Tips to Get a Cheap Loan

overdraftBorrowing money is never a streamlined channel – you have to think from every angle before you get a loan for yourself.

Even if you are offered very low interest rates, it is best to know all the ins and outs. Financial crises have a huge impact on loans, so don’t opt for a loan only because the interest rate is dirt cheap.

Here are a few techniques to acquire inexpensive loans:

Free of cost bank overdraft

Do you need the loan for a short-term period? If yes, you should contemplate switching your bank account. Sometimes you might receive 0 per cent authorized overdraft from a bank for a year if you switch your current account to that bank and deposit a certain sum each month.

Peer-to-peer lending

Quite a few borrowers feel insecure and hesitant when it comes to borrowing money from a bank. If you fall under that category, you can borrow from a peer-to-peer lender like Zopa or Ratesetter.

This virtual marketplace is a platform to bridge the gap between borrowers and lenders. The only prerequisite for applicants is a decent credit score as the loan amount and interest rates are decided as per credit ratings.

Use a co-signer

It is very difficult to secure a cheap loan with poor credit rating, but the process can be somewhat easier if you bring a co-signer on board with a good credit score. Your ratings will improve as you can sponge off of the co-signers’ creditworthiness.

But please ensure that the co-signer is someone you trust completely due to money being involved.

 Credit cards

There are quite a few ways to get cheap money on a credit card and here are a couple of the most popular:

1. Transfer any outstanding debt on the existing card to a new one, which can get you a free loan for a year at least. You will need to pay a small balance transfer free though.

2. Money transfer cards are a good option as well. It can be used to shift money into your current account from your credit card. Proper credit rating is a must to be eligible for this type of loan.

Offset mortgage

This alternative is ideal for those with equity in their homes. An offset mortgage is an easy and quick way to gain access to funds and repay with a flexible plan. You can overpay the mortgage or withdraw a certain sum from it.

Keep tabs on the amounts you withdraw so that you don’t end up with an exorbitant offsetting cost.

Conclusion

“Cheap loans” can turn into huge expenses over the years if you are not careful, so exercise suitable caution, keep your eyes open, and know the facts and figures before taking action.

The Truth about Cash Advances: What You Need To Know

Credit card companies are all about making money. The primary ways they make their money is through exacting fees from merchants on purchases made with a credit card, soliciting new customers and encouraging their current cardholders to use more credit.

While simply increasing their customer base to collect the merchant fee from retailers allows them to bring in revenue without directly effecting consumer credit, the same cannot be said about their strategy of getting consumers to continuously increase their spending. Luring consumers to spend more and more can be a dangerous, slippery slope for so many people.

Their strategy to lure consumers into increasing spending is done a few different ways. The most common push in getting consumers to spend more is by offering extra credit and/or cash advances with advances being the most costly and dangerous for the consumer.

Credit Card Solicitations

The most obvious bait, are offers that come through the mail to open a new credit card account. Most come from companies you already have an account with. The exception is for people with excellent credit who may get appeals from companies they’re not doing business with.

An offer for a new card can be easily ignored. But for current cardholders who are given a credit limit increase on an active account, the temptation to spend more can be hard to resist.

Cash Advance Offers

The cash advance marketing strategy goal is to get consumers to borrow from the credit card account in a way that allows the provider to attach higher rates and terms that differ from those associated with traditional use of the credit card. The ability to use this cash advance option is available in two different ways.

Millions of Americans with decent credit get mail from credit card companies that include blank checks. Sometimes referred to as convenience checks, they’re one of the ways you can borrow cash against a credit card; the other is to withdraw cash from the account via an ATM.

The sales tactic applied in getting you to use a cash advance option is the freedom you have, to spend this money any way you choose. Cash a convenience check at the bank or withdraw from an ATM; deposit it into another account, make a mortgage payment, car payment or buy anything your heart desires. But as fun as that sounds, a cash advance is serious business and should be used with caution. Understand that the costs of advances are high!

