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IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION TIPS

July 13, 2017 in Uncategorized by admin  |  No Comments

It seems to be on the increase scammers trying to gain access to our secret codes and passwords. You know the ones that have subject lines like: “Your Account Is about to Be Closed,” “There’s A Block On Your Account,” “Could You Help Me Claim My Funds,” or my all-time favorite “Congratulations – You’ve Won The UK Lottery.”

When we are all shopping for gifts for family or customers, and the last thing we need is for our bank or credit cards account to be hindered. That is exactly what these “cyber grafters” are counting on, and unfortunately some of us are tempted to follow the instructions sent to investigate.

First and foremost, DON’T FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE EMAIL! If you think there might be a problem, access the account in question as you normally do on your PC and not with the link supplied in the phony email.

I’ve had some very authentic looking email supposedly from banks that even went so far as to copy the colors of the bank logo and stationery style. But, don’t fall for the scam. In fact, don’t even open the email, because many are just sent to release a virus program on your computer once being opened. Simply forward the suspicious email to the “spoof email” address supplied by your bank, or Credit Card Company.

Nearly 10 million Americans fall prey to identity theft every year, costing businesses and individuals billions of dollars. Here are some other tips to help you:

1. Understand debit card dangers: Greater liability than credit cards. When it comes to fraud, debit cards carry much greater personal liability than credit cards, depending on how quickly you report the loss of the card. If you fail to report unauthorized use within 60 days of receiving your bank statements, you could lose all the money in the account and be held responsible for the amount of money that has been tapped from your line of credit.
2. Rethink check writing: That little slip of paper has way too much information. Some experts advise against check writing because it gives away your address, bank account number, signature and license number to complete strangers. On top of that, there’s no federal legislation to limit your liability for forged checks (each state has its own set of rules). Experts advise that you look into automating your bill paying.
3. Secure your mail: Your mailbox is a goldmine of information. Between bank statement, bills, and all those pre-approved credit card offers, your mailbox is loaded with personal data which identity thieves can use to easily apply for a credit card in your name. Unless you diligently check your credit report, you may never even know about it. One way to avoid this is to have your mailbox under lock and key, but most of us in Santa Clarita have our mailboxes at the curb in front of our house and the postman frowns on carrying dozens and dozens of keys around. The other solution is to have a rented mailbox, or to foil “dumpster-diving” thieves by buying a shredder and destroy documents before discarding.
4. Go virtual: For shopping online, there are “virtual” card numbers. These are randomly generated credit card numbers that are disposable and that on-line shoppers use once and throw away. It’s linked directly to your real credit card account so purchases show up on your monthly bill. The service is easy to use – and it’s FREE! All you need to do is register with companies offering the virtual card, and they are MBNA, Discover, and Citigroup.
5. Create an emergency identity kit: Would you know how to contact your credit card company in an emergency? Create an emergency kit that contains: your account number, expiration date, issuing company name, and emergency contact number for each card you own. While you’re at it, make copies of your driver’s license, social security card, birth certificate and passport and store them in a locked box or file cabinet, or a safe deposit box. I like the safe deposit box best, because this gives you protection in the event of a catastrophe such as fire, earthquake, etc.

This may all seem like a lot of unnecessary work, but if you’re ever the victim of identity theft – even just once – you’ll realize that it’s well worth the effort.

Many of us forget that were it not for what we carry in our wallets or in our purses, we’re all John and Jane Doe’s if we can’t speak due to injury or are unaccompanied by someone who knows us. How much less stressful is it to know that in a bank box, no matter where you are, there are items that can verify your identity. Better to be safe, than sorry!

Before you make any Type of Investment Always Assess Your Risk Tolerance

July 13, 2017 in Uncategorized by admin  |  No Comments

Each individual has a risk tolerance that should not be ignored. Any good stock broker or financial planner knows this, and they should make every effort to help you determine what your risk tolerance is. Then, they should work with you to find investments that do not exceed your risk tolerance.
Determining one’s risk tolerance involves several different things. First, you need to know how much money you have to invest, and what your investment and financial goals are.
For instance, if you plan to retire in ten years, and you’ve not saved a single penny towards that end, you need to have a high risk tolerance – because you will need to do some aggressive – risky – investing in order to reach your financial goal.
On the other side of the coin, if you are in your early twenties and you want to start investing for your retirement, your risk tolerance will be low. You can afford to watch your money grow slowly over time.
Realize of course, that your need for a high risk tolerance or your need for a low risk tolerance really has no bearing on how you feel about risk. Again, there is a lot in determining your tolerance.
For example, if you invested in the stock market and you watched the movement of that stock daily and saw that it was dropping slightly, what would you do?
Would you sell out or would you let your money ride? If you have a low tolerance for risk, you would want to sell out… if you have a high tolerance, you would let your money ride and see what happens. This is not based on what your financial goals are. This tolerance is based on how you feel about your money!
Again, a good financial planner or stock broker should help you determine the level of risk that you are comfortable with, and help you choose your investments accordingly. No matter how safe professionals tell the investment’s are, are you prepared to lose the money you have invested? How distressed would you become?
Your risk tolerance should be based on what your financial goals are and how you feel about the possibility of losing your money. It’s all tied in together.

