the fact that there are simple natural treatments for many conditions that are just as effective as prescription drugs, but 'they' (the medical establishment) are constantly pushing us into becoming dependent on pharmaceutical company products.

'Debt Cures' follows the same kind of pattern in claiming that the banks and other finance institutions are virtually ganging together in a conspiracy to push the population deeper and deeper into debt so that they can make money from all of the interest that we owe.

This is an attractive idea for many people who are in debt because it takes the blame firmly away from our shoulders and lays it on the credit card and loan companies. It's not your fault - you were virtually forced into the spiral of debt that you find yourself in. That is Kevin Trudeau's argument, anyway.

We grow up accepting that it is normal, natural and even wise to be in debt. Perhaps in some cases it is. Take mortgages for example. Your parents and grandparents may have warned you about living within your means, but did they ever suggest you shouldn't take out a mortgage because you would be getting into debt? I doubt it.

For most people, a mortgage is a very good financial proposition. It often works out cheaper than paying rent, at least after the first few years, and at the end of the time you own the house. It's almost a no brainer, if you have the salary to afford it.

The problem is that most of us do not understand the difference between taking out a loan to buy an asset that will increase in value, like a house or perhaps a business, and getting credit for things that will never again be worth what we paid for them. That includes cars, furniture and all the little things that we put on our credit cards.

When you get into debt, banks will offer you more cards and loans until the point where it becomes almost impossible to pay. Then they pull the rug out from under your feet. No more loans, your cards suddenly don't work, and the credit score system makes sure that all of the other finance companies instantly know that you are a bad risk. That's where the conspiracy idea comes in.

In the end though, we could say that it doesn't really matter whose fault it is. If we are in debt then nobody is going to help us get out, that's for sure. Certainly not unless we pay them for their advice.

'Debt Cures' is a little repetitive in places, but it gives you some good ideas for reducing your debt and even eliminating parts of it. There are web addresses for internet sites where you can pick up free reports on how to reduce different types of debt. Some of the tactics he suggests are not workable in every situation but you should find some hints in there for dealing with all types of debt.

There are more comprehensive debt management books out there but this one is simple to read and excellent for anyone who doesn't know where to start. If you have not begun tackling your debt yet, 'Debt Cures' by Kevin Trudeau should give you some ideas that could quickly help you save much more than the purchase price.

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February 8, 2009

How to Best Achieve Debt Consolidation and Payment Reduction

. February 8, 2009

Few online debt consolidation lenders will help debtors reduce their debts. Homeowners who are in over their heads in debt can use their homes as collateral to payoff their debts. The loans offered are given to the debtor to repay the debts; and then the debtor must payoff the loan in monthly installments. In other words, your bills are calculated and rolled into one monthly installment. If you have credit cards, then the interest rates will roll into the monthly installment, as well if you have personal or home loans or other types of loans, then the interest rates are rolled in to one balance per month.

Some debt consolidations make it easy and offer short applications, which will link you to an expert who will search for a solution to reduce your debts by assessing your information. Money Management International (MMI) is one of the many online "Consumer Credit Counseling Services" (CCCS) that is a non-profit organization that offers support to debtors. The non-profit organizations are sometimes safer to use than the organized services. Since MMI is a member of the Better Business Bureau, I will refer to this debt consolidation reduction organization to help you get an idea of what is available to you.

Once you sign up at an online debt consolidation reduction organization and are approved, then the professional financial guides will work with your creditors, asking for leniency. This means that the experts will work hard to get a reduction on your debts. For example, if you are paying $1000 per month in bills, some debt counselors will work to get your debts reduced to $500 give or take a couple hundred. This figure is half the amount you were paying in the first place. What a bargain!

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January 16, 2009

How Does Debt Consolidation Stack Up Against Other Methods of Debt Relief?

. January 16, 2009

Debt consolidation is a better solution than bankruptcy; however, in most instances, it is not the best solution for resolving your debts. Many of the debt consolidation programs will exhaust the limited funds by incurring fees for using their service. Their solutions will also put you at risk of loosing your belongings.

