Thousands of People Were Mis sold Pensions – Are You One Of Them?

There have been a number of mis selling scandals hitting the financial services area lately, and it seems like every week there is new area affected. One area where the problem has been rumbling on for years now is pensions, and there are no signs that the scale of it is getting any better. The number of people claiming compensation for a mis sold pension increases all the time, so if you think you might be one of them read on.

Have I Been Mis Sold?

Obviously, your first concern is to find out whether you have been mis sold a pension and whether you are entitled to any compensation. The section below gives some examples where it has occurred, though it is by no means exhaustive – if you have any reservations about any advice you have been given, then contact a pension’s expert who will be able to advise you.

Mortgage pensions 

These were very popular in the late 1980’s and early to mid 1990’s, when interest rates were high. People were advised that could take out an interest only mortgage and start a pension as a means of paying off the mortgage at the end of the term. In many cases, these failed to grow as predicted or promised, leaving homeowners with a shortfall that they had to find themselves.

Switching providers

In 2006, rules on switching pensions were relaxed and many advisors had their clients change providers, either on the promise of better returns or to make the administration easier. While this did benefit many people, a number lost out. They weren’t told of charges, or the risks associated with the new funds, or the fact that it wasn’t an equivalent scheme and all sorts of other things that led to the actual returns being lower than what was promised.

Final salary schemes

These pension schemes came with a number of guarantees, not least of which were minimum levels of growth and guaranteed levels of income once you retired. Many people were advised to transfer them into other schemes, such as personal pensions, which appeared to be able to give better returns. However, if the pension didn’t perform as planned or as you were advised then there is a chance that you may have lost out financially and therefore that it was mis sold.

Switching Funds

People approaching retirement, i.e. those in their 50’s and 60’s, are often advised to move their pension ‘pot’ into other schemes and funds that would supposedly protect the funds already built up. As with the other examples, a number of people may have lost out because the advisor didn’t take into account their views regarding risk, or tell them about charges, or explain properly the options available.

Next Steps

If you think any of the examples above apply to you, then you need to get your claim checked out properly. Due to the complexity of the rules around how pension schemes work, most people should go to a specialist pension claims company who will investigate on their behalf and, if they have been mis-sold to, raise a claim for compensation.
Read more

5 Tricks to Avoid Overspending at Christmas

Christmas is a time when overspending can get the better of even the most frugal budgeter, which is why you need to use these tricks to keep your finances on track. Christmas is all about being swept up by the spirit of the love, community, family and giving of the season, so it is no surprise that many of us get swept up to such an extent that we forget about our finances.

Instead, make sure you take the time while you’re waiting in the inevitable Christmas time lines at the cash register, to really think about the purchase you’re about to make. If you’re not sure about a purchase , you don’t know if you really need it or you think you might be trying to convince yourself you do need it, then get out of the line and take a walk to make sure you’re making a conscious purchasing decision, for something that is clearly on your list.

Other ways you can avoid overspending at Christmas time are :

1 – Spend 1.5% of your household income

Just because Christmas only comes around once a year it doesn’t mean you have to blow all of your spare cash on the celebrations. Instead, set your spending based on what you can afford, by allocating 1.5% of your household income to go towards your Christmas shopping. Allocating a percentage of your income to your Christmas spending allows you to be realistic about what you can afford, rather than pulling a random number out of the air, or not pulling out a number at all.

2 – Keep budgeting

Now you have your overall spending budget, allocate a budget for each person you are buying for this Christmas. This stops you from spending all of your budget on the first few people at the top of your list, and then feeling guilty about the people on the bottom of the list and continuing to spend. It also means you’ll be able to fairly even in your spending for each person.

Also make sure you keep your Christmas shopping list with you at all times so that you will always know where you are with your budget. This allows you to make a quick purchase when you see something on special which you can check off of your list, and you can also make sure you don’t double up on gifts for the same person, because you’ll know who you’ve already bought for and how much you’ve spent on them – and more importantly how much you have left to spend on them.

3 – Spend your own money

Running out of money is a powerful motivator to avoid spending more than you can afford. Therefore, use a debit card which draws from your own savings account, or a prepaid Visa card which you can load up with your own money before you go shopping. In this way you know there is no more money to spend once your Christmas budget is gone.

4 – Shop early

When you are rushing around the store at the last minute looking to check gifts off of your list for everyone, then you’re more likely to buy things just because they are there, not because they are on your list or would really suit the person you are buying for. You’re also more likely to overspend because you don’t take the time to shop around, instead buying the first item you see just so you can escape the mad rush of people. Giving yourself plenty of time to organise your Christmas gifts also means you have the time to think of more meaningful gifts, and the time to make gifts if you choose.

5 – Give unique gifts

A gift you make can often cost much less that one you buy, and mean so much more. You could bake gift baskets for your friends and family or make up a box or basket of the person’s favourite things such as their favourite foods, drinks, cosmetics and stationery. You can also play to your strengths, so if baking isn’t one of your strong points you could write a song or a poem, create a piece of artwork, take a series of photographs of the family or the person’s favourite place and frame them.

You could even forgo traditional gifts all together and make a donation to charity in each person’s name. Many charities will even send you out cards with a picture of the chicken, goat or well your donation helped buy. When you take the time to really think about Christmas and your gift giving you will find there are a myriad of ways you can save money and curb your spending without missing out on any of the fun and excitement of the holiday.
Read more

Trading Tips You Should Know

First of all let me say this right from the start so you can decide whether to continue reading this post or leave so you won't waste your time. Trading and understanding the world of stocks and Forex takes time and you will not get rich over night with a few good trades unless you're trading with a huge amount of money, but we're not here for the luck, we're here to make money. If you want to work with hunches and gut feelings search for the nearest casino because trading is one of the hardest professions today but also the most rewarding one.

