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Owning Freedom

Owning a home is a dream come true. For starters, a person who buys a home is putting money toward something they own rather than paying out a sum that will not end up as equity. There are a few liberties that a homeowner has over a person who lives in an apartment. Getting hold […]

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Born-to-Sell Helps You Make Money with Covered Calls

September 11, 2010 | Stocks | No Comments

If you own stocks, a strategy to make some money off your stocks besides selling at a profit, is using a technique called “covered calls”.  So what’s a covered call?  A covered call is simply you selling the rights to your stocks.  Someone may purchase on option to purchase your stocks at a certain price on a certain date in the future.  The benefit to you is that you get cash up front for your shares.  The benefit to the option buyer is that they don’t have to use a lot of money to purchase your quantity of stocks.  They simply purchase the right to purchase the shares at a later date which is much cheaper than buying the stocks today.

The disadvantage to selling an option for someone to buy your stocks (covered call) is that if your stock appreciates greatly in value, you will end up selling your stock for a lower price.  However, if the option isn’t executed because the value of the stock hasn’t appreciated enough, you get to keep your stocks.

So where do you start?  Consider using “Born to Sell” covered call investment tools subscription service to help you identify and research trades, track your portfolio and maximize the time premium you receive each month.

Born to Sell offers a free tutorial on how to use covered call strategy to generate recurring monthly income.  They also offer a covered call screener, that helps people select trades, and covered call portfolio management, that helps people maximize the amount of time premium they receive each month. Born to Sell offers a no-obligation 2 week free trial  so you have nothing to lose.

The company is a Silicon Valley based software development company that develops easy to use covered call investment tools.  The company sole focus is in the covered calls niche market.  They are not a broker and you do not place trades with them.  

To find out more about covered calls and how their service works, visit BornToSell.com.

Be Skeptical, Scammers Prey on the Unsuspecting and Educated

September 8, 2010 | Financial Tips | Guest Post | No Comments

In these difficult economic times, it is easy to let our guard down and accept for the moment that an unsolicited offer promising easy wealth at little risk may be the answer to our daily prayers.  However, the preponderance of scams in the marketplace suggests that the latest get-rich scheme has only the swindler in mind when it comes to filling his wallet with the content of yours.

None of us ever expects to be the victim of a cleverly designed con.  That kind of thing is reserved for the movie theater that “cons” us out of money for overpriced tickets and popcorn.  Department of Justice studies also point out that those of us with either a little or a lot of education are also the ones that are most often defrauded.  We all must be ever vigilant and alert to fend off these thieves.  Healthy skepticism is a must if we are to protect ourselves from the criminal element in our society and the scams they promote.

The Internet has been the great facilitator of our age, enabling online shopping and commerce to flow, while providing additional opportunities to earn and work from the convenience of our own homes.  Trust is often too easily given where anonymity is the name of the game and business partners never have to reveal their true identities.

While much has been done to police the Internet for commercial and investment fraud, the long arm of the law still has difficulty reaching across borders to stop a crook.  One must remember that a “.com” address does not mean that they are located in the United States and therefore subject to our laws.  Many of the online scams today take advantage of this geographical conundrum.

The latest case in point is the email or ad that entices your response, only to load a “malware” robot on your PC.  You are suddenly informed that your computer is loaded with many ferocious viruses.  Lists of horribly sounding worms are presented.  The robot freezes your PC’s operating system and demands that you pay for their service online to receive the “PIN” that will make everything work again.  The graphics appear convincing, but spelling or grammar errors suggest otherwise.  A visit to your local “Geek” will clear up the problem.  However, the crook is in Russia or Nigeria, free to approach his next “mark”.

Forex scams are another problem area where genuine offshore service providers abound, but where swindlers can roam about freely, touting their outrageous offers.  The cons here revolve around unscrupulous brokers that attract your money and then disappear, or fund managers that promise incredible returns, but who also depart once they have your good funds wired to their offshore account.  Lastly, are the purveyors of the latest forex trading software that will release trading robots that will make oodles of money for you while you sleep.  What could be easier than that?

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, has managed to return $476 million to 26,000 defrauded forex customers over the past decade.  We can only guess at the amounts that were never recovered.  Due diligence in selecting your broker and staying onshore are two lessons to take from this.  

The major lesson, however, is to be extremely skeptical of any unsolicited offer that may come your way via email, the phone, or from a friend.  Crooks know how to use cyberspace and telemarketing techniques to their advantage.  If the offer sounds too good to be true, then, most likely, it is.  Stay alert, be skeptical, and be safe!

