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Guest Post Articles

Learning the Value of a Dollar

August 20, 2012 | Credit Cards | Guest Post | No Comments

I got my first credit card when I was just 17 and had no idea what the value of a dollar was. I had no job at the time, and even worse, I didn’t even have a real understanding of how credit cards worked. By the time I was 20, my credit was so bad that I couldn’t get a car and I had been turned down by nearly every apartment complex in the area. I was taking all the steps needed to improve my credit, but it was slow going.

Things got even worse when I lost my job. I was going to be homeless unless I found a way to pay my bills, and that’s when a friend suggested I take out a loan. I didn’t know much about personal loans, but I knew it can make your credit even worse, so I was very hesitate.

I did some research online and found the website OneLoanSource.com. The reason I was so drawn to OneLoanSource.com is because it doesn’t check your credit score like other companies. Instead, the website takes some personal information and then matches you up with several loan companies that are the most likely to provide you with the money you need.

OneLoanSource.com is incredibly easy to use too. All you do is enter some basic information, such as the amount of money needed and your credit score, and the website does the rest. The whole process takes less than five minutes. After that, the website gives you several companies to contact, but I only needed to call one before I got my loan. Overall, I’m very happy with the website and would recommend it to anyone.

Submitted by J. Jones

Debt Management May Help Alleviate Debt-Related Depression

January 20, 2012 | Debt | Guest Post | 3 Comments

According to a survey conducted by a non-profit financial crisis center, nearly fifty percent of the people surveyed in debt also experienced or exhibited symptoms of depression. Depression is usually classified as experiencing feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness and other negative behaviors and emotions. The survey also found that nine out of ten participants reported significant feelings of debt-related stress.

Depression can create a feeling of hopelessness and an inability to take on financial problems which leads to a vicious cycle of rising debt and deeper depression. Depression can cause some individuals to become emotionally paralyzed which then leads them to be incapable of developing or following a plan of action to rectify their finances. If this is you, it is highly recommended that you seek help from a debt relief counselor familiar with depression related to debt or see a professional therapist.

However, for many people, they have not yet reached that critical point and are still fully capable of learning new debt management skills. And, for many individuals the depression they are experiencing is simply a phase due to their extraneous debt. As the debt is corrected, the depression lifts. However, all too often, for some, depression leads to suicidal tendencies or attempts. It is essential that anyone experiencing feelings to hurt themselves, the ones they love or other people to seek help as soon as possible. Debt is not worth your life.

Financial stress can feel insurmountable at times whether you have unexpectedly lost your job, stuck in a cycle of late payments or have rising credit card debt. Debt can be detrimental to all areas of your life, but with the right debt management skills and tools, you can get out from under the burden of debt once and for all.

If you are suffering from depression related to debt, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to seek outside help through a debt counselor. Many times, just taking the minimal action of asking for help can make you feel like you are regaining control of your finances and it can begin to ease your depression. Finding help and developing an action plan can help lift those feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.

Depression can trick your mind into thinking that there is no way out or your debts are so out of control that you will never find a remedy. The important thing to remember is that it is just the depression talking and outside help, especially those experienced in dealing with debt-related depression can help you see what your mind refuses to acknowledge. There are many debt management skills they can teach you that will not only alleviate your current situation, but will help you learn how to avoid ending up in the same place all over again.

Debt should not be a cause of depression, but it is extremely common for those in debt to experience symptoms. Seek help as soon as you find yourself in debt and learn how you can turn your finances around.

How to Protect Your Home and Business with Umbrella Insurance

June 11, 2011 | Guest Post | Insurance | No Comments

If you currently have insurance coverage for your home or business, there is a portion of that insurance coverage known as liability insurance. Chances are the liability insurance that is included in your policy has limits. This means there is a maximum on what your liability insurance will cover. Sometimes this coverage is not enough to cover all costs of legal issues, and that is where umbrella insurance comes in handy. Umbrella insurance provides additional coverage above and beyond what is covered under your normal insurance policy. In today’s world, it is a very smart idea to carry umbrella insurance on your home or business.

Protecting Your Home

In many homeowners insurance policies, there are gaps in coverage that may pose problems should a claim arise. These gaps in coverage mean that certain things may not be covered under your regular homeowners’ policy. There are likely liability coverage limits on your homeowners’ policy as well. This means that even if a claim arises and is covered under your policy, there may not be enough money available to cover all of the legal costs that go along with it. Umbrella insurance kicks in where your regular insurance policy leaves off, making it an extremely valuable investment.

