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Archive for September, 2008

3 Indicators That A Balance Transfer Credit Card Is Right For You

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 29th, 2008 | Filed under: credit cards

Over the last several years, a large number of people have decided to use a balance transfer credit card to reduce the amount of money that they are spending on their credit card expenses.  Many people use a balance transfer credit card for transferring large balances from a credit card with a high interest rate to a credit card with a lower interest rate.  Finding a balance transfer credit card that is right for you and your financial situation will not be difficult if you know what features indicate a good credit card for balance transfers. 

A Low Interest Rate For The Transferred Balance
The first item to look at when looking for a credit card for transferring a balance is the interest rate that the person will be paying for transferring the balance to the credit card.  Many credit cards that are offered as a balance transfer deal will have different interest rates applied to balance transfers and purchases.  If the interest rate charged for the transferred balance is significantly lower than the interest rate that will be charged for purchases, transferring the balance to the credit card could end up saving the person hundreds of dollars, as long as the person does not use all of the available credit on the credit card as well.

Favorable Terms And Conditions For The Credit Card
For any credit card, it is very important to read all of the terms and conditions so you know exactly what you are getting into when you sign up for the credit card.  The terms and conditions of the credit card will disclose what the interest rate for balance transfers will be and how long that interest rate will apply to the transferred balance.  For some credit cards, the issuer will offer a very low or 0% interest rate for balance transfers to the credit card for the first several months.  After this initial period, the balance remaining on the credit card is subject to a much higher interest rate.

Having the interest rate reset to a higher rate after the initial period is typically not an issue for the people that transfer smaller balances to the credit card or they are able to pay off the transferred balance before the initial period is over.  The problem occurs when people transfer a significant amount of money to the credit card and do not realize that their payment amount will increase when the balance is subject to the higher interest rate.  The amount that the interest rate increases has the ability to double or triple the minimum payment required for the credit card.

A Reasonable Interest Rate For New Purchases
There are a number of credit cards that advertise a low interest rate for the amount transferred to the credit card in the hopes that you will continue to use the credit card and place purchases on the credit card that will be subject to a higher interest rate.  These types of credit cards can result in significant savings as long as no purchases are placed on the credit card.  If purchases are charged to the credit card, no payments made on the credit card will be applied any purchases until you the transferred balance has been paid off.  This allows the issuer to charge the person the higher interest for the purchase for a long period of time.


3 Things You Should Know To Understand Your Life Insurance Policy

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 28th, 2008 | Filed under: Uncategorized

Life insurance is one of the most common insurance products purchased by people today and is misunderstood by many of the people that purchase a policy.  Many of the people that have a life insurance policy have no clue how the policy will pay their beneficiaries when they have died and the beneficiaries of the policy often do not know about the life insurance until after the person has died.  In order to save the family a lot of headache in the future, the person should make sure that they understand what the life insurance policy entails and they should ensure that the beneficiaries of the policy understand how the policy is supposed to work and how the benefits will pay out after their death.

Read All Of The Terms Of The Policy And Know What They Mean
Because many people consider discussing a life insurance policy to be a morbid reminder of their eventual demise, they do not take the time to fully examine their life insurance policy.  It is very important for a person to read all of the terms and conditions associated with the life insurance policy before deciding to purchase the policy.  The person should also review the policy a minimum of once every year to make sure that they understand what is covered by the policy and what is needed for the beneficiaries to claim the benefits.  The person should also discuss the details of the life insurance policy with the beneficiaries to make sure that they know what they will need to do to obtain the benefits that they are owed.

What Are The Invalidating Conditions?
One thing that is very important to know about the life insurance policy is what conditions invalidate the policy.  Many insurance companies make sure that there are conditions in place to ensure that people are not taking out insurance policies with the knowledge that something that they are going to do will make the policy pay off quickly.  Many insurance policies contain clauses that state that the policy will be invalidated if the person covered by the policy dies of an illegal drug overdose, commits suicide, or passes away because of something that they are directly responsible for, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating agents.

Are There Any Indemnity Clauses?
Some insurance policies include a double or triple indemnity clause, which means that if a person’s death occurs in a specific way the policy will pay the beneficiary of the policy double or triple the original amount of the policy.  The risk for the insurance company is not as large as it may seem because the people that take out the insurance policy very rarely die by the uncommon methods that are included in the indemnity clauses.  In many cases, the indemnity clauses are optional and are added to the policy for an additional fee.  Understanding the life insurance policy and the way the benefits will be given to the beneficiaries is something that every policy holder should know.


