Reform aimed at personal finance and uk savings

The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) has issued a report which supports the Pension Commission's recent demand for reform in the structure of the basic state pension. In fact the report goes further than simply backing the report, it calls for reforms to be implemented more rapidly than the Commission has recommended.

Essentially, the reforms that are proposed are for simplifications to be made to the current variations in available state pensions for those who are eligible. Means testing, currently used in determining eligibility and the extent of the pension available, would be dropped in favour of an across the board pension rate. Additionally, tax breaks for those who try to save for a personal pension would be put in place to encourage saving.

These reforms would serve to make pension availability, and budgeting for retirement, much clearer to understand and buy into, thereby preventing nasty surprises for the individual late in life, or the government as a generation becomes dependant on a state pension. A recent survey by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) concluded that very little provision is being made for the future by those aged 18-40 and that a very large number of UK citizens could well become dependant on state pensions.

Personal finance has become a boom sector amongst that same generation, with online access to personal finance databases such as Moneynet (http://www. moneynet. co. uk ) and Motley Fool (http://www. fool. co. uk ) providing a wealth of options for UK consumers. However despite the fact that many of those options include savings and pension schemes, it appears that they are rarely taken up, with consumers opting for credit card deals, mortgages, insurance, and personal loans instead.

Pension experts have showed their backing for the proposed Pension Commission reforms with their overwhelming response in the PPI report, and it is to be hoped that the simplifying of the state pension will bring the importance of the issue to the attention of the age range identified by the FSA.


All information contained in this article is for general information purpose only and should not be construed as advice under the financial Services act 1986. You are strongly advised to take appropriate professional and legal advice before entering into any binding contracts.

Make extra money - six unusual ways

: I was young and wanted some way to make extra money - something other than another fast food job. A friend of the family owned a small insurance agency. The owner decided to get into the business of process serving, and I applied for the job. Tracking people down and handing them their court subpoenas sounded like fun. It was more interesting than most of the jobs I have had. I had to find two defendants in a lawsuit stemming from a school football injury (they worked for the school). Both had moved to the area, leaving no forwarding address. After using my best phone pretexts to get information from the family, and doing a little investigating locally, I found them both working in the same place. I walked up to each, asked their name and handed them the papers. They were served. The problem was that the company was billing by the hour, and I had found these two quickly, meaning little profit. They dropped the idea for the new service, and dropped my job along with it. So much for getting ahead by doing a good job. I had a wide variety of unusual jobs and other ways to make extra money when I was younger. Sitting here reminiscing at the keyboard might be considered an unusual way to make money too, but hey, it works. Here are some of the other ways. Make Extra Money By... Stealing cars: At twenty-one I was willing to try almost anything to make extra money. My brother's towing business got a contract to repossess cars, and I became a "repo man." Prowling the night with my brother, looking for and legally "stealing" cars - this was fun. Don't expect to make too much money doing this though, unless you live in the right area. Oh, and it did involve getting chased, having a gun pulled on us, and other little adventures. Making walking sticks: I sold hundreds of my own handmade walking stick alongside our other items at flea markets. I added handgrips made from recycled leather jackets, so they cost about 50 cents to make. I sold them for anywhere between $6 to $26. You may also want to make a hobby into a way to make money, but there isn't too much money involved most of the time. Financing other peoples plans. I put up the cash to buy cars for a couple friends. They knew cars, I had cash. A friend needed $3200 to buy and fix a corvette, for example, and two weeks later sold it for $4200, netting us $500 profit each. Letting your money do the work to make extra money - this is one of the best ways. Rent rooms. At one point I had almost $10,000 per year coming in from renting the rooms in my home. I owed nothing on the home at this point, so this was a nice income. I had decent renters, and I had built a efficiency apartment on the back of the place for privacy for my wife and I. Easy ways like this are my favorite ways to make extra money.

Avoiding high interest

Frequent flier credit cards are a unique way for consumers to reward themselves while spending money.

There is, however, a hefty price to pay for spending while earning-interest rates average 16.99 percent on airline mileage credit card balances.

As consumers look for alternative choices to managing debt, the inevitable hunt for a low-rate balance transfer begins. Innovative companies such as E*TRADE FINANCIAL are making it easier for consumers to transfer their balances to a low-rate card while preserving their ability to earn rewards on the card of their choice.

Instead of the standard one-time balance transfer, the E*TRADE Mileage Maximizer Account is an automated balance transfer system that allows customers to transfer their balances on higher rate credit cards to a lower rate credit card each and every month. Low-rate credit products like these allow consumers to reduce the interest paid on balances, paving the way for effective debt management.

So celebrate the rewards you get from your airline mileage credit cards-take that trip, upgrade your seat or turn the miles into a charitable gift. But be smart-don't pay for those benefits with an exorbitant interest rate and manage the balances you are carrying down to a low interest rate.

3 things you must have to make lots of money fast

Where ever you are presently in your life you can begin to make large amounts of money very fast if you understand a few simple principles. Despite what anyone may tell you these principles of generating money fast do work.

These principles are not difficult but in order to understand them you must process them. You must take the time to give them some thought, until the thought becomes a part of your very being.

How to make money fast is one of the hot topics on everyone’s mind. Most people will tell you that claims of making fast money is a hokes. Those are the very people who believe that only hard work and struggle can create money. However despite the hard work, the concept of fast money is still not part of the equation. After all if you are working very hard you are unlikely to be making the sort of fast money that you would dream of.

I can tell you from first hand experience that fast money does not come through hard work. If you are marketing your business or interested in accumulating more money struggling will only kill your changes of getting money in a fast and easily way.

--The First Step--

The first think you need in order to make fast money is to have a clear goal. How much do you want? You would be so surprise at how many people want more money but don’t have a clear idea as to how much they want.

Without a clear goal your desire is just a wish, it is not concrete. Be specific about how much money you want and by when you would like to have it.

--The Second Step—

The very next step is to take inspired action. Inspired action comes from the universe as a nudge. It’s the perfect idea, job or business that will help you in getting your goal accomplished.

It makes no sense trying to do something that your neighbor or your coworker tried. What is an ideal opportunity to make fast money for them may not be ideal for you. Besides your goals are unique and the opportunities that are rightfully aligned for you are rightfully suited for you to reach your goal in the time that you desire.

--The Third Step—

The third most powerful step is to have a clear and bright vision of your goal. This is where most people fail. Most people get caught up in fear and worry that their goal will not be able to materialize and spend lots of wasted time holding back on their actions.

How many times have you been offered a great idea which you may have promised to do but allowed your fears to get in the way?

You must be able to hold your vision in such a way as to feed it with your own personal powerful intention that your vision will materializes money a lot faster than usual.

Many people who understand the power of holding a clear vision have gone on to make money very fast again and again. Those are the ones who deeply understood the precise way. With a little time and your deep desire you can literally suck money to you faster.

Over the years I can honestly say that I have tested all these theories and without fail they work in generating money faster than if I did not practice these methods.

Credit counseling -- why it doesn t work for most debtors

"Cut Your Payments in Half!" the headline screams. "Consolidate Your Bills into One Low Monthly Payment!"

When you see ads like this, they are often from Credit Counseling firms. In this article, I'll explain the principles behind the Credit Counseling approach and discuss the main problem consumers face when they join one of these programs.

First, let's get our definitions straight. The term "Credit Counseling" is actually quite misleading, since it has nothing to do with preserving or improving your credit score. In fact, Credit Counseling will often damage your credit, an unpleasant reality that is sometimes downplayed by industry representatives.

Credit Counseling is a debt management program where you make a single monthly payment to an agency. In turn, that agency distributes the money to your creditors on your behalf, ideally at lower interest rates so you can pay off the debt faster. Credit Counseling should not be confused with Debt Consolidation, Debt Settlement, or Debt Termination. Each of these debt programs takes a very different approach from Credit Counseling.

Of all the available debt options, Credit Counseling is by far the most popular, with millions of Americans participating. Does this mean it's the best choice for most people struggling with debt? No! There are numerous problems with this approach.

In recent years, the Credit Counseling industry has been heavily criticized by impartial consumer groups like the Consumer Federation of America. But these criticisms often miss the mark entirely. They usually focus on the aggressive companies that use their non-profit status to trick consumers into thinking they are charitable organizations, or even that their services are free of charge. In reality, these outfits charge hefty "voluntary" contributions, often adding up to hundreds of dollars, plus steep monthly fees as well.

However, I'm not talking here about the bad companies who provide little or no actual "counseling," or the ones that are only in business to make their owners rich. No, I'm talking about serious problems with the actual business model itself. So let's take a closer look at how Credit Counseling works.

Let's say you owe $25,000 on several different credit cards. Let's also assume your average interest rate before you enrolled was 20% (which is actually low these days, especially if you've missed any payments). Your minimum monthly payments are $500, which you've been struggling to keep up with. At this rate, it will take a whopping 109 months (more than 9 years) to pay off your debts, assuming you don't miss a single payment along the way.