Debt consolidation programs will also charge high rates of interest for their services. There may even be a monthly charge attached to the plan. The best solution for resolving debt is to contact the creditors and ask for extensions on your repayment plans. Some creditors will negotiate, offering you lower fees if you pay the debt off sooner. Some creditors will even drop the debts owed, realizing that the chances of getting their money is nil. You never know until you ask.

If your bills are lowered, it will grant you time to land some extra cash to payoff the debt owed. Some creditors may charge the amount, but lower your monthly installments according to your wages. This will allow you room to repay the debts at lower rates. Be aware that paying lower balances on debts may lead to costly IRS obligations and taxes, since if you are a "write off" or else reduction candidate, the information is posted with the IRS.

When it comes to debt, it can become frustrating, since it appears there is no way out. When you are working to restore your credit, you are working toward a brighter future. Remember, each bill you pay off subtracts the amount owed. Debt consolidation is like cutting grass, in that the lawn looks fresher once the weeds are whacked. It makes no sense to ignore your debts; rather working toward debt relief means working now to get rid of your debts.

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January 12, 2009

The Basics of Debt Consolidation and Refinance

. January 12, 2009

Mortgages are secured loans that are given to first time buyers, homeowners and people who have bad credit. The loans refinanced for debt consolidation are loans offered against the equity of your home. Once you are accepted for the loan, you must repay the debt, which will include interest rates. Some refinancing loans have additional fees attached. The secured loans have collateral attached, means that if you fail to make payments, you are subject to foreclosure or repossession. The bank will come and take your home and sell it for the amount you owe.

This is why it is wise to make sure you know what you are getting into if you plan to refinance to consolidate your debts. Some loans permit buyers to repay the loans in 25 years, while others allow 30 repayments. Few of the lenders available on the Internet that offer refinance loans for consolidation of debts are aware that people go through hard times-or at least they don't deal with people directly enough to actually feel this hardship through talking to them.

On the loans that offer lower interest rates, combine payments for debt consolidation. If you can manage to pay for the loan in the time stipulated, it is likely that you will take less time to pay back the loan amount borrowed. Once you find a lender to refinance your mortgage and combine your bills for debt consolidation, you will receive a loan based on capital and interest.

The Repayment loans for refinancing and consolidation make it easy, since the lenders will combine the interest and repayments into one monthly installment. Still, few lenders will allow you to repay the interest rates only; however, be aware that these types of loans do not combine your payments for consolidation; rather they put you at risk in some instances.

Still, there are several types of loans available that will help you refinance for debt consolidation, so keep an open mind and mull over your choices carefully before you make a final decision.

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January 3, 2009

Credit Card Debt Settlement: Your Options

. January 3, 2009

Credit card debt settlement is an option that you may be able to take if you have long outstanding credit card debts where you are not making the monthly payments.

What Is Discounted Debt Settlement?

Sometimes, if a company can from its records that you have not paid anything for a while and they figure it is not likely that they will get the full amount of the debt plus interest from you, they will sent you a discounted debt settlement offer.

This means that they will write with an offer where you can pay perhaps 50% of the debt and they will write off the rest. Usually they will want this all in one payment, but if it is a large amount they may accept it in two or three instalments.

Often the letter will come from a debt collection agency. This can mean that your original lender has signed over the debt to the debt collectors, or it may simply mean that the agency is working for a percentage of whatever they can recover.

Why Do They Offer Debt Settlement?

The finance companies offer this when they can see that you are having so much trouble making payments, they might have to take you to court to get the whole amount, and maybe they wouldn't even get it then, because you might declare bankruptcy.

So they have a choice between incurring the cost of court proceedings and perhaps still getting nothing from you, or offering you this deal where you pay 50% or whatever. They figure they will be better off accepting half of what you owe, than trying to get the full amount through the courts.

What Should You Do?

Whether you should accept the offer depends on many factors.