Say an accident takes place on your property and someone is injured. Will your current insurance policy be able to cover all of your legal expenses, as well as the injured person’s legal and medical expenses? The answer is probably no. That means that your assets and future earnings could be at stake if your current insurance policy is inadequate. The price of an umbrella insurance policy is really not that much compared to the lifelong issues you could face without one.

Also, some houses may pose more of a risk than others. For example, older houses often carry more of a risk than newer ones. This is because electrical systems, windows, and stairs in older homes are often outdated. Additionally, households that have dogs, specifically large or dangerous breeds, may also carry a larger risk than households with small dogs or none at all. Umbrella insurance is a wise choice if you have an older home or dogs that may cause injuries to others.

Protecting Your Business

If you own a business, you know that liability insurance coverage is extremely important. This is because there are so many areas of liability in the world of business. Although you probably have general liability coverage on your business, it may not cover the entire amount if a claim is filed against you. Even if you are a business with product or professional liability insurance, these will not always cover every situation or claim. Umbrella insurance is especially important for businesses to carry because of the increased risks and liability.

For example, your business may use dangerous machinery on the premises. This machinery can pose a major risk to employees or anyone that comes into your business. Should an accident occur, will your regular liability insurance offer enough protection and coverage for the claim? There is a good chance that it will not. This is where an umbrella insurance policy would come into play and offer that extra level of protection.

Even if you have insurance for your home or business, the coverage that is included in your policy may not always be sufficient. Umbrella insurance offers additional coverage and kicks in where many policies leave off. It can be a lifesaver in many cases, and is almost always worth the small amount of money it may cost you.

Guest post from Bailey Harris.

How to Survive a Financial Disaster

April 7, 2011 | Financial Tips | Guest Post | No Comments

Even though you thought you were prepared, financial disaster struck. You were wiped out…all your money gone…your plans put on hold, perhaps indefinitely. What are you supposed to do now? How do you start over again? Your finances may not be that bad, but economic woes are commonplace nowadays. Who says you won’t be the next one to wake up and discover your bank account says zero? Chin up. There are ways to bounce back. Following are a few tips on how to survive a financial disaster.

It’s Only Money

Although this may not be what you want to hear, remember, it is only money. Sickness, accidents, storms, natural disasters, the death of a love one, these are all things that matter a whole lot more than money. Sure, money can help you live better, and we all need it to survive, but suffering a financial setback isn’t nearly as bad as suffering a physically debilitating trauma.

Emotional Rollercoaster

Even though losing a considerable portion of your financial worth, or all of it, is not necessarily life threatening, it could have a significant impact on your life. Depending on your personality and outlook on life, it could be a minor delay in your life’s plan or a disaster you’ll never recover from. The choice is really up to you. Some people decide to simply give up, while others prefer to make lemonade instead. Whichever course you choose, you’re bound to ride an emotional rollercoaster until you sort matters out.

Time for Action

Now that the philosophizing is over, it’s time to get down to doing something about your financial troubles. The first step is to accept what’s happened and take a close look at your financial situation. Upon further reflection, it may not be as bad as you thought. Even if it is an unmitigated disaster there are still things that can be done to help you recover.

Make a Plan

Take stock of your present situation. Reflect on what got you into the financial mess you’re currently in and make a conscience decision to not make the same mistakes. If you’ve drastically overspent then you know you’ll have to be a lot more careful in your spending. If you lost a bundle in the stock market, don’t think you’ll strike it rich by putting whatever you have left into a ‘sure thing.’ It’s like gambling–you may as well go to a casino and bet everything on black. No, if you hope to recover it’s imperative that you assess your situation and come up with a viable plan that involves hard work and intelligent decisions, not a stroke of good fortune.

Assemble Your Assets

In order to implement a plan to bounce back from an economic disaster it’s important to know what you have to work with. Make a list of your assets. This is what you’ll be using to begin your financial recovery. It’s essential that you know where you stand. If you owe a lot of money that must be factored in. if you ever hope to regain a good credit rating it’s imperative that you pay off your debts.

Determine Where You’re Going

A financial recovery plan must begin with an awareness of your starting point. There’s no sense lying to yourself; it won’t solve anything. Instead make peace with your situation and be honest in evaluating a possible recovery. Only after doing that can you take the next step, which is to decide where you would like to end up. Again it’s important to be honest with yourself. Choose a realistic goal, one that isn’t necessarily easy to attain, but a target that is truly obtainable. Going from dead broke to multimillionaire status overnight is something that is likely to only happen in a movie. Instead aim for a reasonable objective. Don’t stop dreaming, but be sensible.

