Avoid Debt – Advice on avoiding debt & bad credit issues
Finance & Loans

Before you retire

November 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Article Written by : Be Better at Business

Financial advisors recommend that we pay off our mortgage, credit card debt and other large debt before retirement. Many gets less monthly income during retirement and 40 percent of your budget is for housing and therefore, this advice make sense. Here are few things you can do to get ready for debt-free retirement.

  • Make an educated guess of your retirement budget. In addition to main expenses such as utilities and food, add your travel, healthcare, housing, insurance and other expenses. Allowances for Federal, state and local taxes should be included. Estimate your retirement income from sources such as Social Security, pensions, 401(k) and other source.
  • Make sure to add your investment goals during your retirement to your budget. While you work, you may have taken more risk and invest aggressively. But in retirement you need more stable investment and it may produce lower interest rate. Also, consider your contributions to your grandkids education and other contributions.
  • Review your health care needs. Medical expenses may be an added expense if you are planning to retire before age 65. Your medical conditions may warrant more money for medical expenses during retirement too.
  • Make a plan. Armed with all these expected income and expense, you can make a plan for your retirement way in advance and plan accordingly.

Cut your monthly expenses to get out of credit card debt

October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Have you noticed that when your unpaid credit card balance goes higher, the credit card company wants you to pay more each month? If you have a higher balance on your credit card, let’s say around $20,000, there comes a day that paying your monthly minimum due becomes a burden on other expenses. Climbing out of credit card debt is no easy task.

  • Carefully review your family expenses.
  • Find ways to cut your expenses.
  • Make note of your utility bills and see what ways you can slash them.
  • Review your monthly grocery expenses and start shopping at discount stores to cut it and use coupons as much as possible.
  • Is that vacation you are planning is necessary? Can you afford it with a $20,000 or more credit card debt? Use that money to reduce your credit card balance and postpone your vacation for few months.
  • May be you can avoid those birthday parties and other expensive occasions for a while.
  • Getting out of debt should be a family affair. Get everyone involved and let them help to cut monthly expenses.
  • Make a monthly budget and stick with it. You will be out of your credit card debt in one or two years.

How to Save for a Home Purchase

October 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A home purchase can seem so far away if you don’t have the money on your right now. When faced with ambiguous goals, it’s easy to say that it’s just not for you and move on to something else. But home ownership is within your grasp! You need a savings plan, that’s true, but there has never been a better time to start the journey of buying a home. Rates are low, and you stand to gain over your own lifetime.

Set a Goal

The first step is to set a goal to buy a home. You do that by figuring out how much home you can afford, which begins with analyzing your current expenses and income. Once you have figured out how much money you can potentially save in your current situation, focus on hitting that goal. It sounds simple because it is, but you have to figure out ways to pay yourself first.

For example, account transfers work well for automated payments. If you set up a transfer to occur each pay period, you will never need to worry about setting money aside for a home because it will already be there. However, where you save your money is just as important as how you save it.

Interest Bearing Accounts

You’re going to need a substantial down payment unless you can afford monthly payments for an FHA loan, which would only require about 3.5% of the purchase price down. Your best rate for a low risk account will be somewhere around 1%, but that is definitely better than nothing. Save regularly, and pool every penny. You will hit your goal if you stay focused.

By Kuba Jewgieniew, stock broker who used his passion for data to fuel a real estate business and lifestyle brand. Today, Realty ONE Group is one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing brands in the United States.

What will happen to your student loan debt if you die?

September 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Student loan debt is making headlines lately. Not only the total debt exceeds trillions but also many students are finding it difficult to pay their student loan debt. Student loan debt cannot be wiped out in a bankruptcy. Have you ever thought of what will happen to the unpaid balance of the student loan debt if the borrower dies?

Most students carry Federal student loans and if the borrower dies without paying off the debt, the balance or the entire debt will be cancelled. Since most Federal student loan programs do not require co-signer for the borrowing, there will be no one responsible for the unpaid debt. How about those Federal student loans known as Parent PLUS loans? If the student borrower dies, most loans will also be cancelled. However, the picture is completely different for private student loans. They usually require a signature of a co-signer. Most of the time co-signers are parents, spouse of the borrower or another close family friend. In the event of the borrower’s death, the co-signer may be responsible for the repayment of the student loan. Not only that, the lender may require the total balance to be paid in full immediately.

Why you need to avoid payday loans

August 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Any type of debt could complicate your financial health and bring more stress into your life. Avoiding debt is best if possible. There are certain types of debt that everyone should avoid at all times.

The issue with payday loans is its interest rate. When annualized interest rates go into stratosphere and sometimes exceed 500 percent. Add insult to the injury, many payday loans carry additional fees making it the most financially damaging loan type to avoid. Most people use this type of loans for short durations. Some published reports indicate that repeated borrowers use this type of loan facilities more than nine times a year. A total of two percent of all borrowers in the U.S. use this type of loans.

For those who are seeking this type of loans should realize that there are other alternatives. Your bank or credit union can provide a line of credit to cover short-term emergencies. Their rates are far better than payday loans. Your family and friends are also an option to borrow money when you face financial difficulties. Make sure to agree on terms before borrowing from family members and friends to keep your relationship long after you pay back your loan.