Just like any new subject or business you should learn it first and with time, trial and error and experience you'll master it and will able to make money, but instead of mastering a regular job or occupying an office for 9 hours each and every day, wouldn't you prefer mastering the world of trading stocks and Forex and make a good living no matter where you are trading from your computer?

This will take time like I said but if you're dedicated, have self-discipline and works according to known and proven stocks and Forex trading strategies and tips, in time you'll become a pro yourself and the money will flow. Yes, you'll have bad days and days when your trades will not go well but in time you'll profit more than you lose and that's where we're aiming. So, here are a few tips I can give you fast just to get you started:

Study the market

Don't jump into trading immediately because you'll lose money. First, try to understand how the market works, what are the forces that drive it up or down, try to predict without trading first if today will be a good and green day or a red day with lows, always study and learn to master.

Trade with a fair amount of money

Here's what I mean by this – never ever trade with all your money. Making money from trading will not be your primary income at first so you should trade with an amount of money you can tolerate to lose if you're wrong with your trades. Think of it as spare money for starters and only when you're more secured and master the market you can trade with a larger amount but never risk it all since trading takes time.

Work with your mind not with your gut

Trading is not gambling and people from all over the world make a living from trading smart and so, if you want to trade right do your homework prior to trading day, know what stocks or currencies you want to buy, know the entering and exit points at all times and work with your mind and never with your gut feelings, this is not a roulette and only if you are prepared and everything is written down ahead of the trading day you will earn more and limit your loses if you were wrong.

These are just a few basic but very important tips I've just shared with you. Remember that every professional trader was a beginner at first but to this day he follows these rules and tips and more to stay ahead in this world and profit from anywhere in the world, anytime. Now it's up to you to decide whether you're entering this world as well to make money or stay outside just because you're afraid. Not matter your decision, I just want to wish you all the best!
Read more

Non Owner Car Insurance: The Ultimate In Penny-Pinching Insurance Coverage

Car insurance can be expensive, so it comes as no surprise that people are constantly looking for ways to save on it. What is most important when looking for the cheapest car insurance option, though, is to ensure that you do not sacrifice coverage for cost. Your insurance policy must be right for you, and so you must have the right coverage, that will actually cover the circumstances you might find yourself in. This requires understanding what those cheap insurance options really are, and then determining if they are a true value for you.

One of the absolute cheapest forms of car insurance is non owner car insurance. For the right people, non owner auto insurance is a great buy; but it is not right for the majority of drivers. So let's take a look at who it is right for, and who can really benefit from this very economical car insurance option.

What Is Non Owner Car Insurance?

Simply put, non-owner car insurance is exactly what it sounds like it is. It is insurance for a person who is not the owner of the vehicle being driven. It is auto insurance that is carried at a low premium by an individual so that that person is covered if they are in an accident and cause injury or property damage in someone else's car. Note that this is not coverage paid for by a car's owner, it is paid for by the person carrying the policy. If an accident occurs, the policy kicks in on top of the policy that the vehicle owner has to provide personal protection to the non-owner driver.

Why Would You Want Non-Owner Car Insurance?

You might choose to purchase such a policy for just that reason- to ensure that you cannot be held personally liable in the event of an accident in a vehicle you do not own. If you own no vehicle, have no policy, but occasionally drive someone else's car, this is a good, cheap way to be covered. However, it will not cover you if you own a vehicle and have another policy – at that point it is just duplicate coverage - and it will not cover you in a work-related or company vehicle.

Non owner auto insurance is cheap because it is very limited. However, any driver should always carry insurance coverage, and so if you are an occasional driver with no other policy using vehicles you do not own, this affordable insurance option is definitely something worth its minimal investment.
Read more

A guide to building insurance for rented property

When renting out a residential or commercial property, it is important to make sure that the real estate investment is properly protected. Renting out property can be a good way to earn income for a property owner, and a good way for someone who does not want to be exposed to the real estate market to occupy a piece of property. Whether a person is the tenant or the landlord, however, it is important to have the right insurance coverage.

Renter’s insurance for a tenant is relatively cheap and easy to get. Most major insurance companies offer renter’s or tenant insurance policies. These policies cover all of the contents in a home or business, but not the structure of the building being rented. In the event of a natural disaster or an accident, the policy will pay for any belongings, such as furniture, appliances, merchandise or household goods that have been damaged or destroyed.

Renter’s insurance for a residential tenant usually costs only a couple of dollars a month, and is the only way goods can be protected in the case of a fire or even a flood. Commercial tenants usually have rates based on the dollar amount of the merchandise or equipment they have housed at the location being insured.

A landlord can also have a renter’s policy for his or her property. While most homeowners or commercial property owners will carry insurance protecting both their possessions and the structure of their building in the event of a natural disaster or accident, a different type of policy is needed when a property is being rented out. These policies will usually cost less than a full-blown homeowner’s or business owner’s insurance policy.

The main reason for this is that these policies only cover the building’s structure and any items attached directly to it. For this reason, these policies are often referred to as building insurance. A building insurance policy will repair or replace a building’s basic structural components (such as walls and a roof), decorative components (like crown moulding and paint), major appliances (like refrigerators and ovens) and internal components (such as carpeting and doors). These policies can also cover additional buildings on the property such as detached garages and sheds. For commercial property owners, the policy can cover drainage systems and parking structures.

Building insurance does not cover any items inside the building, including anything that is the property of the tenant. For this reason, it is normally suggested that tenants get their own renter’s insurance policy. Property owners who take out these policies should also be aware of how important it is to report the property’s status to an insurance company accurately. While insurance for vacant properties can be more expensive, if damage occurs to the property while there is no tenant and the vacancy was not reported to the insurance company, the damage will not be covered.
Read more

Eight Ways To Protect Your Home Before a Flood

Most lessons are learned after the fact. When it comes to water damage, modern techniques are available to protect your home. Don’t walk into your home up to your knees in water. Your home is your most valuable asset. Follow these steps to protect it.

