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Category Archives: Finance

Choose Credit Unions

Easier to borrow

There is no need to await your loan status on tenterhooks since lending decisions are normally made locally, which means quicker turn-around time and more flexibility than loans with large corporations. Some can also offer signature loans to members who have good credit and standing.

Less chance of failure

Banks, insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation fail much more frequently than their counterparts. 44 FDIC insured institutions failed in 2011. That’s not to say credit unions have no chance of failing-9 NCUA insured institutions failed in the same year. However, there is much less chance of this happening since they are generally smaller and not as focused on profit. This means that they will loan less frequently and accept fewer risks

Lower loan rates

More often than not; these lending institutions can offer their customers lower loan rates. Last year, the National Credit Union Administration released information that confirmed that the average rate on a 36-month loan was about 2.85 percent. Compare that rate to an average 5.59 percent at banks, which is nearly twice the amount.

Run by customers

You can have confidence doing business with your credit union. Why, you ask? Because each member is also a partial owner, meaning they also have a stake in the success of the union. It is also managed and staffed by its customers on a volunteer basis. As a member, you even have the option to run for a seat on your union’s board of directors, which is not feasible at a bank.

Be Invincible to Debt Collectors

Creditors are known to be inventive when recovering their money, but the Australian law interdicts them to use misleading actions and words, to harass or coerce you, and act unconscionably towards you to accomplish their goal. Your legal rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) protect businesses against aggressive creditors or collectors that might want to take unfair advantage of you. The ACL which is a cooperative reform of the Australian Government and the States and Territories, through the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs (MCCA) and it also ensures that this type of conduct is not tolerable towards your family members, partner or anyone else connected with you. However, there are some actions that a creditor has every right to undertake such as issuing a statutory demand, a statement of claim and judgment, a notice of winding up, a garnishee, a director penalty notice and use debt collectors as long as they do not use coercive methods.

If you are in debt and you feel that creditors are not proceeding according to the law, you can ask the help of a professional counseling company. In the worst case scenario, you will face liquidation, but you will at least be able to shake off the creditors after the company becomes insolvent. You should know your rights to make sure you will be able to recover and pay off your debts. There are many things you can use into your advantage when you feel harassed by debt collectors. For instance, you should know that in Australia a debt collector should only contact you for reasonable purposes such as demanding payment, reviewing payments plans, inspecting or recovering mortgaged goods. More than three phone calls or e-mails per week are also considered unacceptable. The ACL revised the protection of businesses in the State and Territory fair trading laws and in the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA). This law is enforced by two establishments: the ACCC and the State and Territory consumer protection agency.

Eliminate Your Debts

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Millions of people are currently living with debts that seem to drain their bank accounts and wallets dry. However, there is hope. It’s not easy and will require a great deal of focus and discipline, but you can eliminate your debts once and for all. Let’s take a look at a plan of action that consists of only three steps and has been proven to be the best method for eliminating debt.

1. An Accurate Current Status

To start off, you need to have an idea of what debts you have, their remaining balances, minimum payments, and their current interest rates. Create a list that contains this information, along with the company you owe the debt to. Once you have that completed, arrange the list in one of two ways.

One way you can arrange your list is by using the remaining balances. Start with the account that you have the highest amount left to pay and work your way down the list to the lowest remaining balance. Another method for creating your list is by using the same procedures but start your list with the account that has the highest interest rate. Continue with your list until you are sure you have not forgotten any debts.

To help you decide which method for creating your list is best for you, ask yourself two questions: Are the amounts of your remaining balances fairly high, and how many payments do you have left to pay? If you have a substantial amount of money left to repay, go with the interest rate method. By eliminating the debt with the highest interest rate, you will save money in the long run. However, if your remaining balances are low to moderate, go with the remaining balances method. Once you eliminate the largest debt you owe, you will have more funds to apply to the smaller debts.

2. Arrange Your Funds

With list in hand, set aside enough money to cover the minimum payments on each debt. With the funds you have remaining, apply an additional payment amount to the debt that is on the top of your list, in other words, make two payments. If the minimum payment is too steep and you do not have enough funds for making an additional payment, move down your list to debt that you can afford to make an additional payment on.

Yes, you could go ahead and apply your remaining funds to the remaining balance on the debt that you have on the top of your list, however, our goal is to pay off your debts, not pay them down. This will all become clearer a little later on.