First, you should be aware that accepting this will affect your credit score in a negative way, because you will not have paid off your whole debt. If you can pay the full amount then it is better for your credit record if you do so. However, you probably would not have gotten to the point of receiving a settlement offer if you could pay in full. Accepting the settlement offer is usually better than having court actions against you.

Second, you will need to consider how you can make the payment that they want. Does it mean that other debts will go unpaid for a couple of months? What will be the consequences of that? Would you have to miss rent payments and perhaps lose your home? Think carefully about how you can raise the money.

Third, even if you decide to accept it may be worth trying to negotiate a lower settlement. This means calling them and saying that you cannot pay what they have asked for but you could pay 40% or whatever. This is often worth trying because it can save you some money without extra penalties.

When you call, write down the person's name that you speak to. If they accept your offer, ask them to put it in writing and wait for the letter to come before you pay. Then write a letter to send with your check stating that this is full and final settlement of your debt, and ask them to write back acknowledging that the debt has been paid.

Be aware that if you decide not to accept the offer, then after a while they may take the matter to court. A court may judge that you must pay the whole amount plus the costs, so you would have a lot more to pay.

If you decide to accept, always read the small print on any offer. You need to be sure this is full settlement and they will write off any additional debt, so they have no right to come back to you in future demanding more.

When everything is complete, check out what has been posted to your credit record. If there is any mistake you should ask for it to be corrected right away and you will need to send copies of all of your correspondence. So keep all of the paperwork when you accept any credit card debt settlement.

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Debt Counseling


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Debt Counseling


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What Is Bad Credit Debt Consolidation?


Bad credit and debt consolidation go hand in hand; if you owe money, you are subject to courts if you can't follow through with payments. If you have borrowed a mortgage, a car, or a personal loan--which are secured loans in most instances--and the loans' obligations are not met, you may be subpoenaed to court. Any courtroom is demanding, and many of the courts will consider both sides offensive. On the other hand, the participant concerned in negligence is frequently judged as untrustworthy. If you want to keep away from stressful situations, then it is imperative to construct shrewd decisions ahead of spending cash you don't have.

Avoiding court judgments, lawsuits, liens and other penalties is central to meeting repayments on your monthly debt. If you stumble on a corner in your life where you get a glimpse of difficulties required to meet these demands, you may want to glimpse into debt consolidation solutions obtainable that can remove you from harm's way.

If you are repaying credit on your home, you may want to consider selling your home. You could also search for a lower rate of interest loan and lower monthly installment loan combined. Few mortgage loans will include a debt consolidation solution into the agreement.

When you already feel indebted and your bills are then sent to collection agencies you will become even more stressed. Once you are in the hands of collection agencies, be aware that most of these people could care less how they get their money. Some have even sent personnel to debtor's doors claiming to be the law. This is illegal, but debtors often fail to stay current with the laws; rather they are only worrying about how to pay their debts.

Be advised that it is illegal for creditors to call you before and after certain hours of the day. Finally, it is also illegal for creditors to call you, threatening to take you to court.

If you have bad credit and need to consolidate your debt, you should know your rights, so you can avoid being bullied by your creditors.

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January 1, 2009

Nonprofit Debt Consolidation Loans

. January 1, 2009

There are many nonprofit debt consolidation loans available and many people choose this type of loan above others. If you have a lot of small bills that you are paying off every month, a debt consolidation loan could be the answer. You take out one loan that pays off all of your other debts, so you only have one repayment to make each month. It is much easier to budget and to remember the payments. Often it can work out cheaper too.

Not for profit loans are available from credit unions. These are co-operative associations owned by all of their members. This is different from other financial institutions such as banks which are owned by shareholders.

The first place that most people try for a loan would be a bank or finance company that you already do business with. If you have had a checking or savings account with a bank for a number of years, they are likely to feel better about lending to you because they can look back and see exactly what has been happening in your account.

However, credit unions can be a better option because they can often offer you more choices. They work through a different set of laws and regulations than those applying to banks, and they also have a different approach. You are more likely to get personal advice that will consider all aspects of your financial situation from a credit union. The interest rate is often lower too.

