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Debt Consolidation – How it Works 

1. Debt Consolidation – How it Works

Debt Consolidation Every day I hear ads for debt consolidation. I was always curious how these loans are able to take existing interest debt and turn it into a lower payment. The primary way debt consolidation programs work is by...
How to Manage Finance, Work-Life Balance, and Sales-Marketing Activities of Your Home Business 

2. How to Manage Finance, Work-Life Balance,...

Many, if not all, home businesses are Sole Proprietor – They handle everything themselves or with the help of family members. With many responsibilities in running such business, home business owners need to keep control in their...
How Living Cheap, Looking Rich Can Help Your Personal Finance and Career in Recession 

3. How Living Cheap, Looking Rich Can Help Your...

Living below your means doesn’t seem a desirable decision to survive today’s recession. There are better ways, and although living below your means are the next logical step when you are in financial strain, your sense...
The Power of Money, Endorsement and Identity Theft: Jeremy Schoemaker vs. Google Money Tree Case 

4. The Power of Money, Endorsement and Identity...

Jeremy Schoemaker, known for his is one of the authoritative bloggers on the Net today. His company and personal branding is so powerful, that every marketer wants to capitalise on them – even doing it illegally. This...
Tools to Increase Your Sense of Financial Security: Financial Products Review Sites 

5. Tools to Increase Your Sense of Financial...

In my previous post I talked about improving your sense of security by exposing yourself more toward facts and less toward assumptions. This article is about a tool that can help you gain more facts: financial products review site. The...

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Why do Reverse Mortgages have Insurance?

Question from our Reader:

Is it common for Reverse Mortgages to include an additional monthly fee for “Mortgage Insurance”?
What companies do not charge for Mortgage Insurance?

Hi Ronald,

The lenders do not charge for the Reverse Mortgage Insurance; HUD does on the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM or “Heck-um”) which is an FHA or government insured program. At this time, there are very few proprietary or private programs available that do not require this insurance as most disappeared when the market experienced all the difficulties in 2009 and 2010. The programs that have come out since the collapse of the market are mainly for Jumbo or high balance loans and I think you will find that the cost with the insurance is still typically less than what these programs have to offer.

The government insurance is what makes the program work. It protects borrowers, lenders, heirs and even the folks who buy the securities backed by the loans. Without the insurance, the viability of the program is very questionable and that is borne out by the fact that most of the programs that were not FHA-insured disappeared when the market collapsed and there are very few that have returned and those that have offer borrowers very few options and at higher rates.

Borrowers who do obtain the proprietary programs, typically because of the loan sizes and property values, currently have fewer programs
available to them. I am only aware of 2 proprietary programs at this time, both are fixed rate requiring a full draw of the funds available and both have interest rates in excess of 7% (greater than the HECM rates plus the insurance renewal of 1.25% of the outstanding balance). There are no guarantees on these programs by HUD, so growing balance lines of credit that they can access at later times would not be guaranteed and therefore borrowers would be open to the risk that something might happen to the lender before they accessed all of their funds, causing their line to close prematurely. Therefore, the fixed rate full draw option on the private programs is the only way to ensure that all funds are available to every borrower.

So Ronald, forgive me for taking so long to answer what is a quick question, but the HECM loans plus the insurance are still below the rate that accrues on the proprietary or private offerings that are available and I wanted to be sure you understood that this insurance protects you on future draws as well as gives you the availability of programs that offer a reverse mortgage line of credit, monthly payments, a full draw or a combination of these features instead of just the one lump sum that the private programs offer. If you need the higher balances that the private programs can give, they are the only way to get them but if not, even with the insurance, the HECM program still gives you more options.

About Reverse Mortgage Insurance Premiums
Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium

Tips for international students pursuing a business career in the United States

Many international students come to the United States in the quest of pursuing a fulfilling business career. These students are oftentimes inspired by foreign businesspeople who’ve done very well in the western world, such as Fahad Al Rajaan. For many foreign students, studying and working in the US can present a lot of opportunities that may not have been presented to them in their home countries.