3. Set’ em Up and Knock’ em Down

Once you have started this plan, keep going until you have the first debt completely paid off. When it is gone, you can take the money from that payment you no longer have and apply it to the next debt on your list. If you had to skip the top debt, go back and see if you now have enough to be able to make two payments. Continue paying off your debts in this manner until you have completely cleared your list. Before long, you will have accomplished what you initially thought would be impossible, you have eliminated your debts.

Effectively Pay Off Your Debts

1. Establish a Budget and Track It

Creating a proper budget is a great way to analyse and plan finances. By allocating a set amount of money towards a specific expense per month, the amount of expenses can be monitored more stringently and precautionary steps can be swiftly undertaken if the expenses overshoot the stipulated budget. It is only through proper budgeting can individuals or households create the necessary surpluses to pay off any existing debts.

Certain financial tools, such as Excel spreadsheets or even Mint.com, are particularly useful in keeping track of a personal or household budget.

The main problem for an individual who does not keep track of his/her monthly expenditure is that he/she does not know if he/she ends the month with a net reduction in savings, i.e., spending exceeds income and eats into savings. Knowing the amount of leftover balance is crucial since a continuous negative balance might lead to the creation of new debts. It is this type of debt that is the most dangerous as it rolls over at seemingly manageable interest rates month after month. Before the individual knows it, he/she would have made hefty payments on interest alone.

Tracking tools are thus crucial in identifying areas of weakness in one’s monthly spending habits, but an individual must take affirmative action to reverse the negative balance situation. This can be done via listing out the monthly expenses and employing necessary cut backs on certain expenditures. Discipline is the key.

2. Laddering Debts by Interest Rate

Laddering debts is another technique used in settling outstanding debt. It involves listing out all current debts by interest rate, starting from the highest interest rate to the lowest interest rate. The debt with the highest interest rate costs the most money, so this debt needs to be settled first.

By paying off the most expensive debt first, the overall debt will be reduced significantly faster. Some individuals who incur multiple debts per month and employ laddering in their finances usually settle the minimum payment required for each debt, and use the balance cash from their payments to settle more of the debt with the highest interest rate.

For example, let’s compare two debt instruments: one, a credit card with an outstanding balance of $4,000 with an interest rate of 24% and another, a credit line with an outstanding balance of $8,000 with an interest rate of 16%. Ideally, the minimum monthly payment required to settle each debt would first be made, and any leftover finances would be funneled to repaying more of the credit card debt even though the amount owed may be lower.

Laddering is especially useful in tackling multiple debts while avoiding the accidental creation of another new debt. Laddering also instills a sense of financial discipline that is good in tackling unresolved debts and preventing those debts from inflicting too much harm on those retirement plans you’ve kept in mind.

3. Balance Transfers

Balance transfers is another tool used to cut back on interest expenses whilst settling an attempt to pay off a debt over several months.

For example, given the competitive nature of the unsecured credit market, banks often provide very low teaser rates for clients who transfer their existing unsecured debt from other banks. The effective interest rates could be as low as 4% p.a. versus the normal 24% p.a. one pays on credit card balances. However, the catch is such promotional rates lasts only for a certain period, for example 6 months. Nevertheless, balance transfers can lower the interest costs of an existing debt.

Balance transfers do carry their own risks. Individuals transferring balances must remember to either settle the debt after the transfer or look for another such opportunity before the lower interest on the account to which the balance is transferred expires, otherwise he/she risks paying an even higher interest rate.

Individuals using the balance transfers may also fail to address the continuous build-up of debt, thus wiping out any benefit from such a strategy. In the end, despite this cost-saving strategy, individuals end up with even more debts that impinge on savings, not to mention any future retirement plans.

Manage Credit Card Debt

To break this cycle of ever increasing debt the first thing that has to change is your mindset. You must believe you are worth something, that you are valuable, and are a special and unique person. This is not an easy thing to perceive, especially if you have had a life full of people telling you something other than this. To have an identity, to know who you are, is a place of contentment, If you are content, you will stop striving for things, if you are happy, it does not matter what you have or do not have. You are created in the image of God, allow Him to define you, God say’s you are fearfully and wonderfully made, he took his time putting you together, He thought about what your purpose was and gave you the tools to achieve that purpose. This God sent His Son who we killed, but that was part of the plan, because without His death the Comforter could not come, If you need some financial comfort, know that godliness with contentment is great gain, and that without a credit card, you immediately rid yourself of a source of credit card debt within your life, get the scissors out cut up all your credit cards and you put your self in a place where the debt generated by the credit cards cannot get any bigger. Freed from debt you are now free to earn money from the Internet.