In a credit union, some members save and put their money into the credit union. Other members need to borrow and they take money out. The interest that they repay (after administration costs) goes to the members who have saving accounts, as the interest on their savings.

In the USA, credit unions are regulated by the Credit Union National Association, or CUNA. Credit unions have a 'field of association' which is the definition of people that they will lend to. They are not open to everyone. They might only take members from a certain geographical area, church, school or employer. In order to join a credit union so that you can save or borrow with them, you need to be in the 'field of association' for that CU. You can search CUNA's database to locate a credit union:

When you find a credit union that will accept you, you also need to know if they offer debt consolidation loans. Then get a quote.

It is quite simple to figure out whether the loan will make you better off financially. One way is to look at the interest rate and compare it to the interest rates of your various small debts. If it is lower than most of the other balances that you owe, it will probably be a good deal for you. Or you can make an application or ask for a quote. Then check that the monthly payment that they quote you is less than the total of all the payments you are making right now.

Usually, the loans offered by credit unions have more favorable terms than a bank loan. Most people who are eligible would recommend nonprofit debt consolidation loans over loans from other financial institutions.

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Credit card debt management


Though a lot of people are comfortable with going forward with credit card debt management all by themselves, not everyone is. There are people who don’t really want to tread into the territory of financial issues (credit card debt management included). Such people generally prefer going to debt assistance companies for advice on credit card debt management or for getting the credit card debt management done through them. However, even before we talk further on this topic of credit card debt management, it’s imperative to understand that any external person or agency can only do a proper credit card debt management for you if you strictly follow the advice/guidelines that they formulate as part of credit card debt management. These credit card debt management guidelines are generally related to controlling your spending (which basically means perseverance and contentment).

Going to a credit card debt management company or a credit card debt management advisor/professional is not meant only for people who are foreign to financial topics but is sometimes fruitful for other people too (who are going with credit card debt management all by themselves). This arises from the fact that these credit card debt management professionals (as any professional) would have more knowledge in that field than anyone else that is not from that field/profession. So, firstly, you wouldn’t know all the tips and tricks that the credit card debt management professional would know (and in fact this is something that you cannot read and learn overnight). And secondly, it will save you a lot of time; because the person who practices credit card debt management as a profession would know about all the latest offers etc that are available in the market e.g. balance transfer offers etc (and hence you don’t need to go looking for all this stuff all by yourself). All in all, a credit card debt management professional can help get you a better deal that might more than compensate for the fee charged by that professional. If you look around you will find that there are hordes of companies and professionals offering credit card debt management services. However, the key here is that you choose someone whose credentials are already established (or who can prove his credentials to you). One good way of selecting a credit card debt management company/ professional is to check with a friend or someone from your family, if they have used any such service in recent times. After all, references are the best way of building trust.

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Consolidate credit card debt


We know that it’s good to consolidate credit card debt (at least that is what we keep hearing from everyone). In fact, the first step towards addressing the problem of credit card debt is to consolidate credit card debt. Now, what do you do to consolidate credit card debt? Should you just go with that attractive ad in the newspaper that says ‘...the lowest APR in the town is available here’?

The first thing, really, is to keep your eyes and ears open. There are always a number of offers available for you to choose from. The credit card suppliers keep coming with new and more attractive offers asking you to consolidate credit card debt with them. However, you must note that the APR quoted in bold, e.g. 0% APR, is applicable only for a short term (3-9 months). The long term (or the standard) APR is different. So, when you go looking for a credit card to consolidate credit card debt, you must be keenly looking for these 3 things (in terms of APR) – introductory APR, introductory APR period and the standard APR. Let’s see how each one is important.

