Personal Finance


We have seen a number of dark days for stock markets all around the world in the past months. But how frightened should we be? Is the next Great Depression upon us? How can we distinguish a small crisis from a huge one? One way to deal with these questions and to calm our feelings of panic is to look closely at a single bad day. When we do that, the details can show us that the bigger picture may not be as bad as we fear, and, hopefully, quell our feelings of panic.

Let’s look back at September 29. On that day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7% and the S&P dropped by 8.8%. The Dow’s declines were the largest since the 9/11 attacks, and the S&P had its worst day since Black Monday in 1987. Media headlines included comparisons to the “Crash of 1929” and even “The Great Depression,” but, in spite of all of this, were things really as bad as they seemed?

The first thing to do when we have a horrible day like this is to look at as many of the details as you can. Now, when you do this you should expect some bad news. But the real insight will come when you compare the details of a single bad day to the details of an even worse day that history has proven to be a true market crash.

So let’s put September 29 into perspective.

Before the US stock markets opened on that morning, bad news was already spreading. The financial crisis had reached Europe. Governments were forced to bail out the Belgium bank Fortis, the U.K. nationalized mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley, and Germany’s Hype Real Estate Holding. At home, Wachovia announced that it was in talks with several firms to be sold. Wachovia, in fact, did not fail, but scared customers had pulled their funds after Washington Mutual’s collapse.

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It’s virtually impossible to know what size home you can afford if you aren’t fully aware of how much money you are earning and how much you are spending each month.

Start with your income: How much do you bring home after taxes and retirement plan contributions?

Next, look at your expenses: What are your necessary expenses? How much are you paying each month toward your debt? What additional expenses do you have that wouldn’t be deemed “necessary?” How much money do you have left (if any)?

This will help you see how much breathing room is in your current budget, what expenses might be on the chopping block and the space you have for additional home and mortgage expenses when buying a home.
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Debt has become a major issue in the life of the Americans. In order to resolve this problem the two most valuable results are either debt settlement company or filing bankruptcy. But before you opt for any one of the above mentioned programs you need to know the advantages and disadvantages that would help you to choose the right kind of plan that would suit your pocket.

Determine the depth of your debt:

1) Demand a copy of your credit report from the credit card companies.

2) Recheck the information provided on the statement of the credit card companies. Search for any incorrect entries regarding personal information, account which are not liable to you and even accounts which are actually paid in full but showing an out standing balance.

3) Keep a record of the credit score which is also known as Fair Issac Credit Organization (FICO) score. FICO has been named after a software that calculates the credit score. The average FICO score on the ascending side is 500.

4) Add up all the balances that are due from your credit accounts, loans, both the secured and unsecured loans and also include the collection account.

All these information would help you to decide to make a choice between a debt settlement program and filing for bankruptcy.


Keep a check on the monthly finances:

Prepare a spread sheet where you can incorporate all the credit information regarding the income and expenditure. If you file for bankruptcy you have to present the average monthly income and that too before 6 months filing for bankruptcy petition. In both the cases debt settlement program or filing bankruptcy requires the calculation of the monthly income. Make a separate spreadsheet for the monthly expenses like groceries, insurance, education related cost and so on.

Now subtract the total amount of expenditure from the total amount of income, the amount which would be left can be used to repay the debts you have incurred. If you have a zero balance or negative balance then it shows that you cannot afford to pay off the debt.

How do you know that debt settlement is right for you?

• See if you can pay off your debt with the current income. If your income is less then the amount of your expenses then be sure that debt settlement program is not a good solution for you. It won’t be able to deliver you out of this financial crisis. If your monthly income is more than your expenditure then the debt settlement company can guide you with debt solutions
• Calculate the total amount of credit card debt you owe and find out whether you qualify to enroll for a debt settlement service. Choose a debt settlement company according to the total amount you owe as each company varies the credit card balance requirement.
• Choose a reliable debt settlement company. Avoid the companies which charge a huge up front fee. Choose the debt settlement companies which are accredited by Better Business Bureau. And ensure that the fee they are charging are affordable for your pocket.
• Prepare yourself regarding the negative aspect that surrounds a debt settlement company such as creditors call, damaged credit record and tax problems.

How do you know bankruptcy is right for you?

• Look for other option other than bankruptcy if that can pull you out from the financial catastrophe. On line search can give innumerable options like debt settlement programs, debt management programs and so on.
• Do you qualify for filing bankruptcy? Just search for bankruptcy code on line and there are even books which can explain the bankruptcy in much easier way. Hire a bankruptcy attorney who can give you an able guidance and make you aware whether you qualify filing for bankruptcy or not.
• There are many chapters in filing for bankruptcy see in which chapter you qualify before filing for bankruptcy read through the rules and guidelines associated with each of the chapters.
• Keep it in mind that bankruptcy remains on your credit record for a long time, So if you file for bankruptcy you should prepare your self that you are going to ruin the credit record for next seven years.