1. Check the risk

Assess your home’s risk by checking with your city manager who will tell you the projected flood waters for your neighborhood. You should also consider the historic chances of floodwaters in your area due to natural disasters. If the odds are low for an external flood affecting your home you must still prepare for an in house leak.

2. Identify the leaks

Test your water meter for water leakage. Check the reading on the meter after shutting down all water usage in the house. If the meter continues to show usage then you have a leak. Check your floorboards, windows and roofs for water damage. Look for standing water outside, which is another sign of water leakage. Make sure to check home appliances that use water. These are also a prime source of leaks.

3. Hire a professional

You know that you have leaks and your home is at risk but you aren’t sure what to do next. Contact a water damage consultant. The consultant will evaluate the damage and determine if a quick fix or retrofit is required. More serious retrofits include replacing pipes or even raising up your home’s structure.

4. Waterproof your home

Repair leaks in your roof and clear your gutters. Place all of your important documents into waterproof containers and safes. Consider your home from top to bottom. Computers are safer in upstairs rooms. Raise air conditioners and heaters off the floor. If you have a basement you can assume that it will take on some water in a flood. Move items that are not safe into the basement.

5. Invest in tech

Use modern leak alert systems that will send out an audible alarm and also shut off the valve when there is a leak.

6. Prepare for an emergency

Be sure to plan ahead. Keep a stocked disaster kit handy in your home. Take all occupants of the home through a drill on what to do in an emergency including escape plans for upstairs rooms. If you have some time to anticipate floodwaters you should consider taking outside furniture in and pulling items up from the basement.

7. Buy flood insurance 

Most homeowners don’t include flood coverage in their home insurance policies. Your home is one of your most important possessions. If you are at all at risk consider buying flood insurance. You can always compare insurance quotes for a good deal. Also, consider hiring an adjuster who will help you to optimize your coverage.

8. Keep records 

Keep a record of everything. If you are filing a claim after damages these documents will save you a lot of cash. Just make sure to protect these documents in waterproofed boxes.

Disaster preparedness is always costly. The expense is certainly worth it when you are protecting your home.
Read more

Cash Back Shopping is Getting Paid to Shop

Cash back shopping sites on the internet have become an integral part of the shopping experience and shopping expectations for many people. With numerous sites which offer cash back shopping, it is considered best to belong to several different sites in order to get the best deals from the most retailers. In this manner a customer can check to see which site is offering the best deal on a specific product or the best deal for a specific store before they purchase, then purchase the product through whichever site has the offering decided upon.

Some cash back sites offer a sign up bonus and offers a percentage of the cash back earned by anyone who has joined their site through a referral link posted by the customer. Some sites offer multi tiered percentages earned through referrals while some sites only offer a sign up bonus or a single tiered percentage program to their members. Each of these have the advantage of the customer earning money back when they shop as if they were actually getting paid to shop. is one of the most recognizable site names for cash back shopping. It was featured on the Early Show by AOL Consumer Advisor Regina Lewis in December of 2010. With 1200+ businesses working with them on offering cash back shopping, coupons, promotional codes, etc., they are widely considered the number one cash back shopping site. After all, they offer both products and services in their program ranging from clothing to travel to entertainment and much more. Signing up for new membership pays a cash back of $5 and also pays a cash back of $5 for each referral sign up. Currently they are running a promotion for referrals which can earn a person gift certificates for $100 and up. is another great site for cash back shopping. Having all ready dispersed over $3,000,000.00 in funds to their 1,600,000+ members, they come highly recommended. Offering coupons, promotional codes, and special daily deals along with their cash back program, shoppers need to check this site out before purchasing in order to get the best deal and the most for their money.

While there are many sites that offer cash back to their members, and are two highly recommended sites. When shopping, earning cash back is like getting paid to shop. There is a site called which can tell you which site is offering the best deal or the most cash back for products before purchasing. Getting the most for your dollars is easy when you use cash back shopping รข€“ not only do you get the most for your money, you earn money while you do it!
Read more

Perfect financial planning for family

There are many financial cover letter examples available on the web, with all of them having a different approach but with similar context. Some examples of cover letters for financial sector jobs include financial planning cover letter, financial advisor cover letter, cover letter for financial analyst, and many more.

In this section, we have given the key skills and knowledge which one must possess, so that they can be shared in the cover letter to grab the employer’s attention, and win the job opportunity. Here, we have particularly tried to help you write the financial cover letter, which can be utilized by Analysts or Consultants who provide services for helping families to resolve their financial planning needs. There can be a need for financial planning for families for various risks arising out of causes such as divorce, death of the earning member, natural calamities, future financial security, and investment options or for general insurances such as vehicle, fire, medical, retirement/pension and or kids.

There are many reputed financial services providers in the market, and all claim to provide the best of services and investment options. In such situations, it often becomes difficult to funnel them to the best provider. Here, we have listed some basic queries for which a probable customer seeks answer in deciding the ideal financial plan for the family. To be an effective financial planner or consultant, you ought to have all the information, for successfully addressing the customer queries. This can be done, if you are aware of customer needs and wants, and the changing behavioral patterns in consumer buying process.

Given below are basic queries for which today’s customers seeks answers from the consultants, which you must know to meet the needs. It includes:

1.Comprehensive knowledge of different financial plans for family, and the benefit they provide.

2.Comparative knowledge of all financial plans available in the market, risks covered and minimum requirements to avail the plan benefits.

3.Demographic distribution of the place, in terms of income. This will help you in understanding the purchasing power of customers, and their financial status.

4.If you provide investment options, you must have thorough knowledge of market behavior and trends, best investment options, and risk associated with them.

