A phenomenon that had had been declining is making a comeback. The seedy dangerous world of the loan shark is experiencing a new surge of popularity as progressively greater numbers of people are refused credit by the major and sub-prime lenders.

‘Loan sharks’ is the term used to describe money lenders who operate illegally. These lenders are not licensed by the financial services and so are completely unregulated. The Office of Fail Trading (OFT) issues guidelines to first and second line lenders. These guidelines must be adhered to or the lender will lose its licence. They concern a raft of items, however they specifically lay down a set of rules that are designed to protect the interests, livelihood and privacy of the borrower; for instance licensed lenders are prohibited from using unethical tactics to pursue debt arrears and are not permitted to charge unethical interest rates.

On the other hand the loan sharks operate with a completely free rein. Examples of this are interest rates and repayment terms. Loan sharks will often charge enormous rates of interest and offer loans on extremely bad terms for the borrower. Should the borrower fail to make scheduled repayments on the loan, the loan shark will often use extremely unethical tactics in order to get their money back. Often they will make further loans in order to enable the borrower to repay the first one. Gradually the borrower will become entrapped in a debt mountain with which they are unable to cope.

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If you are applying for a credit card, mortgage, car or personal loan, you should be familiar with the information included in your credit report. You are issued a number, known as a FICO score, which is calculated based on your previous payment history, number of debts with a balance, recent credit inquiries, and balance to available credit ratio.

I often hear remarks about ones Beacon Score for Credit Cards being low because of poor credit management. The Beacon Score (also called Fico Score) is one of the major factor in a credit analysis. Whenever you apply for a credit card, a mortgage, a personal loan or a line of credit, the financial institution will pull out a credit report and look at your score. If it’s not high enough, you could be declined base solely on this information.

Many consumers are aware that they can obtain a credit report, for a fee, from the three major credit reporting agencies. These include TransUnion, Experian and Equifax and they provide your credit report to loan officers, credit card companies, financial institutions and anyone whom you give permission to obtain a copy of your credit file. While many consumers know that credit reports can be obtained for a fee, many do not know that everyone is entitled to a free copy of their credit report from each of the 3 credit bureaus each year. Once every 12 months, you can visit and gain instant access to your free credit report online no fee needed.

When looking at a copy of your credit report, you will be able to view payment histories as submitted by each of your creditors, current and previous addresses along with any information included on public record. This may include civil judgments, bankruptcy or foreclosures, etc. If any of the information contained in your credit file is incorrect, you have the right to dispute that information directly with the credit bureau. At the time a dispute is submitted, the credit reporting agency will investigate and correct any errors that are made.

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loans1.jpgAfter consumers complete the loan application and have chosen a loan type, the lender provides several documents to borrowers that disclose important aspects of the loan.

When it comes to borrowing money, it is common to focus on the interest rate. It makes sense, because the interest rate plays the largest role in determining how much the loan will actually cost, plus the interest rate is the easiest way for lenders to market their products.

While interest rates are certainly important, every loan has four common factors that will ultimately determine whether or not the loan is a good deal.

– Most loans come with some type of fee. This fee is usually used to pay for processing or originating the loan, and the fee isn’t always transparent. Sometimes the fees can be worked into the overall cost of the loan, or they may be completely separate. You will probably have to ask in order to find out what the fees are.

– Again, interest rates are used to advertise most loans, and obviously, the lower the rate, the better. One thing you do have to consider is whether the rate is fixed or adjustable, and if there are any special conditions that need to be met in order to qualify for the advertised rate.

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fico_score.gifMost lenders use FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation, they developed the FICO, a measure of credit risk, that are the most used credit users in the world) credit scores to get an objective measure of your creditworthiness. By understanding the factors that affect your score, you’ll get an in depth understanding of how creditors view your credit application and how you can bump up your credit standing.

1. Payment history

The factor that has the biggest impact on your score is whether you have paid off the past credit accounts on time or not. It counts for approximately 35% of your score. It should be noted that the recent late payments or missed payments hurt your score more. It will be reflected on your report whether you are 30, 60, or 90 days or more late with a bill payment. A record of late or missed payments on several accounts will hamper your score more than late payments on a single account. So, pay off your bills on time, it will definitely have a positive impact on your overall score.

2. Amount owed

It counts for approximately 30% of your total FICO score. It shows how well you can manage your credit. However, it is not just the amount you owe already that influences your FICO score. Also taken into consideration is the amount of credit available to you. So, total up all the outstanding balances you have and compare it with the amount of credit that is available to you. If you are reaching or exceeding the available credit then it will negatively impact your score.

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lending1.jpg“If there’s anything I can do, just let me know.”

Admit it. You’ve said that at least once to someone going through a rough time–we all have. Matter of fact, it’s much more than a well-worn, well-meaning phrase that we instinctively say before hanging up the phone, anxious to our friendship duty. Do we ever question if we’re doing the routine rounds or do we feel a pull in our heart?

Let’s face it–how many of us, while in the midst of a crisis, can really get it together to tell exactly what we need? Unless of course it is an injection of a dose of money. So that brings us to the million dollar question–How do you deal with friends who need Financial help?

This could be a delicate situation that can perhaps degenerate itself into a difficult situation, as compared to your own financial status at that moment. If you’d like to help a friend who’s in a financial mess, just keep in the back of your mind that “Money really is power.” And it’s your responsibility to be sensitive to that.