You can start to address the debt outstanding, by changing the way you make purchases. Pay for all purchases with Cash or by Debit Card. This will give you a much greater appreciation of what you are spending, this takes a bit of getting used to, but the first thing you will feel is empowered, this will make you feel good about yourself, and will also give you a sense of control over where the money is being spent and what for.

To get an even tighter grip on the debt situation you will need to make a budget, fill out a budget planner, and begin to forecast future spending, but more importantly look to find areas where you can begin to save money. Once you are saving money, this frees you up to spend time earning money on the Internet. I told you this was not a get rich quick scheme, but do not bail out, all you need is an attitude adjustment, a new mindset, and I can help you with that.

Telephone Banking

There are various transactions that customers can access using the telephone banking. They include the obtaining of the balance in the account as well as a short list of transactions that are carried out lately. Customers can get electronic bill payments as well as transfer of funds between one customer to the other. Documents and cash are never used in telephone banking and if this is needed, one has to go to the branch or use the ATM.

How does telephone banking help?

From the point of view of the bank, the telephone banking usually reduces the costs involved in handling various transactions by reduction of customer visit to the bank branch for withdrawals or deposit transactions that are non-cash.

How to access the telephone banking facility?

To be able to get into the telephone banking of a certain banking facility, you have to do a registration with the institution for that service. You may get a customer number and passwords to verify your identity whenever you want to use the service.

The customer calls a special phone number that the bank sets up and then goes through the authentication process before they can carry out any transactions. The service can be carried out using a live representative or through a system that is automated and one with the capacity to recognize voices.

Most of the institutions offer telephone numbers that the customers can call any day of the week, but at specified times to carry out their transactions with great ease regardless of where they are. The kind of access you get depends on whether you are a regular customer or a premium one.

In most cases, the phone numbers that are provided can be used to register for the service and access it. Most of the telephone banking providers offer customer support via email and contact can be made this way.

Dealing With Debt

My guide won’t just get you out of debt rather you’ll get out of debt way faster than you ever imagined.

Follow the following steps to get out of debt now:

1. Control Your Spending

You can’t spend money you do not have. Therefore, if you want to be debt free, you must spend less money than you earn. Start by eliminating the things you don’t really need from your scale of preference i.e.. learn the act of prioritizing. How much money would you have to spend if you eliminated newspapers, magazines, cable TV, second cars and cut back on eating out?

2. Decide How You Spend Your Money

Every charity, church and good program is asking for money. “Just give a dollar.” These dollars add up. If you have a job and a good income you can spend as much as you can. But if you’re trying to be debt free then don’t let other people tell you how to spend your money.

3. List All Your Debts

This is a very important move; it shows your seriousness to become debt free. Get a piece of paper, a Google sheet or a notepad on your computer. This list will help you have a decent idea of how much you owe. This eliminates guesswork. Another important aspect is to rank this debt from the smallest to the most expensive.

4. Set Periodic Goals

Becoming goal oriented is the best gift you can gift yourself, in all spheres of life. Goals help us churn really hard matter into tiny pieces. From your income you can set a target to pay a certain percentage monthly. The big picture of this goal oriented mission is to pay off all your debt and regain your freedom. Once these goals are in place, it will be almost impossible to ignore them. This will push you faster into accomplishing your goals than you would have originally anticipated.

5. Start Paying Off Your Debt From Highest To Lowest

Take every penny you receive above your basic living and all of the savings and apply them to your debt, Start by paying the highest then narrow down to the least. One by one pay off your debt. This will give you confidence and help you become debt free

Use Your Credit Card Smartly

1. Higher Credit Limits

While accepting Cards from a bank, you must check the credit and spending limits. Always look for highest limits, as that will help you emerge as qualified creditors. You will not only gain the flexibility to plan high-priced purchases but also get the opportunity to prove your credit worthiness.

