Personal Finance


The upshot: despite continuing uncertainty in financial markets, commodities are well placed to overcome most obstacles. Partly because the companies which are performing strongly in the sector are still very attractively priced and also because the demands from emerging markets and supply shortages are still such key factors for the medium term.

A fresh impetus since the new year Natural resources market has received a fresh injection of attention this year with an extra US$70bn ploughed in, raising the sector’s value to around US$400bn. However, in global terms this is not such a huge amount considering the amount of activity in this arena. While volatility has increased due to speculation and money market tightening there are still many longer-term opportunities due to persistent extraordinary growth stories and energy requirements.

Specifics – what to watch out for Gold and platinum
are obviously very topical after recently hitting all time highs – then suffering a sharp correction which we believes was to be expected. But the immediate rationale for remaining positive on gold is justified: with inflation threatening and dollar uncertainty set to continue. Likewise, there is a bullish stance on platinum, especially with extreme energy shortages in South Africa (the largest producer) meaning it cannot even be extracted from the ground.

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When it comes to being taken in by Intenet fraudsters, men have a knack of losing cash, according to a new report from Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Data compiled from more than 206,000 complaints received by the U.S. ICCC shows that men lost U.S. $1.67 to every $1 lost by women on online fraud. The organisation says that buying patterns and human natureplay into the findings.

Historically men were more apt to purchase large ticket item like electronics… that could explain a lot of it. But with women now spending more online, the difference is also due to the fact that certain types of schemes tend to suck men in. Men tend to fall victim… to business investment schemes and some other schemes that have a higher monetary loss.

Investment fraud complaints, where the average loss is more than $3,500, were overwhelmingly submitted by men. Compare that to something like auction fraud, where men and women are frequently victimized. The average loss there is just over $480.

Men also tend to be victims of check fraud (average loss: $3000) and Nigerian letter fraud scams($2000). Overall Internet crime is netting the bad guys more money than ever. Total losses from 2007 complaints came to $239 million, up $40 million from 2006. The number of complaints was actually down for the second year in a row.

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bigstockphoto_mortgage_key__162982.jpgIn today’s world, no one can afford to buy a home without applying for some kind of loan in the form of a mortgage. Mortgages are controlled by various lending companies which can include banks, credit unions, and even individuals. These parties make their money by charging interest on the loan.

A mortgage is the pledging of a property as a security for a mortgage loan. While a mortgage in itself is not a debt, it is evidence of a debt. It is a transfer of an interest in land, from the owner to the mortgage lender, on the condition that this interest will be returned to the owner of the real estate when the terms of the mortgage have been satisfied or performed.

Because a mortgage revolves around the lending and repayment of money in order for lenders to make a profit, it is important that they loan to individuals who are as secure as possible; the general rule is that the more secure the individual as far as past and present money matters, the more money he or she will be lent. After all, the lender is taking a risk with his or her own funds, and will want them paid back.

The main way in which lenders will establish your security is by looking at your income and your past when it comes to credit. Most of the time this is all right, but what if you have filed for bankruptcy somewhere in the past? Will you still qualify for a mortgage?

How much time has passed?

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college_degree_250x251.jpgAn education loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest. Student loans also provide a variety of deferment options and extended repayment terms.

Student and graduate loans are becoming more popular as student debt continues to rise and students seek alternative ways of dealing with it. The good news is that student or graduate loans are generally available without the need to show steady income or offer security. This is extremely helpful, as most students will not have either of these.

Student and graduate loans also come at relatively good interest rates, particularly having regard to the fact that they are completely unsecured. The thing to be wary of is that such loans may lock the student into a long-term relationship with the lender that may not be the most advantageous one.

Graduate loans on the other hand, are far more expensive than student loans. These loans are generally offered on graduation, when student loans are no longer available, to cover the costs of transition from student life to working life. This may include finding a new place to live, buying work clothes etc.

Graduate loans will also be used to pay off student overdrafts, which are offered to all students as standard features of their bank accounts. The point to remember is that while graduate loans are relatively cheap when compared to personal loans, they are far more expensive than student loans.

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candy31.jpgPersonal finance blogging is a great way for both professionals and dabblers to share their personal knowledge with the world. With the right resources, just about anyone can be a successful personal finance blogger. Take a look at these helpful resources that will make launching your PF blog easy and fun.

1. Ask for help on sites like Ask Shane and ProBlogger: Don’t be afraid to reach out to your fellow bloggers to ask for advice. Use these sites to learn from the experience and mistakes of others. Once upon a time even professional bloggers were starting out just like you and they can be an invaluable source of guidance and advice.