The Cost of a Cash Advance

Use a credit card in the traditional way by making a purchase or transferring a balance and the rate you’ll pay for the privilege of borrowing will be consistent. A cash advance is an entirely separate category from typical credit card transactions and you will indeed pay for it. The fees and costs for advances can add up quickly and include:

  1. Higher Interest Rates
  2. Withdrawal Fee
  3. No Grace Period

Off the top, you will be charged a percentage of the amount you withdrawal and will typically pay a higher interest rate. Clearly they charge a percentage fee and higher rate to make money, but it also helps them to cover the cost of all those cash advance solicitations. The company’s inability to collect merchant fees on cash advances is another reason rates are higher.

The lack of a grace period on cash advance balances, allows interest to be charged from the day you withdraw the money. In addition, ATM withdrawals may also charge an ATM fee, especially if you don’t use your own bank’s machine.

Side Note: One cash advance option that should be absolutely avoided, is one that draws from your paycheck and not a credit card. This type of advance is often called a payday loan or paycheck cash advance, these are predatory loans with outrageous interest rate charges and huge penalties for slipping up on repayment.
Safest Way to Get Cash

So what other options do you have when you need money but cash is tight? The best way is still the old-fashioned way. Get the funds you need by foregoing non-essentials purchases in order to free up the needed cash. If a larger sum is required, a short-term bank loan may be the answer, especially if you can get one with a lower rate than a cash advance.

What’s best isn’t always easy to figure; so you’ll need to be practical and flexible, sometimes needing to go the route that costs more. When you need cash for an emergency and no other options are available, a cash advance may be in order. Just remember to pay if off as quickly as possible.

Identity Fraud and Identity Theft: Know Your Rights

Americans are all about their rights – to bear arms, of free speech and from persecution. Many of our freedoms come in the right to choose what’s in our own best (or worst) interest and to be protected against the criminal element in our midst.

One area of ongoing criminal activity that continues to evolve as protections are put in place is identity theft. Pertaining to that issue is a frequently asked question by visitors to our blogs. What are my rights as a victim of identity theft?

Set a Fraud Alert

This step can help PREVENT identity theft if you’re concerned about suspicious activity. A survey by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that more than forty percent of the respondents weren’t even aware of this right.

A fraud alert is like placing a red flag on your credit files. Creditors who ask to see your credit report will be notified of the alert and use more caution when verifying the authenticity of a credit application to help prevent fraudulent activity.

With a fraud alert in your credit file, when you apply for credit or a loan, you’ll be contacted by phone to confirm that you applied for a new account. Notify just one of the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian or TransUnion, and the other two will be automatically notified.

Review Your Credit Reports

Every consumer should check their three major reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion regardless of whether they’re concerned about suspicious activity or not, especially when you have the right to one free report from each every year. AnnualCreditReport.com is the official site to help consumers to get their free credit report.

If you’re dealing with the threat of identity theft, the agencies will give a free report that is not considered one of the free reports authorized by law.

Fix Credit Report Errors

Discrepancies on your credit reports can have a devastating effect on your future financial needs. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the damage and be proactive about what’s on your credit reports. You have the right to dispute any inaccuracies with the credit reporting agency that includes the error and the creditor that provided the disputed data.

For that to happen, an investigation by the creditor or agency must be performed, and if the information is inaccurate, it will be removed or corrected.

Block Disclosure of Errors

As important as disputing fraudulent activity or inaccurate information on your credit report is, blocking the release of that information may be even more important. If a potential lender sees negative activity that is in error, you may be denied the application on false information. You have the right to stop the dissemination of errors.

Provide proof of identity theft to the credit agency; they are required by law to stop reporting disputed information within four days of receiving it and must also tell the provider of the information that the information may be the result of identity theft and has been blocked.

Know Your Rights

If you find that you need to dispute something on your credit report, document all conversation, be persistent and follow up, if you don’t get a prompt response or resolution. The credit reporting agencies are required by law to tell you of your rights when they report a concern about potential fraud or identity theft. The notice will include helpful information and the effects of identity theft and how to contact the FRC for further help.