5.One must possess all the required mandatory certifications, to win the trust of customers in terms of reliability and security.

6.Be aware of market trends and latest developments such as new plans or providers, to retain competitive advantage.

7.Redressal mechanism of the service provider for grievance handling

If you are able to address these queries of the customers, you can be an effective family financial planner, and mention them in the financial cover letter with confidence to win the job opportunity.

Some popular plans which you must know and the customer looks for are:

a)Retirement/pension plan

b)Education plans for kids

c)Monthly return plans

d)Market investment plans

e)Life insurance

f)Medical insurance policies

g)Insurance claims and processing

h)Home or other loans providers

These concerns are common to most of the families, and vary in magnitude in terms of budget allocation, from family to family. As a successful family financial planner, you must be able to provide a suitable option, and only then mention them in your financial cover letter.

Being writer from last 2 years I enjoy writing on cover letter for resume, career guide, and resume writing tips. Also, you can find Sample Letters on my blog
Read more

6 Sensational Career Possibilities in International Business

Not everybody within international business will take on these positions, but they can be amazing for those that do. There is great opportunity awaiting but it just takes the right type of background to make it in these roles.

1.Business Strategy Consultant : This takes a lot of knowledge and experience to be successful, but it can really be lucrative. This can be a great position as you can work for yourself or work for a company. This takes a good understanding of the global marketplace and some proven experience within making deals, negotiating, and operating within cultures all around the world.

2.Global Product Director : If you work within a product based company, this is likely the type of position that you will want to strive for. This can be a great way to really spread your wings internationally and to make a name for yourself. You must have a thorough understanding not only of your product line, but also of your company in a global manner. This can really take you to a great place in your career.

3.Global Marketing Manager : If you specialize in marketing, then this is the type of position you work to get to. This is often where executives get moved to if they are interested and well versed in international business. This means that you are creating the strategies for all business practices in all parts of the world. A great opportunity and a very involved type of position!

4.Financial Advisor : If you are well versed within finance or have specialized in it throughout your career, this can be a great opportunity. This means that you will likely be involved in mergers, acquisitions, and providing good sound economic and financial advice. You must be in tune to the global economy as it changes rapidly and know how to respond to conditions effectively.

5.Foreign Market Analyst : You are not only in tune to international business, but you are also very established within finance. You can take a look at current market conditions and make predictions. You can take your work to the next level by showing through experience what will likely happen and how businesses should make their next moves globally.

6.Managing Consultant : This takes on many different titles and shows itself in many different types of opportunities. At the core, this means that you are in tune with international business and you have exhibited enough experience that you work as a consultant for companies globally.

If you want to work within international business, then these are the types of positions that you likely strive for. They can be great opportunities but you must exhibit great experience and background to be successful.

Mary Frederick likes to write about scholarship and financial aid information available for students pursuing their masters international business degree.
Read more

Should I Still Invest In My 401K

401K plans are employer based retirement savings plan that you can contribute to while you are employed. The contributions that you make are often times matched by your employer and then that money is invested in the stock market.

Should I Invest

Yes! Investing in your 401K is a great way to save for retirement and have your employer help pay the bill. Consider that the average stock market returns are going to be 10 percent a year and you will double your investment every 10 years.

What About The Risk Of Losing My Money

Yes, you might lose your money in the stock market, but that is only if you are thinking short term. Remember that the market feasts on those who invest based on emotions, so keeping your everyday reactions out of it and thinking for the future will ensure that you keep your money secure.

Another rule of thumb is to be more aggressive in your investing when you are younger and to be less risky when you are older. The reason is that you have more time to make up your losses if you are younger.

Social Security Isn't Going To Cut It

Unless you have a great level of savings, you aren't going to rely on the government to take care of you. Social Security will pay maybe a few hundred dollars a month, and that isn't going to be enough to sustain your lifestyle. This is assuming that social security may even be around when younger workers start to retire.

This means that you are going to need to invest if you want to have a comfortable retirement. It might seem scary, but you can always hire a professional for guidance as to what you do with your money.

A 401K Makes It Harder To Take Out Your Money

Your 401K account is a great retirement asset because there are so many penalties for early withdrawal. This makes your account less susceptible to you raiding it on a whim. Think about the consequences of taking money out before you are 59 1/2.

-You have to pay a 10 percent penalty on your withdrawal
-You have to pay tax on that amount as well.

This means a 10,000 dollar withdrawal from your account could cost you 2,000 dollars even if you are in the lowest tax bracket. The 401K essentially says that you put your money in there until retirement.

So should you invest into a 401K? Of course you should, there is no reason not to, and very few alternatives to doing so. Your employer will pitch in, meaning that is free money for retirement. The money will continue to grow over time in the market and it will be a great way to supplement your social security income upon retirement.

Cassie Wilson is a writer at
Read more

5 Tips for Mattress Buying on a Budget

Even savvy shoppers sometimes struggle when it comes to buying household items such as budget beds and mattresses. They’re not the sort of purchase that you make every year, and buying guides aren’t as common as they are for major purchases such as cars and electronics. That said, there’s no reason to dread your visit to the mattress discounters – these simple tips will help you to find the perfect bed for your needs, and your wallet.

1.Firmness matters : When buying budget beds, look for a bed that won’t give, but a mattress that will. You want the frame of the bed to be nice and sturdy, and you want a mattress that will support your body, but also mould to it slightly. A mattress that’s too firm is almost as bad as one that’s too soft.

2.Coils, springs or pockets : The type of mattress you choose will come down to a compromise between budget and personal preference. Independent coil mattresses are expensive, but a good choice if you can afford them.

3.Negotiate : Even at a mattress discounters, it is possible to haggle. You probably won’t get a discount on the cost of the bed itself, but you may be able to get free delivery, or some linen of your choice thrown in with the purchase. It never hurts to ask.