My Lending Club Account Performance Update 4

September 1, 2010 | Investing | My Ramblings | 2 Comments

Once again, it’s time for another update of my Lending Club Account Performance.  The last update was on May 13, 2010, about 3.5 months ago.

Since starting to issue loans in August 2009, I’ve earned a total of $2,557.36 in interest; however, with signup bonuses I’ve earned $3,183.02.

Unfortunately, I have 1 note currently late 16-30 days and 7 notes late 31 to 120 days.  One has currently defaulted (meaning in collections) and 2 have been charged off.  To combat future late payments and defaults, I’ve reinvested monies with A investors.  This should lower future risk, however, my rate of return will be lower.

So since the last update I’ve lost $93 (charged off) and with the current defaults and late payments there is a strong potential to lose another $410.

Taking the potential loss into account I’ve earned $3,183.02 – $410 = $2,773.02.  So my one year rate of return is $2,773.02 / $30,000.00 = $9.2%.  Without signup bonuses my rate of return is $2,557.36 – $410 = $2,147.36 / $30,000.00 = 7.1%.

Of course my rate of return maybe higher is the late payments are paid and/or if the default loan money is recovered.

Regardless, I am happy with my returns.  Beats the banks any day and this is pretty much what the banks do anyway.  Banks give loans knowing that some people will default and will be late paying.  However, the goal is to cover the losses with the profits.

Several months ago I started a forum at Social-Lending-Forums.com to discuss social lending primarily for Lending Club and Prosper, the 2 largest social lending networks.  The forum offers a  Free Comparison Report comparing Lending Club and Prosper.  Please don’t hesitate to visit and sign-up if you are interested in social lending.

Finally, Lending Club is giving investors $25 when they sign-up at no risk.  You can use the $25 to try out their service with no future obligation.  There is nothing for you to deposit and you can lend the $25 immediately.  Try it out, you have nothing to lose!

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Quick Tips to Get Out of Credit Card Debt

August 30, 2010 | Credit Cards | Guest Post | No Comments

Plastic money often tempts us to get extravagant and we spend more than we can afford. When our expenses exceed our income then there is chance of financial crisis and we might get into the trap of debt. This article would share few tips in order to get rid of credit card debt.

Ways to get out of credit card debt:
   
1) Negotiate to pay off your debt:
Negotiate with your creditor so that the payment plan is affordable for your pocket so that you can repay your debt. Choose debt negotiation and show a reasonable excuse to the creditor for being a defaulter. While you negotiate make sure that you not only lower the outstanding balance but also the interest rate. You can threaten him of filing bankruptcy if the creditor does not agree on your terms of settlement. The creditor would be aware that if you file bankruptcy then he might not get a penny. So he might agree on your clauses as he would be hopeful of getting back a partial amount of his money.

2) Pay the outstanding balance and not the minimum:
Make a monthly payment of your debt instead of paying the minimum amounts make sure you pay off the owed amount. If you are only paying off the minimum balance then your debt would keep on piling as the outstanding balance is not being paid along with the interest rate. And you might take a long time to get rid of debt if you only pay the minimum amount.

The credit card company has used the minimum payment plan as a trap for the consumers to ensnare into the maze of debt. But the debt settlement company can help you pay off your debt and you would be able to achieve financial freedom.   

3) Relatives can be of some help:
Pay off your credit card debts by taking loans from your relatives or friends. In order to come out from the trap of debt you can take loans from them as the family member won’t charge you interest on the amount. But ensure that you repay the owed amount other wise they might not be willing to help you next time in your financial crisis.    

4) Budgeting is essential:

If you think of paying back the owed amount then you have to prepare a budget so that you do not spend more than you can afford. You need to pay off you debts immediately and then plan a budget. In order to avoid the labyrinth of debt budgeting is a crucial part of it.  But if you constantly dissuade from your budgeting track then you might land up in severe trouble.   
 
5) Financial advisor can be helpful:
You can easily come out from the debt trap with the help of the financial advisor. The credit counseling services are beneficial for you as it would show you a path for a debt free life. The financial advisors would help you to manage your finance and get you out of this financial doldrums.

These are the few tips to fight debt and secure your financial future.   