You enroll in a Credit Counseling program that promises to get you out of debt faster. But does it? Assuming your creditors agree to participate in the program (not always the case), the real key is the concession they will grant on your interest rates. In prior years, creditors looked more favorably on Credit Counseling and they offered steep discounts off the normal interest rates. But lately they have squeezed the industry, and the concessions are not so good any more. Currently, most of the major players will reduce interest rates down to a range of 7% on the low side to 18% on the high side. We'll use 12% as the average.

So if you keep your payments at $500 per month at the new 12% rate, how long will it take? First, we need to deduct the monthly fee charged by the agency. In this example, we'll use a fee of $25 per month, so $475 of your $500 will go toward debt reduction. The good news is you'll be out of debt faster. The bad news is that it will still take 75 months (more than 6 years) to become debt-free.

But what happens if you can't keep up with that $500 per month? After all, you sought help from a credit counselor because you were struggling financially, right? Let's say you drop down to $450 per month. After deducting the $25 monthly fee, that leaves $425 toward your debt plan. Now you're looking at 90 months (7 years & 6 months), which is not much better than the 109 months you started out with.

So how can credit counselors claim to cut your payments in half? Good question. If you dropped down to $250 per month, you'll never pay off your debt! At 12% interest, the debt will climb faster than your $250 per month can reduce it. The lowest you could go would be $300 per month. However, it would now take 20 years to pay off the debt, hardly an improvement!

In order to truly cut your payments in half, down to $250 in this example, the agency would need to completely eliminate all interest! And even then, it would still take more than 9 years to pay off the balance! So the ads claiming you can cut your payments in half are simply false.

Bear in mind here that in our example, we're assuming you're working with a good company that charges low fees and actually obtains good interest rate concessions from all of your creditors. Even with the best of credit counselors, you're still looking at a 5-9 year program to pay off your debts.

That's why Credit Counseling is usually only effective for people with short-term financial problems. Consumers with long-term financial instability have trouble keeping up with the regular payment stream required to make these programs work. The result? Even the most favorable statistics show that about 3 out of 4 people drop out of Credit Counseling programs before completing them.

If you do decide to join one of these programs in order to obtain some short-term relief, be sure to do your homework first. Here are a few tips to help in your selection:

1. Look for a company that actually provides old-fashioned budget advice and counseling. If they want to sign you up right away without first understanding your budget situation, move on!

2. Obtain copies of the contract and read it carefully before signing up. Make sure you understand all of the fees involved. Are there enrollment fees? "Voluntary" contributions? Monthly fees? Extra fees per account? These hidden fees can add up to big bucks.

3. Make sure they work with all the creditors on your list and not just some of them.

4. Don't be fooled by "non-profit" status. That doesn't guarantee you're dealing with a good company. And it certainly doesn't mean the service is free!

5. Aim to find a local company that you can visit in person. Check out your target company with the local Better Business Bureau.

6. Make sure they provide support after the sale. Try calling their customer service number to see if you can get through promptly.

Remember, you can eliminate your debts if you take a disciplined approach to your finances, make a budget and stick to it, and don't use your credit cards unless you can pay off new balances in full each month.

Good luck in your financial future!

Working in retirement

Most experts on the subject believe that the Social Security system will be bankrupt in about 15 years. However, some new studies have offered a ray of hope. They seem to indicate that the assumption that the boomer generation will retire at 65 or 67 and sit back to collect their social security checks is incorrect.

They believe a sufficient percentage – some estimates are as high as 80% - will continue to work in some capacity or another, relieving much of the pressure on the system.

This is probably the only ray of hope for many who have visited financial planners or bought personal finance software to see how much they need for retirement. These usually show you need a million or more dollars to retire with your current lifestyle. But again, they don’t take continuing earnings into account.

Many in the baby boomer generation plan to retire at around 65, but then start a second career, doing something they enjoy. Most don’t want to continue on in their present jobs or move to low paying work at fast food restaurants or supermarkets.

Rather they would rather make their accumulated knowledge work and, if possible, also give something back to society at the same time.

Health experts say this trend will be beneficial in that by staying involved, those past retirement age will stay healthier and will be happier with their life.

So it seems that several trends are converging. Those in their 60’s, 70’s and early eighties are healthier than ever. Because of their increased longevity and the shortfall in their retirement savings, they need to continue to earn. And many companies who once looked on older workers with distain, now seem to realize the value they can contribute to the company and to society in general.

There is speculation that colleges and universities may allow retirees to earn fast track degrees, taking into account their prior education and work experience. Also some states are already loosening license requirements for teachers to allow those with degrees in fields other than education to become teachers with little if any further training.

Another way to continue to earn in retirement is by making wise investment choices now.

Buy rental properties, learn how to manage money effectively or start your own business now in your part time so that you have something up and running by the time you retire.

The internet has opened up new ways to earn, be it drop shipping, affiliate marketing or selling goods on Bay.

If you always wanted to be an author or if you can write software programs, it is simple to self publish and sell electronic goods through services such as Clickbank.

Or you could just do something you’ve always wanted, like baking breading or making shoes. If you’re good at whatever you choose, you should have little trouble finding a clientele.

But if you are depressed because you have to continue to work after 65, don’t. You’ll have a lot of company and you’ll will also be healthier and happier for it.

For more advice on retirement planning and personal finance, visit http://www. credit-yourself. com/financial-planning. html

Working out a family budget

When you and your family are considering a budget, you may be missing the values that are held within rebates and coupons. In general, because of the time it takes to actually clip these things out of your local newspaper or a magazine, people tend to over look these big money savers all too often. Coupons should be an important part of your family budget. The money you could save using coupons could easily add money to other areas of your budget, like family entertainment.

For decades, people have been clipping and using coupons of a variety of sorts. It is something that is done by grabbing your favorite pair of scissors and scanning through your magazines or newspapers, to find coupons that will help your entire family saved money on your favorite products. Many people commonly skip over coupons because the savings tend to “look” small and insignificant. However insignificant they may look, once these savings add up they could equal a good sum of money saved EACH time you go to the grocery store.

Using and clipping coupons or rebate forms have been known to be an art. People often plan their entire budgets around the coupons or rebates that they have and save a good deal of money in the process. It is impossible to account for coupons during the actual creation of the monthly budget, because you never really know how many coupons you will be able to use and just what the savings will be. Many people choose to stash away the money saved from coupons into a special place to use for a special treat for the entire family. You will be able to enjoy treating your family to a special night out or something of the like, without having to place an impact on the family’s budget.

Stick close to a few rules when you decide to use coupons, this will allow you to get the greatest value from them. When you are using a coupon, try to find the item on sale. This will help you reduce the price in a dramatic way, for items that you would generally purchase at regular sale price. In addition, some stores have what is called “Double Coupon Day”; these actually double the amount of savings that is listed upon the coupon. Giving you DOUBLE the money to put away for that special treat and what could be better.

How you trap into credit card debt

: These days credit card or plastic money is very popular and used extensively. It is indeed of great utility if used in a calculative manner, but it is also the main cause that leads many people trap into credit card debt. Let see how it happen to most of people. Many of retailers are implementing easy payment scheme for their products or services, with some fraction amount of money for monthly installed, you can buy thousand of dollars of items or go for a luxury vacation which you can't afford to buy if one lump sum of money is needed, these monthly installment are automatically charge to your credit card. Every month, you just pay the minimum amount of your credit card balance and you continue spend on your credit card. Let use a case study to review on how a person credit card debt can grow and how it will take to get rid of it. Case Study Scott earn $2,500 a month, he is holding a credit card with interest rates of 12%. All his credit cards allow him to pay a minimum of 3% or $10 which ever is higher. His credit card limit is $15,000. Scott's credit card balance at current month is $4,550 ($3000 in principle and $1550 interest). He tends to pay the minimum of his credit card balance and each month he will averagely swipe about $500 on petrol and other utilities. Let see how's Scott's credit card balance grow: Month 1 Credit card balance = $4,550.00 Minimum Payment = $136.50 New Credit Card Spending = $500.00 New Balance = ($4,550 - $136.50 + $500.00) = $4913.50 Month 10 Credit card balance = $7976.02 Minimum Payment = $239.28 New Credit Card Spending = $500.00 New Balance = ($7976.02 - $239.28 + $500.00) = $8236.74 Month 20 Credit card balance = $11109.85 Minimum Payment = $333.29 New Credit Card Spending = $500.00 New Balance = $11109.85 - $333.29 + $500.00) = $11276.55 Month 30 Credit card balance = $13662.60 Minimum Payment = $409.88 New Credit Card Spending = $500.00 New Balance = $13662.60 - $409.88 + $500.00) = $13752.72 Month 36 Credit card balance = $14961.02 Minimum Payment = $448.83 New Credit Card Spending = $500.00 New Balance = $14961.02 - $448.83 + $500.00) = $15012.19 If Scott continues his practice, his will hit his credit card limit after 36 month compare to current month. Let say Scott stop using his card with the balance at month 36 of $15012.19 and continue paying the monthly minimum. It will take him 228 months which equal to 19 years to just to pay off his $15012.19 debt. The above example is just a simple case study to show you how your credit card debt may piles up so quickly without you even aware of it. You need a lot of time and spend a lot of money on interest in order to get rid of this debt. In real life, many people have more than one card and other loans to support; hence situation may even worse. How to get rid of credit card faster & affordable? If you are already at this situation, the first thing you need to do is to change your behavior of paying the minimum only. Paying more each month will definitely pay off your debt faster but the question is you may say that you can't afford to pay more than the minimum. In actually fact, the easiest, faster and affordable way to get rid of your credit card debt is maintain your current minimum monthly payment. For example, we use back Scott's case. If he affords to pay the minimum payment of his $15012.19 debt, which is $448.83, this is his affordable payment. If he continues to pay $448.83 every month instead of the minimum of his credit card balance, he will need only 43 months to pay off his debt as compare to 228 months. This mean, Scott will have his debt free life in less than 4 years instead of 19 years. In Summary Credit card will remain important in many people life, use it intelligently for your convenient, but you much carefully manage your credit card balance, don't let this plastic money drag you into financial crisis; the ideal way is pay the balance in full each month.