Saving Money with Credit Card Balance Transfers

We all have areas in our lives that need attention – some personal like a weight issue, some relational like a troubled marriage, but one trouble spot that often supersedes all others is money. In fact, a crisis over money can impact all the other aspects of life: i.e., raise blood pressure, cause family conflict, threaten employment or home, etc.

A survey by Fidelity Investments reflects consumer awareness of its importance with saving more, spending less and paying off debt being the first three financial resolutions for 2012.

While it may be an ill-advised way to manage credit, many people today are resorting to carrying a credit card balance to make ends meet. But high interest rates on large credit card balances can make it difficult to make much progress in paying them off. One way to minimize the damage and begin paying them off is by taking advantage of a balance transfer.

Aim For 0% If Possible

Low and zero introductory APR credit card offers may be delivered to your mailbox every day; the best ones can save you hundreds of dollars in interest. The key to using balance transfers to save money is by keeping the interest low, or even better at zero.

With credit card companies sweetening their offers to lure in customers, there hasn’t been a better time like now since 2008 to save on transfers for up to 21 months at 0% APR.

While the best zero percent deals will be reserved for those with excellent credit (700+), consumers with moderately good credit will still benefit by transferring to a new account with a lower APR. Here are two scenarios to consider:

  • Your excellent credit score is rewarded with an offer for a 0% introductory transfer offer for 12 months with a $10,000 credit limit. If you use fifty percent ($5,000) of your limit by transferring a balance from a card that charges 15% APR, you will save more than $800 over the course of the introductory period.
  • You have decent credit and are offered a 6-month low interest introductory offer of 1.99%. Transfer $5,000 from a card that is charging 18% APR and you’ll save more than $417.

Understanding the terms and how a transfer works will help you navigate and choose the offer that will help you save the most. Introductory rates may apply to transfers and purchases or only on transfers. You’ll need to read the terms carefully to be sure you understand how the rates apply.

Balance Transfer Fees

Most card issuers charge a one-time balance transfer fee of 3-4% of the amount transferred or up to $200 on a $5,000 transfer. Look for an offer that caps the fee. Without the safety net of a maximum cap, you could pay an excessive amount to make the transfer. Do the math before accepting any offer. Don’t bother to make the transfer, if you won’t save more than the fee that will apply.

Introductory rates require on-time payments to remain active. So be sure you can afford at least the minimum payment every month. Even one late payment will terminate the low or zero interest rate and replace it with an exorbitantly high rate.

After the teaser or introductory period, the interest rate will increase to the agreed amount. If you continue to carry a balance, you may be surprised at how much you’ll be paying in interest. To avoid the loss, be prepared to pay the balance off before the end of the intro period or to transfer the balance to another low/zero rate card.

Be careful not to make too many frequent transfers. While the strategy of moving a large balance will cut your interest, too many transfers in a short period of time will damage your credit score. So if you’re considering this option to cut what you pay in interest, be sure that you get the longest introductory terms, as possible, of at least twelve months.

In conclusion, balance transfers are for people who are serious about paying off their debt. If you hold a credit balance, you are no worse off moving it from one card to another with a lower interest rate. Just don’t make the mistake of transferring your balance and using any remaining credit limit available to you.

Financial Worries Over Facebook Risk

Facebook is one of the most recognized companies in the world! Unfortunately, it may become one of the most disastrous public company launches in history. Some feel that the complete ambiance of the company and its stratagem is headed for disaster.

By not having long-term foresight and becoming a public company, an inevitable and unyielding pressure to “bring home the bacon” is propelling it to meet quarterly sales expectations. The demand for Facebook to grow, increase, grow, and increase to meet revenue goals has created somewhat of a jolt in the total situation.

Everyone has heard the stories of executives under pressure to create revenue for companies. The demands of executives to keep Facebook viable will be the biggest challenge of all. By now, most people know that the business model for increasing revenue is increasing Facebook’s user base.

