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Archive for March, 2011

Maintain Good Credit To Enjoy Low Interest Rates

Written by Toi Williams on Mar 31st, 2011 | Filed under: credit score

Many people enjoy the credit perks that are available to them due to having a good credit history and credit score.  One of the biggest perks of having an exceptional credit history are the low interest rates that many of the major lenders will offer to people whose credit rating is better than average.  Low interest rates have the ability to save the credit card holder a great deal of money over time.

How Are Interest Rates Determined?

The interest rates that a person is expected to pay for their credit is determined by the company that is issuing the credit card or lending agreement.  The company that is extending the credit generally looks at several items to determine eligibility for their credit products; the person’s credit history, the person’s credit score, the amount of income that the person earns annually, and the balance between how much credit the person has available and how much credit the person has used.  By taking all of these items into account, the credit card company can determine whether you are eligible for credit from their company and what the interest rates for that credit should be.

Different credit card companies can offer the same person different interest rates based on looking at the same information.  Some credit card companies will be attempting to attract new credit card customers, so they may be willing to offer you lower interest rates in order to entice you to sign up with them for their products.  Other companies offer reduced interest rates to the people that have used their products for a long period of time and have a positive payment history with the company.

How Can I Maintain My Credit?

There are several different things that a person should do to ensure that their credit history remains in good standing and they remain qualified for low interest rates.  In order to enjoy credit perks that come along with a good credit history, the person must maintain their credit history by making all of their payments for their bills and credit accounts on time all of the time.  A single missed or late payment on any of your credit card accounts can have the ability to raise the interest rates to the default rate, often more than 20%.

Another thing that people should do to ensure that they qualify for the lowest interest rates possible is to resist maxing out their credit cards.  Credit card companies and other creditors look at the amount of credit that a person has versus the amount of credit that the person has used to help them determine whether the person is using their credit responsibly.  If the person has maxed out their credit cards or are only paying the minimum payment for the cards, the credit card company may feel like the person may enjoy credit using too much and will not want to offer the person reduced interest rates or any additional credit at all.

Making A Plan To Pay For College

Written by Toi Williams on Mar 29th, 2011 | Filed under: saving

The cost of college tuition seems like it is increasing every year and more and more employers are specifying a college degree as a requirement for positions at their company.  In order to compete in this job market, a college education is essential, but how will you pay for it?  It is important for every parent to save for their child’s college education and for individuals that would like to pursue higher education to make a plan to pay for their college education.

How Much Time Do You Have?

Your plan for paying for college should take into account the amount of time that you have available to save before the funds will be needed.  If you are beginning a college savings account for a young child, you can place small amounts of money into the account over a long time period as long as the deposits remain consistent.  If your child is older or preparing for college within the next few years, you will need to save as much as you can as quickly as you can and look for alternative funding sources, such as scholarships and grants.  Individuals looking to continue their education later in life will need to use any resources that they have available to pay for their college education.

Methods Of Saving

There are a number of different methods that can be used to save for college.  Many people choose to use a specific savings account to save for their children’s college education and have money diverted directly from their paycheck into the savings account using direct deposit.  Others choose to purchase bonds that will mature during the years that the person will be attending college to be used to pay tuition and for other needs.  It does not matter which method of saving is used as long as contributions to the account are made on a regular basis and the money is not withdrawn for anything other than college costs.

Although it may seem as if it will take forever to save enough to pay for a college education, you will be surprised at how quickly your savings goal will be accomplished with regular deposits into the savings account.

Debt Consolidation – How Does It Work?

Written by admin on Mar 28th, 2011 | Filed under: consolidation, debt relief

Debt is one of those things that we may all have to deal with at one time or another, whether it’s when we take out a loan to fund a purchase, or when we do some spending on a credit card. However, it’s only when we feel our debts have spiraled out of control where you may consider debt consolidation an option.

Managing your debts effectively is a key element of personal finance, it can take years to master and without having a successful budget it can be extremely difficult.

So what is debt consolidation?

Debt consolidation is a way of combining or merging all of your debts, so that they make one single debt that you will have to repay. It’s important to remember that debt consolidation shouldn’t be used a quick fix to your debt problems; it should only be used as a last resort.