S.M.A.R.T.

In setting a goal, it may be prudent to use the S.M.A.R.T. principle: Be Specific in choosing a goal. Decide on a way to Measure your progress. Make sure your goal is Attainable. Be Realistic in selecting a destination. Plan your recovery to happen in a Timely manner.

Fine-Tuning

Executing your carefully planned recovery is where you’ll need to be firm in your commitment, but not so firm that you can’t fine-tune the plan along the way. There are bound to be unexpected hurdles to overcome, but if you stick to your basic plan, you should ultimately reach your goal of financial recovery. This is the Land of Opportunity. If you believe it, you can achieve it. Never give up. The English language is full of platitudes, but even though they may sound trite, through hard work and dedication it is possible to recover from a financial disaster.

Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes for www.insurancequotes.org.  Find Bank CD rates at BankOnCIT.com.

Can Leasing a Car Save You Money?

February 17, 2011 | Financial Tips | Guest Post | No Comments

Purchasing a used vehicle is often perceived as buying someone else’s problems. As a result, when it’s time to get a different car most people prefer a new one. Once the choice to get a new car is made there is still one more decision to make: buy or lease.

Owning a Vehicle

With an outright purchase you own the vehicle. Once it’s paid for no one can tell you how to treat it, or how it can or should be used. If you plan on keeping it for decades it doesn’t really matter what it looks like. Not washing or waxing it is irrelevant because you’re simply going to keep it until it stops running. The number of miles you put on the car is also strictly up to you. Of course, if you care about the trade-in value, you’d be smart to take care of the car. Its value may remain high if it is well taken care of and has low mileage.

Leasing a Vehicle

Taking out a lease it’s a slightly different story. You never really own the vehicle. The very definition of the word says you are merely entitled to the use of it for a specified period of time–provided certain conditions are met.

With an auto lease you’re obliged to take reasonable care for the duration of the lease. Turning the vehicle in with a lot of damage could very likely result in having to pay a penalty. You’re also limited on how many miles you can put on the car during the lease period. If you go over the allotted miles, you pay a penalty.

Trade-in value is not a consideration. You just turn the vehicle over to the leasing company. If there is no extraordinary damage and the miles are within the allowed maximum the deal is simply over with.

Financial Considerations

For some the choice of buying or leasing comes down to one basic consideration: which is cheaper in the long run? There are a lot of factors involved and both methods have their merits.

Leasing

  • If the percentage rate and down payment are the same, you’ll end up paying less per month with a lease.
  • When the payment period is ended you simply walk away from a lease, in which case you owe nothing, but have no vehicle. If you like the leased vehicle, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase it. Otherwise you’ll have to either lease or buy a different car.
  • Leases carry conditions, such as a limit on the number of miles you’re allowed during the lease period. If you exceed the limit it will cost extra.
  • As long as you take care of the leased vehicle it will retain its value and won’t cost you anything extra for damage at the end of the lease.
  • By continually leasing you can always be driving a new vehicle.

 

Owning

  • If you paid cash or have your vehicle paid off when you trade-in your car–in other words, if you own it outright–it will probably cost you less to buy than to lease.
  • If you own your car, you can put as many miles on it as you choose, but remember, a high mileage vehicle is worth significantly less at trade-in time.
  • Owning a vehicle means having value in the car to use toward a down payment for another vehicle.
  • You can trade-in the car at any time. However it may not be a financially sound decision unless the car is worth more than you owe on it.
  • Buying a vehicle is less complicated than leasing. Simply put, as long as you make the payments on time the car is yours to do with as you will.

 

Can leasing a car save you money? As you can see, there are pros and cons to either choice. The bottom line is you’ll have to negotiate with the dealer, discuss all your options, and then decide whether buying or leasing is the best choice for you. Like any other decision you make in your life, gathering as much information ahead of time is the intelligent thing to do.

Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes on many topics, including Auto Insurance Quotes for www.carinsurancequotes.net.