4 Common Credit Card Mistakes That Can Kill Your Credit Score

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 27th, 2008 | Filed under: credit cards, credit score

There are 4 different credit card mistakes that people commonly make that lower their credit score, resulting in the person being less credit worthy to the credit card companies.  Most of the common credit card mistakes are items that many people would not even imagine affecting their credit score, but the reality is that there are many items that can influence your credit score that you may not be aware of.  If you can steer clear of the common credit card traps that millions of people fall into each year, you can keep your credit score elevated and the interest rates for your credit cards low.

Delinquent Payments
The most typical mistake that many people make when it comes to credit cards is to believe that a delinquent payment on their credit card is not important.  Some people think that the only consequence of a delinquent payment on their credit card is a penalty charge and are willing to pay the charge to avoid having to pay the minimum amount due on the credit card at that time.  These people do not realize that not paying a payment on time will also be reported on their credit report and will lower their credit score by a significant amount each time it occurs.

Not Keeping Credit Card Information Secure
Another common mistake that many people make with their credit cards is to not keeping the information about their credit cards secure.  Preventing the information from being stolen by scam artists and thieves is simple as long as you are diligent about protecting your personal information.  These thieves know how to capitalize on common mistakes that people make when distracted or not paying attention to the information that they are giving out on the internet, on the phone, or by mail and can open many different credit accounts in a person’s name with a small amount of personal information disclosed.  It can take years to repair the damage that these thieves can do your credit score.

Not Paying Off The Balance Of The Credit Card
The best way to use your credit card is to only charge the amount that you are able to repay each month.  If you pay off the balance of your credit card each month, you will not only save a lot of money in interest payments but you will also raise your credit score by demonstrating that you know how to use credit responsibly.  The credit card companies may increase your credit limit so that you have more credit available if you need it because they know that you will repay them at an acceptable rate.

Maxing Out Credit Cards
Another common credit card mistake that many people make is to use most of their credit line or max out their credit cards.  Companies that issue credit card consider people that use more than 50% of their available credit to be a credit risk because the company assumes that the person is using their credit to extend their monthly salary and maintain their lifestyle and will not have the ability to pay the money back promptly because they are spending all of their salary plus more each month.  There have been many cases where a person was not allowed to take out a loan or an additional line of credit because they had used a more than 50% of their available credit and had been labeled as a credit risk by the credit card company.

Making mistakes with your credit cards can be an expensive proposition. Your credit score can be negatively impacted and your ability to increase your credit lines on your existing credit card offers can be hampered significantly. So if you’re in the market to make a with one of the better 0 APR credit cards available, make sure that you don’t make these common credit card mistakes.


Want To Get Your Credit Report For Free?

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 26th, 2008 | Filed under: credit score

With the economy in the state that it is in today, learning how to get your credit report for free can be a very important for maintaining a good credit history.  When you review your credit report on a regular basis, you have the ability to verify that there are not any mistakes on your credit report that could drag down your credit score and you can make sure that no other person has opened a credit account in your name that you are unaware of.  Errors on your credit report can reduce your ability to buy a home, buy a car, or obtain a credit card.  Errors on your credit report can also result in lenders charging you a higher interest rate than you would have qualified for if your credit report had been accurate.  There are several different ways for a person to get a credit report for free and some methods are better than others.

Free Credit Report Websites

There are many websites available on the internet that will show you how to get your credit report for free.  The most popular websites for obtaining a credit report will normally allow the person to view a credit report from one of the three major credit reporting agencies; Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.  A credit report from any of these agencies will provide a complete picture of any activities that have been added your credit report. 

The credit reports obtained from the credit bureaus will list any accounts that have been opened, any late or missed payments that have been reported, and the limits of the open credit accounts.  Having this information in hand allows you to check your credit history for any suspicious items that other people may have placed in your credit file.  It also gives you the ability to dispute any mistakes that may be on the credit report before it affects your ability to obtain a loan.

People need to exercise caution when obtaining a free credit report from one of these websites.  Many of the websites that offer free credit reports will automatically sign you up for a credit monitoring service when you request access to your credit report.  This credit monitoring service will send an alert to the person when any changes are made to the credit report.  The credit monitoring service is typically free for the first 30 days and then the person is charged a fee, usually charged monthly, to continue using the service.  Some people that have obtained their credit report from one of these websites have reported that they had a great deal of difficulty unsubscribing from the service and were sometimes re-enrolled in the service without their authorization, so it is important to be cautious when requesting information from these websites.