Do what you can before opting for a debt consolidation service

Before you decide to opt for a debt consolidation service you should try all the other options available to you. Can you transfer your credit card debt using a balance transfer credit card? This would alleviate some of the pressure on you to pay back your credit card debt as you will stop incurring interest. Can you sell off one of your assets to pay off some high interest debt, would that significantly improve your financial situation? These are all questions you need to ask yourself and there are many little things you can do that can ease the burden of debt.

Debt consolidation advantages

The advantages of debt consolidation are very simple:

  • Creditors will no longer run after you for payments
  • Your debt consolidation payments will be made more manageable for you
  • Interest rates on your debt will be lowered to help you to pay them off
  • Your repayment period on your debts is increased, easing the pressure on your payments
  • Instead of having multiple debt payments you will now only need to make one monthly payment

Now you know what debt consolidation is, its time to find you can actually get it done; there are a few methods but the most popular are starting a debt consolidation program and taking out a debt consolidation loan, lets start with the latter.

Taking out a debt consolidation loan

A debt consolidation loan, simply put, is one big loan that you can take out to cover all of your debts. You use this loan to pay off all of your debts leaving you with simply one repayment. You can typically take out a debt consolidation loan that will cover debts of up to $100,000, a pretty hefty sum of money but it may leave you in a debt for the foreseeable future.

Opt in to a debt consolidation program

If you don’t want to try and consolidate your debts yourself then you can hire a debt consolidation company to do it for you by enrolling you a program. The program will negotiate a repayment rate for you and take out a loan on your behalf. The company you get enrolled with will take care of all the calls from creditors and you just have to focus on meeting your set up repayment plan.

These are the two main ways to consolidate your debts but before making any important decisions, see if you can consult your bank and an independent financial adviser to make sure you get the best advice possible.

Homes: Asset Or Liability?

Written by Toi Williams on Mar 25th, 2011 | Filed under: mindset

Many individuals believe that the best asset that they will ever own is their homes, which will have been lovingly paid for over a number of years with their hard earned income.  The idea of homes being the best asset that an individual will ever own is not true in many cases across the nation.  In fact, there are many individuals that are finding that their homes are more of a liability than an asset and are jumping ship on their mortgage agreements in record numbers.

So, how do you determine whether owning a home would be an asset or a liability?  By looking at a few features of home ownership and determining what is best for your needs.  During your review, you may find that becoming a renter is more in your best interest than becoming a home owner.  Although home ownership has been marketed as the ultimate realization of the American dream, many individuals are finding that they would prefer to live their life in a rental or condo unit because of the benefits they see.

Additional Maintenance Costs

The additional cost of maintaining and repairing the structure on a regular basis to keep the home attractive and prevent the lawn from turning into a jungle is one thing that many individuals do not take into consideration when looking to purchase a home.  This cost can range anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars each year, which can be to much to bear for home owners that are strapped for cash and barely making ends meet.

Additional Bills

Many first time homebuyers do not realize that they will have many additional bills that they will be responsible for paying in addition to their mortgage payment.  When an individual rents an apartment, the only bills that they have to pay are their monthly rental payment and their electricity bill.  Everything else associated with the apartment complex is paid for by the rental company.  Most home owners are responsible for their mortgage payment, an electricity bill, a gas bill, a water bill, a sewer bill, a trash bill, and annual property taxes.

If you are not prepared to sacrifice the time, energy, and money that is needed to be a good home owner that maintains their property and pays these numerous bills on time regularly, then you will be much better off as a renter.  If you are prepared for these issues and want to build equity in a home that you can customize however you want, then you are ready to purchase a home.

Avoiding Credit Card Bills That Result From Identity Theft

Written by Toi Williams on Mar 22nd, 2011 | Filed under: credit cards

Identity theft is becoming more and more of a problem every year as more individuals go through the heartache and hassle of having their identity stolen.  So how can an individual avoid credit card bills from an instance of identity theft?  There are several steps that a person can take to keep their identity safe and reduce the chances of fraudulent activities being conducted in their name.

Having your identity stolen is a very scary idea.  There is no telling what the individuals that have opened a credit account in your name may do to your credit history and your credit score, not to mention the harassing calls from creditors trying to collect on an account that you know nothing about.  Some individuals that were not vigilant about their credit card and personal information have found that it has taken them a year or more to clean up the mess that identity thieves had created in their names.

The best way to keep your identity from being stolen is to protect your information, making it much harder for the identity thieves to steal.  If you like to shop online, be very careful of what websites you submit your personal or credit card information to.  You should only provide your credit card number and personal information to websites that are well known to you and if the website that you would like to purchase something from is not well known to you, then an intermediary payment site should be used for payment instead of submitting your personal information to the website.