Parent’s Guide To Teaching Your Kids About Money

February 6, 2011 | Education | Guest Post | 1 Comment

There is one really good reason to teach your kids about money; so that you do not have to support them. You have probably heard loads of stories or maybe even know someone who is still financially supporting their adult children. I have heard these same stories. I even know a couple who overextended themselves in order to bail out their child to such an extent that they wound up losing their house. While we all want to be able to help our children out in an emergency situation none of us want to have to support them after they leave the nest. That is why it is important to teach them good money management skills at home. You can start when they are very young and continue the lesson on into their years at college.

Tips For Teaching Kids About Money

Check Yourself First – Before you can start teaching your children about the importance of saving money and spending wisely you have to make sure you are doing it yourself. Kids are smart, they will pick up on the fact that you are not following your own advice. Once they know that your finances are a mess they will simply shut down and ignore all of your advice. Lead by example and have your finances in order at all times.

Share Money Decisions – Once you know that your finances are in order you can help your kids learn about the value of money by sharing financial decisions with them. Do this at an age appropriate level. For small children you can explain how much things cost and have them help you count out the money to the cashier when you make purchases. As they get older you can talk to them about how many hours you have to work to earn the money for the things you want and need.

Have Them Earn An Allowance – Allowances are not just rewards for existing. Kids should be given an allowance that is actually earned by doing household tasks. This teaches them about earning money and about the value of working. Even very small children can do things like clear their own dinner dishes and pick up their toys. The tasks and the money should be proportional to their age. It should also reflect the quality of the work, so if a teen does a shoddy job mowing the grass they should get a pay cut too.

Teach Them About Saving And Spending – Sometimes parents only focus on one of these things, but really they go hand in hand. Your child is going to want to spend their money, and they should be able to do so. Help them understand that they do not need every new gadget and how to make smart and responsible choices about spending. They should also be encouraged to save some money. You might add some incentive by matching a portion of their savings or allowing them extra privileges for leaving money in an account. After a while they will take pride in how much money they have set aside and can even imagine saving for something really valuable.
Teaching your children about money is something you can do every day in all kinds of different situations. It does not have to just be about setting up a budget and sticking to it or boring lessons on economics. Once your child understands that everything costs money and that it does not simply come from a tree in the backyard they will be more responsible with every dollar that they earn.

This article was written by Timothy Ng. You can read more of his work at Credit Card Finder, where he has a number of comprehensive guides to all types of credit cards.

How Much of an Emergency Fund Do You Need?

December 29, 2010 | Financial Tips | Guest Post | 1 Comment

Let’s face it, emergencies seen to happen at the worst possible time. Whether it’s an unplanned medical procedure, a car repair or a lost job, not being prepared can leave you in a very scary financial position. That’s where an emergency fund can come in.

But how much money do you need to save in your emergency fund? And, in what type of savings account should you keep it in? According to most experts, it’s important to keep between three to six months worth of your living expenses in an emergency fund. That way if you or your spouse suddenly loses your job, you’ll have ample time to get back on your feet before you run out of money. That way, even small emergencies, such as new tires or a home repair, will be covered.

Your line of work, and city that you reside in, will help you determine whether you need to be on the higher or lower end of that three to six month recommendation. For example, if you live in a city where there are many jobs in your industry, then three months may be enough. If not, you may want a bigger fund that will allow you more time to find the right position.

Another important rule of thumb in preparing your emergency fund is to take a close look at all your living expenses. Simply add them up and multiply that number by number of months you’d like a cushion for. So, if your living expenses are $4,000 a month, and you want an emergency fund for three months, you’ll need a $12,000 cushion to keep in the bank.

Also, you’ll want to get immediate access to your emergency fund, if necessary. That’s why you should keep the fund in a savings account at your local bank or credit union. Having it tied up in a CD or an IRA makes it harder to access quickly, and can incur taxes upon withdrawal.

When it comes to starting your emergency fund, the sooner you begin the better off you can potentially be. Therefore, if you’re on a limited budget you’ll want to start small by saving at least hundred dollars each month. You can do this simply by having small automatic transfer made from your checking account to your emergency fund – so you won’t even notice it.

It’s also important to keep in mind that you’ll want to balance your debt with saving for an emergency fund. If you have high-interest credit card debt it’s vital that you build your emergency fund at the same time you pay down your debt. A good rule of thumb is to pay down 70% of your high-interest debt while putting 30% to your emergency fund. That way as your debt decreases, the amount you can save will increase. And in time you’ll find yourself debt-free and well-prepared for the next emergency that always seems to be right around the corner!

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, where recently she’s been researching kinesiology degrees and programs and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.