So it’s your call to choose the right plan for you which would help you to burden you from the horrid night mare of debt.

therebalacingact-624.jpgIt’s a dangerous time for investors when any and every investment makes money. I do realize that I must be sounding like a lunatic when I say that. How can things be dangerous when money is flowing into investors’ account statements as if it grew on trees? And for mutual fund investors, it does appear to be growing on trees. Of course investors in the best funds made an absolutely humongous amount of money.

Something similar has been happening for stock investors as well. Even though there were some stocks that lost money, an overwhelming number of them went up by huge margins. There isn’t really any stock or mutual fund investor out there who didn’t make a great deal of money. Therefore, what we have here is like an examination which everyone clears because the passing marks have been reduced to zero.

These are abnormal times which are very dangerous precisely because it’s impossible to make mistakes. You can invest in bad companies and bad funds and still make money. And that means that when the going gets even slightly tougher, a lot of people will find that they actually did invest in bad companies and in bad funds.

It’s an old saying that more investment mistakes are made in good times than in bad times and since the times are so good right now, the potential for making mistakes is that much higher. Investment markets change direction very quickly. Nothing prevents what look like good investments today from turning out to be bad ones.

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A large percentage of people will admit to not having any type of savings account. Maybe there’s just not enough at month’s end to give to a “rainy day” fund. Perhaps the money in put into a savings account gets used just as fast as it gets saved. Either way, taking out an emergency credit card can help to avoid depleting your savings account while providing security. Knowing there is a way to deal with a financial emergency can give you peace of mind. While having cash for unforseen expenses is always the best line of defense, it seems that so many times as soon as we manage to put something aside, something else comes up and we need that money.

Having a credit card for the sake of an emergency is a great way to insure you won’t be left on the side of the road with a car breakdown or pulling your own tooth because you can’t afford to see a dentist (let’s hope you wouldn’t do that!). While there has been a credit card debt epidemic over the past several years, if you are responsible and can practice some self-control, you can have peace of mind should you need to come up with some quick cash.

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Financial planning is the process of identifying the monetary goals of an individual after considering different factors like his risk profile, life priorities, current lifestyle, etc… It is a process that can present before an individual, an organization or even a nation details about their current monetary position and the adjustments that are to be done to their pattern of spending in such a way that they can effectively meet their financial objectives.

Why Financial Planning Is Important

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Today, I have some advice for those of you heading into retirement or already into retirement and have realized that, for whatever reason, whether it was an unforeseen or medical expense or just a lack of excess income after all the expenses of taking care of your family or whether you just didn’t pay attention to saving until it was too late.

My theme for you continues to be “Yes, you can retire and live twice the life at half the cost”. You just have to be smart about it”.

Now here’s my advice… if, after adding up all you’ve saved for retirement, you find that your income won’t be enough to support you, start to actively look for ways to trim your expenses. This way you can keep more of the income you are set to receive, enabling you to live the life you’ve always dreamed of but could not afford.

Today, I want to share some of my favorite suggestions and add a few I picked up from an article titled 7 Realistic Strategies for Retirement by Tom Sightings, for U.S. News & World Report.

First, remember there are only two ways to get to your destination. Using a boating metaphor, you either raise the bridge or lower the water. Raising the bridge means earning more income. Lowering the water means cutting your expenses. Only you know which choice is the most feasible for you but today I am going to talk about ideas which “lower the water”.

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And I think it — about money. A lot of financial advice — — on our here’s our taste and some common financed and it’s. Never take a mortgage and corporate giant. This made perfect sense — — interest — super high rates today even with recent hikes are still at historic lows. So that means it makes a lot more sense to keep that market’s going to pay — — slowly. But invest any extra money in your retirement account — stashed away in an emergency. You can see — health care. And then borrow against — or. This is often cat bites. While most people don’t wanna take the organ paying fees. Borrowing money against your — and came makes sense now particularly because interest rates alone the going rate. Four point 2%. A lot better that you’re gonna get from the credit car or even a private — The only. Less money you should have stuck — my. That you’ll meet him in the last — but with the average retiree somebody in the — — twenty to thirty years longer. You need more money invest in stocks from the nineteenth. 2000 well. Average return for a large — acts with 10% a year it makes perfect sense to invest in stocks for the long ball. This advice that a live forever. Like discs — — when it comes to financial ties him for exploration.

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No more greasy burgers for you. No more frothy Frappucinos, hold the whip. No more fresh new duds just because you deserve it. All great decisions, but you must also ask yourself, “how much am I really saving?”

Are you saving enough to pay off all your bills? Are you significantly reducing the strain on your wallet?

Probably not. Saving $10-15 a week will never make you rich. It will help to ease your burden a bit, but little else.

Frugality gets billed as a well built road that will move you from rags to riches when traveled, but if you look deeper into the stories behind the people who pulled off amazing feats of frugality that left them swimming in riches, you’ll find far more than squeezing extra life from a few hundred pennies.

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