Lesson from Argentina’s debt crisis

July 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Since 2011, Argentina lost more than half of its foreign reserves. Moody’s Investor Service and Standard & Poor’s rate its credits seven notches below investment grade. Its negotiations with bondholders failed and some filed for a Supreme Court decision. Argentina defaulted on its bondholder payments but continued to negotiate. This is the second time in recent history that Argentina defaulted on its bonds. In 2001, the government defaulted on record $95 billion bonds. Some investors made a deal to get payments over five year period and accepted 70 cents on the dollar. But diehard group, including Elliott Management, who are holding more than $15 billion bonds are holding out and demanding payments.

Individuals should learn from Argentina’s mistakes. Getting into too much debt even a country can’t make payments cause havoc on your finances. Creditors such as credit card companies, auto loan companies can take legal action against you. Also, before you reach that point and receive calls from debt collectors, try working with them to get some relief. Failing all your attempts to get relief, you may seek bankruptcy protection. However, you cannot get relief from student loans from a bankruptcy filing. It will have a lasting effect on your credit.

Quit worrying about your credit score

June 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Instead of worrying about your credit score, try and understand how it works. That might help you to get back on track and improve your credit score saving money on interest and getting a good rate on any borrowings. It just doesn’t stop there. It might affect your ability to rent a place for you to live. Your three digit credit score is calculated based on information stored on your credit report. Three main credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, provide different scores based on what financial information they have on you, based on their scoring model, and what factors they overweight. The resulting score may change constantly. But all of them take into consideration your credit utilization practices, on-time payment and payment history, age of your credit and newly opened credit lines, derogatory comments on your credit file, number of credit lines and credit inquiries on your credit file. So instead of worrying about your score, consider how you can improve on these aspects of your credit profile. Any improvement will help you to get your three digit FICO score up a notch. Some creditors may accept a score of 650 but a score over 720 considered as a “good” credit score.

The History of Caesars Palace

May 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Phineas Upham

That’s not bad grammar, Caesars Palace really is spelled without an apostrophe. Jay Sarno, the creator of the casino/hotel, said that he wanted all of his guests to feel like royalty.

He began construction on his hotel in 1962. Sarno relied on many contracting companies to help him craft the exact aesthetic he was looking for from the casino. He wanted fountains, swimming pools and architecture designed to emulate the opulence of the Roman empire. He took out a loan for $10.6 million dollars to help pay for the construction of the 34-acre resort. All told, Sarno’s final costs would be close to $25 million.

His inauguration took place in 1966, hosting Phil Richards and Andy Williams that night. His original idea was to feature a busty Roman goddess feeding grapes to a toga-clad man holding a phallic knife. He was all about design and conception. His partner handled the financial aspects.

Caesars was and is known for its decadence, but it became something of a family attraction in 1996. Caesars magical empire featured optical illusions, fire dancing, underground tunnels and an invisible pianist.

Guests would enter the celestial court via a magical elevator that transported them beneath the ground. In reality, the guest would not be moving at all, but that was the kind of magic Caesars sought to create.

Caesars has seen multiple headliners over the years, including Frank Sinatra. Mariah Carey sang there, as did Bette Midler and Elton John.

Phineas Upham

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his LinedIn page.

The Story of WordPress

May 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Phineas Upham

Would it surprise you to learn that there is a blogging platform on the Web that accounts for millions of websites and businesses around the Net? That platform is called WordPress, and anyone with a serious interest in eCommerce has most likely encountered it at some point. It is a simple blogging platform with many options for customization. It is also known for its large user community, which updates the platform with plugins that change how the blog functions.

WordPress, according to their knowledge database (or Codex), is the successor of a blogging platform created by a French programmer. Cafelog launched in 2001, but ceased development by 2002. The hype might have died if it wasn’t for a singular power user named Matt Mullenweg. He was using the software to post photos of a trip he was taking, and published a post stating his interest in coding a similar project if others were interested.

It turned out that he found a partner in Mike Little, and the two released the first version of WordPress in May of 2003. The team soon launched a site that would notify blog owners of new posts and updates, called Ping-O-Matic. It was around this time that WordPress’s biggest competitor announced changes to how it would charge customers to use its service. People with Moveable Type blogs then had a reason to jump ship in favor of WordPress, which was free to download and use in sub domain or domain form.

Since then, WordPress has evolved to support more customization. It released its own themes, built frame works for designers to build themes simply from scratch, and it built theme customization into its platform.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phineas on his Phineas Upham website

The Creative Revolution of the 1960s

May 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Phin Upham

Long Before Matthew Weiner ever conceived of the idea of Mad Men, there was a cultural revolution taking place in the offices of Madison Avenue. This stretch of New York City is known for the plethora of top advertising agencies concentrated there. It began at the close of the 1950s, when advertising began to veer away from facts and figures toward crafting narratives.

The firm credited with doing the most work in this genre of advertising was Doyle Dane Bernbach, which was co-founded by the late Bill Bernbach. He wanted to veer away from the idea that art should only support the copy, insisting that ads look as good as their slogans.

His approach combined the copywriter and artist into one creative team of equals. Bernbach believed that one creative ad, properly executed, could do the work of ten mediocre ones. He categorically rejected the idea that advertising was a science, once challenging his colleague David olgivy with a famous quote: “I warn you against believing that advertising is a science.”

There were also racial issues to contend with. At the time, Jewish firms like Bernbach’s only worked with Jewish clients. Usually, that meant clientele from the garment district or a retailer.

Ironically, this level of storytelling doesn’t exist much today at Bernbach’s old firm. It hit hard times after Bernbach’s passing in 1982, and it was never able to fully recuperate. When it was bought out by Needham Harper, its approach was more back to basics.

Phin Upham

Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.

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