Forecasting the future value of your 401 k

If you’ve got Microsoft Excel (or just about any other popular spreadsheet program) running on your computer, you can use its FV function to forecast the future value of your 401(k) account.

The FV function calculates the future value of an investment given its interest rate,

the number of payments, the payment, the present value of the investment, and,

optionally, the type-of-annuity switch. (More about the type-of-annuity switch a little later.)

The function uses the following syntax:

=FV(rate, nper, pmt, pv, type)

This little pretty complicated, I grant you. But suppose you want to calculate the future value of a 401(k) account that’s already got $10,000 in it and to which you’re contributing $200-a-month. Further suppose that you want to know the account balance—its future value—in 25 years and that you expect to earn 10% annual interest.

To calculate the future value of the 401(k) account in this case using the FV function, you enter the following into a worksheet cell:


The function returns the value 385936.13—roughly $386,000 dollars.

A handful of things to note: To convert the 10% annual interest to a monthly interest rate, the formula divides the annual interest rate by 12. Similarly, to convert the 25-year term to a term in months, the formula multiplies 25 by 12.

Also, notice that the monthly payment and initial present values show as negative amounts because they represent cash outflows. And the function returns the future value amount as a positive value because it reflects a cash inflow the investor ultimately receives.

That 0 at the end of the function is the type-of-annuity switch. If you set the type-of-annuity switch to 1, Excel assumes payments occur at the beginning of the period (month in this case), following the annuity due convention. If you set the annuity switch to 0 or you omit the argument, Excel assumes payments occur at the end of the period following the ordinary annuity convention.

One vote away from constitutional disaster

For those of us who cherish civil liberties, the last thing we need is Sen. John McCain in the Oval Office. What many people don't think about when pulling the lever in the voting booth is that the president appoints judges that control their lives - not only appointments to the U. S. Supreme Court, but up and down the federal judiciary.

Senator McCain's "positions are nearly identical to the president's on abortion and the types of judges he says he would appoint to the courts," "How Close McCain Is to Bush Depends on the Issue," New York Times, June 17, 2008.

President Bush's arch-conservative choices for the Supreme Court are one vote away from a majority. One more appointment by either President Bush or Mr. McCain, if elected president, would mean a stunning reversal for human rights.

On June 12, 2008 the Supreme Court by just a 5-4 vote held that terror suspects held at the U. S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay could not be denied the right to file a habeas corpus petition to challenge why they were being held.

The news stories of the day claimed a great triumph for democracy. The linked piece is just one example of many television, radio and press stories that totally missed the point.

To anyone who claimed this was a "great triumph" or the like, that's a frightening conclusion.

This decision was a near disaster.

Habeas corpus should be protected by a 9-0 vote.

This 5-4 decision mirrors the U. S. criminal justice system, which has the highest number of people behind bars in the world. Even more than in China. That is a stunning indictment of a "sink or swim" society and raises serious questions about the law that your courts are enforcing and just how uncivilized a society we have allowed the United States to have become. Law and order is fine, but for all the law, we don't have much order.

The statute denying the historic protection of habeas corpus with the purpose of taking away the supervisory function of the courts was drafted and supported by John McCain. And his favorite judges - the kind he would appoint - voted against this necessary constitutional restraint on illegal government actions.

Chief Justice John Roberts, and associate justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas - whom Bush senior lied about when he said Thomas was the most qualified person he could appoint - all were the dissenters.

Thomas, Scalia, Alito and Roberts, our TSARs in waiting, would love to have just one more reactionary vote to chisel away more of the underpinnings of our Constitution and put an end to individual rights.

Here's how it works for the TSARs: Business and government uber alles. Personal rights last.

In March a 4-4 split court in Warner-Lambert v. Kent didn't have the five votes needed to take on the question whether a product liability claim could be brought be against a manufacturer of an FDA approved drug.

You were one vote away from losing your personal right to sue for personal injuries caused by dangerous drugs: Trasylol which causes kidney failure, Ortho Evra that causes stroke and heart attacks, MRI contrast solutions with gadolinium that are lethal for kidney patients, Zyprexa that causes diabetes and Vioxx the pain killer that kills. And those are just a few of the currently dangerous drugs without opening the archives.

With one more vote the United States Supreme Court could have granted legal immunity to pharmaceutical manufacturers on the legal theory that once a defective drugs had been approval by the FDA, even though proven to be unsafe and dangerous, no further questions can be asked in a court of law.

The TSARs wants to turn over total control of regulating drugs to the FDA, a proven administrative disaster, and allow drug companies to profit by selling highly questionable, and sometimes known dangerous drugs, without allowing victims a chance to hold them responsible in front of a judge and jury.

Don't doubt for a minute that isn't likely to happen.

That's why we need a Democratic president.

Voters should stand proud of the voice they gave to Obama and Clinton. It was an historic race. Sen. Clinton made a spectacular run against a culture of misogyny and Sen. Obama proved it was the person, and not the color, that counted.

But it can be even more.

An Obama-Clinton ticket means more than the vote's of18 million Clinton supporters and it's more than merely seeking women to support the Democratic ticket. It would show Obama's commitment to real change at two levels.

First, at a very personal level, Obama could show that to change the country he is willing to change himself.

Secondly, that leadership action would cement his position as the most committed Democratic leader since Franklin Roosevelt.

USA Today on June 10 2008 described on page one the changes on abortion, job bias, and campaign finance and racial polices that have occurred since the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor from the Supreme Court in January 2006.

In short, Justice O'Connor's legacy has faded.

Imagine how bad it would be with the next Supreme Court justice appointed by McCain, giving the TSARs a solid Supreme Court majority.

We are on the cusp.

A Democrat in the White House is a must.

An Obama-Clinton ticket guarantees a Democratic win - a win that we must have to protect ourselves against right-wing abuse on the Supreme Court and to preserve human rights.

This is not the time for risk. There is way too much to lose. There is so much to protect.

Building residual income

What is a residual income?

Residual income is a type of income that’s lasting. It means you don’t have to work all your life to earn money, with little effort; you can sit in the comfort of your own home and earn money.

The internet is one of the fastest growing markets for different kinds of businesses. Imagine you can target customers from almost anywhere in the world. There are also a lot of payment options online. No matter what country you are from there is always an opportunity for you.

Here are some ideas you can do to generate a good paying site.

1. Create ebooks. You can get more profits if you publish it yourself. However there are certain advantages if you let publishers market your book. Publishers know a lot of sites where they can place it because they have more experience. Ebooks are easy to download, you only have to create one and anyone can download it even when you’re not there as long as they pay for it or as long as they’re subscribed. Of course there are certain rules that you have to follow like getting a ISBN number for your book.

2. Create downloadable learning tools like CD. If you are an expert on something and you would like to use your expertise to educate people then creating downloadable tools is just perfect for you. You can make a class wherein people learn through listening to your voice and you can charge them to pay for it. If customers like you, they will just keep coming back.

3. Create a blog that is supported by paid advertisements. Write anything that interests you. You can also link your blogs to other programs that offers site traffic. An example is the google adsense. It is very easy to set-up an account. It is available worldwide. They pay for every click on your blogs’ ads. Payments vary according to the type of advertisements that shows on your ads. However there are certain keywords that can attract advertisers to bid for a place in your blog. Just always bear in mind that, do not click your own ads because it is a violation. If they learn about it the adsense team will automatically terminate your account.

4. Participate in affiliate programs. Create a site that will help you campaign for your affiliates. You can visit different affiliate links and some of them don’t require membership fees.

5. Make an online magazine. You can get people to subscribe, participate in the forums and submit articles for you. You can publish it monthly, quarterly, whichever you like.

Dollar saving tips on your next car rental

One of the biggest vacation expenses is a rental car. Below are a few suggestions on how you can save money on your next rental car.