While there are plenty of opportunities to excel in business in the United States, there can also be a lot of challenges. To help international students succeed as they pursue their business goals in America, here are some tips for foreign students planning for a business career in the United States.

Work Closely With Your University Advisor
Moving to a new country can be very difficult. If you have relocated to the United States to attend one of the country’s myriad excellent universities, it’s important that you work closely with your university advisor. He or she will be able to ensure that you are taking the right classes in order to achieve your degree goals. Your advisor will also be able to help you with any difficulties that you might be having as a newcomer in a foreign place.

Pursue Internships And Volunteer Opportunities
Internships are a phenomenal way for foreign business students to really learn about the ins and outs of the business world in the United States. At an internship, you’ll gain invaluable hands-on experience that you can’t duplicate in a classroom setting. This is also where you’ll be able to make industry connections that might help to land you a job when you graduate.

Have An Open Mind And Always Be Learning
It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed when you relocate to a foreign country. However, one of the most important things for international students to remember is that it’s normal to feel a little out of place. However, you can master the cultures and customs of your new home as long as you always keep an open mind. You should strive to be perpetually learning about the world around you, both in and out of a classroom setting.

Be Ready To Start In Lower Level Positions When You Graduate
When you graduate, you won’t be taking on a high-level job right away. In the world of American business, newcomers are expected to “start at the bottom” so to speak, degree or no degree. The biggest thing to remember about the American career landscape is that starting in a lower position and working your way up is considered not only normal, but admirable. It’s just the way that things are done in the United States.

Moving to the United States to pursue a business degree and eventual job is challenging but extremely rewarding. If you follow these tips and work hard, you can find success in the American business world. There are plenty of opportunities for international students who are ready and willing to make the effort.

Creating value by changing the purpose of your property or business

How Re-Purposing Vacant Commercial Property Can Lead to Economic Growth
Cities across the country are filled with vacant commercial properties, especially those left when big box stores close. These properties can bring blight to neighborhoods. In some cases, they may stand empty for years, causing the economy in the surrounding area to decline. Some innovative companies, such as Starwood Ceruzzi, have started purchasing, renovating and re-purposing such properties. Doing this can lead to economic revitalization for the entire community in several ways.

Re-Purposing Leads to Higher Property Values
A major issue when a retail space is abandoned and left vacant is a drop in the property values of property in the surrounding area. As property values fall, more businesses may also lose money, leading to additional closures and an escalation of the problem. When a commercial property is renovated and opened again, surrounding property values normally rebound, increasing with the presence of the new businesses. This can also draw new residents as the neighborhood becomes more desirable.

Re-Purposing Brings in New Business
Large renovated and reopened retail spaces can be used to attract new big-box businesses or to be divided up for use by numerous smaller ones. They can also be transformed into distribution or manufacturing centers. All of these new uses can help revitalize the local economy of the city in which the property is located. New business means new tax revenues for cities as well as additional money being poured into the local economy, benefiting all residents in turn.

Re-Purposing Helps to Reduce Crime
A link between vacant commercial properties and increases in crime rates has been repeatedly demonstrated. As property values fall and more businesses close, the crime rate for the entire city may increase. When these vacant properties are instead purchased, renovated and leased for new business uses, research has demonstrated a corresponding drop in crime.

Re-Purposing Leads to Additional Jobs
One of the best results of rehabbing and re-purposing vacant commercial properties is bringing new jobs for people living nearby. With the size of some of these buildings, potentially hundreds of new jobs can open up to the community. This can result in lower unemployment rates and more money being spent in the local economy. The availability of new jobs can improve the welfare of everyone living in a city. This has the potential to bring struggling communities back together and on their feet. Previously unemployed people who find new jobs have also been shown to have improved senses of self-worth and higher self-esteem, which lead to fewer issues with substance abuse, domestic violence and other problems.