You should also remember to never provide personal information, account information, or a password to any site as a response to an inquiry by email.  Many identity thieves will create a fake email that looks like it was generated by a legitimate company in order to trick hundreds of individuals into divulging their passwords for the site.  Once the crook has your password, they can use it for identity theft and obtain all of your personal information, greatly reducing the chance that you will avoid credit card bills that are fraudulent in your name.

Tips For Choosing A Mortgage Lender

Written by Toi Williams on Mar 20th, 2011 | Filed under: loans

Purchasing a home is a very important decision and seeking the assistance of others can help you find the right mortgage loan and lender for your financial situation.  A good mortgage lender has the mortgage loan that will allow you to purchase the home that you desire with an interest rate that is fair and payments that are manageable.  When looking for a mortgage lender, there are a number of things that you should keep in mind.

Search For The Best Rates

Many people looking to purchase a home accept the first mortgage lender that they find because they believe that all mortgage lenders, including an interest only mortgage, are equal and offer the same mortgage products.  In reality, there is a wide variety of different mortgage products available and each lender may offer a different selection.  Interest rates and fees may also vary between lenders.  It is important to shop around for a mortgage lender to make sure that the one that you choose is charging a fair rate and not charging excessive fees to increase their profits.

Request Advice And Referrals

Many people looking to purchase a home know someone that they can ask for advice about purchasing a home.  These individuals can help you understand common lending practices and alert you to actions that indicate that you are being taken advantage of by the mortgage lender.  If they have purchased their homes in the past few years, they may be able to steer you towards a good mortgage lender or away from a bad one.  You can use their experiences with their mortgage lender to find the right mortgage lender for your needs.

Keep A Written Record

Keeping a written record of any offers or discussions with mortgage lenders will help you compare the pros and cons of each lender.  Request documentation from the lender and take notes during any conversation for review later.  This will help you recall what has been said and you can examine the information for any issues before agreeing to anything.  Choosing the right mortgage lender will reduce the risk of losing a large amount of money and paying unfair fees when you purchase your home.

If you’re looking for mortages for self build, consider The Mortgage Broker.

Comparing Insurance Options Online

Written by Toi Williams on Mar 17th, 2011 | Filed under: Uncategorized

Finding the insurance options available can be a daunting task for the millions of individuals that need insurance products.  There are a large number of insurance companies offering the same or slightly different products and many different places where an individual can find information to make comparisons for the products that they need.  The benefits of comparing insurance options online have led many individuals to choose this method before deciding where to purchase their insurance products.

Comparing insurance options online is easy compared to other methods of obtaining an insurance quote.  Calling the insurance companies directly and talking to customer service representatives takes the largest amount of time, but you will get the most detailed information using this method.  Talking with an insurance broker takes more time than researching the products online, but they can give you information from more than one insurance company.

When you compare insurance options online, the first thing that you must do is find a good website for obtaining information.  There are many different websites on the internet that can provide you with information about insurance products and a website may focus on a particular type of insurance product.  Some websites have information about many different insurance products and will allow you to search for the exact information that you need.

Once you have chosen the insurance products that you are interested in, you may be able to get an insurance quote from the website.  In many cases, the website will give you quotes from several different insurance companies after you fill out a single online form on the website.  This makes it very easy to research insurance options on the internet and compare prices to find the best prices for the products that they want.

Finding a website to obtain your information from will not be difficult if you choose to use a search engine to conduct your search.  The most difficult part of the entire process is being able to distinguish good websites with accurate information from web pages created by dishonest individuals and scam artists.  Any website that is being used to obtain a general insurance quote or compare insurance products will not ask you for your social security number or personally identifying information because those items are not necessary to obtain a general insurance quote.

Finding The Right Credit Union

Written by Toi Williams on Mar 16th, 2011 | Filed under: saving

Many of the people that choose to move money away from traditional banking eventually choose to put their money in a credit union.  Putting your money in a credit union allows you to put your money in a safe location without many of the fees that put the balance of your bank account at risk.  It can be difficult to know whether you are choosing the right credit union for your needs, but by following a few simple guidelines you can find a credit union that works well for you.