If you are flying to your vacation destination and have booked the flight either online or through a travel agency, you can more than likely get a discount on your rental car if you book it as part of the package. The majority of car rental companies collaborate with at least one airline to provide frequent flyer miles or other types of rewards when you rent a car. In addition, many airlines offer incentive and bonus programs where you get extra miles or extra credit, so be sure to inquire about these programs when making your reservation.

When choosing your rental car, a compact or subcompact economy car is usually less expensive than a full size sedan or minivan. Therefore, selecting an economy will not only be less expensive, but you will also get better gas mileage thus saving on gas expenses.

If you need a large sedan, SUV or minivan for the comfort of your family, it is well worth your time to shop around. There is usually a high demand for these types of vehicles and therefore a larger price tag. Travel related web sites are a good place to start your research to familiarize yourself with the average price in your vacation area.

The duration of the rental will have an influence on the cost as well. Weekly rentals are usually far less costly than a daily rate spread over a week. Therefore, if your vacation plans are for a week or more, be sure to inquire about special rates. If you are taking a weekend vacation, many companies offer weekend specials on certain makes and models of their cars.

In addition, a number of national car companies and local smaller companies rent their used cars for much less than a new car from a rental agency. In most instances, these cars are only a few years old and provide the same protection as a new car.

For the business traveler, joining a frequent renter club, or using the same rental car company each time, is a great way to get some special coupons and some very good deals that you could use for the family vacation.

Most people purchase car insurance from the rental agency. Usually, this is not necessary. If you have purchased your rental car on your credit car, you may already have coverage as part of your credit card plan. In addition, as an automobile owner, you car insurance may provide coverage for rental cars. Therefore, it is necessary for you to check your credit card plan and automobile insurance, if you are covered, then purchasing insurance from the rental car agency is not necessary.

Saving money at the pump

A recent report in the Financial Times predicted that the average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States may soon reach $3.00 . . . that's the bad news! The good news is, skyrocketing gasoline prices have caused many Americans to start looking for ways to either cut back on the miles they drive or find ways to make their cars more fuel efficient. That's good news because these fuel-saving attempts and attitudes will help reduce the fuel emissions that regularly foul our atmosphere. The question remains, just what do we need to do to spend less on gas and reap the reward of cleaner air; a few tips follow:

Get your car in shape

A well maintained car will burn less gas than one that has been neglected:

1. Keep your tires properly inflated; check your car's user's manual or look for the sticker that gives you the recommended tire inflation pressure. If your tires need replacement, look for tires that are rated as LRR (Low Rolling Resistance). Proper tire inflation along with the LRR tires will be your biggest fuel savers.

2. Change your motor oil at the manufacturer's recommended intervals and be sure to use the recommended 'weight' (viscosity) motor oil. While changing your oil, change the oil filter and check the engine air filter -- the air filter may not need to be changed every time you change your oil but it should be checked every time.

3. When you buy gas, pay attention to the octane rating marked on the gas pump -- it should fall within the octane range recommended by your car's manufacturer.

4. Buy your car a 'tune up' at the manufacturer's recommended interval -- on modern cars a tune up is mainly replacing the spark plugs, checking the engine timing and checking the spark plug wires.

Drive smart

How, where and when you drive are equally important factors in your attempt to save gas money and keep the air clean:

1. Do you really need to drive? Every trip to the store does not require car keys; walking a couple blocks will not only save your gas money it will help keep you in good health. More than just a couple blocks? Dust off your bicycle (or buy one) for those trips that are not more than two or three miles. Also consider public transportation and car pooling to and from work as gas-saving alternatives to your ignition key. If telecommuting is an option for your job, take it!

2. If you do need to drive, plan your route! Sometimes the shortest route has the most traffic congestion so you are wise to take the longer, less-traveled route to save gas by not being stuck in slow traffic. If possible, arrange your work schedule to allow you to drive to and from work in less congested traffic.

3. Slow and steady wins the race.“ When pulling away from a stop light or stop sign, go easy on the gas pedal and gradually increase speed -- jackrabbit starts are really bad for fuel efficiency . . . sudden stops don't help either, if you find yourself jamming on the breaks, you are driving too aggressively -- slow down and 'mellow out'!. When you're finally on the highway, keep your speed at the posted speed limit and, if you have a cruise control use it.

Some other fuel saving tips

1. Don't spoil your car's aerodynamics by placing luggage or other things on top of your car.

2. Keep your car windows closed; in the summer air conditioning won't effect your gas mileage as much as open windows.

3. Travel as light as you can -- more weight in your car equals poorer gas mileage.

4. If you rent a car you'll be buying your own gas so rent the most fuel-efficient car available.

5. If you are ready to trade your car in for a new one, give serious consideration to a hybrid vehicle or at least a vehicle with the best gas mileage rating you can find.

Rising gas prices will probably be with us for quite a long time so take some of these tips to heart to save money and save our environment.

Curing yourself from leaky wallet syndrome

Financial stewardship of a business empire or $100 bill require a particular psychology if they are going to survive over time in the same hands. The lack of this same psychology is why most lottery winners cannot hold onto the giant sums of money they receive; and I call this psychological mind-set the “Leaky Wallet Syndrome”.

The difficulty with holding onto money is that it only takes a single weakness to lose it entirely. By weakness I mean that something has caught your eye that is so desirable that you will buy it spite of the fact that you cannot afford it. Whatever this purchase or payment may be, it psychologically reaches your personal threshold where having something right now is more important than having something tomorrow. There is a trigger that sets aside your normal, balanced decision-making with instant gratification. In my opinion, it is similar to dieting in that you have to eat food, but there are consequences if you continually eat even a little too much. Likewise you need to spend money, but there is a predictable consequence if you continually spend even just a little too much.

Let me list some of the common categories where people could have financial weakness: vacations, clothing, cars, shoes, personal electronics, charities, collections of any kind, books, Christmas gifts, watches, pets, jewelry, relatives, dining out, boats, hobbies and sports activities. And these are only single leaks in your wallet, if you have many of them your wallet could be in more serious trouble.

If you’ve never felt like you’ve had much “extra” money, you may not be aware of what your financial weaknesses may be. They may not show up until you receive a sudden windfall (annual bonus, tax refund, pay raise, inheritance, lottery winners), and you are not familiar with or prepared for your psychological pressure to spend money. If you want to know a few of your weaknesses, think about some of the items at the top of your list that you would buy if you had the money. How many of these items would seem like reasonable purchases to friends and family vs. how many would seem like ridiculous extravagances?

If you are still not sure if you suffer from Leaky Wallet Syndrome, your checking account may tell you: Do you have money leftover at the end of every month? Are you unable to payoff your entire credit card balance each month? Do you have any past due bills? Do you hide your checking account or avoid balancing it?

Let me give you a couple examples. An acquaintance of mine has three children, and in my view, is financially prudent in all matters except for one. And this single weakness has caused her to continually have trouble with high levels of credit card debt. She’s had this debt problem as long as I’ve known him and his only weakness is a particular self-help seminar. At least once a year, if there is room on her credit card, she attends one of these seminars and charges it all to a credit card. I don’t see her do anything with the information that she learns, and she feels it is so important, but I fear that she is sacrificing her family’s financial future.

I’d rather not see any more exposйs about non-profit organizations spending their donations on supercomputers to analyze direct-mail campaigns instead of their stated cause. In another example, an acquaintance’s grandmother has a weakness for requests that she receives from left-wing political organizations. If a direct-mail piece lands in her mailbox, then they are guaranteed to receive some donation from her – no matter that she can’t afford it. And like a good poker player sensing weakness, the fund raisers now flood her mailbox with donation requests.

Leaky Wallet Syndrome doesn’t only afflict individuals. A family-friend is a business turnaround consultant for private companies. He says that the majority of the time his services are called during the third-generation from the business founder. The founder builds a successful business and the second-generation coasts on this success, and is mentored by the founder. But by the third generation, the business is supporting so many family members on the payroll that don’t contribute value and family infighting prevents any efficiency or reform, that only Herculean effort from an outsider can save the business from so many forms of overspending.

You don’t have to look far from home to find Leaky Wallet Syndrome (has anyone seen my Ferrari? I mean my Ferrari keychain with a used Honda key?), but all the leaks in your psychology need to be plugged before you can successfully move toward your financial goals. And this effort also helps prepare you for any windfalls that would quickly leak from your wallet.

Is life after bankruptcy that bad

It seems that some people do not recognize that dispite some unpleasant aftereffects, bankruptcy is truly a “fresh start.”

Instead of being satisfied with the benefits they receive some people remain unhappy.

Here is a letter I received:

“Why does it take attorney's six or more weeks to discharge a chapter 13?

Why do apartment leasers hold a bankruptcy against you when I don't see how you could add apartment rent onto your bankruptcy?

If life is so miserable after a bankruptcy, why are lawyers constantly telling people it's okay to file. (They want to get paid.) “

My response:

“Six weeks for a discharge isn't that long and may well be governed by the schedule of the bankruptcy court.