DON’T FORGET YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE

July 4, 2017 in Uncategorized by admin  |  No Comments

No matter how avidly you take care of your health, there are unexpected circumstances that can land you a day or two in the hospital. If you are not prepared and you do not have enough health insurance coverage, this can cut a great deal with your savings. Thus, it is very important that you choose the best health insurance plan that can help you in case of an emergency.

First, check out all the health insurance options that you have. Consider your family’s health needs as well when signing-up for an insurance plan. There are two types of health insurance plan that you can sign-up for: private and government health insurance options. The private health insurance is personally signed-up for by an individual. You will also have a health insurance plan when you are employed. The company will provide you with coverage as part of your employee benefits.

The health insurance coverage provided by the government may be offered on a local, state or national level. Medicare is an example of a health insurance plan offered on a national level. Medicare benefits are available for people who are over 65 years of age, and to persons with disabilities. Other government-initiated health insurance programs include: Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, health care benefits for the veterans and military, as well as eligible American Indians.

If you want to sign-up for a private health insurance plan, learn everything that you need to know about the coverage stipulated on your contract. Read the coverage information and check the sections stating the exclusions. Avoid signing up for one which has a long list of exclusions that would not cover much of anything. More importantly, make sure that you have a copy of every contract that you will sign. See to it that your personal information is correct and make a note of the coverage period. All in all, make sure that you have ample health insurance coverage for you to use whenever you need it.

COST OF USING CREDIT CARDS BEYOND THE INTEREST RATE

July 4, 2017 in Uncategorized by admin  |  No Comments

Although some choose to rush into getting a credit card, they normally do so without being aware of the costs. A lot of credit cards come with hidden costs and charges, and you should always be aware of this before you apply. In most cases, these fees and charges won’t get noticed by the user until it is too late.
Credit card holders who aren’t aware of any hidden costs could easily end up paying possibly thousands of dollars at the end of the year – and not even realize it. If you have a reward credit card, your rewards could easily be destroyed by these hidden costs.

The first factor for hidden costs is found in the grace period. The grace period is the extra time you have to pay your bill without having extra fees added to your bill. Even though this can be great for paying your bill, it can quickly lead to a pitfall if you let it. To avoid any type of costs or hidden fees, you should pay your bill as soon as it arrives. This way, you won’t have to worry about your grace period or the interest that can accrue from letting your bill get later and later.

The late fee is another factor with credit cards that is often overlooked by credit card users. Late fees are common with credit cards, although their potential for costs is often overlooked. Some people choose to pay it and be done with it, unaware of the fact that these costs can indeed add up in no time at all. To be on the safe side, you should always know what the late charges are and how fast they can add up.

The easiest way to avoid any type of hidden fees or costs is to pay your bill on time – as soon as you receive your bill. You should also pay more than the minimum, as this helps to pay your bill off faster and ensure that you pay the bill and not just the interest. Paying your bill late is never a good thing, as it can easily destroy your credit report. If you continue to make late payments, your company or bank can increase your interest rates.

No matter what you do, you should always pay your credit card bill on time. Hidden fees and costs are out there – it’s up to you to avoid them. Credit card companies and banks won’t tell you what the hidden fees are, unless you ask them. To protect yourself and your credit – you should always be aware of the costs – and how to prevent them from happening to you.

Some Financial Options for Retirement

June 29, 2017 in Uncategorized by admin  |  No Comments

When it comes to planning your retirement you will find that there are many options available to the savvy investor. The problem isn’t necessarily in investment opportunities but the knowledge that is needed in order to turn those opportunities into wild successes. For this reason alone, I recommend that your first stop along the path to financial retirement investment be at the door of a competent financial planner.