Should you lend money to your friends? Shakespeare said, “Lend money to a friend and you lose both, money and friend.” My dad educated me a bit on this; his advice was that if at all you must help a friend financially, never lend more than you can afford to lose. That’s also my advice for people who are out to make a killing in the stock market–never invest more than you can afford to lose. And that’s what they call the “risk capital.” How much risk capital do you have after all your savings for the rainy day?

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credit_cards.jpgCredit cards can be an excellent tool to help you manage your finances. But sometimes we make poor choices, or sometimes the events in life take us beyond our expectations and we are left to foot the bill. Perhaps you have had a few months of extra, unexpected expenses that you are now paying for. What can you do?

Gather together all of your credit card bills and add up the amount that you owe. Factor in the extra expenses you haven’t heard on your credit cards since you receive those bills. Add to that about ten or twenty per cent, which is the “whoops, I forgot about that” factor. Then, with that figure, start shopping around for a loan.

Get the loan and pay off your credit card bills. If you think that you may still use your credit cards, you may want to hide them away so that you reduce the temptation to use them. Now, instead of having several credit card bills at a high interest rate due by the end of the month, you now have one bill that is due once a month at a lower rate. This is called consolidation. At first glance it may not seem obvious why you’d want to do this but there are two reasons:

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c0036918.jpgI was involved in a discussion some time back and we were discussing this and all of us thought it was ridiculous that they don’t teach a personal finance class in high school, at least not when I was in school.

Is it any wonder that when kids go off to college they rack up so much debt? According to some statistics I read that the average undergraduate has credit card debt! My friend Shane has recently done a three post job on getting out of debt and each one worth reading.

The logic behind teaching children and teenagers about personal finance is pretty obvious. Just think of all of the finance clichés that you’ve heard: start investing as early as you can, the most important factor in investing is time, don’t get into credit card debt, etc. – all things that are best to learn sooner rather than later.

And because many basic aspects of personal finance currently aren’t taught in school and are left to be learned at home, this current system seems to nurture the fact that wealthy people tend to stay wealthy and poor people tend to stay poor. I don’t think it takes a giant leap of faith to see the possible correlation.

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stress.jpgWhenever you hear discussion of credit card debt, the various best ways to manage it and clear it etc., one thing is mostly ignored. Credit card debt can be extremely stressful and it can have a very negative impact on your life.

It’s always hanging over you, getting you down, making it difficult to live your life the way you would like to. This article takes a look at how to recognize debt stress, and what you can do about it.

The Symptoms of Debt Stress: There are numerous symptoms that can be caused by stress. Some of the most common ones are: feeling depressed and irritable headaches, not being able to sleep, forgetfulness, lack of concentration. If you have some of these symptoms but you’re unsure whether they are related to stress a visit to your Doctor may be in order.

Who Gets Debt Stress? Just about everybody that has debts gets stressed about them. Debt results in millions of days off work every year and it’s statistically one of the leading causes of suicide. When you read about someone who has committed suicide it’s very common to find their name is followed by “who owed in debts”.

Students and graduates are among the most vulnerable, as debt is growing here faster than in any other sector of society. It’s very easy for anybody to rely on their credit card, a little here and a little there and before you know it you owe thousands.

The average adult now owes many thousands in debts, tens of thousands even and as that’s the average, then it stands to reason that many people must owe much more. This being the case then always remember that you’re not alone, other people are suffering in the same way and there may well be many worse off than you.

How Do You Deal With It? The perception of stress caused by debt is often of embarrassment or shame. People with lots of debts don’t want to talk about it, even with their family or close friends, for fear of upsetting people or looking like a failure.

It’s essential that you talk about your problems, storing it up inside will result in even more stress. If you talk to no one else you should at least talk to your partner. They are in the best position to understand and possibly help you. When you’re ready to confront your debt stress probably the best route is to find two people outside of your partner, one who can advise you and one who can act as a counselor.

Finding someone outside your partner who can advise you and act as a counselor. That means a professional who knows what they’re doing in regard to financial matters and possibly a psychologist or psychiatrist or some other kind of counselor. Don’t let stigmas deter you, this is about your health which is much more important.

The next thing to do is to consider how you created the debt to begin with. Dig out your old credit card statements. What did you spend the money on? By far the best way to defeat your debt stress is to pay back your debts.

Even if it will take a while to clear the debt you know that your debt is gradually going down and as it does your debt stress will follow.

bbudget1.jpgDoes it sometimes seem as though you cannot afford to do things because your financial obligations are holding you back? If you find that you are asking yourself these sorts of questions, perhaps you should take a look at your financial situation and assess whether you are practicing good personal finance management or not. Good personal finance management spends within their income, plan for the future and solve financial problems as they arise. Poor personal finance management pay more, do without and fall behind. If you find yourself in the second category, you can do something about it. You can learn to take charge of your finances by planning your personal finances.

Planning your personal finances doesn’t always come naturally, and even if you’re just beginning to take your financial matters seriously, then you likely need a few personal finance tips.

Evaluate your current financial situation. One of the most important goals for most people is financial independence. Collect accurate information about your personal financial situation. Calculate your net worth which includes the real estate, saving and retirement accounts, and all other assets. This will help you decide how much money you can set aside for meeting future needs and goals.

A basic personal finance tip is to make a budget. A personal finance budget is information made up of your income and expenses and the more accurate this information is, the more likely you are be able to meet your goals and realize your dreams. A personal finance budget should be made for at most one year at a time and include a list of your monthly expenses.

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