Some landlords may not want to rent to someone with bad credit. They may feel that they will have to chase the renter for their money. Dispossessions are time consuming and expensive.

In many cases the landlord will get possession of his apartment, but may never recover the unpaid rent.

While the court proceedings drag on, the landlord has lost a part of his source of income. So he haa a right to be careful.

However life is not that bad after bankruptcy. Debtors used to be sent to jail.

Not too long ago, bankruptcy would mean that the bankrupts would have to carry a stigma for life. Many committed suicide rather than face the disgrace.

Many people who went bankrupt during the Great Depression spent years paying off their discharged debts as a matter of honor.

Now nobody much cares. You will be able to get credit. Your debts have been wiped away. What more can you ask for?

You were the one who ran up the debts, whether through bad luck, bad planning or the simple inability to control your spending.

You did contract to repay the money and you didn't.

For the most part you are now free of the pain and pressure caused by your financial problems. You will face some obstacles over the next few years, but you should have realized that before filing.

You approached a lawyer, not the other way around. I'm sure the lawyer didn't twist your arm to force you to file. If you've gotten your discharge, be happy, restart your life and live with the consequences.

Things could be worse.”

In my opinion this person needs an attitude adjustment.

How to use your equity smartly

: Equity is the value of your home at current market value after deducting the outstanding mortgage on your home, which is what you would have left over in the event that you sold your property at market value and repaid your outstanding mortgage. Home equity is built over time; as equity builds, you create a pool of money which your can utilize it later for many purposes. In general, it is unadvisable to spend your equity money on things that do not give you ROI (return on investment) such as frivolous vacations. Use your home equity to clear your bad debts is actually a type of spending on your equity money. You could avoid yourself from trapping into debts by carefully plan your budget and spend with what you earn. A smarter way of using your equity is use it to grow your equity further, spend on things that will bring you ROI. Ways to use your equity smartly include: Start Your Own Business You can use your home equity to borrow a low interest loan to generate the capital necessary to start your own business. Just be sure that you have a sound business plan in mind and that you have other safety cushions in place. During the initial stage of your own business, you could maintain your reliable first income stream (to protect you against any cash problems) while working to bring your own business up to the stage. Home Improvement A better home condition will increase your home's resale value. Hence you can dip into your equity to generate funds for home improvement. Your home improvement project will improve your home condition and provide you with a more comfortable living, and you could get a higher resale price whenever you want to sell it. But remember that not all home improvement projects will contribute equally to your homes resale value. Children Education Growing equity is a great way to generate fund for your children education needs. You can get loan against your home equity for your children educational needs. Using your equity to invest on your children education will get them a brighter future and at a better position to compete in the challenging job market. Improve Your FICO Score Debt is unavoidable for many people as long as we have credit cards, mortgage or car, but you could prevent yourself from trapping into bad debts condition by carefully planning your budget and spending with your financial affordability. Instead, your equity can help you to improve your FICO score. By paying off creditors, you can improve your FICO score and potentially qualify for a lower refinancing rate. To make the most out of this process, know your interest rates, for both savings and debts. You can get help from expert such as an accountant to help you with the calculations. With so many rate variables in play, its easy to get confused about how to consolidate, how to pick the right term for your home equity loan, and how much to allocate to savings and how much to allocate to payments. In Summary Home equity is the money you have put down against the principal of your house as a savings account, be aware that if you fail to budget effectively and over draw your equity. You could lose your house, wind up in credit trouble, or even have to file for bankruptcy. Hence, use your equity smartly is a great way to pursue your wealth building.

Tips to save gas-and money

Motorists may not need to put the brakes on their lifestyles to save at the pump. Try these simple fuel-saving tips instead.

• Keep the tires of your vehicle properly inflated. The U. S. Department of Energy reports that underinflated tires increase fuel consumption by up to 6 percent and one study estimates that 50 to 80 percent of all tires on the road are underinflated. By these estimates, the U. S. could save up to 2 billion gallons of gas each year simply by properly inflating tires.

• Regularly replace your air filter. A clogged air filter can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent. An added bonus: Air filters keep impurities from damaging the interior of the engine. Replacing them won't just save you gas. It could save your engine, too.

• Upgrade your motor oil. According to multiple independent university tests, Royal Purple motor oil improves fuel economy by as much as 5 percent and produces notable horsepower and torque improvements. That means motorists could save gas without giving up performance.

• Follow the maintenance recommendations in your vehicle's owner's manual. An out-of-tune engine can increase fuel consumption by as much as 15 percent. Always follow your car manufacturer's suggested tune-up schedule.

• Lighten your load. Don't carry extra weight in your vehicle. Doing so burns extra gas and could cost you money. Only carry sandbags, tools and other heavy items when you think you'll be needing them. Also, don't forget that carrying lots of small, light items can be the same as carrying one heavy item. Be sure to clean your trunk and backseat out regularly.

Payday loans provide money for urgent and troubled times

A sure way to deal with your cash problems that arise when you have exhausted your paycheck is to take up money through loans. With numerous loan opportunities, the borrower has to choose his option wisely. Through Payday Loans, the borrowers can take up money for their needs easily and without pledging any collateral with the lender.

These loans are available to those borrowers who are in need of money for their urgent needs but due to exhaustion of their paycheck, they are not able to do so, on their own. The money is available to them without pledging any assets with the lenders. Only some conditions of eligibility are required to be fulfilled. The borrowers should be adult citizens of the UK. They should be regularly employed since the last 6months and have a regular place of residence since the last 3months. The money has to be transferred to a current bank account of the borrower which is at least 6 months old.

The amounts that can be borrowed are dependent on the monthly inflow of cash of the borrower. The amount may be as low as

8 money myths

8 Myths About Money

I grew up on a farm in Nebraska. My family had always worked hard for their money, and as a result, I always equated working hard with making money, with no idea that my beliefs could not have been further from truth. As I educated myself on human behavior and financial strategies, I learned that it’s actually the people who make their money work hard for them, rather than the people who work hard for their money, who end up with more of it. Since creating my millionaire-making program, I’ve learned that I was not alone. There are many people who shared this same myth.

Much like our views about many things -- people, relationships, food, and health to name a few -- our beliefs came from our parents, our teachers, and other adults in our lives. And it goes back even further, beyond them, back to the circumstances through which they lived, or what they learned from their parents, what their parents learned from their parents, and so on. These beliefs are ingrained, and because they’re usually subconscious, the cycles are continuous -- until someone breaks them. You can break the cycle. Beliefs about money are many and varied, but in my research, I’ve discovered that there are a few that predominate.

Money is scarce. Several of us have parents or grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, an era that rooted an entire generation in a scarcity mindset. These people passed onto their children the idea that money was in short supply and that when it did surface, spending had to be limited and saving was imperative. If any of the following ever crossed your mind—“A penny saved is a penny earned,” “Don’t dip into savings,” or “We can’t afford it” -- then you have this perspective and rainy days loom ominously. Money doesn’t grow on trees. These threats create a fearful relationship with money.

Money is evil, dirty, or bad. Several of us have parents or grandparents who believe that the road to bad places is lined with green. They’ve only ever seen the drawbacks of the rat race, the downside of the money chase, and the audacity and indulgence of those with too much money. Some even believe that wealthy people are bad people. Novels and films often highlight the idea that it’s the crooked ones who make the money. The meek shall inherit the earth. Such prophecies create a hands-off relationship with money.

Money comes monthly. The most common way to make a living is to be employed, either with a company or as a skilled professional, with a weekly wage or an annual salary. Historically, this provided the safe, sure thing required by heads of households. Yet, that level of risk was usually balanced with an equal level of reward -- low and low. For most, even those who do very well, working for a company or as a skilled professional is a constrained opportunity. Except for the outrageous exceptions, the average CEO of the average company making six figures a year will still experience only a small increase in salary during his or her lifetime. Slow and steady wins the race. Such fables create a cautious relationship to money.

Money is not for me. Some people feel that they don’t deserve to be wealthy or that there is only so much of the millionaire pie to go around. Creating wealth and financial freedom is available to everyone. It is our right to be wealthy, and my hope is that people take their space and know they deserve it. By making money, you are not taking it from someone else; this isn’t Bonnie and Clyde Go to the Bank. By making money, you create a greater capacity to contribute, and it’s your duty to do this. Better them than me. Such adages create a defeated relationship to money.

Money is a man thing. There was a time that men made and managed the household money. That time was not so long ago, and some of you may have grown up with such conditioning. Though there are gender tendencies, for example, men tend to carry more money in their pocket than women and are more likely to invest than women, the reasons behind this are not genetic; they are realities falsely fabricated from years of conditioning. Women and men need to understand that money knows no gender. One of my programs that really resonates with up and coming wealth builders is “Wealth Diva: A Man Is Not a Plan.” This is a must-do seminar for every man and woman, and the daughters and sons they love. Let him bring home the bacon. Such perceptions create an apathetic relationship to money.