The complete economic blueprint of Facebook is derived from one approach; gather as much data about its users as possible to sell favorably targeted ads. In other words, for Facebook to do well, it must collect more detailed information about its users. More information means more ad revenues making Facebook more valuable. It’s not rocket science.

Shares Come Tumbling Down

When shares came tumbling down on the second day of trading, investors, analysts, and bankers were bewildered and wondered what went amiss with the first Facebook public offering. It was designed to be the most astronomical technological introduction in years. Blame is running hither and yonder.

Some criticize NASDAQ, others the lead banker, and some even Facebook itself. In the final analysis, critics agreed that Facebook’s offering price started at too high a price and the amount of shares sold to the public was too high, creating a vacuum and hurting the stock’s performance.

Facebook has unleashed a plethora of lessons for future companies to learn before making this type of move. For instance, it could prompt modifications in the I.P.O. procedure. Especially, huge institutional investors like Vanguard and Fidelity who may insist on more input on pricing to the dismay of their bankers and companies. Alas, it has all been a huge disappointment. Investors were quick to pounce, hopeful for huge gains. Nonetheless, the stock fell at its opening.

A systems blunder at the NASDAQ, where Facebook shares are listed, weakened trading in the initial few hours. The suspense surrounding the opening of the public offering was short lived. That Friday its offering price was $38 and by Monday, it tumbled to $34.03 at closing. Optimism faded and everyone started pointing the finger.

Who Is the Blame?

Morgan Stanley felt winning the Facebook public offering was a “coup de gras.” It was one of the largest investment-banking achievements in nearly ten years, and a successful opening may have tightened Morgan Stanley’s place as the prevailing power in technology I.P.O.s. Now Morgan Stanley is under question concerning its part in the dealings concerning Facebook.

Competitors contend that in the Facebook underwriting procedures, Morgan Stanley “threw their weight around”, when it came to vital aspects of the whole process along with controlling meetings with institutional shareholders.

Due to increasing investor request prior to the I.P.O, Morgan Stanley communicated with other bankers to confer about hiking the offering price to as much as $38 a share, more than the original approximations of $28 to $35 a share. Some companies relented, disagreeing about the company’s justification of a higher valuation.

Rival bankers were insistently apprehensive that the massive demand was determined by retail investors, a more unpredictable assemblage. In spite of this, others close to the underwriting process noted that Morgan Stanley and other consultants had tons of tête-à-têtes with possible investors on what was considered a fair point, and that the $38 tag was defensible.

Preventing a huge catastrophe on the initial day of trading, by making an offering priced to low, was something Morgan Stanley would have preferred to avoid. For example, LinkedIn almost doubled on its initial day of trading. Overall, bankers prefer a more subtle price rise, equalizing the requirements of fresh investors who desire big profits, and existing investors who rather not leave cash on the table.

“The scope and dimensions of Facebook’s offering was not amplified through strategic scrutiny by Morgan Stanley along with its underwriters,” stated an independent consultant who counsels institutional investors, it may be that Morgan Stanley simply lost control of the whole shebang.”

Is This Maintainable?

Users and investors must consider whether the persistent pestering for information and ad selling is maintainable according to Wall Street‘s expectations for uninterrupted, continuous growth. As of now, predictions for Facebook look rosy. They are starting to mine “Timeline” data.

The chances for long-term growth in nations like China and India could introduce momentous opportunities for information compilation and advertising. However, with the Smartphone’s success, the company will have another advertising hurdle to jump.

Google has found themselves in somewhat of the same quandary. Being a public company, Google is also under pressure to collect private data to sell ads and executive bonuses are intermingled with the triumph of Google+. It’s the same movie different actors. What will be the next moves companies make who require the information of their users for profit? The world will have to repopulate rather quickly in order for new users to come along hastily to support the new Ponzi system of information gathering.

What is the Answer?