Most of are more than willing to go to the experts for advice when problems arise and yet for some reason have major problems seeking the services of those who are trained to assist us in our financial planning endeavors. You should consider your options carefully and decide what is in your best interest. The best way to do this is with the information that a good financial planner can provide and by listening to his or her guidance.
One thing you will probably be told is the importance of diversity in your investment portfolio. We all have been told many times never to put all of our eggs in one basket and the same holds true when it comes to investing your retirement. All investments are a gamble; some carry more risks than others. You must keep in mind that every penny you invest is subject to loss however and make your investment decisions by how much of a risk the particular investment presents and how much you are willing to lose if the investment doesn’t pan out.

Perhaps the most common investment choice for retirement funds is mutual funds. These offer the ability to invest long-term with lower risk than many other investment options you will come across. These funds present a higher risk than other investments but are a good moderate risk investment for those who have little knowledge of how the market actually works. There is a fund manager that is in charge of making the actual investment decision for the collective pool of the fund and his or her job to decide where to put the money for which they have been entrusted. This leaves the critical decisions out of your hands and off your mind.

If mutual funds seem boring to you, there are other higher risk investment opportunities in the form of stocks. I seriously recommend studying the market carefully and completely before making the leap into stock trading but this can be quite the short-term quick profit rush that you are looking for if you are willing to risk your retirement investment for the sake of increasing your net worth. If you do choose to invest in the stock market please take the time to learn the proper procedures, the risks, and the process before diving in. If you have a financial planner (and you definitely should) then he or she may prove to be an exceptional resource when it comes to the practice of ‘playing’ the stock market.

Securities are a very complicated process that many of us would feel better never needing to understand. If you need a little more adrenaline pumping, heart clutching moments when it comes to you financial retirement and are willing to risk the need to work for the rest of your life in the process you may find that this is just the boost for you. Be sure however, not to rest all of your hopes and dreams for retirement on the allure of securities trading as this is a very high risk field for those who do know what they are doing. For those who have little experience it can prove to be a financially fatal flaw.
Learning the ins and outs of the investment process in addition to the options that are available to you through the course of your own financial retirement planning is like going to war with the proper weapons and armor rather than a slingshot and a rock. The problem is that while there are some financial Goliath’s out there that are simply waiting to be tamed, most investment strategies present their own unique needs that should be understood and monitored.

Do You Have a Problem with Impulse Spending?

June 29, 2017 in Uncategorized by admin  |  No Comments

Avoiding Impulse Spending
Answer these questions truthfully:
1.) Does your spouse or partner complain that you spend too much money?
2.) Are you surprised each month when your credit card bill arrives at how much more you charged than you thought you had?
3.) Do you have more shoes and clothes in your closet than you could ever possibly wear?
4.) Do you own every new gadget before it has time to collect dust on a retailer’s shelf?
5.) Do you buy things you didn’t know you wanted until you saw them on display in a store?
If you answered “yes” to any two of the above questions, you are an impulse spender and indulge yourself in retail therapy.
This is not a good thing. It will prevent you from saving for the important things like a house, a new car, a vacation or retirement. You must set some financial goals and resist spending money on items that really don’t matter in the long run.
Impulse spending will not only put a strain on your finances but your relationships, as well. To overcome the problem, the first thing to do is learn to separate your needs from your wants.
Advertisers blitz us hawking their products at us 24/7. The trick is to give yourself a cooling-off period before you buy anything that you have not planned for.
When you go shopping, make a list and take only enough cash to pay for what you have planned to buy. Leave your credit cards at home.
If you see something you think you really need, give yourself two weeks to decide if it is really something you need or something you can easily do without. By following this simple solution, you will mend your financial fences and your relationships.

SAVING,AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT TO LONG TERM HEALTHY FINANCES