4.Know your budget : It’s a good idea to have a firm idea of what you want to spend before you go to the store. Don’t be shy about looking at budget beds that are slightly out of your price range, though. If you know your budget, and you don’t allow yourself to become emotionally invested in buying that slightly more expensive bed, then you will leave yourself in a good position to negotiate with the mattress discounters. If the salesman believes that you are willing to walk away, you will hold more power in the negotiations.

5.Check the warranty : A bed is a big purchase, and you will want to know that it really will last you for ten years. Make sure you know what warranty you’re getting, and that you understand all the terms. For example, some mattresses require that you turn them every six months, otherwise you’ll void the warranty.

Brand matters, even when it comes to budget beds. If you have the choice between a well-known brand such as “Silent Night”, or a completely unknown foreign brand, make sure you know exactly what the differences are. Don’t just believe the salesman at the mattress discounters when he tells you “Oh, this one is just as good”. If the salesman can’t give you concrete information as to how the two brands differ, then don’t buy. There are some cases where the only difference is the sticker – but in many cases there are differences in the materials used, or the quality control. Do you really want to take that chance when it’s your body that will be sleeping on the mattress for many years to come?

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of the Original Factory Shop. James writes on subjects relating to the home and loves passing on tips for frugal living.
Read more

Utilizing small business software to streamline a company and save money

For the small business owner, finding ways to save money is always at the top of the priority list. The economy in the world today is not really in the greatest condition, but small businesses can still flourish and save money in the process. The more money that comes back into the pockets of the small business owners, the more money they can afford to put back into their business and help it grow. Saving money as a small business owner can be difficult, but once you're able to do it month after month, you'll see the savings add up. 

This is where small business software comes in. You can save a lot of money as the months fly by with the help of small business software. The reason that this software helps to save you money is that it takes control of the tasks that you would do manually and does them automatically. For example, one section of a small business software program may deal with payrolls and taxes. Another feature on the software may handle your purchases and sales with venders. Still another aspect of the small business software may directly deal with customer service and community relations. 

The small business software saves you time by doing these tasks automatically. Saving your valuable time increases your earning capacity as a small business owner, because spending less time on these tedious tasks gives you more time to commit to the things that really make a business flourish. Who wouldn't like to have more time to figure out how to make their business earn more money while a software program handles a bunch of small jobs?

Small business software programs also physically save you money. Instead of using paper to keep track of a payroll, the software will do that automatically. You'll no longer need paper checks for payment or paper tax records, which can easily get lost or ruined. All pay records and tax information is kept neatly on the software. You'll save tons of money on paper, ink, staples and other supplies. Instead of paper invoices for dealings with vendors and clients, they'll be sent electronic invoices from the small business software. You'll save even more time and money that you would have wasted on paper with electronic invoices. 

Speaking of vendors, a small business software program can help you stay in contact with them and keep information about them stored in one convenient location. For example, if you were wondering about a purchase you made from a vendor or a purchase they made from you, all you have to do is look for their information in the software program. It will show you all relevant information about that vendor, including sales, bills, purchases and more. 

Small business software programs are invaluable tools in modern business. They are helpful resources that really save the users valuable time and assets to better spend elsewhere. You'll have more time and money to spend on what can really make your business grow and succeed.

Kieron Casey is a BA (Hons) Journalism graduate who blogs regularly on a number of topics including money saving tips and small business software.
Read more

Living Cheaply to Afford College

With the cost of college education skyrocketing every semester, many college students are struggling to afford a degree. We all know the importance of a degree for education and job placement, but with such high tuition costs, students and graduates are forced to live off of roman noodles and PB&J sandwiches to afford textbooks and supplies. Most universities charge additional outrageous fees on top of tuition, even for mandatory classes. As a recent college graduate with student loans, here are three tips for saving a lot of money in college and after graduation that I live by and have saved me thousands of dollars :

1. Never buy a new textbook for yourself only - 

The cost for textbooks these days are astronomically inflated. When possible, rent your books. There are several companies that allow you to rent textbooks, and this can be a huge savings when compared to the cost of buying a book you won’t use after the class. If you can’t rent, try to buy a used edition of the textbook. You can usually save around 50% of the cost compared to a new book, and who cares if someone wrote something in the margins or highlighted a few pages. 

Undeniably, there will be situations where you are forced to purchase a new textbook. If a professor writes a book that is specific to the class you are taking, it’s doubtful you can rent it and the previous semester’s version is out of date. In this case, find a friend to share the book with. By splitting the cost and sharing the buyback (if you’re lucky to get anything for it at the end of the semester), you can save money and shouldn’t be too inconvenienced. The more people you share the book with, the cheaper the cost to you. Keep in mind that this will also mean more people needing the book during exam times when you will be relying on it the most!

2. Living with a roommate - 

Whether in college or not, one can usually find a bigger, CHEAPER place to live when living with more than one person. Additionally, utilities are cheaper per person and goes down as more people live in an apartment or house. Now is the time to live with another person, especially if you don’t have a wife, family, or others commitments which would make living with a roommate difficult. If you can’t find a roommate to live with, check the internet for people looking for a roommate. There are several websites that are similar to Craigslist where people leave postings soliciting a roommate or subleasing a room (where you can usually find a discount compared to the actual price). Just make sure to do your research and actually meet with the other roommates before you move in!

3. Purchase non-perishables in bulk - 

Especially if you are living with roommates, purchase non-perishables in bulk. For example, if you are to buy a single bottle of water, it costs about a dollar. However, you can purchase a 24 pack of water for as little as four dollars! Buying in bulk is a great idea for any beverage. If you are living with a few roommates, or even on your own, it might even be worth buying a membership to Sams Club or Costco in order to save money with bulk purchases.