People like louis ceruzzi, the owner of Starwood Ceruzzi, have taken the innovative approach of purchasing these types of vacant properties. They then renovate them and help to attract new businesses, leading to a better economy and environment for all. This is an example of how such activity within the commercial real estate marketplace can actively benefit entire neighborhoods, communities and cities. It brings new life to a community along with new jobs, a better economy and less crime.

What’s so hard about hard money?

The concept of hard money can be hard to understand, but it is a lot easier if you start with the basics. First, hard money refers to a loan that has most of the following characteristics:

  • The lenders are investors rather than banks.
  • The loans are used by real estate investors.
  • The cost (interest rates and fees) are typically much higher than for bank loans.
  • The length of the loan is typically short, for a few months to a few years rather than for decades.
  • The cost (interest rates and fees) are typically much higher than for bank loans.
  • The down payment is typically much h.
  • The loan is back by collateral like a real estate property.
  • Lenders care more about the value of the collateral than they do about the borrower’s finances.
  • The loan is based on the current value of the collateral rather than on the future earning potential of the property.
  • The approval process much quicker than the typical bank.

As with any kind of loan, both the borrower and the lender should do their due diligence. For the lender, that means checking out the value of the collateral, the borrower’s experience, and the riskiness of the deal. For the borrower, that means checking out their options to see what lender fits best with the borrower’s needs, as well as the track record of the lender. The graphic below provides an overview of the process behind a hard money loan:


Will we see negative interest rates in the US?

Interest rates in Europe on a variety of debt instruments actually reached negative levels this year, a bizarre economic environment with a lasting impact on the Eurozone’s economy. Essentially this means that investors in debt instruments are receiving less than their original investment over time.

The reason is simple: to encourage spending and ward off deflationary concerns. It’s a case of basic supply and demand – investors seeking a safe haven for their money invest in bonds. As demand grows, interest rates drop. Ideally, the rate would bottom out at zero, but with a heavy demand for safety, debt rates turned negative instead. Adding to the demand is the potential for currency appreciation. Even if the debt instrument returns a negative yield, the inherent currency could appreciate relative to the euro creating a gain overall for the investor.

The state of the US economy and bond yields

One of the biggest concerns for US investors is whether the atmosphere of negative yields will spill over into the domestic economy. The results for the first quarter in 2015 were disappointing, but inclement winter weather was partially blamed for the lackluster data. Economists believe the rest of the year should show a robust and growth oriented economy.

Yields on US debt instruments are still near all time lows, but the Federal Reserve has made several statements this year that indicate a rate hike is very likely to happen. While the European Central Bank (ECB) is prepared to begin a quantitative easing program intended to stimulate growth, the Fed officially ended its program late in 2014. It’s very unlikely that the US will actually see negative interest rates. Evidence suggests that US interest rates may currently be as low as they’re going to be before heading back up again later this year.

One major impact that negative rates would have in the US that makes it even more unlikely is the fact that consumers would essentially be paying banks just to hold their money. It’s a situation that the Fed wouldn’t let happen as consumers would simply hoard cash at home rather than make deposits. If that were to occur, it could create a liquidity crisis and halt lending activity.

As the US economy continues to gain strength, interest rates will rise as the demand for investment increases. For the US, negative yields won’t be a concern.

What happens after you win a lottery?

The statistics behind a typical state sponsored lottery makes it very profitable for the states that run them. The state typically gives out as prizes less than half the money that they take in, and they are free to change the rules to make it even more beneficial to the state.

The average lottery customer has dreams of wealth and luxury, and once in a very great while, the dream comes true. However, behind that dream is a reality that most lottery players don’t recognize. In fact, lottery players have a lot in common with the average dog. The average dog has an almost instinctive desire to chase cars, and would do so without thinking. However, if that average dog ever caught the car, the dog would not have any idea what to do with it, and their most likely response (barking at it or peeing on it) would likely do nothing to improve that dog’s life.

Like the average dog, the average lottery players will chase the dream of instant riches, but if the wish would ever come true, they would not have any idea of what to do with the money, and their most likely response (talking about it to everyone they know or pissing it away on a flashy lifestyle) would likely do nothing to improve that lottery player’s life.