Official Government Website

There is only one website authorized by the Federal Government for people to obtain a credit report for free without any strings attached.  That website is annualcreditreport.com and is run by the three major credit reporting agencies who handle the majority of credit reporting in the nation.  This website allows consumers to obtain one credit report from each of the three credit bureaus for free each year.  The website teaches people how to get a free credit report without any of the additional services required by other websites that offer free access to the person’s credit report.


How Do You Know If You Are Choosing The Right Mortgage Broker?

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 23rd, 2008 | Filed under: Uncategorized

People that are interested in purchasing a home will need to choose a mortgage broker to help them obtain a mortgage to pay for the home.  Choosing a mortgage broker can be hard because of the increased amount of brokers that have gone into business in recent years and it can be difficult to determine which brokers are legitimate and which ones are not trustworthy.  By keeping some simple tips in mind when choosing a mortgage broker, a person will increase the chance that they will be satisfied with their mortgage agreement and will be able to purchase the home that they are interested in.

Ask For References
Many people choose the mortgage broker that they use after talking to friends, family, and coworkers about the mortgage brokers that they have used in the past.  Based on the recommendations of the people that they talk to, the person will learn which brokers have provided a good experience and which brokers have turned the home buying process into a nightmare.  If several people recommend a specific mortgage broker, there is a good chance that any experience with the broker will be a good one.  Making the decision of which mortgage brokers to consider after learning about the experiences of other people is one of the most intelligent methods for choosing a mortgage broker because they will have a reasonably accurate idea of what to expect.

Review The Broker’s Reputation
Another thing that is very important when choosing a mortgage broker is reviewing the reputation of the broker to see if they have had any problems or ethical issues in the past.  Sometimes this can be accomplished by searching for the name of the broker or brokerage firm that the broker is employed by using a search engine on the internet to see what other people’s opinions are about the company.  Online review sites on the internet have allowed thousands of people to make their opinions known on a multitude of businesses, including mortgage brokers and different brokerage firms.  If many of the reviews that are found about a particular brokerage firm are negative, then a person should avoid that brokerage firm to reduce the risk of having a bad experience as well.  This information can be obtained by the Better Business Bureau in the area as well.

Ask About Experience
A large number of people believe that the best method of choosing a mortgage broker is to choose a traditional broker that has been in business for a number of years rather than a broker that has recently started their firm even though the newer broker may offer a lower interest rate.  This is because of the view that a larger, more established brokerage firms will not risk their position in the financial world by taking advantage of their customers.  When it comes to obtaining a good rate on a mortgage loan, having an experienced mortgage broker can help a person get the best mortgage for their needs.

Review All Information Carefully
It is important that the mortgage broker that a person chooses is an honest and reputable broker that really has the purchaser’s best interests at heart.  There have been a number of reports in the newspapers lately about predatory brokers that steered home buyers into agreeing to mortgages that they could not afford.  These brokers then disappeared into the sunset with the money from their commission on the sale as the poor home owners lost their houses to foreclosure.  It is very important for the borrower to read all of the terms of the mortgage agreement carefully to make sure that there are no hidden fees included in the agreement and if all of the information that is included in the mortgage agreement is not understood, then the person should have someone that they trust explain the agreement to them before they agree to sign anything.


Carnival of Personal Finance #171

Written by admin on Sep 23rd, 2008 | Filed under: blog carnivals

This week’s personal finance carnival is hosted by Sound Money  Matters and it’s a celebration of Fall.  This is my favorite time of year, actually.  Cool enough to wear long sleeves and jeans, warm enough not to have to bundle up like an eskimo everytime you step outside!  Apple picking… there’s nothing I don’t like about autumn.

Here’s the blog posts that caught my eye from the carnival listing:


Simple Steps For Obtaining A Quote For Insurance Products

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 22nd, 2008 | Filed under: Uncategorized

Obtaining a quote for insurance products is one of the most important parts of choosing the insurance products that the person needs.  Insurance is used to insulate a person from catastrophic costs related to an accidents, illnesses, or acts of nature and choosing the wrong insurance products could end up costing the person a great deal of money in the long run.  Comparing different types of insurance products before deciding which products to purchase will save money and will give the person an idea of what products are available and what the typical price of each product will be.  There are a number of different ways that a person can obtain a quote for insurance products and each way has benefits and negative aspects associated with the method.