These tips are just a start to saving up money to get through college and start paying back student loans. There are several other tips that help save a few dollars here and there, such as purchasing generic over brand names and couponing. And these little savings add up to a big saving over time. These three tips I shared can help save hundreds of dollars per month! They are simple and center on one’s willingness to share and be a good roommate. With these three tips in mind, you are well on your way to paying off those students loans and other college debts in no time.
Read more

5 Ways to Cut Down Your Fuel Cost

Fuel is one of the most basic necessities in life for just everybody. Sadly, because the traditional sources of fuel are depleting at a very rapid rate, not to mention the fact that fuel cost can add up to a significantly high figure by the end of the month, finding ways to cut down on fuel cost can be a real life saver. Couple the high cost of fuel and the harsh economic times that have characterized the recent past and you have the perfect remedy to a very stressful and financially straining time. The good news is that there are ways you can beat the escalating cost of fuel. These include:-

Planning your errands effectively – did you know that running day-to-day errands in a haphazard manner can cost you a lot of money as well as fuel cost? Are you going to the shopping mall? Why not pick the kids from school on your way to, or from the shopping mall? Accomplishing all your errands in a single trip can always save you a lot when it comes to fuel cost. A good rule of thumb is to start from the farthest location to the nearest.

Give your car good and regular maintenance – giving your car a good maintenance is one thing, but doing it on a regular basis is another different thing altogether. If you really want to benefit from the best mileage of fuel, ensure your car is properly maintained and on a regular basis. Maintenance can be as simple as tire rotations and regular oil changes, ensuring the tires are well inflated at all times, that the air filter is clean and at its best.

Have you ever thought of carpooling to work? – Carpooling is another great way you can cut down your fuel cost. This is where you and your colleagues living in the same area and working in the same office or in nearby offices decide to use only one car when going to work. By alternating the days, you will discover that you are saving up to 50% of fuel cost on this alone.

Avoid car idle times – one of the best and proven ways to cut down your fuel cost is to avoid allowing your car to idle. When it comes to warming up the car in the morning, 45-60 seconds is enough for that, not letting it sit idle for 15 minutes in the name of warming the car up as you finish breakfast or while watching the news. Car idle times consume up to 30% of fuel.

Only 'punch it' when it is necessary – just how often do you accelerate your car, hitting the gasoline pedal hard? Sometimes this is necessary, like when avoiding a head-on collision or an accident. Punching the pedal anytime you feel like can be compared to flushing your money down the toilet. Learn to accelerate slowly since it consumes more fuel to ensure the car is up-to-speed than it always does when it has to maintain the speed it has already achieved.

Following the above mentioned recommendations will reduce your visits to the fuel pump, increase fuel mileage, and more importantly, save you huge cash on fuel cost. 
Read more

Reporting Your Income When Filing Bankruptcy

Guest post by : Bob Jones

When learning about filing bankruptcy, it's important to have a grasp on how to report your income. It doesn't matter whether you're filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, income is income. When filling out a bankruptcy petition there are three types of income that are required to be listed. These types of income that are required are actual income, projected income and last of all the current monthly income. This is actually one of the changes that the bankruptcy code received in 2005. Prior to the code changes in 2005, the debtor that was filing for bankruptcy was only required to prove their actual income and projected income. At that time, that is what the bankruptcy court used to figure out if an individual is capable of paying back a portion or all of their debts.

When Congress was working out the changes to the bankruptcy code prior to 2005 they felt that actual income and projected income didn't give a true picture of the debtor that was filing bankruptcy. This is how the means test was conceived and added to the BAPCPA of 2005. Calculating the means test is how the debtor will come up with their CMI or current monthly income.

It doesn't matter if the debtor is filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy; they will be required to prove their actual income for the two years prior to the bankruptcy filing. Actual income includes all income, meaning any income from your work, investments, gifts and rental property. Technically, this is any money a person received no matter how they got it.

Also required for the debtor to show is their projected income. The projected income is the amount that the debtor can believe they will get in the near future. If the debtor is unemployed under our current job market in the US, it would be safe to say that number would be zero, unless of course they were receiving unemployment which would extend into the future.

Lastly, the debtor is required to figure out their current monthly income. This is figured using the means test, which uses the last six months income, multiplied by two. The debtor will then check the state's median income chart and see if they are under that amount to qualify to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This for many can get confusing and should be done with the help of a bankruptcy attorney. It's not written in stone if you don't qualify under the median income chart. There are other parts of the equation that a bankruptcy attorney will be able to figure out. Also included in the formula is comparing income over expenses which in some cases will qualify a debtor that has a higher income.

Bob Jones writes about bankruptcy and debt issues including file personal bankruptcy. For all you need to know about bankruptcy or getting a free bankruptcy evaluation visit
Read more

Financing Your Kitchen Remodeling Project - The Easy, Cheap Way

* Introduction : In an economy where it's difficult to sell any house for full value, consider remodeling your kitchen to give your old home a breathe of fresh air. Doing this the cheap and easy way does take some preliminary planning and preparation but is well worth the savings to your wallet when you get ready to roll with the project.

First, decide what you would like to replace in the kitchen. Do you need a new floor, cabinets, appliances and perhaps, a way to make the kitchen larger? Adding space to your kitchen is your first crucial area to plan out. You'll need the advice of a contractor who knows how to remove a wall, preferably not a load-bearing wall, and give you a bid for the job.

* Getting Help Designing Your Kitchen and Saving Money : Take measurements of your kitchen, where your cabinets are and their sizes, appliances and sizes, floor span and ceiling height, and lay the measurements out on a drawn diagram. If this is your first remodeling job, then go to your local home improvement store and sit down with a kitchen designer who can put all your measurements into a design program and give you help for free, initially. The home improvement designer can also help with appliance, cabinet, countertop, flooring and store credit card deals currently in place and give you a great financial package, based on those specials. It's all a matter of timing it just right.