Unquestionably, Facebook will have to seek out new sources of revenue. Except, what in the projected future can replace their need for ad revenues? Eventually, it will have to “face the music.” Can they endlessly continue collecting information? What next, Facebook for babies!

Opportunities to develop advertising revenue will slow. Mr. Zuckerberg will be up against the wall facing the biggies at Wall Street including his shareholders. It will have to search for fresh means of turning personal data into new vessels of profit. Then what will Facebook become? A new world order? Profit before people? We have heard it all before.

Get Debt Free Using The Debt Snowball Method

The snowball method is an approach to paying off your debts, one by one, starting with the debt with the lowest outstanding balance. The principal advantage of the this method over others, such as the avalanche method, is that you can see your progress quickly. Once you succeed in repaying your first debt, you will be motivated and have more money to repay the next one and so on until you have repaid all your debts.

The first step of the snowball method involves making a list of all your outstanding debts, credit cards, overdrafts, loans, etc, from the lowest balance to the highest balance, regardless of the annual percentage rate (APR) you are being charged by the lender. APR is used to measure the true cost of borrowing money via credit cards and loans, but is irrelevant as far as this method is concerned.

Once you have compiled your list, repay as much as you can afford each month towards the first debt, whilst making only minimum monthly repayments towards your others. Of course, you will need to designate a proportion of your household income amount each month for paying debts, after taking into account priority debts, such as mortgage or rent payments, Council Tax and utility bills as well as living expenses.

Avoid Late Fees

If you fail to make minimum monthly repayments, lenders will add late fees and penalties to your account, report late payments to the credit reference agencies and may, ultimately, pass your account to a debt collection agency.

As well as costing you more money, these actions also harm your credit rating, which may make it difficult, or impossible, for you to obtain credit in the future.

Once you have repaid the first debt on your list, remove it and start the process all over again. Don`t change the monthly amount that you use to pay debts, but, once again, repay as much as you can afford each month towards the debt with the lowest balance.

Minimize Interest Payments

The snowball method is not the most effective way of repaying your debts, in terms of the total amount of interest that you pay. Logically, to minimize interest payments you should repay the debt with the highest APR first, as suggested by advocates of the avalanche method.

Logic is all very well, but your highest APR debt usually happens to your highest balance of debt, for example, several thousand pounds on a credit card with a typical APR of 17.9%, it could be years before you feel you are making any progress.

However, by tackling the lowest balance first, you receive positive psychological reinforcement each time you cross a debt off your list, so the snowball method is often more effective, in practical terms for many people.

If you are paying off a credit card, it is worth considering transferring your balance to a new one that offers 0% interest on balance transfers for a certain period.

If you transfer your balance, you typically need to pay a handling fee of between 2% and 3%, but after that you don`t pay interest on your debt for up to 17 months.

If, using the debt snowball method, you are able to clear off your balance before the 0% period runs out, you won`t pay any interest at all.

The Abstract Concept Of Debtor’s Prison Is Becoming A Reality

Are you receiving scary calls from the debt collectors during odd hours? Do you spend sleepless nights worrying about the bill payments? Has the huge debt become a burden for you? If your answer to all these questions is yes, then debt may seem to be a big head ache for you.

Such situations arise when your failing to repay lenders. It is simply useless thinking as to how you’ll be able to consolidate debt. Rather, you should take some effective steps to get rid of debt.

Although, it is not a crime to be in debt, the creditors cannot put you in jail because you did not pay off the outstanding debts.

So, if any debt collector tells that he’ll put you in jail, he is lying and violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Can you go to jail for not repaying the debts?

You will not go to jail for ordinary debts such as credit card debts, personal loans, or even payday loans. You should not believe the tricks and lies of the debt collectors.

You need to know that they’ll try their best to get your personal information. You should not provide them any details about yourself.

Keep in mind that they may already have the information about you and the debt that you actually owe but they may not have any connection with the original creditor.

Even if you owe the money, it is against the law for the creditors and collectors to make threats or to threaten you for getting arrested.