Money is good medicine. For some people, retail therapy goes a long way; there’s no difficulty a new blouse can’t cure. At the moment, we live in a culture of consumerism, and many of us use money to fill the unsatisfying holes in our lives. Some people grew up with a sense of entitlement about money, assuming their parents or a trust fund would always pay for everything, and in the process, they became careless about what they had. This is a vicious and unproductive cycle. The new car gets old, the closet fills up with clothes, and the toys pile up in the playroom. This is notto say there aren’t wonderful things to buy and spend our money on; after all, money should be fun. But as with overeating, too much spending on the wrong things can get any of us feeling sluggish and sad. Shop till you drop. Such bombarding messages create a disrespectful or nonchalant relationship to money.

Money is always a menace. For too many of us, money was always a problem. Bills were a hassle, keeping up with the Joneses was exhausting, entrepreneurs were considered nuts, and one’s station in life was, well, stationary. And getting rich would be worse. Money can be such a burden, not to mention all that paperwork and responsibility. These views of money create a perspective that money is actually a problem, not a solution. It’s hard enough just to survive, let alone thrive. Such pessimism creates a negative relationship to money.

Money talk is taboo. Many of us have been brought up to believe that conversations about money are in bad taste. Money and financial success, and failures, are considered personal subjects that shouldn’t be discussed and certainly shouldn’t be taught. Few of us asked our parents how much money they made, and even now, there are people who don’t know their spouse’s salaries. The results have unintended consequences and have created a world where very few people are having real conversations about money and finances, the very conversations they need to learn and succeed. These things are not discussed in polite society, dear. Such a scolding creates an ignorant relationship to money.

In each of these examples, it’s clear that unless your parents made a conscious choice to think and act differently, they conditioned you to have the same mindset as them. If you make a decision to break this cycle, you will have the opportunity to teach your children to have more productive beliefs about, and a more profitable relationship to, money. As you come to understand the beliefs you hold, you will work to change them. Through the action steps in this process, and with the help of mentors and respected friends, you will change your behavior. By sharing your desire for new beliefs and asking your mentors and respected friends to help you spot the subconscious limitations you may be putting on yourself, you will teach your brain to follow your behavior. Begin now by restating your beliefs. For example, if you’ve discovered that you hold any of the above examples as beliefs, you will

1. Change “money is scarce” to “money is abundant” and support a courageous relationship to money.

2. Change “money is evil, dirty, or bad” to “money is good and acceptable” and create a hands-on relationship to money.

3. Change “money comes monthly” to “money comes from a range of sources” and create an opportunistic relationship to money.

4. Change “money is not for me” to “who better than me for money to come to” and create an empowered relationship to money.

5. Change “money is a man thing” to “I can and will know about and understand money,” and create a thoughtful relationship to money.

6. Change “money is good medicine” to “money is a tool to help make my life better” and create a respectful and concerned relationship to money.

7. Change “money is a menace” to “money is a solution” and create a positive relationship to money.

8. Change “money talk is taboo” to “money talk is vital” and create a knowledgeable relationship to money.

You can see how much better it is to be courageous, hands-on, opportunistic, empowered, thoughtful, respectful and concerned, positive, and knowledgeable than to be fearful, hands-off, cautious, defeated, apathetic, disrespectful and nonchalant, negative, and ignorant. The choice is yours and it looks like you’re well on your way. You’ve already taken a huge step by deciding to actually take the first step. By making the decision to start right now, you have created the opportunity to raise your financial consciousness and change your life.

Copyright © 2006 Loral Langmeier from the book The Millionaire Maker McGraw-Hill; December 2005;$24.95US/$00.00CAN; 0071466150

Loral Langemeier is a master coach, financial strategist, and team-made multimillionaire who reaches thousands of individuals each year. She is the founder of Live Out Loud, a coaching and seminar company that teaches her trademarked program Wealth Cycles.

Why prepare for retirement

Time goes so fast that some people are caught unaware that life has caught up with them. These people have been very busy taking care of their families that they have forgotten how to prepare for their future especially when they become too old to work.

Every person should prepare for that time when they can just relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor. People who have spent their fruitful years working and supporting their families should be given a chance to lay back, do what they have long wanted to do and live life to the fullest without worrying about financial support.

Not everyone is given the opportunity to enjoy retirement without any worry about their finances. People who want to enjoy their retirement without all the worries should prepare for their retirement now, when they are still able to produce and to work hard.

The best time to prepare for retirement is when a person is still young enough to financially plan for that period in his life when he does not have to worry about work or earning more money. Every person should gift himself with a proper retirement package so that when that time comes, he will be able to go to places he wanted to visit before but did not have the time or resources. Or perhaps, do things that he was not able to do before because he was too busy fending for his family.

Planning for your own retirement should be treated the same way when planning to invest in a house or a car. Every person should set aside even a meager amount from his monthly earnings, to be saved and used for his retirement.

A retirement plan will mean you no longer have to worry whether you have a family to take care of you when you grow old. It means not having to get scared that your children may be so busy living their own lives they will place you in a home for the aged. Preparing for retirement means being secured in the knowledge that something is waiting for you, when you can no longer earn money the way you used to do.

Some people consider retirement as the best years of their life because during this time, they no longer have to worry about working hard and feeding their children. When retirement comes, it’s just you and your spouse and sometimes, the children who manage to take a break and visit you. For most people, retirement means being free form the hustle and bustle of the daily rat race called life.

Start planning for your retirement and look forward to a life worth living after you are out of the daily grind.

Good investment advice only for the rich

If you think good investment advice is only for the rich, you're not alone. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of investing Americans believe that those with more money are able to get better financial advice than those with less money. Further, more than a quarter (26 percent) state that it takes at least $100,000 to get top-quality financial advice.

This is according to a new survey by the Retirement Corporation of America, which also finds that more than half (56 percent) of investors believe that financial advisors lose credibility when they accept fees or commissions.

Given the above perceptions, it is not surprising that 53 percent rely on themselves or turn to family and friends when it is time to make investment decisions rather than seek professional advice. However, changing investment funds is easier said than done for investors. The survey finds that nearly a third (31 percent) are willing to wait from one to five years before they move their money from a poorly performing option to a better one. The factor that makes it most difficult for investors when contemplating change is the scarcity of time to conduct adequate research, as cited by a third of respondents. This is followed by 20 percent who state that they are confused by all the available options and 16 percent who are afraid of making the wrong decisions.

The Retirement Corporation of America conducted this survey to better understand why consumers stay invested in poor-performing mutual funds. Their newly launched investment opportunity-Money Masters Investment Portfolio-is the first to offer unbiased advice and access to top-performing investment funds for every American.

Taking The Guesswork Out

The good news for confused American investors is the new registered investment advisory account (the "R" Account), offered through the Retirement Corporation of America, with no minimum account balance, commissions, transaction fees or exit penalties. It allows investors to access a fully managed Money Masters Investment Portfolio containing 15 of the world's top-performing mutual fund managers-the "Money Masters." The Money Masters are the top 10 stock fund and top five bond fund managers chosen from more than 8,000 fund managers who meet very strict selection criteria.

How It Works

When an investor opens an "R" Account, Retirement Corporation of America advisors determine the individual's objectives and risk tolerance. Based on that profile, a Money Masters Investment Portfolio is created to best suit the individual investor's needs.

Vesting and your 401 k

Do you have a 401(k) retirement account? Are you vested yet? Before you move on to your next job, it is critical for you to find out if you are fully vested in your retirement account before you make the move. If you are not, you could lose hundreds if not thousands of dollars in employer contributions.

Vesting refers simply to the non-forfeitable percentage of your account’s assets. In other words, whatever you contribute to your 401(k) plan is always yours to keep including any rollover money.

If your employer contributes to your plan, a vesting schedule for the employer’s contribution is part of the plan. This schedule ties in a non-forfeitable percentage to the employer’s contribution for each year of service until you are fully vested – 100% – in the employer contribution.

Vesting schedules vary with the employer. A sample schedule could include you being fully vested after three years of service. After year one the schedule may have you one third vested; after year two you could be two thirds invested; finally upon your third anniversary you would have full entitlement to your employer’s contributions, thus you would be 100% vested.

In all cases, upon leaving a company your contribution and any rollover funds are yours to keep. However, depending on your employer’s vesting schedule only a percentage of the funds contributed by your employer may actually be yours to keep. If you leave before you are fully vested, you stand to lose a significant amount of money. Thus, it behooves you to calculate whether the financial benefits of the new job outweigh any potential loss of employer contributions to your 401(k) account.