Introductory APR is probably the most attractive thing to look for when you are looking to consolidate credit card debt. If you consolidate credit card debt to a card that has a low introductory APR e.g. 0%, the first thing you get is a breather/relief in terms of the rate at which your credit card debt has been growing. Based on how long that 0% APR period is (generally you will look to consolidate credit card debt with a credit card supplier who offers 0% initial APR), you will at least be able to temporarily break the growth rate of your credit card debt. More the introductory period, the better it is. However, you should not ignore the standard APR when you consolidate credit card debt. This is the interest rate that will be applied to your balance after the expiry of the introductory low APR period that was given to lure you to consolidate credit card debt with that credit card supplier. If the standard APR is too high and you know that you will not be able to clear off the entire credit card debt during the low APR period, that credit card is probably not the best for you to consolidate credit card debt to. However, if you think that you will be able to clear off the entire credit card debt during that period, you can make some compromises on the standard APR of the credit card to which you consolidate credit card debt.

The card that synchronizes with your current and future financial position (and needs), is the one you should consolidate credit card debt to.

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Investing for Retirement


Retirement may be a long way off for you – or it might be right around the corner. No matter how near or far it is, you’ve absolutely got to start saving for it now. However, saving for retirement isn’t what it used to be with the increase in cost of living and the instability of social security. You have to invest for your retirement, as opposed to saving for it!

Let’s start by taking a look at the retirement plan offered by your company. Once upon a time, these plans were quite sound. However, after the Enron upset and all that followed, people aren’t as secure in their company retirement plans anymore. If you choose not to invest in your company’s retirement plan, you do have other options.

First, you can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts. You do not have to state to anybody that the returns on these investments are to be used for retirement. Just simply let your money grow overtime, and when certain investments reach their maturity, reinvest them and continue to let your money grow.

You can also open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). IRA’s are quite popular because the money is not taxed until you withdraw the funds. You may also be able to deduct your IRA contributions from the taxes that you owe. An IRA can be opened at most banks. A ROTH IRA is a newer type of retirement account. With a Roth, you pay taxes on the money that you are investing in your account, but when you cash out, no federal taxes are owed. Roth IRA’s can also be opened at a financial institution.

Another popular type of retirement account is the 401(k). 401(k’s) are typically offered through employers, but you may be able to open a 401(k) on your own. You should speak with a financial planner or accountant to help you with this. The Keogh plan is another type of IRA that is suitable for self employed people. Self-employed small business owners may also be interested in Simplified Employee Pension Plans (SEP). This is another type of Keogh plan that people typically find easier to administer than a regular Keogh plan.

Whichever retirement investment you choose, just make sure you choose one! Again, do not depend on social security, company retirement plans, or even an inheritance that may or may not come through! Take care of your financial future by investing in it today.

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Investing Basics – What Are Your Investment Goals


When it comes to investing, many first time investors want to jump right in with both feet. Unfortunately, very few of those investors are successful. Investing in anything requires some degree of skill. It is important to remember that few investments are a sure thing – there is the risk of losing your money!

Before you jump right in, it is better to not only find out more about investing and how it all works, but also to determine what your goals are. What do you hope to achieve with your investments? Will you be funding a college education? Buying a home? Retiring? Before you invest a single penny, really think about what you hope to achieve with that investment. Knowing what your goal is will help you make smarter investment decisions along the way!

Too often, people invest money with dreams of becoming rich overnight. This is possible – but it is also rare. It is usually a very bad idea to start investing with hopes of becoming rich overnight. It is safer to invest your money in such a way that it will grow slowly over time, and be used for retirement or a child’s education. However, if your investment goal is to get rich quick, you should learn as much about high-yield, short term investing as you possibly can before you invest.

You should strongly consider talking to a financial planner before making any investments. Your financial planner can help you determine what type of investing you must do to reach the financial goals that you have set. He or she can give you realistic information as to what kind of returns you can expect and how long it will take to reach your specific goals.

Again, remember that investing requires more than calling a broker and telling them that you want to buy stocks or bonds. It takes a certain amount of research and knowledge about the market if you hope to invest successfully.

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Ebook Download


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Introduction to Debt.How to steer clear of debt.

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Chapter 1. Choosing a Mortgage
Chapter 2. Affordability
Chapter 3. Types of Mortgage
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