Illinois – The problems that happen when you do not pay off the debts

The residents of Illinois are struggling to pay off the outstanding debts and, at the same time, worry about being thrown in jail by the debt collectors. According to the WBEZ report, the creditors have pointed out suitable ways that prevent them from putting the debtors in jail for not making the debt payments.

The debtors who are being issued arrest warrants due to unpaid bills are also increasing in number. The collection agencies can reportedly file a complaint with the court’s appearance and if the defendant does not show up for their hearing, an arrest warrant can be issued in his name.

The practice has been taking place more often in a stagnant economy and the Attorney General of Illinois, Lisa Madigan wants to do something about it. Madigan has told the Wall Street Journal that they cannot allow the debt collectors to misrepresent the courts anymore.

He also added that some sufferers of this practice were put into the jail without knowing that they were being sued due to misleading submitted to the court by the debt collectors.

Mississippi – The situation you face when you do not repay the debts

Jail general populationIf you have credit card debts or personal loans to repay, the creditors cannot put you in jail. Though it is against the law to not pay off the borrowed amount on time, it is not a criminal offense.

There are certain situations of debt collection, where you may be dragged to the civil court for not paying off the outstanding bills.

If you fall into debt and do not have the capability to pay it off, the bank or the credit card company may appoint a debt collector agency who’ll help you solve your debt problems.

The agencies call you continuously and send mails regarding the debt payments.

If you do not respond to the calls, the agency may think of taking you to the civil court. If you do not appear at the court, a warrant may be issued against you which may result in going to jail.

In case you do not pay off the taxes on time or try to hide the assets in order to avoid paying a judgment, you may go to the jail.

Furthermore, if you’ve committed fraud in any way in paying off the debt, you may go to prison for that. Some other steps that the lender may take on are either he’ll sue you or sell off the debt to a collection agency.

Any debt collector who threatens to file charges against you is violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You may report the Federal Trade Commission and the state attorney general against such threatens.

Missouri – The difficulties you find when you do not pay back the debts

Going to jail for a debt in Missouri is something very rare that happens here. There is nothing as such called a debtor’s prison in the place called Missouri. Even though a judgment is taken against you, you cannot go to jail for the judgment.

But you can go to jail for a reason that is related to the judgment. After a judgment is entered against you, the creditor can ask you to come to the court and answer the necessary questions about your assets.

If you fail to appear at this examination, which is called a debtor’s exam, a warrant may be issued against you by the judge.

If you’re being stopped by the police while the warrant is running, you may be taken to jail.

Although it is uncommon for a Missouri judge to issue warrants for the debtor exams, it can happen here too. So, it can be said that you may go to jail for a debt in Missouri.

Accumulating too much debt and not repaying them on time may lead to unnecessary troubles. You will then have to think how you can reduce debt problems.

If you are amongst the ones who have huge debts to pay off, you should try to get rid of them as soon as possible. You need to know that the different states have different laws related to debt problems.

So, if you are residing in any of the above states, make sure you enquirer about the laws properly and try to eliminate debts soon. You may have to go to jail in case you do not reduce debts on time.

Six Money Saving Tips for College Freshmen

Being a college freshmen and away from home for the first time can present lots of challenges. With your parents no longer around, you are free to make your own decisions in a number of areas, including how you spend your money.

If you’re not careful though, you can get into trouble fast, and the repercussions can last a lifetime.

Here are six easy tips that the college freshmen can do to help save some money.

1. Find A Part Time Job

Get a part time job. It can be an on or off campus position, just be quick if you want to get the best positions as there will be plenty of competition from your fellow college freshmen.

While I was in college, I worked several jobs because I knew I would need money for going out socializing, to the movies or for meals etc.

I worked in the stacks of an undergraduate library as well as on security for a residence hall cafeteria. Later, I was also a groundskeeper during my graduate school years.

These days you don’t only have to restrict yourself to jobs locally or on campus. The Internet opens several other options such as writing, for example.