The road to financial freedom

: The road to financial freedom is a lot shorter than you may think. For those of us who did not start our lives wealthy because of our family, we only have 46 to 49 years of income producing – more if you want to work into your “retirement” years. During that time, we must complete our education or training, get a job or open a business, while meeting the many demands on what income we have left after taxes. We have to provide for food and shelter, clothes and transportation, child rearing expenses, college tuition, vacations, Christmas presents, insurance premiums and more. The list never seems to end. How is it that some people can retire at age 50 in spite of all this while others will never retire at all. If you read the article, Get Rich Slowly - http://www. credit-yourself. com/get-rich. html - you can see how you can use the power of compound growth to amass millions if you start young. However, this is the period in most people’s lives where the greatest demands seem to be made on their income. First of all, you’re just starting out and are nowhere near your peak earning power. You might have just married and need a home and furnishings. You might have to buy your first suits or business dresses for your new job. And you want to enjoy life, so you vacation, buy or lease new cars frequently and just basically run up debt, many times to be piled on top of your existing student loans. But some people manage. First they live within their means and save as much as possible. They take advantage of all the tax shelters the government allows and if possible, save even more. They invest in or start a part time business, rental properties or learn to increase their returns by smart investing. They insure against potential risks that could ruin them financially. They use debt wisely. They don’t necessarily shun debt, but use it as a tool to grow wealth. For example, they can leverage one 20% down payment into a string of houses using mortgages. They can use margin debt to double the amount of their investment funds. They can take advantage of tax credits, government guaranteed loans or grants offered to small businessmen or to certain minorities to fund multiple streams of income. But they don’t use debt to fill the house with things. They pay cash for their new TV’s and stereos. They take taxes into account when planning their lifestyle and investments and use all the tricks the IRS lets them get away with. For a little over $3.00 a day, starting at age 22, you can amass over $850,000 in an IRA. The difference between the financially independent and most of the rest of us is that they can find that $100 a month and don’t consider it some kind of sacrifice to invest it rather than spend it. Most people will complain they have no money left over and that they live from paycheck to paycheck. But in almost all cases this is a lifestyle choice. There are many stories of very low income people managing to put multiple children not only through college, but also graduate school or leaving millions to a favorite charity. These people are special in the sense that they had a goal and stuck to it no matter what. They worked hard, saved their money and achieved what they wanted to achieve. Everyone can do this. You just have to ignore the siren song of commercialism, and decide whether a secure future for yourself, a college education for your children or a large bequest to your favorite charity is worth skipping the daily double latte at Starbucks. That about all it takes to get you well down the road to financial freedom. The road to financial freedom is literally paved with gold, yours for the taking.

How to create your own emergency fund

: Do unexpected car repairs, quarterly insurance payments or unexpected medical bills find you hard pressed to squeeze even one more dollar out of an already stretched monthly budget? These are inevitable expenses and sometimes can put you under a stress condition when you need the cash to pay for these emergencies and unexpected expenses. But if you learn to budget for these emergencies events and save in advance, you will be at a better position to handle them. Like most of Americans, you may stretch your income to cover the regular monthly expenses, and always choose to ignore or not to think about the brakes that are getting spongy or the plumbing that's beginning to make strange noises. And you end up a surge on your monthly expenses when the brakes wear off and the plumbing break out. Planning and saving for those events can help prevent an ordinary life from turning into a crisis and can also cut down dependence on credit cards. Not having savings is a major reason people get into debt. Here are some steps to help you get started to plan for your emergency fund, the "Saving" fund which will help you prevent financial disaster. 1. Identify your irregular expenses Analyze your pass credit card statement and checking account registers to identify your irregular expenses occur throughout the year. Examples of these irregular expenses are property taxes, insurance premiums, vacations, car tune-ups, holidays and birthdays. List down in a piece of paper all the expenses which are not spent in monthly basis. 2. Write the anticipated amount on the calendar In most of cases such as insurance premium and property taxes, you will know when the expenses are due to occur. And for those unknown cases such as car repair and plumping repair cost, try to anticipate their expenses and list them somewhat earlier than you actually expect them to come up. Be sure to update your calendar as you discover more expenses. 3. Plan-in the non-monthly expenses into your monthly spending Based on the foreseen amount and anticipated amount that are captured on your calendar, plan ahead your non-monthly expenses into your monthly spending. For example, you know that your car insurance is going to due on May, set aside small amount of your money for this purpose starting on February. And when May rolls around you can transfer the expense to your spending plan and have money available to pay it. Setting aside even a few dollars each month for foreseeable expenses can prevent larger money woes ahead. Sometimes, you may find it hard to set aside some extra money from your monthly income; but remember, repairing your car or paying your insurance is not optional expenses and you need to spend it soon or later. So you need to find a way to reduce your monthly expenses so that some money can set aside for emergency fund. You may need to track your spending; then, reduce or cut the optional expenses such as entertainment, dinner at restaurant and other impulse purchase, the money save from those optional expense can be put into your emergency fund. In Summary One of the mistakes people make when trying to get their finances under control is not having an emergency fund on their savings account. The problem is that if you don't have money set aside for those unavoidable bills, you inevitably end up adding to your credit card balance to cover the difference. The bottom line is to start today. It may be discouraging at first if you find that you don't have enough money to fully fund your emergency fund, but you'll begin to succeed the minute you start the process.

Multiple streams of income are key to staying afloat

In today’s society it is practically impossible to stay on top of bills, increasing gas prices and extraneous financial obligations with just one job. What’s more, it is becoming increasingly scary to rely on one stream of income because the economy is so shaky. Who knows when that one lifeline will falter? Many people are discovering that the way to stay afloat in today’s rapidly fluctuating market is by using multiple streams of income. This simply means drawing funding from various venues.

One venue that many people find convenient to their schedules and their lives is taking part in an Internet business. Since lots of people are only using their Internet businesses as one of several streams of income, they only do it on a part time basis. There are lots of opportunities on the Internet to earn multiple streams of income, including starting an ebay business, taking part in an affiliate program, making contacts for freelance work, and writing and selling an ebook. The flexibility of working a business on the Internet is valuable for many people who also work other jobs, and especially for those with loved ones who need to be taken care of.

Other off-the-web venues that people use as multiple streams of income include real estate, starting a small independently owned business, mail and phone-based freelance work, and childcare. Many of these businesses are owned and operated out of people’s homes, which is time effective for people who are multi-tasking.

If you are planning on using multiple streams of income to stay on top of your growing pile of bills, remember that it is important to think about your personal needs as well. Make sure that you still have enough time to sleep, eat, and spend quality time with loved ones. Time efficiency is very important, so think about cutting down on commuting by multi-tasking from home, or by commuting only to one job. Though more complicated than relying on one job alone, using multiple streams of income can be an effective way to ensure your financial stability.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Shakespeare said, in Hamlet:-

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;

For loan oft loses both itself and friend,

And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

This above all: to thine ownself be true,

When an idea has been around as long as this one you must wonder if there is some truth in it but times have changed a lot since then so should we take any notice of it now?

It goes completely against the modern way of thinking. Few people still live by it's mantra but the moral of what Shakespeare said is just as true today when related to loans from and to individuals. There are thousands of reputable companies to whom you will be safe to lend money to and you will be able to get your money back when you wish. Subject to the small print Terms & Conditions, of course.

Debt doesn't just dull the edge of husbandry, it can destroy people's lives. Perhaps only one in 100 but if you turn out to be that one then you'll agree it's one too many. In that 100 people there will be several who are severely affected by their debts, several more who struggle with their debts and quite a few who are uncomfortable with their debts who's lives are changed because of their debts.. Very few will breeze through life without suffering from debt.

If you allow debts to become a significant part of your financial life you are leaving yourself wide open if you should suffer a change in circumstances. If there were a sudden interest rate rise, your additional income from overtime was reduced or a part time job disappeared. The greatest risk for most people is that of redundancy or ill health causing them to lose their job or having medical bills to pay. Could you still keep up the payments without your monthly income? Most people couldn't.

We all live like nothing is going to change but change is inevitable. It's one of nature's irrefutable laws. You may never get sick and I hope your job will continue as long as you want it to but it is risky planning your life based on these assumptions. By living on continuous credit you are quite literally, betting the house that you will always be able to afford your debt. I hope it proves to be a safe bet but it would be wise to reduce your debts so that you could survive any difficult periods in your life.

The woeful inadequacies of traditional estate planning the four critical questions you need to ask yourself

When I mention the words, estate planning, most people think of meeting with an attorney and drafting legal documents. Traditionally, those documents include a will, durable power of attorney, health care proxy and perhaps a trust. After you draft these documents, you meet to sign them, then you put them somewhere “safe,” cut a check to the attorney and breathe a sigh of relief because you finally have things covered. All is well and your estate is perfectly in order, right? WRONG!

Too often the drafting of legal documents is confused with developing an estate plan. Sure, legal documents are part of an estate plan, but they are not “the” estate plan. You need to make sure that you have everything in one spot. If not, you could cause yourself some real problems. That’s why 98% of all estate plans fall short. That’s why you have debacles like the Terry Schiavo case and the Ted Williams dispute. In order to make sure that these sort of things don’t happen to you, you have to have a plan. Most people plan out what should happen in the event of their deaths. What if you are disabled or mentally incapacitated? Effective estate plans must be drafted in order to account for these kinds of contingencies.