The Location Of The Credit Union

The location of the credit union is often the most important factor when choosing the right credit union for your needs.  People that work or live in a particular area may choose to put their money in a credit union that is close to them so that they can visit the location easily when they need to perform a transaction.  People that choose not to drive may be interested in a credit union that is located within walking distance of a shopping center, grocery store, or mass merchandiser that they frequently visit so that they can reach the credit union easily during their regular trips.

The number of locations the credit union has in the state or in the country can be important as well, especially for those that travel for business or spend large amounts of time away from home.  Some credit unions allow their members to use the ATM’s of other banking institutions for free or reimburse the ATM fees charged by other banks to make it easier for their members to access their accounts.  Direct depositing and online banking is also offered by credit unions with few physical locations to provide more access.

Financial Products Offered

Different people have different needs when it comes to putting their money in the best place that they can and most credit unions take this into consideration.  Credit unions will have a wide variety of different financial products and account options available to match the needs of many individuals.  In most cases, the financial products and account types are very similar to the types available at traditional banking institutions.  Choosing a credit union can be a difficult decision, but with careful review, you will find the one that is right for you.

Searching For Personal Loans Online?

Written by Toi Williams on Mar 14th, 2011 | Filed under: loans

Being able to obtain a personal loan is very important part of today’s financial environment and many people are trying to find a personal loan online to meet their needs.  There are many differences between personal loans online that can cost or save you a great deal of money and knowing which type of loan is the best will take time and research to determine.  To find personal loans online, there are several things that you should keep in mind. 

Your Current Financial Situation

The best personal loans online for you will depend on your current financial situation and previous credit history.  The majority of the personal loans found online have an interest rate that is based on your credit score, which is used to determine your credit worthiness and your record of repaying money that you have borrowed from lenders.  People with all positive information on their credit history for the last few years will be much more attractive to personal loan lenders than people that display recent blemishes in their credit history.

Choosing The Right Personal Loan

The best type of loan for you may not be the best type of loan for another person.  The ideal personal loans online for you will have the highest loan amount with the lowest interest rate for the longest amount of time.  It is very important that you read all of the terms and conditions associated with the personal loan to make sure that you understand the terms of the loan, how the interest rate will be calculated, and how the loan will be repaid.

The loan amount for personal loans online can vary.  Your loan amount may be capped at $25,000 based on your income and credit history while other people may qualify for a loan amount of $100,000 or more.  The questions asked during the application process will match you to loans that you qualify for and will allow you to obtain a reasonable loan amount based on your income level without charging you many fees to obtain the loan. 

Some of the personal loans that are marketed to people with less than perfect credit will charge you several fees that are added to the personal loan before the loan is ever received.  These hidden fees are disclosed in the terms and conditions of the loans and are responsible for adding hundreds of dollars to the amount to be repaid.  These fees are charges that the lender thinks are necessary to reduce the risk of lending to borrowers with bad credit.

Finding Inexpensive Homeowner’s Insurance

Written by Toi Williams on Mar 10th, 2011 | Filed under: saving

Homeowner’s insurance is one of the most expensive insurance products on the market today, but nearly every mortgage agreement has a homeowner’s insurance clause that make purchasing the insurance mandatory.  This can put a large dent in your finances and take money away from other items, such as home improvement or entertainment.  Individuals that would like to save money on their homeowner’s insurance should follow these tips to make sure that they are paying the least amount for the coverage that they need.

Determine What Coverage Is Needed

In many cases, the minimum coverage is not enough to take care of everything that will be needed in the event of a disaster but you do not want to overpay for coverage that is not needed either.  Before shopping for the insurance, you should research what is available and carefully consider the value of the items that you would like to insure.  By taking the time to determine the correct amount of insurance needed, you can avoid overpaying for your homeowner’s insurance.

Research Your Options

You will never get the best price on your insurance if you allow the insurance company to determine how much coverage you need.  The goal of the representatives at the insurance company is to get you to purchase as much insurance coverage as possible, regardless of whether you really need it.  Conducting your own research before contacting the insurance company will help you learn about the different insurance products available and discover what type of insurance will be best for your needs.

Comparison Shop

Comparison shopping is one of the best ways to get the lowest price for the insurance products that you need.  Obtaining quotes from several different insurance companies will help you determine the average rates for insurance in your area and how much you should be paying for the coverage that is needed.  A general rule of thumb is avoid the highest and lowest priced quotes and choose one of the companies that has a good reputation and falls into the lower middle of the price range.