* Cabinets, countertops and other structures : Ask which cabinet makers have the best deals right now and for how long they last. Select cabinets with the wood type, color and door style that you want and have the designer put it into the software. Decide if you want to add in an island with a cooktop if there is room. Also get a bid on a countertop currently on sale. Get a quote on installation fees with cabinet prices, countertops, and also one with just the cabinet order if you think you can install those yourself. Save your bid.

* Appliances in a package deal : Next, have your designer take you over to the appliance section and look over current sales with appliance manufacturers. Look for brands that offer a range, refrigerator, over-the-stove microwave, and dishwasher package which allows you to get a rebate of $100 or more back in purchasing a package deal. Stick with well-known brands and later, do some research through Consumer Reports on current reviews for that brand and models. Get all the information and a sales bid done through the designer.

* Financing at its best : Home improvement stores offer their own credit cards and especially if you are a first-time successful applicant, you can make charges and payments on your card for 12 months without paying any interest. You have to apply at the time when the 12-month, no interest payments are going on in order to realize all the money you'll save by going this route. Enjoy your new kitchen!

Isaac writes on behalf of Cliq Studios a home improvements business who design, manufacture and sell quality kitchen cabinets which come with a lifetime warranty. Use the Cliq Studios website to visualise your new kitchen, request free kitchen samples or check kitchen cabinet prices. Whatever your requirement – trust Cliq Studios' Discount Kitchen Cabinets to exceed expectations.
Read more

7 Tips to reduce coverage cost instead of buying cheap life insurance

It is needless to mention that the primary purpose of shopping around for buying an insurance policy is to get the required coverage at an affordable cost. Purchasing life insurance is no different. It is always better to try to reduce the premium cost of your required coverage than going for a cheap life insurance policy.

7 Tips to reduce the cost of life insurance coverage

You can follow these 7 tips to reduce the coverage cost of your life insurance policy.

1. Purchasing only the required coverage Consider purchasing only the required coverage to reduce the premium cost to some extent. To do this, calculate the amount required by your family members to maintain their lifestyle in your absence. However, always reconsider coverage after 2-3 years, especially, when you have a major change in your life, such as, having a baby. 

 2. Shopping around and comparing policies You must be knowing that shopping around and comparing policies help to choose one with the most suitable terms and conditions. This is because the insurers offer myriad policies at different premium rates. Shopping online helps to get multiple quotes at relatively less span of time.

3. Not buying ‘Guaranteed issue’ policy if healthyIt is advisable to not go for a ‘Guaranteed issue’ policy if you’re healthy. You can obtain such a policy without going for a medical exam. These policies are usually purchased by people who’ve difficulty in obtaining life insurance coverage due to certain health conditions.

4. Looking for a ‘no-load/low-load’ policyThere are relatively fewer expenses attached to a ‘no-load’ or a ‘low-load’ policy. The expenses comprise of commissions and fees of the insurance agent. To buy such a policy, you’ll have to purchase it from a financial advisor, who usually charges flat fees instead of collecting commissions from the insurers. It is definitely a better alternative than purchasing a cheap life insurance policy.

5. Purchasing rider instead of buying new policy Don’t purchase a new life insurance policy when your needs change. Instead, buy an insurance rider and extend your life insurance coverage.

6. Paying insurance premium annuallyMaking annual premium payments help to reduce the policy cost to some extent as compared to paying insurance premiums quarterly or bi-annually. Insurers may also charge less if they can transfer the required payments from your bank account directly.

7. Asking for policy reevaluationYou can ask for policy reevaluation even after purchasing life insurance. Purchasing a policy with a higher premium rate doesn’t mean that you’ll have to pay high cost throughout the policy term. If you’re paying high premium due to a specific health condition, then you can ask for rate reconsideration if your health condition has improved since you purchased the policy.

Above all, improve your health condition to reduce the premium cost of a life insurance policy significantly. So, if you’ve certain pre-existing medical conditions (such as, high blood pressure or diabetes), then show your insurer evidences and reports that reveal your health condition has improved with time. This may help you to get a cheap life insurance policy that is, insurer providing you with the required coverage at an affordable premium cost.
Read more

5 Tips to help you obtain a cheap home loan

Do you want to purchase a house? Are you in need of a mortgage loan? If yes, you must find out the various factors that affect mortgage rates. In order to find cheap home loans, you must also compare the rates on different types of loans.

How can you obtain a cheap home loan?

Some of the tips that can help you find cheap home loans are:

1. Research on types of mortgage : There are various types of mortgages available. The most common types are fixed-rate loans and adjustable-rate loans. Fixed-rate loans are very affordable when market rates are low. If you obtain this loan, your monthly payments will be the same. The introductory rates of adjustable-rate loans are generally lower than that of fixed-rate loans but gradually increase with changes in market indexes. If you plan to stay in your house only for a few years, you can reduce your mortgage cost by obtaining an adjustable-rate loan.

2. Shop around for mortgage rates : The interest rate on the same types of home loans varies with lenders. Before obtaining a loan, you must shop around and compare the mortgage rates offered by the different lenders. Some lenders may offer you cheap mortgage rates that are not genuine. It is always better to ask the lenders for annual percentage rates (APR) that represents the total fees. By comparing the APRs, you can obtain a low cost loan.

3. Check your credit report : Lenders analyze your credit report to determine the risk the take by offering you loans. You must review your credit report for incorrect/incomplete items and take the necessary steps to fix it. By eliminating negative listings from your report, you will be able to obtain cheap home loans.

