Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How Can I Improve My Credit Score?

Having anything but a good or great credit score can cost you a lot of money in higher interest rates and insurance premiums over time. Here are five tips that will help you to slowly, but surely, improve your credit score over the next few months.
* Pay Your Bills On Time: This is probably the simplest way to make sure that your credit stays the same or gets better. Many people have a damaged credit score due to late payments. Set up recurring bills to automatically be taken from your checking account each month so that you never have another missed payment again. 

* Pay Down Your Debt: Having too much debt, even if your credit cards aren't maxed out, can drastically reduce your credit score. Old debt is equally as bad. Make a plan to pay off your debt as quickly as you can. One of the best ways to do this is to focus on eliminating small debts completely. You'll have the satisfaction of making progress no matter how small it is. 

* Check For Errors: The easiest way to get a rather quick increase in your credit score is if you find an error on your credit report. Make sure that you check your reports for any lines of credit that aren't yours or anything that was reported incorrectly such as a late or missed payment. Just one error could cause your credit score to drop anywhere from 30-100 points. By disputing it, and getting it removed, you'll see an increase in your score.

* Don't Open or Close Any Credit Cards: While there is a mixed consensus on how many cards you should have for an optimal credit score, if you have bad credit, it's best to leave your cards as they are. Don't open any more and don't close any, even if they are paid off and you don't plan to use them. 

* Don't Max Out Your Credit Cards: By using too much of the limit of any one credit card, you risk lowering your credit score. Thus if you have several cards that are maxed out, pay them down as fast as you can and in the future, only use 20-30% of your credit limit. 

While you probably won't notice any drastic changes in your credit score overnight, during the next few months of following these tips, you should see your credit score steadily going upwards. Be patient as you go through this process of paying off old debts and learning better financial habits so that once you obtain a good credit score, you'll know how to maintain it forever.

About the Author

This article was written by Phill representing CompareLogbookLoans.co.uk – an independent financial website bringing together and comparing available logbook loans.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How Avoiding Bankruptcy Helps Your Financial Security

Some people believe that filing for bankruptcy is the best way to get out of debt. Most people who file for bankruptcy may think there is no other route to go down. However, bankruptcy is only one of many options a person has to reorganize their finances. Anyone who is concerned about their future financial security should avoid bankruptcy at all cost.

Bankruptcy Kills Your Credit Score

Going bankrupt will harm your credit score for a long time. It will be at least seven years before your credit report no longer shows your bankruptcy filing. Any lender who checks your credit will be able to see you filed for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy may also restrict access to any current lines of credit. Not having access to as much credit is going to make your credit risk much seem much higher. All of these factors will contribute to your credit score not being as good as it could be.

You May Still Owe Money

Your assets will most likely be liquidated to cover any unsecured debt being discharged. Secured debts are much harder to discharge. Certain property cannot be lost in a bankruptcy proceeding. Any lien on that property will still need to be paid off. You could be facing a situation where you still have to pay your auto loan each month. Most debtors are unlikely to have their debts completely discharged in bankruptcy court due to recent changes in the law. Creditors will usually fight for a reorganization of your debt as opposed to a true discharge.

Credit Consolidation May Be An Option

Declaring yourself bankrupt should be a last resort. Make plans to meet with a non profit debt consolidation service before you even think about declaring bankruptcy. A credit consolidation service can work with you on a plan to make your debt more manageable. This service will also work with your creditors on ways to reduce the amount that you owe. Consolidating your debt will lower your monthly payment by reducing fees and interest.

Creditors Don't Want To Go To Court

Your creditors may be willing to accept a debt settlement if you run into a financial emergency. They will be willing to take less if it means getting something from you. It will save both sides a lot of time to come to a settlement before the courts has to become involved. You can use a non profit debt consolidation service to help with settlement negotiations. Think carefully about offering a settlement before heading straight to bankruptcy court. Panicking too soon can cause you to make a decision you will regret.

Bankruptcy is something you want to avoid if at all possible. A good debt relief service can work with your creditors to come up with a payment plan that works for you. Offering a debt settlement is typically something that your creditors will agree to if they think you are serious about going bankrupt. You could be out of debt for half of what you owe. 

Author’s bio
Sheryl Fabia is a financial writer for NonProfitDebtConsolidationService.com. She writes articles on nonprofit debt consolidation, credit card debt relief and various financial matters and has them published across the web.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

5 Decisions You Will Need to Make at Retirement

There are two kinds of employees. One who can’t wait to retire and one who doesn’t want to think about retirement. If you are working and have a career with a good stable job, one thing is for sure, retirement is inevitable. Unfortunately retirement is not pleasant for everyone. An increasing number of people are not making retirement plans due to the increasing inflation and falling economy. It has simply become difficult for people to save for retirement plans.

All things apart, when one retires there are a few decisions that need to be made and cannot be avoided. Let’s look at 5 decisions that you will need to make when you retire.

Will you continue working after your official retirement?

There are a lot of people who continue there own small business or become self employed after they have retired from their jobs. Ofcourse not everyone has entrepreneurial instincts and can start a business when they retire. But it is a good option that should be considered. It will become a source of income for you and your dependents.

When should you claim your Social Security?