Ordinary Men Can Do Extra Ordinary Things! Meet Sal Khan

August 27, 2010 | My Ramblings | Videos | No Comments

The Internet has enabled people to create thousands of websites that we can’t live without today.  From Google, YouTube, Yahoo to your local bank’s website, it’s hard to imagine living without the Internet.  However, there are many successful websites ran by one person that are making a big difference in many people daily lives.  One such site is Khanacademy.org operated solely by Sal Khan.

Khanacademy.org has over 1,600 free 10 to 15 minutes long mini-lectures/tutorials (primarily math, science and finance) all narrated by Khan. His videos are viewed about 70,000 times per day on YouTube and  his website, which is nearly double the student body of Stanford and Harvard combined.  (See video below.)

Khan is a 33 year old Harvard MBA who was a former hedge fund manager.  

Khan started out 4 years ago by helping his cousin in math by recording tutorials and storing them on YouTube.  His videos became popular and started receiving testimonials from students who found his videos helpful. He then decided to quit his job and converted a walk-in closet in his home with a few hundred dollars of video equipment to start filming his tutorials.   Khan receives zero pay, however, he does make some money from advertising via his YouTube videos.

Recently Bill Gates became an admirer of Khan and stated that “This guy is amazing…It is awesome how much he has done with very little in the way of resources.”  Gates stated that his 11 year old son, Rory, began soaking up Kahn’s videos from biology to algebra.

For more information visit khanacademy.org and youtube.com/user/khanacademy

Save Money by Joining Savings Club at Billy.com

August 20, 2010 | Save Money | No Comments

If you are looking to save money you may want to checkout Billy.com.  Billy.com offers members exclusive deals and sales when they become available.  To get the deals and sales, you simply register at the site to join their savings club.

Billy.com also offers a wealth of advice on how to save money on bills we all have to pay, which includes:

  • How to Save on Heating Bills
  • How to Save on Cooling Bills
  • How to Save on Phone Bills
  • How to Save on Car Insurance
  • How to Find Affordable Life Insurance
  • Five Easy Ways to Save on Grocery Bills
  • Nine Ways to Save on Cell Phone Bill
  • Ten Ways to Save on Clothes (and Still Look Great)
  • Eleven Ways to Save Money on Entertainment
  • How to Increase Your Fuel Efficiency Without Buying a New Car


The site also offers financial calculators which includes Mortgage and Loan, PayScale Salary and Cash back or low interest.

There is also a blog that is updated frequently with advice on how to save money.

For more information visit Billy.com.

Always Look for a Discount Before Paying Full Price

August 18, 2010 | My Ramblings | Quick Tips | No Comments

I just got back from a 2 day conference (Affiliate Summit East 2010) in New York City.  It’s a trip I planned over 2 months ago, where I booked my flight and hotel.  However, I didn’t register for conference which initially would have cost me $99 for the cheapest pass.  

To my surprise when I went to purchase the pass the price jumped to $249.  I didn’t realize the price would change and wasn’t too happy about it.  On top of that, the website claimed that there was only 2 more days to purchase the pass.  I also quickly found out via a few blog visits that every year the conference gets sold out so to buy your pass early.

I wasn’t happy about paying the $249, because last year I attended free by winning a pass.  So I began to search the internet to see if I could find a free or discounted pass.  I was able to find a coupon code that took 10% off, so that would drop the price to $224.  I still wasn’t happy and started to search forums and tweets (at Twitter.com) for anyone willing to sell their pass or had an extra pass they wouldn’t mind giving to me for free (yea right)!

I was able for find a couple of people on Twitter who was giving away extra passes they had, but I was too late.  I also found a few people on Digital Point forum who wanted to sell me a pass.  But I didn’t have to pay for a pass because I ended up getting one for free!

How did I get it for free you ask?  One tactic I decided to try was to call the company and simply ask very nicely to buy the pass for $99.  I’d tell them I’m in a financial crunch and didn’t realize the price of the ticket would more than double.  It didn’t work, however, during the conversation, the lady told me to enter their sweepstakes to win a pass.  She mentioned for the next several days, they’d give away 1 free pass everyday.  The same sweepstakes she mentioned I had entered several months before and of course I didn’t win.  So I decided to enter the sweepstakes again.  After a trip to the gym to release my frustration, I was greeted by an email that I a won a pass.  This was a more expensive pass valued at $549.  That made my day!

So the lesson to this story is to always try for a discount before paying full price.  I’ve been surprised on several occasions to get a discount on purchases just by asking.  Additionally, many times I’ve searched the Internet for coupons / discount codes to save on purchases.