2. Learn to code: You don’t need to become a coding expert, but it will help to learn the basics of the most common coding languages used in blogging. You’ll be able to better customize your blog both to your own design and to the needs of your readers. Check out these online resources for learning HTML, CSS and XHTML.

3. Concentrate on content first: While it’s tempting to get caught up in designing a swanky layout for your site, content should always be your first priority. Develop good articles first, and worry later about how they look. Use this article from SEOmoz for instruction on how to generate great content for your site.

4. Guide to creating hooks: Your hook is what lures readers onto your site in the first place, and this guide can help you develop a good one. Whether you’re banking on humor or your investigative reporting skills to entice readers, always make sure your hooks are top-notch or readers won’t return.

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main.jpgIt is often a daunting task to manage your finances with all of the different and varying expenses that you can accrue today. From mortgages, credit card bills, car payments, there are many financial responsibilities to juggle. Sometimes these expenses creep up on us and make it very difficult for us to pay. That is where a cash advance can truly help.

A cash advance payment is the sum that is paid toward the advanced amount of money that was received by the individual. This amount should be paid in full to eliminate any new charges or fees to an account. If this is not a possibility, the consumer will need to budget money very strictly and come up with a plan where the cash advance payments will be paid off as quickly as possible. To ensure a high level of organization and self-esteem through this whole process there are some things to think about when budgeting this expense into the rest of an individuals financial plan.

While these loans are often useful to those in need of emergency cash for bills or other unexpected financial burdens, there are often fees and interest that you must pay for the convenience of these cash advances. If they are not paid in a timely manner, they can also accrue fees and can ultimately damage your credit.

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2145040288_df02530170.jpgThe best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time. And that might well be the best way to tackle 2008. This year is almost over and while it’s a time of festivities, a look back may be a good idea if you’re thinking of some forward financial planning for 2008’s bills.

But you don’t need to resort to blaming yourself for what you could have saved if you had handled your expenditure more wisely. Crying over spilled milk isn’t only a negative way to start a new year, but also it gives you no recourse to whatever has been spent, lent or accumulated on your credit card bills.

A better way is to assess the damage or where you stand on your finances, and think of how to move forward. Even if you’re dragging a heavy load from 2007, just be clear about how much and to whom.

But keeping a positive attitude doesn’t mean that you should sit back and relax. Remember like everyone else, your bills are meant to increase in 2008 because of inflation, rent increases, your own growing needs, etc. So try to have a rough assessment of such increases and possible extra income as well. Then grab a notepad and a pencil to draft a budget for at least six months.

When you set your liabilities, income and estimated expenses side by side you should be able to see on paper where and how you’ll settle the 2007 debts, pay your new bills and be able to put aside some savings. If you cannot detect such a point in the coming six months, now you need to be alarmed. So what may have gone wrong?

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credit-cards_69.jpgYour first reaction when you hear discussion about Credit Cards and debt tells you that debt is bad and should be avoided. Well, credit cards or any type of debt are really just a financial tool, and when used properly, can be very beneficial.

For example, how many people could save up hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a home with cash? It can be done, but it might take a few decades to reach that goal. Instead, by borrowing money you can use leverage to make the purchase now instead of waiting.

When you Apply for a Credit Card it is always advisable to search, compare and select for the right Credit card suitable to your needs. One of the most costly mistakes you can make with credit cards is getting into the habit of only paying the minimum amount due each month. While the minimum amount may be affordable; it will also cost you more money in the long run.It is easy to get into the habit of making only the minimum payments. They are low and it can free up cash flow for other areas of your finances. Unfortunately, paying the minimum can be very costly as demonstrated above. Even a very low balance can cost you more in interest and take over a decade to repay.

Compound this problem with multiple credit cards and higher balances and you can see why it can be so difficult to get out of debt.Credit cards do have their place in business just as they do in personal finance. They are a convenient way to make purchases and potentially receive cash back or other rewards. What you have to realize is that you should treat a Business Credit Cards just like you would a personal card. Only charge what you can afford to pay back, keep interest rates low, and make payments on time.

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credit_cards1.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? Bank of America is known to help you manage your money successfully. If you see their terms and conditions they can assist you with you money management program.

Credit cards can be an excellent tool to help you manage your finances and buy the things you want or need. But when things go on a ride and your bills get out of hand, which happens to even the best of us, choosing a personal loan as a way to consolidate those bills will help you reduce your interest rates and set up a fixed amount of payment. Reduced interest rates will ultimately increase the amount of money you keep and a fixed amount due every month will help you plan your budget.

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.

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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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