There are several websites that pay upfront and depending on how dedicated you are, and the website for which you write for, you can command a fairly good salary each week.

You can schedule each work session around your spare time, so you don’t have to worry about cutting classes either.

2. Budgeting Your Money

Create a budget and live within it. Figure out all your living expenses as a college freshmen. Things such as books (Check out Half for books), food, laundry and on-campus transportation, to name a few.

Always make sure you use price comparison websites when shopping online to make sure you are getting the best price possible.

Don’t forget that many companies (like Apple) offer student discount so is always worth asking. Don’t go out to the movies every weekend or out eat too often. These are huge money wasters.

Although it may only seem like a little money you’re spending each time, it all adds up.

3. Live On Campus

If you are on a scholarship, loan or grant, live on campus. It will save you lots of money, and you don’t have to be concerned about rent every month. Your dorm fees also include payment of your utilities. So that’s another expense which you won’t have to worry about.

If you choose to live off campus, especially in your first year, a landlord will not be as sympathetic if you don’t make your rent in a given month.

You could face eviction, which could cost you dearly later in life when you seek to get credit, or move into another apartment.

4. Show Your Student ID

When you do go to plays, movies and shopping – or when you travel by bus or train, make sure you find out about any student discounts that these establishments offer and take advantage of these discounts.

In my city for example, the local bus service is free for all college students. All a student has to do is to have his or her ID handy to show to the driver.

5. Save Save Save

Saving money for a rainy day or for the future is always a good idea. Saving money as a college freshmen may seem difficult, but it’s good to plan ahead and have emergency savings to dip into if you need it.

You never know what might happen just around the corner. You can start by saving as little as $20 or $25 per month. When you get older, you will thank yourself for learning this habit. If you save that much, by the time you graduate, you’ll have over $1000’s!

6. Careful With Credit Cards!

Don’t accept every credit card offer the banks throw at you. The more plastic you have, the more temptation you’ll have to use the darn thing!

If you do have to have one, make the wise decision to spend only what you can pay back in full at the end of the month. This helps you to avoid the nasty monthly fees that they are going to slap on the balance.

Conclusion

College can be, and should be the best time of your life. Or it can be a time you look back on with a sigh of regret.

It all depends on the financial choices you make now. So make sure you make the right ones, and you won’t be regretting your decisions later in life.

Are You Ready To Buy A House? Financial Planning

As we make our way through life, it presents us with many opportunities; some we turn into successes and milestones and some sadly fall by the wayside.

There is one thing that is always a daunting prospect and that is buying your first home; whether you’re a fresh-faced youngster wanting to set an early foot on the property ladder or a little older, wary and wiser, there is no doubt a little worry in the back of your mind.

Well, there needn’t be – there are people and places that are here to help you with every stage of buying your first property and plenty of advice is out there to be given.

The first question to ask yourself is “am I really ready for this?” Well that all depends. Despite all sorts of help being at hand that is no excuse to bound headlong into it, you do have to take your time and consider a few things before even looking for your dream first home.

Are You Clear Of Debt?

In order to make sure that you are accepted for a mortgage then it is very important that you have stayed debt free for a reasonable amount of time. It is advisable that you pay any credit card bills, utility bills etc. for the eighteen months prior to starting to look for a property.

Any loans that you may have taken out for another reason would not necessarily have to be paid in full, but certainly the repayments will have to be kept up in order to give you a good credit score.

There are alternatives for home buyers with poor credit scores, but these are few and far between and would take a lot more time and bother to organize.

Are You Set On What You’re Looking For?

Having a good idea of what type of property that you’re looking to buy is obviously very important.

It is more than likely that you’ve already got your heart set on a particular place in a sought-after area. It is inevitable however that you will come across disappointments along the way as it won’t only be you that will be looking – if only it were that simple.

You may have to make sacrifices in your search; not all of the places that you look at will have that 100ft garden or the en-suite bathroom that you’ve been craving.