Contact The Insurance Company

The most common method for a person to obtain a quote for an insurance product is to contact the insurance company directly and inquire about the insurance product that the person is interested in.  This is usually accomplished by telephoning or emailing the insurance company that the person is interested in doing business with.  A representative from the insurance company will give the person the information that they are looking for about the insurance products that they are interested in and will answer any questions that the person may have about the insurance products.

Calling the insurance company directly has many benefits over other methods of obtaining a quote for insurance products.  The best benefit of choosing this method for obtaining a quote is that the person will be discussing the insurance products with an actual person and can ask the representative of the insurance company any questions about the different types of products that they can think of.  The representative may be able to recommend some insurance products that may be better for the person’s needs that they were unaware of.

A major negative aspect of this method of obtaining a quote for insurance products is that the method takes a significant amount of time to get information from one insurance company.  A person may be talking with the representative of a single insurance company for as long as an hour to get information on a single insurance product.  If the person would like to shop around for the best price or wants to compare different products, this method may take more time than the person is willing to dedicate to shopping for insurance.

Obtaining Online Quotes

Some people choose to obtain a quote for insurance products by utilizing online websites that provide quotes for different types of insurance products at different insurance companies.  These websites are typically run by third parties and are not associated with a specific insurance company.  The information returned by the website will provide the contact information and the rates for a number of insurance companies that offer the type of policy that the person is interested in so if the person would like more information about the specifics of the policy, they will be able to contact the insurance company directly.  In most cases, the person will be able to obtain the rates for a particular type of insurance product from several different insurance companies by filling out a single form.

One of the biggest benefits of using this method for obtaining a quote for insurance products is the ability to obtain many different quotes from different insurance companies in a very short amount of time.  Filling out one form to get price quotes from a number of different insurance companies is generally much more efficient than taking the time to talk to the representatives of each company and having to give the same information to each one individually.  Although the person will not be able to talk to an actual representative at the time, the websites will typically have the information for contacting the insurance company along with the quote so that the person can get any questions that they have answered before deciding which insurance products are the best for their needs.


Realize Your Dreams With An Increased Credit Line

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 21st, 2008 | Filed under: credit cards

An increased credit line can be beneficial to a person in a variety of different ways.  A credit line increase allows the person to buy a greater number of items at a higher value than would have been previously possible.  Obtaining a credit limit increase can also demonstrate to other creditors that the person is able to use their credit responsibly.  After someone has shown that they can use credit responsibly, other creditors will be more willing to allow that person to open more lines of credit.

For many people, getting an increased credit line from a credit card issuer is not hard to do.  An increased credit line is typically issued to a person from a credit card issuer that the person already has a credit card from, which eliminates the need for long credit applications or an extended wait for approval.  The issuer that is asked to increase the credit line of the person will already have a history with the person which will make them more comfortable with issuing a higher credit line to the person.

How Does A Person Get An Increased Credit Line?

In most cases, an increased credit line is typically offered to a person after they have had their credit established for a few years with a credit card issuer.  Sometimes, the credit card issuer will review a number of their accounts for compliance with all of the rules for the credit card accounts and the people that have been good account holders will be offered a credit line increase.  If the account has had any delinquent payments or has gone over the credit limit in recent months, the chances of obtaining an increased credit line will be much more unlikely.  It is very important for the person to keep their account in good standing at all times so that they will be able to obtain a credit line increase in the future.

What Are The Benefits Of An Increased Credit Line?

An increased credit line can give a person greater purchasing power and allow them to handle financial emergencies with ease.  Some people have credit lines that are several times their average monthly salary which allows them to pay for major purchases that they would have otherwise had to wait months or even years to purchase.  Creditors feel safe increasing the amount of credit that these people hold because the credit histories of these people demonstrate that they will be diligent in paying back the amount that has been placed on the credit card.

Having a credit account in good standing with credit card issuers will not only allow the person to seek an increased credit line with the issuer, but will also allow a person to obtain lines of credit to purchase a car or a home with little hassle.  Creditors prefer to extend lines of credit to people that are sure to pay them back and if the person can demonstrate responsibility with their credit, then many creditors will be interested in allowing the person to use their services.  The most important thing to remember when looking for an increased credit line is to keep all of their credit accounts in good standing at all times.