If you wish to have an effective estate plan, you must answer four extremely critical questions:

1. What documents do I need?

You need a will, durable power of attorney, and health care proxy. Additionally, you need an original marriage certificate, military discharge paperwork, health and life insurance information, beneficiary designation forms, deeds, and appraisals. Another necessity you need to have is a listing of important contacts with telephone numbers.

2. How will my beneficiaries find these documents?

We all have our own personal and unique filing system that has worked well for us over the years. That’s fine. You should use your own unique filing system, whatever works for you. However, you do need to create a system that “unlocks” your personal filing system. For example, if something ever happened to you, how would your beneficiaries even know you had a safety deposit box, let alone the location of the bank or key?

3. Who should have access to these documents and when?

I know that’s actually two questions camouflaged as one. Remember, these documents are personal and confidential. Today, we are all too aware of the very real threat of identity theft. Safeguarding these documents and making them available, under specific circumstances, to a select group of individuals will allow you to protect your privacy while still preparing an effective estate plan.

4. Who will best advise my beneficiaries?

Your estate plan needs to address not only your financial assets, but also your dreams, wishes, and values. You need to designate that one person who can capture all these characteristics of your life, someone with whom you have shared those most personal thoughts. At you or your beneficiaries’ time of need, who should be that one call?

Don’t confuse proper estate planning with simply drafting the needed documents or purchasing an insurance policy or special investment product. An effective estate plan can only be accomplished with a well thought out approach that is designed to protect your most important information and guide your heirs. Only then will you have peace of mind in knowing that you’ve done your best for your loved ones and nothing important will be overlooked.


For a review copy of the book or to set up an interview with Mark H. Kaizerman for a story, please contact Jay Wilke at 727-443-7115, ext. 223 or at [email protected] com.

Cash loans getting urgent help is easy now

Money may be procured if we are in dire need of money but the time constraint is always creating problems for us. If you are in need of money in small amounts and need it quickly too, then the best way to tackle your problems is to take up Cash Loans. With these loans, the borrowers are able to deal their cash issues well and quick.

Borrowing money for urgent needs may be more than a requisite for the person. It may be an urgent situation as some urgent situations may have to be dealt like urgent car or home expenses, credit card repayments, urgent bills etc. So to borrow these loans, the borrowers have to just fill in an application form and make sure that the following requirements are fulfilled:

* He should be over the age of 18 years and be a citizen of the UK

* He should be having a current bank account in his name and it should be at least 6months old

* His employment should be regular since the last 6months

* His place of residence should be regular since the last 3 months

The borrower’s account is credited with the approved amount in less than 24 hours of application if all the conditions are fulfilled. The borrowers may use the amount depending upon their need and the amount may range between

Debt settlement -- why the critics are wrong

A lot more people are becoming interested in debt settlement as an alternative to bankruptcy. That's because a new bankruptcy law was enacted on October 17, 2005, which means a rude awakening for many consumers seeking a fresh start in bankruptcy court.

It used to be that 7 out of 10 people filing personal bankruptcy were granted Chapter 7 status, where the unsecured debts are totally wiped away. That has changed under the new rules. If your income is above the median for your state, or you can pay back at least $100 per month toward your debts, then you'll be turned down for Chapter 7. Instead, you'll be shifted into Chapter 13, where you pay back a portion of the debt over 3-5 years.

It gets worse. When the court calculates your allowable living expenses, it will use the approved IRS schedules, not your actual documented expenses. So even if you don't think you can pay $100 a month or more, the judge will probably disagree. Instead of a fresh start, many people will be faced with the grim reality of a harsh 5-year plan, on a court-mandated budget that forces them to adopt a much lower standard of living. That's where debt settlement starts to look pretty attractive.

Yes, I know debt settlement has its critics. I've criticized aspects of the industry myself. But what the critics don't seem to understand is that this approach is for people who would otherwise go bankrupt! Let's examine the three main complaints against debt settlement and see where the critics are missing the mark.

"Debt settlement has a negative impact on your credit score."

Wow. Big deal! Pretend it's two years from now. Would you rather have an A+ credit rating or be totally free of debt? Pick one please, because you can't have both. All debt reduction programs have a negative impact on credit scores. That's why only people who truly can't keep up with their bills should go into one of these programs. But it's pointless to worry about your credit while you're being crushed with debt. That's like worrying about how the yard looks after your house has burned down.

"You might have to pay taxes on the canceled portion of the debt."

I've always been amazed at how frequently this lame criticism is repeated in article after article. Yes, it's possible that you may need to pay taxes on forgiven debt balances, but the odds are against it. That's because the IRS allows insolvent taxpayers to exclude canceled debts. So unless you have a positive net worth, you probably won't need to pay taxes on your settlements. And even if you did, so what? You'd be paying taxes because you saved a bunch of money off your debts! And this is a problem?

"Collection activity will continue and you might get sued."

Yes, if you fall behind on your bills, your creditors will most certainly continue attempts to collect what's owed, and one or more of those creditors might sue you in civil court. But again, this criticism totally misses the mark. Collection activity is already a function of being in debt trouble. At least debt settlement allows the consumer to use the collection process to eliminate debt through negotiated compromises. Even lawsuits need not be cause for panic, since they can often be settled out of court. The only reason to allow a legal action to proceed to the point of wage garnishment, property lien, or bank levy is lack of financial resources with which to settle. And if that's the case, the debtor should be talking to a bankruptcy attorney anyway.

In contrast, let's look at some of the positives of debt settlement.

1. You can save $1,000s versus any other method of debt elimination (except for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is much more difficult to accomplish now that the new law is in effect).

2. You can get out of debt in 2-3 years, and much faster if there is some available home equity to work with. This is a lot better than 5 years in the financial boot camp of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or 5-9 years in a credit counseling program.

3. You keep control over the process more than with any other approach.

4. You maintain personal privacy. With bankruptcy, your case file becomes a matter of public record, easily located via Internet search by future employers, landlords, or creditors.

5. You retain your dignity while working through your financial problems. Bankruptcy still feels like failure to a lot of people. Debt settlement represents an honest and ethical alternative to that extreme solution.

6. You can adjust your monthly funding into the settlement program up or down depending on real-world conditions in your financial life. If your income fluctuates from one month to the next, or you get hit with an unexpected expense, it won't torpedo the whole program. The built-in flexibility of debt settlement gives it a huge advantage over other options, all of which require a fixed monthly payment.

Once you're made the determination that debt settlement makes sense for your situation, you'll need to decide whether to go it alone or seek professional assistance. For people who aren't easily intimidated, there's no question that the do-it-yourself approach is the way to go. For others who can't handle the least bit of pressure or just want to focus their time and energy elsewhere, hiring a professional settlement company may be the correct choice.

If you do decide to take the do-it-yourself approach, follow these tips:

* Use a privacy manager on your telephone service to screen creditor calls so that you only speak to creditors when you're ready.

* Make sure you have a solid game plan for building up money to settle with, and set the funds aside in a separate bank account.

* Do not send settlement funds until you have the deal in writing. No exceptions!

* After paying the settlement, follow up to obtain a zero balance letter from the creditor, so you don't have bogus collection problems later on.

* Know your rights as a consumer by reading the free resource articles on debt, credit, and collections at the Federal Trade Commission website: www. ftc. gov

* Don't be intimidated or pressured into accepting a settlement deal that you can't handle.

Remember, thousands of people settle their own debts every year, without the need for lawyers or bankruptcy. You can do it too if you're disciplined, determined, and prepared to ignore some of the crazy stuff that bill collectors say. When you're finally debt-free, you'll feel a lot better about having worked it out on your own. Good luck on your road to debt freedom!

Roth 401k new retirement savings plan

Brand new employer sponsored retirement plan is a hybrid of a traditional 401k and a Roth IRA.

Income tax rates have been cut, the marriage penalty done away with, and the "death tax" is also on a path to no more. All of this is a result of the Bush administration's Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act which was passed by a Republican congress in 2001. Another provision of that act went into effect on January 1st, 2006, a hybrid of a traditional 401k and a traditional Roth IRA called the Roth 401k.

Yet another employer sponsored savings plan, the new Roth 401k works in almost the same way as a traditional 401k plan. Workers invest a portion of their income into a fund along with contributions from their employer (if any). The difference is that the traditional 401k is funded with "pre-tax" dollars and the Roth 401k plan uses "after-tax" dollars. However, with the Roth 401k, withdrawal of your money at retirement will be tax free like a Roth IRA. The traditional 401k plan defers the tax owed during your career until retirement.

Although it may sound like the best of both worlds, it is important to note that no employer is required to offer this new Roth 401k plan. In fact, a recent survey by employee benefits consulting firm Hewitt and Associates found that only 31 % of employers currently offering the traditional 401k plan are considering implementing the new Roth 401k.

Contribution limits for the retirement plans are: in 2005, $14,000 for a 401k and $4,000 for an IRA, whether Roth or traditional. In 2006, this amount will increase to $15,000 for both 401k and IRAs.

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