2. Paying bills on time

Overdue amounts and card bills can affect your credit score negatively. If you fail to pay the overdue amount within stipulated periods, make sure you have adequate finances to pay off the pending amounts. It’s highly imperative to pay overdue on time, as that is the key to getting qualified for higher credits.

3. Understand rewards

Most of the individuals receive special gifts on their cards. However, they fail to understand the ways to use them. You should comprehend the clauses, understand them, and then redeem special discounts. Every Card owner must know his credit limits as that will give him the freedom to pay.

4. Clear, complete overdue amounts

At times, you might come across an option where minimum overdue can be paid. Steer clear of choosing such options as that won’t help you in any way. Try clearing the complete bill without keeping any pending amount. Minimum payments can lead to exorbitant interest rates on the remaining amounts.

5. Ensure complete security

Always keep your cards in secured places and make sure it is safe. The details related to the Card should be open to you and not to anybody else. Sharing such crucial details will pave the path for fraudulent practices. Be crystal clear about the usage of your card and keep it secure. That’s the key towards making authentic transactions.

Equity Financing

Equity financing, simply put is raising capital through the sale of shares in an enterprise i.e. the sale of an ownership interest to raise funds for business purposes with the purchasers of the shares being referred as shareholders. In addition to voting rights, shareholders benefit from share ownership in the form of dividends and (hopefully) eventually selling the shares at a profit.

Debt financing on the other hand occurs when a firm raises money for working capital or capital expenditures by selling bonds, bills or notes to individuals and/or institutional investors. In return for lending the money, the individuals or institutions become creditors and receive a promise the principal and interest on the debt will be repaid, later.

Most companies use a combination of debt and equity financing, but the Accountant shares a perspective which can be considered as distinct advantages of equity financing over debt financing. Principal among them are the fact that equity financing carries no repayment obligation and that it provides extra working capital that can be used to grow a company’s business.

Why opt for equity financing?
• Interest is considered a fixed cost which has the potential to raise a company’s break-even point and as such high interest during difficult financial periods can increase the risk of insolvency. Too highly leveraged (that have large amounts of debt as compared to equity) entities for instance often find it difficult to grow because of the high cost of servicing the debt.
• Equity financing does not place any additional financial burden on the company as there are no required monthly payments associated with it, hence a company is likely to have more capital available to invest in growing the business.
• Periodic cash flow is required for both principal and interest payments and this may be difficult for companies with inadequate working capital or liquidity challenges.
• Debt instruments are likely to come with clauses which contains restrictions on the company’s activities, preventing management from pursuing alternative financing options and non-core business opportunities
• A lender is entitled only to repayment of the agreed upon principal of the loan plus interest, and has to a large extent no direct claim on future profits of the business. If the company is successful, the owners reap a larger portion of the rewards than they would if they had sold debt in the company to investors in order to finance the growth.
• The larger a company’s debt-to-equity ratio, the riskier the company is considered by lenders and investors. Accordingly, a business is limited as to the amount of debt it can carry.
• The company is usually required to pledge assets of the company to the lenders as collateral, and owners of the company are in some cases required to personally guarantee repayment of loan.
• Based on company performance or cash flow, dividends to shareholders could be postpone, however, same is not possible with debt instruments which requires payment as and when they fall due.

Avoid Mortgage Drawbacks

Oh, that major lifestyle changes. Even if you have a rather stable financial stature, a major lifestyle change may affect the decision of lenders. Let’s say you are suddenly “in between jobs.” Expect to be under tighter scrutiny. This will also be the case if, say, you have a newborn child or if you are looking to move to a new apartment or in the middle of a major home renovation that calls for a lot more than purchasing a diamond blade. Naturally, lenders will favor those who have stayed at one address for a considerable amount of time.

Of course, large outstanding debts are a no-no. Obviously, people with large outstanding debts are less likely to be approved. This comes naturally as they will be looking at the borrowers’ ability to pay off. So, be sure you have things settled before approaching banks or lending institutions for a loan. No lender will approve a borrower who has major outstanding debts, that’s for sure.

Bad, bad credit rating. As much as large outstanding debts will not get your loan approved, such is the case if you have a bad credit rating. Be sure you don’t have credit rating issues before applying for a loan. Look into services that allow you to check your own records. It is very important that you have other financial issues, or at least the major ones, settled before applying for a loan.