If you look hard enough and do plenty of shopping around then you might find something close or even exactly what you’re looking for – don’t settle for the first one that looks good to you!

Getting Pre-Approved For A Mortgage

Don’t worry, it isn’t just you that is going to need some kind of extra financing in order to get your foot on the property ladder. Over 90% of all home buyers – whether it’s their first time or not – need a mortgage in order to complete their purchases.

So unless you have millions in the bank and a very understanding bank manager, it is more than likely that you’ll have to go down this route.

The good news is that in recent years you can now put down next to nothing as a down-payment on a home, sometimes as little as 5% of the house price (and there are some that require no down-payment at all!). Again, shopping around is the best place to go.

It is not exactly difficult to get a loan these days, but you must be wary of certain places and make sure that they follow the industry guidelines before making a commitment.

Ask as many questions as you want to a mortgage advisor or an independent financial advisor to ensure that you get the best loan for you and your future. There are many people out there willing to help you so you don’t have to feel like that you have the world on your shoulders.

4 Good Personal Finance Books Aimed At Teachers

Teachers are a special and noble breed that I love to discuss and propel forward any chance we get. Although teachers are rich in spirit and rich in honor, they don’t fill their coffers with gold. This is because most teachers don’t earn a large enough salary to make up for their time and good deeds.

However teachers do have a few advantages and like many they can and should make good financial decisions now, so that later in life they too can retire comfortably and have a nice nest egg to fall on as they age.

With this in mind, we have four good resources we think are a good primer on saving, investing and or making the most of what you earn now.

1. The $100 Start Up

This book is fairly recent and one to watch as it has myriad examples of working class and middle class individuals who had an ordinary idea and turned it into an extraordinary business. All under with a budget of $100 at start up. This book will give you the jolt you need if you have been contemplating starting a business but don’t think you have enough money to do so.

In today’s “stream and thank you” economy, cash is not the #1 thing needed to start your road to business success. Read the book written by fellow blogger (and now bestselling author) Chris Guillebeau and get inspired today to begin the life you’ve always dreamed of.

2. Millionaire Teacher

Do you know the story of Andrew Hallam? He is the teacher from Singapore who turned his modest teacher salary into a multimillion dollar portfolio and is now teaching others how to do it via this book. Andrew has been featured in numerous magazines and blogs about his book and also about his rags to riches story.

He is a disciplined investor who began his journey long ago as a youth inspired by a middle class millionaire – who happened to be of all things, a mechanic. In the book, Andrew delves deep into how he was able to amass his fortune and effectively retire at 38. If this story doesn’t motivate you, we don’t know what will.

3. I Will Teach You To Be Rich

The blog and subsequent book title comes from the tough as nails financial non-czar known on the web as Ramit Sethi. A young, brash and cocky personal finance writer who has managed to garner quite the following and dishes about money with a no holds barred attitude. This ain’t your grandmother’s financial counselor.

He has a class he teaches where he charges students $1,000 plus a head to join and offers no apologies for the price. He has been noted as mentioning that he only wants “serious” students in his classes and on his site. He also offers various courses and eBooks via his popular blog by the same name as the book. If you like the tough love approach, you will love Mr Sethi.

4. Switch

We love this book because it is about a topic that most of us have a problem with – Change. As individuals it is one thing to not accept or manage change, but as teachers and educators, we must adapt to the various changes that come our way or we will get left behind. Case in point? Technology and how it is revolutionizing books.

A decade or so ago, a digital reading device (such as the Kindle) was a thing of jokes or maybe a wacky subplot on a Sci-fi movie. But now it is reality and shapes how we view and consume reading material. Newspapers, magazines and books are all going digital, it is just a matter of time – before paper is a thing of the past.

As a teacher if you don’t adapt, you will lead your class astray and fast. But that’s where Switch comes in and gives us a different viewpoint on how to view change and how to fully embrace it in our lives. Written by brothers Chip and Dan Heath, this book is a must have in your personal improvement reading list. We give it two thumbs way up.