June 23, 2017 in Uncategorized by admin  |  No Comments

Saving, an Important Component to Long Term Healthy Financial Outcome

Saving is basically putting aside money or a way to utilize your present income for future use.
One saves for several reasons such as for a college education, buying a new car, for a new TV set you wish to acquire in three to four months time, for down payment on a home, or to provide for yourself when retirement income.
As much as there are several reasons for saving, there are likewise many methods in which one can save. In most instances, the best method can be determined by whatever plans you have for the future.
1. Savings accounts. When saving for just a short period or for emergency purposes, consider opening a savings account passbook, as it is in this method that you can easily gain access to your funds.
Great for both long and short term savings, you can deposit and withdraw money to your account and earn interest, based on your average daily balance. A minimum balance is required to be maintained though, and you are charged with a penalty should you fail to maintain it.
2. Checking account with interest. Here one can benefit from checking account conveniences, while your deposits gain interests. Generally these types of accounts grant privileges such as unlimited withdrawal and check writing, access to ATM and bill payments that can be done online.
This method typically requires a daily maintaining balance of at least $2,000.
3. Money market insured accounts. For long-term goals, this method is ideal, as it generally offers a much higher rate of interest compared to a regular or standard savings account.
The interest rate usually is dependent on the amount of money in your bank account; larger balance means higher interest.
4. “CD” or Certificates of Deposit. This is a savings method requiring you to “loan” your money to your financial institution for a certain time frame, usually ranging from thirty days up to five years. Here, the longer the time span again, means higher interest.
Keep in mind that usually insurance companies offer better deals on interests compared to banks, so before you invest, compare rates first!
At certain times, when your goal is many years away, it might be a prudent decision to save money in a way that you are not tempted to use it other than the main reason which is saving it. Deciding on the right financial institution such as a bank, credit union or insurance firm can bring about a lot of benefit in your finances, so remember to always compare be and do the math before you sign on the dotted line and commit your savings.

Common Risks Faced by Property “Flippers”

June 22, 2017 in Uncategorized by admin  |  No Comments

The first thing that should be noted is that flipping houses is a great way to bring home a rather large profit in a relatively short amount of time when doing so in a seller’s market. The problem is that we currently seem to be experiencing what is known as a buyer’s market from one end of the United States to another. Foreclosures are at an all time high, which means that the market has suddenly been saturated with properties for sale.
While this is excellent news (believe it or not) when it comes to getting your hands on a property at a lower price, it also makes a difficult time of convincing buyers to pay top dollar when there are better bargains down the road. This of course is one of the primary risks involved in the real estate investment venture that is known as flipping properties. The massive profits that most investors seek cannot be accomplished if the property cannot be purchased, renovated, and sold quickly.
Unfortunately, at the moment, very few properties in most cities are selling quickly. The worst case scenario in a situation like this is that you are forced to either absorb the loss (which can in extreme cases result in serious financial hardship or bankruptcy) or rent the property out (which will in most cases negate all the efforts that were made to renovate the property. An inability to sell the property that is being flipped is probably the worst fear of every property investor who engages in this sort of investment. In these cases it is often better to drop the price and take a loss than hold out for a better price risking further losses in the future.
These are not the only risks associated with flipping properties unfortunately. Another risk would be the risk of seriously underestimating the amount of money that will be required in order to do the necessary work. This is something that many first time investors find is a fairly common occurrence. Most people have unrealistic expectations of exactly how far their dollars will go when it comes to investing in the materials and labor needed to properly renovate a property. Even minor cosmetic repairs throughout a house can easily run into several thousands of dollars in order to repair. The flip side is that once these repairs are made the potential profits can run into several tens of thousands of dollars.

Another risk that isn’t often considered is the risk of overestimating abilities. This is one risk that costs not only precious time but valuable money as well. Not only is material wasted in the process of discovering you aren’t exactly skilled in any particular tasks but also there are further expenses (often unplanned) involved in hiring the professional to repair the damage and replace the material that was wasted. When in doubt, it is almost always best to hire a professional if at all possible. This also leads to missing deadlines, going seriously off schedule, and adding yet another mortgage payment (if not more than one) to the overall price of the project.

The final risk is often something that simply cannot be seen or anticipated. This was experienced in the days immediately following 9-11 and should not be forgotten. The unforeseen happens every day. Markets crash; local economies can be devastated by the announcement of a major employer that it is going out of business (think of the collapse of companies such as Enron and World Comm and what they did to local economies). In these instances, the market will take quite a while to recover from the shock to its system and ‘flippers’ among other investors are often left feeling just as lost and devastated as those that were victimized by these companies-both through no fault of their own.
Stuff happens and those things that we have absolutely no control over are almost always the things that affect us most profoundly. The same holds true when it comes to property investment. The state of the economy, the housing market in an area, and sudden announcements that affect either can often have the most profound impact on those who are investing in property in those areas whether for better or for worse. The trick is in deciding which risks are acceptable.

PERSONAL LOAN SCAMS

May 4, 2017 in Uncategorized by admin  |  No Comments

Personal loans are a great way to generate the revenue you need for a variety of needs. Such loans can be secured by banks, loan companies, private investors, and online lenders. It is important that you are aware of personal loan scams and how to avoid them. This type of scam was ranked #5 in the United States for the year 2000. On average, each person scammed lost $464. As a result, the Federal government has been working hard to educate the public about such scams.