The government allows you to claim Social Security from the age of 62. But payouts increase every year you delay the claim till the age of 70. If you can, then wait it out and claim your Social Security as late as possible because the payout increase in the last years is quite enormous for every year you delay.

How to maintain health insurance?

You need to find an affordable plan for health insurance when you retire. If you do not have medical benefits with your retirement plan then make sure that you have individual medical coverage. Health insurance is extremely important for coverage of medical expenses, especially prescription drugs needed every year.

Where will you live?

When you retire you will most probably be living alone or with your partner. There are a lot of people who live on rent and do not own their own place. Now that you don�t have a job to go to every day or children to bring up, you can choose to live wherever you want. You might want to move in to a place that has a lower rent and is not too expensive to manage. You are also free to move to a smaller town with better weather and away from the metropolitan noise or maybe somewhere closer to your family.

What will you do?

Retirement means no more spend 8 hours every day at a stressful job, it means you are free to spend your time as you like. Make some retirement plans that you can follow when you retire. Catch up with family and friends, reconnect with your hobbies, or go on a long vacation.

Allan has been blogging about retirement planning and smsf for the last 3 years. When he is not working, he loves spending time with his children. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cheap Life Insurance: Too Good to Be True?

A life insurance contract is one of the most important contracts you will ever sign in your lifetime. Many people don't realise this, but you only have to ask a widow or widower with two or three children who has lost a breadwinning spouse in the prime of his or her life. You will most likely find this type of family unit living on welfare in a rented government home in an inner city ghetto. In contrast you can compare this family's lifestyle with one living as they always have, in the same home in a prestige location with sufficient financial support to see them through life while the children grow. Their financial plans remain unchanged and they are carrying no debt. The latter family had adequate life insurance cover on the spouse who unfortunately died. The former had none. Nothing you do will replace a lost spouse with responsibilities physically but there is much you can do to ensure your family doesn't suffer financially.


Term Life Insurance is the Cheapest

While accepting the need for adequate life insurance you may also be tempted to look around for the cheapest cover possible. You can look at this cost in two ways; first you can buy large amounts of cover for very little cost while young if you purchase term life insurance but secondly the cover is cheap because the life insurance underwriters have accepted your risk as being low. They are in effect betting that you will survive the term you have taken the cover out for. If they are right, and we all hope they are, you will forfeit the premiums you have paid. If they got it wrong and you died within the term you were insured for your beneficiaries would receive the full insured amount. It works much in the same way as does general insurance. For example you usually take out insurance on your home and contents on an annual basis. If your house didn't burn down during that time well and good but any insurance premiums you had paid for the cover will be forfeited to the insurance company. On the other hand if it had, the insurance company would have paid to have it rebuilt.


Life Insurance is Cheapest While you are Still Young

Term life insurance cover is different to general insurance in that the premiums you pay are heavily weighted towards the insured person's age. This is because insurance underwriters have determined that the younger you are the longer you are expected to live. As you get older and you feel you need to extend your cover after it has expired, you will have to take out new insurance for a fresh term at a higher cost. When you get into your sixties and seventies the cost of term insurance cover can be quite prohibitive. Therefore, it is possible to get cheap life insurance, without any catches.


Large Amounts of Cover When you Need it Most

Term life insurance is the type of insurance you take out to get you over the high financial responsibility periods of your life such as when you marry, buy a home, start raising children and start your own business. On each of these occasions you will need additional life insurance cover in case something was to happen to you while you were engaged in carrying out these life events. If you were to pass away for any reason whatsoever during these times, innocent people could suffer unnecessarily for many, many years, if you had neglected to financially protect them with adequate life insurance on your life. Cheap term life insurance is the ideal cover you need at these times in your life and it is term life insurance that can give it to you.


Importance of Competition in Life Insurance

Life insurance is different to most other commercial products that you buy in that it is a product you will wish you will never have to use despite paying for it each month. It is purely and simply a risk avoidance protection product that you can ill-afford to not have if things were to go seruously wrong. There are many companies online offering term life insurance and most of these are quite legitimate and sound business organisations but there are some that are doubtful and it is for this reason that you have to be careful to not choose such protection on the basis of price alone. Term life insurance is cheap when you consider what it offers but while nobody expects to die prematurely many of us unfortunately do. Sound life insurance companies have underwriters who have made a science out of the amount of risk the company carries with each individual person they have insured. Individuals policy holders are then grouped according to age, health, work and recreational habits. Good underwriters are able to tell the insurance company how many of those policy holders they expect will die within the term of insurance. They will not know precisely who they are, but they know a certain number will and the cost of paying out the sum insured for each one is therefore taken into account as far as costing is concerned. Then there are administrative cost to pay along with the need to build reserves and of course be profitable. If a life insurance company comes out offering too cheap a premium for a certain term of cover it should be examined thoroughly as it could be too good to be true but you will never know if it is or not. It will be your loved ones who will suffer as a result.


Make Sure you Research Who Your Life Insurance Company is

Over the last few years many life insurance companies have merged with one another, others have been swallowed up by larger organisation and many fly-by-nighters have entered the industry. Before you accept what you are being told make sure you do your research by finding out exactly who the company is who you wish to do business with. Read what kind of reviews they have been getting but at the same time remember that anybody can write a review and place it on the internet. It is usually safest if you stick to the well known establishments who have stood the test of time, even if you may have to pay a little more.