Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Life Insurance Policies - What You Need To Know

Anyone who does not understand the importance of a life insurance policy may need to take a closer look at their situation and reassess their priorities. We are not invincible by any means, and even though we may not want to think about it, at some point we will all have to address the possibility that we may one day leave our loved ones behind. If our family members are dependent on us for financial support, it is important that we consider their needs, which is why a life insurance policy can be crucially important.

Life Insurance Policies

The benefits of a good policy might escape us entirely, especially if we are trying to avoid addressing the topic of death in the first place, but that does not mean that we cannot benefit from purchasing a policy. However, many of us may need some help to determine just how much coverage we actually need. There is no point in purchasing a policy without understanding what you’ve bought or why you needed it in the first place. If you don't have the right policy, or if you did not purchase it from the right company, you could be wasting your time and money. If you don't understand the advantages of a policy, ask for help. There are many organizations that can help you pick out a life insurance policy that’s right for you.

Even after you arrange a policy; it’s important to remember to pay attention to it. There is nothing wrong with continuously evaluating your benefits while you still can, because there will come a time when you will no longer have that option. Don't ever make the mistake of cancelling your policy, because if you make that decision, there is a better than average chance that you will not be able to get insured again. Instead, it’s best to talk to your insurance agent or broker to find a solution that works better for you. A good insurance provider will be attentive, thoughtful and provide you with the resources you need to get the policy that works best for your individual needs, as well as those of your family. The First Financial Group is a good example of an organization that employs a number of knowledgeable experts who can help you figure out exactly what kind of life insurance policy is best for you. Take the first steps toward securing your family’s financial future by booking an appointment with an insurance broker today!

Author Bio: Steven Dallar is a financial planner and veteran blogger who loves to share his expertise online. While recently searching for the best group health insurance providers, he came across www.firstfinancialgroup.ca and was highly impressed with his experience. He highly recommends that anyone looking into group health insurance plans visit http://www.firstfinancialgroup.ca/services/group-insurance-benefits/ to find out what First Financial Group can do for them!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Recovering From Holiday Debt - Get Back to Normal Life

All your New Year guests have gone and the leftovers have been either stored or eaten. Even the holiday bloat has dwindled. Life after holidays should be peaceful, nom and calm until you get your credit card bills in your mail. During December and January, when everyone is engaged in unwrapping gifts and exchanging food, who thinks about their credit card bills. Instead of worrying about their bills, they make the mistake of whipping their plastics during every single purchase only to dig their own grave. If you too have done the same and now you’re being subject to holiday debt, you should be aware of the ways in which you should get out of the same. Here are some effective steps that you can take in order to recover from your holiday debt and get back to normalcy.

Holiday Debt

1. Missed payments hurt your bottomline: You might feel that missing a payment here and there won’t harm your financial records during the holiday lull, but you should be aware of that missed payments actually hurt your bottomline. Not only will you be stung with a hefty late fee for every missed payment, your credit rating will also take a hit. After repeated missed payments and below-minimum payments, there will be a major blow to your credit rating. Therefore, you should avoid skipping payments when you have a burden of credit card payments on your shoulder.

2. Stop additional charging with your plastics: We all know that we should avoid adding on more weight to your low-riding financial boat. Stop charging as soon as possible and take out your credit cards from your wallet and keep them back at home in order to motivate yourself into saving your dollars. Carry cash in your wallet and keep some extra cash so that even if you wish to buy something that is out of your budget list, you can still buy it with cash.

3. Exchange unwanted things into cash: Before the store time limits run out, you can return the unwanted gifts in order to get back cash. The sooner you approach them, the more likely you will be to receive cash instead of getting back store credit. If you weren’t aware of the fact that you can sell off unwanted gift cards in lieu of cash, you can check out the web as there are some reputable websites that are easily found online. Leverage such opportunities in order to save your dollars.