Tips To Save Hundreds Of Dollars On Your Mortgage Insurance

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 18th, 2008 | Filed under: Uncategorized

Mortgage insurance can be an expensive part of owning a home and, for many people, is a mandatory part of your mortgage agreement.  To get the cheapest price for your mortgage insurance, there are a number of different things that you must consider and a few tips that you should follow to make sure that you are getting the most inexpensive mortgage insurance that is available to you.  By following a few simple tips, you may be able to save as much as a hundreds of dollars on your insurance policy each year.

Making An Informed Decision

So how does a person find the most inexpensive mortgage insurance for their needs?  The first step is to figure out how much coverage you will need so that you can pick the right insurance product for your needs.  There are many people that are paying way too much for their mortgage insurance because they neglect to fully calculate the value of the items that need to be insured and pick their insurance policy based on the determined value.  People tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to insurance and pick the coverage that they think they need instead of what they truly need.

Getting the most inexpensive rate for your mortgage insurance will mean not depending on the insurance company or insurance broker to tell you how much coverage you need for your home.  Insurance companies and their brokers make more money on your policy if you purchase more coverage than you truly need and, while many brokers are ethical, many will be willing to sell you more coverage than you need so that they can make a bigger commission on the sale.  By calculating the value of your assets and choosing your insurance policy accordingly, you will reduce the risk of overpaying for your insurance policy.  A good way to figure out how much insurance coverage you need to purchase is to take a look at your mortgage agreement and see what the minimum insurance amounts are to be in compliance with the agreement.

Comparing Different Policies

Another way to find the least expensive mortgage insurance for your needs is to compare the policies of several different insurance companies to find the best price for the coverage that you need.  Many people make the mistake of picking the first insurance company that they find that has a price that they can afford.  By taking the time to compare the prices of several different insurance policies, you will be able to determine the average price of mortgage insurance in the area for the type home you own.   You may be able to find an insurance company that is offering a lower rate that can save you a lot of money when compared to the rates of other insurance providers.

There are many different websites online that allows you to compare the prices of several different insurance policies to see which policy have the most inexpensive rate for mortgage insurance.  The website works by having you to fill out a form with all of the relevant information that is needed and the website will submit the form to a number of different insurance companies that will provide a price quote for the mortgage insurance policy that the homeowner is looking for.  Getting the most inexpensive price for your mortgage insurance does not have to be difficult if you take the time to consider your options and make an informed decision.


Looking For The Best Credit Card For A College Student?

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 17th, 2008 | Filed under: credit cards

There are many different types of credit cards that are marketed to college students to help them pay for their expenses while they are away at school.  Some credit cards do not allow the college student to spend more than a preset amount while other credit cards are considered to be joint credit cards with their parents to prevent the card from being declined and to increase the spending limits.  Most credit cards intended for college students have many of the same features as a traditional credit card and can be used to help the college student build their credit history before they need to use credit to make major purchases.

Finding A Credit Card

Finding good college student credit cards can be hard if you are not sure where to find them.  The person should compare different types of credit cards to be sure that they are getting a good interest rate for the highest credit limit that they qualify for.  There are many options available for a person to obtain a good college student credit card, but finding the best one for your needs may take a little bit of time.

It is important for the college student to look at the different types of credit cards available to them to find the ones that suit their needs the best.  Each credit card will have different features that may make them a better choice for a person with specific needs.  Many of these credit cards have a rewards program for the things that college students purchase the most, such as groceries, movies, and music.

Reviewing different types of credit cards is also important to ensure that you are getting the best deal on the credit card.  Different credit cards can have a different interest rate associated with the card and the college student will want to get approved for the credit card with the lowest interest rate.  A lower interest rate can save the student and their family hundreds of dollars each year, which can be significant because the students will typically use the credit card for a number of years.

Applying For Credit Cards

When applying for college student credit cards, reviewing the terms and conditions of the credit card is very important so that the student knows what kind of credit card they will be receiving and to understand all of the fees that are associated with accepting the new credit card.  The information that is included in the terms and conditions of the credit card with dictate how much the student will be paying for the privilege of using the credit card, such as the types and amounts of fees that will be charged to the credit card, the interest rate for the credit card, how the interest rate may change, and any fees incurred because of non-purchase transactions.

To get the best college student credit cards for your needs, all of this information must be taken into consideration because each of the features can affect the way the college student can use the credit card.  To avoid any nasty surprises, the college student should read all of the information for the college student credit card before attempting to apply for the credit card.  Picking the best college student credit cards after carefully comparing several different credit cards is the best way to make sure that the college student is getting the best deal on the credit card.