The advanced fee personal loan scam is the most common method of taking your money and running. Most victims of such a scam never report it to the authorities because they are embarrassed that they feel for such a ruse. Victims also feel angry. They obviously needed money or they wouldn’t have applied for a loan in the first place. They now have less money than they did to begin with. Those who do report the scam are often frustrated because the perpetrators are very seldom caught and brought to justice. It is very important that you do report any such instant of advanced fee personal loan scam. If you don’t, you are further enabling the predator to do it to others.

Advanced fee personal loan scams work on those who are desperate for a loan, over trusting, uneducated, and who have bad credit. More than half of advanced fee personal loan victims are under the age of 30. The lender tells the applicant that they guarantee they can work with their situation, but that there is a loan processing fee involved. This can be a fee hundred dollars or more. With the technology available now, it is not uncommon for the operators of these scams to have websites and even 800 numbers for you to call. They will send you letters that look so official, you won’t give them a second thought.

The stories of those victimized by such advanced fee personal loan scams will break your heart. One woman had been laid off and was about to be evicted. She found another job and applied for a personal loan to get caught up on the rent. She paid the lender almost her entire first paycheck for so called processing fees on this loan they guaranteed she was eligible for. She was understandably upset when she was evicted as well as found out the lender had taken off with her hard earned money.

To protect yourself from falling victim to advanced personal fee loan scams, be careful who you attempt to borrow from. Make sure they are a reputable company. If they are an online business, check them with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure you enter there business name exactly as they list it. A well known practice of this scam is to use a name very similar to an actual reputable lending institution that applicants may be familiar with the name of.

For those of you with bad credit or no credit, don’t believe something that sounds too good to be true, it likely is as the saying goes. You may have to pay a higher interest rate if you have bad credit or no credit, but you should never have to pay any fees up front to apply for a loan or to have it processed. Some personal loan scams will call the fees you pay the first month payment or a high risk deposit. Applicants need to be aware that no such things exist. As a matter of fact, any lender must allow you to have access to the funds for minimum of seven days before they can collect a first payment. You can check the legitimacy of any fees charged by a financial institution with the Federal Trade Commission. If you are facing financial difficulties, look for advice from a reputable non-profit credit counseling service rather than a lender.

CREDIT CARDS FOR SMALL BUSINESS

May 1, 2017 in Uncategorized by admin  |  No Comments

In today’s economy, small businesses play an important role. These days, it is easier than it ever has been to start a new small business. There are all kinds of new businesses popping up all over the United States and Canada, from department stores to gas stations. With new businesses on the rise, the owners should be looking into small business credit cards – for numerous reasons.

The best reason to get a small business credit card is for separating your personal finances from any business related finances. Once you have a small business credit card, you can start making all of your purchases via Internet, phone, or in person. Business credit cards are accepted virtually everywhere, which is great for those who need equipment or supplies in a hurry.

If you own a small business, you’ve probably experimented with using your personal cash for company purposes. This can get ugly in a hurry, which is why you should invest in a credit card for your small business. You can make purchases without having to worry about cash, then pay it back later. You won’t need to keep track of everything either – as you statement will be mailed to you at the end of the month, letting you know exactly how much you spent.

A small business credit card is also a great way to establish some credibility with your business as well. When you pay with your credit card, it looks a lot more professional than using cash to make your purchases. It will gain the respect of financial companies, and help your business build some credit as well. After you have had a credit card in good standing for a few months, you’ll be able to apply for a small business loan and get the best rates – along with the higher amounts.

Even though your business may not have a 6 figure income or budget, small business credit cards can still help your business grow and prosper. Credit cards are always great to have, simply for the fact that you never know when you need money. Your office equipment may crash and need replacing, or another emergency may come up. If you don’t have a credit card for your business, the financing alone could shatter your daily operations.

Small business credit cards will also give you plenty of rewards as well. Most cards will give you cash aback and certain rewards on just about anything you purchase. From gas to equipment, you can get rewards simply for using your credit card. You can increase your profit margin as well, which is always a great thing. If you have other workers who are authorized to use your credit card, you’ll get more rewards – and much faster as well. This is also easier on your business, as your workers will be able to get what they need, when they need it.

All in all, small business credit cards are always great to have around. They will provide your business with rewards and convenience, eliminating the need to use cash with each purchase you make. These cards will also protect the future of your business, and allow it to grow. If you own a small business, you shouldn’t hesitate to look into these credit cards. Once you have found the best credit card for your company, you shouldn’t hesitate to apply. Credit cards are always great to have around – even if your business is just getting started. Before you know it, your small business credit cards will more than pay for themselves.

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