4. Opt for balance transfers: You can even opt for balance transfers as this can help you reap benefits of low monthly payments throughout a certain period of time. The balance transfer cards carry nominal rates (often 0%) for a specific period of time, known as the introductory period. Once this period ends, the interest rates are subject to a hike and therefore you should ensure transferring the entire balance within the introductory period so that you can reap the benefits of lower monthly payments.

5. Consider getting an unsecured personal loan: If you don’t get a balance transfer credit card, you can easily take out an unsecured personal loan. Such loans should be equal to the amount of holiday debt that you owe. Once you get the proceeds in your bank account, you can use them to repay your creditors and then start repaying your debts. The loan will carry low interest rates and will also be stretched throughout a longer period of time.

Therefore, when you’re wondering about the ways in which you can bid goodbye to your holiday debt, you can take into account any of the above mentioned options. Live a debt free life and safeguard your credit score accordingly.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Financial Independence and Paying Debt on Time

Living well is often related to freedom from financial restraint. It is important to be organised and prepared for all circumstances to ensure this. Bank accounts and debts can be managed well and you can fully maximize them to the extent which can serve your business goals.

Debt Repayment

What’s the worst that can happen?

You’ll end up avoiding every meeting with debt collectors. As a company, you won’t want your chosen contact points to be an annoyance to affiliate organisations. It could be a turn off for other suppliers to chase after your Finance Department for payments and this can reflect badly on your corporate brand.

If you’re not bogged down enough by the list of payments you’ll have to fulfill  the worst scenario you can experience is filing for bankruptcy. The inability to pay off all your financial debts will result in the loss of assets. Your properties will inevitably be recovered to pay off what you owe lending entities. It’s restricting to consider newer ventures and other companies will refuse to affiliate themselves with an organisation on the losing end.

Get Out of the Rut

Financial troubles are an opportunity for you to get your act together. It’s all a matter of working your way out of the messy hole and towards financial freedom. Don’t let your debts dictate the way you want to direct your company.

Here are a few tips to ensure you are debt free as soon as possible:

  • Seek Help and Advice

Your board of advisers will know your company best in regard to investment and operational patterns. If you know you’re having difficulties with scheduling your payments, ask your trustees to have a self-imposed intervention. Be ready to hear out their thoughts and try to be as objective as possible. You’ll be surprised with the varied insights these stakeholders may bring and how much the company may need to redirect its ventures.

After listing your main areas for improvement, you can gather expert contacts and seek their advice. There are different debt agreements whenever a contract is drafted with service providers. Know the best way to strike a deal with them to render your payments. You can also commit to an installment plan, as manageable payments can aid you in acquiring financial freedom.
  • Be More Prudent with Your Investment Choices
Know your goals for being debt-free and figure out the best strategies to fully settle your account. Eventually, your company can focus on its core business operations, and be agile enough to explore ventures for expansion. It’s a matter of balancing out risks and knowing how to priorities investments to earn a considerable amount of profit.

The ability to manage one’s debts also contributes to goodwill among your financial partners and associates. Debt is a concept which can be handled and managed well. In fact, you can use your debt-paying records to show your financial performance as a company. If you have good debt records, this can contribute to your entity’s overall financial standing. For more advice, contact specialists in the area.

This article was written by Seanie Buffton - Took Banking and Finance, an ex-Financial Planner turned Writer based in Australia. He also does consulting with a debt collection agency specializing on debt recovery issues in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Debt and Saving - Looking at Cutting Expenses

If you’re in debt and trying to get out, you’re probably looking at cutting expenses. Indeed, cutting back on eating out, unnecessary shopping sprees and “extras” such as cable and magazine subscriptions are all great financial choices. Some people focus so much on paying off their debt though, that they let it get in the way of other aspects of life.

Debt and Saving


For example, it has long been a debate whether or not you should contribute to your savings while paying off debt. If you do, then you won’t be able to pay off your debt as quickly, and the longer you’re in debt, the more interest accumulates.