4. Make a higher down payment : Lenders generally require a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price of your property. However, you can also obtain a loan by putting down less but in such a situation, you have to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). The PMI will increase the cost of your home loan. You can reduce your monthly payments and hence the overall cost of your home loan by making a larger down payment.

5. Pay higher points : Points are interest paid in advance. One point is equal to 1% of the home loan amount and is normally equivalent of 1/8 of 1% of the mortgage rate. You should request your lender to allow you to pay higher points. By paying higher points, you will be able to reduce the interest rate on mortgage.

If you cannot afford a conventional mortgage and want to get cheap home loans, you may consider applying for FHA and VA loans. FHA loans offer down payment as low as 3% to eligible individuals and VA loans offer mortgages with out down payment to Veterans of the U.S. military.
Read more

How can you obtain cheap auto loans?

If you cannot purchase your vehicle from your own resources, you will have to obtain a car loan. The dealer from whom you are purchasing your car may offer you the loan or you can also obtain it from other lenders. There are various ways by which you can obtain cheap auto loans. Some of the ways are : 

 1. Determine your budget : You should first find out how much you can spend on a new car. You must determine your budget keeping in mind your income and household expenses. You should also consider the cost of insuring your car, fuel and maintenance to determine the amount you can afford to pay for your car. According to experts, you should not spend more than 20% of your monthly income on your car.

2. Scrutinize your credit report : The higher is your credit score, lower will be the interest rate on auto loans. You must get a copy of your credit report from the credit reporting agencies and scrutinize it for incomplete/ incorrect information. If there is any wrong information, you should inform the agencies about it. You can also negotiate with your creditors to fix negative listings on your report. To improve your credit score, you should start repaying your debts.

3. Shop around : The interest rates on auto loans vary with lenders. Before financing with your dealer, you must shop around and compare the rates that different banks and credit unions are offering. You can also compare multiple quotes online. By shopping around, you can find cheap auto loans and save on interest payments.

4. Choose the suitable term : By opting for a shorter term of loan, you can reduce your interest payments. Most of the lenders offer a lower interest rate for short term financing.

5. Save up for down payment : The amount you put down directly affects your monthly loan payments. Most of the lenders may offer to finance your car even if you don’t make a down payment. But if you don’t provide a down payment, you will have to pay more in the long run. It is best to make a down payment equal to10% of the purchase price of your car.

You can also obtain cheap auto loans by reducing the purchase price of your car. Most of the motor dealerships offer national and regional rebates to encourage individuals to purchase cars. You can take advantage of the rebates to lower the price of your car. As the purchase price gets reduced, you will require a smaller amount of loan. This in turn will lower the cost of your loan.
Read more

4 Debt relief options that help you pay off bills successfully

Are you in severe debt crisis? At first, stop worrying about it and then start working on a debt relief plan that can help you pay off all your bills/debts in a systematic way. You can take professional help if you’re not able to clear your dues on your own. Read on to get a brief idea on debt solutions – how professional debt relief options help you pay off your debts and get your finances back on track. 

4 Ways to pay off debts

Here are 4 professional debt relief options that help you pay off your multiple bills/debts.

1. Credit counseling session : You should first go for a debt/credit counseling session whenever you start facing debt problems. In such a session, a credit counselor examines your financial condition and offers suitable suggestions to manage your debt properly. A counselor may also prepare a personalized debt relief plan for you by following which you can pay off your dues completely.

2. Debt management plan : A credit counseling organization may offer a debt management plan to you if suggestions and tips are not enough to pay back your dues. In a DMP or a debt management plan, a counselor, on behalf of the organization, negotiates with your creditors to reduce your loan interest rates. With your creditors’ approval, the counselor also finalizes a monthly payment that you need to pay towards clearing your multiple bills/debts. Thus, you can get rid of your debts with the help of professional guidance.

3. Debt consolidation program : There is not much difference between a debt management plan and a debt consolidation program. The only difference is that a consolidation program is usually offered by a consolidation company whereas, debt management plans are generally offered by credit counseling organizations. In a consolidation program, a debt consultant (on behalf of the consolidation company) negotiates with your creditors to reduce the interest rates on your loans, decides upon a monthly payment and gets it approved by your creditors. When you make the agreed upon monthly payments to the consolidation company, it distributes the amount amongst your creditors on your behalf.

4. Debt settlement program : You can take help of a settlement program when you have huge debts to pay off. In such a program, the settlement company negotiates with your creditors to reduce the amount that you owe to them. In most cases, the settlement companies can reduce the outstanding balance to about 40-60% of what you owe. In the meantime, the company asks you to stop paying your creditors for the time being and instead deposit an agreed upon monthly payment to a settlement account. You need to use this accumulated fund to settle the debt as soon as one of your creditors agrees upon a reduced payoff amount. Thus, you can get rid of your debts one by one by paying less than what you owe.

You can take help of a debt consultant if you cannot make up your mind as which debt relief program may be best suitable for you to clear all your dues. A debt consultant can help you to get brief idea on debt solutions along with making you aware about the pros and cons of each of the debt relief programs.
Read more

Credit card traps you should know

Now a days there are lot of bad stuffs is happening with credit card industries. Right now the credit card insurers are playing very adroit game with their consumers and the consumers have no option to get out of these traps. So you should know these traps to save yourself from these tricks of credit card insurers.

Most important and popular trap is the interest rate because the consumer didn't know the interest rate . If you are making payment on that time you didn't know the interest rate so they can even charge more than the actual rate.

The grace period is another trap you must know. Sometimes it may be happen that if your grace period is of 15 days and you are preparing your payment according to that but on the last time you get to know that your grace period was less than that .

First of all you always need you check your credit account , billing date as well as the grace period so that no body can cheat you.Watch out for the changes with the rules of the credit card companies, the Government and the Federal Reserve. You should have a clear knowledge over the credit card agreement, mostly the section of fine for default payment.
Read more