But if you don’t put money in savings, what will happen if an emergency occurs? You’ll probably have to use credit to pay it off, increasing your debt even more. While it may not be realistic or even wise to focus on putting away a large sum before paying off debt, it is a good practice to save at least a small sum every month even while paying loans, so that you’re in the habit of saving, and you won’t be left out to dry if the unexpected occurs. Dave Ramsey suggests a $1,000 emergency fund. You’ll also be able to rest easier knowing that you have a backup plan. Don’t let paying off debt stress you out and negatively affect your health.

Planning for the Future

Investments and Insurance are other areas that people could ignore in order to pay off debt. Is it wise to stop contributing to your retirement fund? Should you cash out your life insurance in order to pay off your loans?

Every situation is different. The first rule of getting out of debt though is that it means nothing without learning better spending habits. You’re in debt for a reason. Maybe its student loans or unexpected health expenses. Maybe you have tendency to use retail therapy instead of dealing with your emotions. Whatever the case, if you’re dedicated to getting out of debt, you want to make sure you can stay out of debt in the future. If you liquidate your future assets, this might be less likely.

Look at your finances with a holistic, long term view. Here are some things to consider:
  • If you don’t have life insurance, but are still in debt, than if anything should happen to you, your relatives or dependents might get saddled with those payments.
  • If you don’t contribute to your retirement fund, will the savings on debt interest make up for the loss on savings interest (often it does, since savings interest rates are generally much lower than those on lines of credit)
  • If you stop investing now, could the money freed up once you’re done making loan payments be used for future investments?
  • Do you need life insurance? If you don’t have dependents, you may think the answer is no, but that’s not necessarily the case. Compare insurance options at Suncorp.com.au or other trustworthy providers to ensure that you’re informed of all your options
  • Do you have the knowledge necessary to make the decision? There are a lot of free financial advice websites that can help you out, and you might even be able to sit down with a financial advisor for a free consultation. Just always remember that your situation is unique, and general advice on the internet needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Also, if it sounds like someone’s just telling you what you want to hear so they can sell you something, they probably are.
Whatever you decide, make sure you’re not only focusing on the present, but planning for the future. You most likely want to get out of debt so you can lead a free-er life. You can only maintain that with healthy spending habits and a good amount of foresight. 

The Cheapest Houses Across the Globe

Thanks or no thanks to the global financial crisis of 2008 we have seen house prices plummet in countries across the world in the past number of years. However, as our infographic reveals, the recession isn’t solely responsible for all the cheap houses out there.

Cheapest Houses

Take for example, the Nano flat-pack house which is made in India. You can purchase this house for a measly $700. Yes, believe it or not, a whole new house for less than a 1000 bucks. The house uses coconut fibre for wall cladding and interiors and has a life expectancy of 20 years! Of course, there may be extra costs involved in the actual building process, however, it won’t add up to anything close to what your average house costs.

Advancements in building technologies isn’t the only reason for slashed priced housing. In Australia, a six bedroom, three bathroom home that sits on a huge block, was valued at $630,000 but sold for just $1000 at an auction. The explanation – the house was seized by a Sheriff and sold without a reserve price after the owner incurred debts of up to $96,000. Supposedly, he incurred the debts after going guarantor for a friend on a failed deal–that friend failed to pay, and is now in China!

Find out about some other really interesting factors from around the world that have led to the cheapest houses ever in our infographic below.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Starting Out in Forex

Forex Trading is fairly new to the investment scene.  It's been roughly 10 years since the Foreign Exchange Currency markets were opened to the small investor.  It's taken only a decade for the Forex markets to reach a daily trading volume of over $5 trillion.


New online brokerage firms are popping up all the time, some with fantastic websites and features that offer you the world just for signing up for a trading account. With offers of high bonuses, small minimum deposits, free tutorial videos and a choice of platforms, choosing a broker has become a difficult task.

Information Availability

One of the other reasons Forex trading online has grown is the ready access to public information on the currency markets at any time.  Years ago, there was very little information available to the home investor but now that has all changed. Competition pushes innovation along at a rapid pace and when it comes to making money, the world of technology duly responds.  Only recently, free charting services in real time were made available, regenerating in as little as 5 second intervals.  Technology and increased Internet speed has revolutionized many aspects of investing and has helped to make Forex trading a very popular way to make money.

Most broker websites offer a ton of useful information for the Forex trader. In addition to up-to-date news from around the world, they post reports on Forex trends, describe Forex strategies and upload blogs and articles that could interest the trader. Some brokers allow their account members to view trades being made by other traders so they can copy them or at the very least, get a feeling of the direction traders are taking in Forex trading.

In addition, brokers offer educational seminars and online tutorials for their account holders. This material covers the basics of Forex trading and more advanced tools and techniques for increasing your chances of coming out with a profitable trade.

There are very few brokers that don't offer a demo or practice account. This account is made available to new traders for specific periods of time during which you can trade with virtual money supplied by the broker without the risk of losing your own funds. This is a terrific way to experiment with trading and gain the experience you need before moving over to a regular trading account.

Day Traders

Just as there are day traders in stocks, so there are day traders with Forex. Forex day traders move quickly and at all times of day and night.  There are online economic calendars that post economic events happening around the world on a monthly basis and the currency markets jump on these news items sending prices upward or downward at a rapid pace.

Day traders and investment traders alike should stay close to what is happening in all parts of the world as these events happen in split second time frames and have immediate effect on currency prices.

There are also many software packages available that help you develop a trading strategy. Using a strategy is one of the most important ways to trade Forex. It's not always easy to formulate your own system of trading and there are so many programs available online that this is no longer a problem. Always pick a system that you feel will work for you. You can even find websites that let you try out their platforms with their built in software tools and allow you to make actual trades using a dummy account. This is a great way to test out your system and see if it works for you

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Be A Mortgage Broker or Mortgage Bankers?

The duty of both the mortgage broker and the mortgage banker is to help provide the prospective home owner, a secure and reliable home financing. A mortgage banker works for a specific a bank, whereas the mortgage broker does not represent a single institution but works in association with multiple lending institutions to find the best deal for his client. In other words, a broker works as a middleman between you and any other lending institution.

Mortgage Broker

A Banker is Institutional

A mortgage banker typically works in the loan department of banks or any other lending institution. He guides the prospective loan applicants in completing their mortgage processes, right form evaluation of property to collecting of financial information. Plus he highlights the various lending options available within that institution. It’s generally their task to assist clients till the last, when the deals cracked.

Mortgage Broker Shops

A mortgage broker on the other hand first works with the prospective buyer and determines his requirements. He then shops at various lending institutions in order to get the best loan package that comfortably suits the borrower’s situation. A broker can in this way compare various loans at different institutions to suit his clients’ needs, whereas a banker cannot.

Salary of a Banker

A mortgage banker is a full time bank employee, who gets paid every month in the form of a salary. Various financial institutions even offer certain financial incentive or bonus to their mortgage bankers for their exceptional performance. As the banker can only grant loans through his institution, it is therefore his first responsibility to make sure the loans are properly secured and the borrower completely qualifies all prerequisites to qualify for the loan.

Broker Commission

A mortgage broker functions by representing the borrower, rather than the lending institution and therefore, he is liable to get a commission for every deal, and not a salary. His sole responsibility is to get the borrower the best possible deal, irrespective of the lending institution. Generally he’s paid a commission from the difference between the rates he gets from the banks or other financial institutions and the rates he provides to the prospective borrower.

Becoming a Mortgage Broker

In order to become a mortgage broker you are not required to have a professional college degree. However enrolling yourself into a permanent mortgage brokering course can help you maintain an edge in the competitive mortgage broking market.

The mortgage broking courses are so designed so as to transform a normal mortgage broker into a specialist who has the capability to survive even in the toughest of market conditions. To be a mortgage broker you need to learn how to add value to your customers and to differentiate yourself form the others by working smarter. All these abilities are imbibed by the mortgage brokers through continuous training.

Author bio: John is a specialist Redrock Brokers consultant and provides Mortgage broking course in Australia. John’s knowledge and experience in mortgage finance has personally assisted his clients around Australia to achieve their business, financial and investment goals.