There is no best response to deal with a life-changing monetary windfall, but for the average newly rich person, probably the best things to do are to stay quiet about their new wealth, find some competent financial and legal advisors (both of which should be paid a set fee for their advice), and consider some of the ideas below:


Using social media for internal communications

Businesses Can Manage Internal Communications Through Social Media
Communication is one of the hallmarks of business. Interacting with customers is important. After all, they are the ones creating the valuable revenue streams that fund any enterprise. However, internal communications are equally important for companies of any size. Keeping employees informed of events, promotions, and announcements with a single post instead of an email blast can help increase the personalization and interaction of a simple company memo. Social media helps businesses manage internal communications. In fact, companies with non-traditional business models, like ACN, can put the social tools to work in several effective low-cost ways.

Consistent Messages
One of the biggest benefits of social media applications is the consistent message delivered to employees. Not only does everyone get precisely the same update, but employees from around the globe can interact with the post and each other. This process creates a personal experience that allows employees that would not normally communicate with each other to develop special bonds. Plus, those bonds and simple communications can lead to other benefits such as exchanging ideas, best practice benchmarking, and the overall growth of the company. Instead of a single impersonal email, social media posts can be accompanied by a picture and a statement, which increases the chances of it actually being seen.

Low Cost
Perhaps the biggest asset of using social media to assist in internal communications is the low cost associated with the medium. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and other sites are free for companies and employees to use, which makes them an easy sell for any company watching the bottom line. Further, non-traditional companies, like those with multi-level marketing models, can harness the power of social media to highlight accomplishments, showcase conferences, and promote awareness. Since the associated cost of the technology is extremely low, businesses can increase the frequency of communication according to demand.

In the end, social media helps businesses manage internal communication by delivering a consistent message at an extremely low cost. With the advent of mobile technology on the rise, employees of all levels can have instant access to any type of special information. Since the posts also offer a way for employees to interact, the entire organization can come out a winner simply by initiating some sort of call to action. In short, social media can be the spark that helps a business enhance communication and move to the next level of success.

How to put your long term investments on autopilot

In the US, pensions are rare for most workers, and those who do want to save for retirement are encouraged to use employee funded plans such as 401Ks. The problem that most investors have is that most of them are not professional investors. In fact, most are not even casual investors, and often do one of either two things, make no decisions at all, or leave the decisions to some kine of financial expert.

Doing nothing is not a good option, and leaving decisions completely to others is a better idea if the financial advisor is charging a minimal amount for their services. One company that takes the latter approach is Wealthfront (, which is an automated investment service that manages a diversified, low-cost portfolio of index funds.

Wealthfront makes it easy for investors who are willing to do a minimum of work to track their investments by creating personalized online investment account that is accessible anytime and anywhere from your desktop, tablet, phone, or other mobile device. The company supports the following types of accounts:

– Individual, joint, trust, & LLC taxable accounts
– Traditional, Roth, & SEP retirement accounts (IRAs)
– 401(k) rollover accounts
– 501(c) accounts for non-profit institutions

What are the Wealthfront investment options?
Wealthfront uses exchange traded funds (ETFs) that track indexes for the 11 major asset classes. These kinds of broad, market based investments historically have been more consistent than individual stocks. Their analytical process can also provide investors with reasons why a particular ETF was chosen.

How much does Wealthfront cost?
Wealthfront requires a minimum of $5,000, and charges no fees for the first $10,000. After that, the charge is 0.25% per year. There are no additional fees for their service, and no trading commissions. For A $100,000 investment, the annual costs would be $225 (0.25% of $90,000).

While investing with Wealtfront is not like putting your investments completely on autopilot, it can take most of the work out of your investing decisions. Interested investors should visit and evaluate their service for themselves.

How to find guidance for online commodities training

The creation of the Internet has opened up the door for people being able to make money from the comfort of their home in a wide variety of ways. Over the past several years, there has been an explosion in the popularity of online commodities trading. There are now many different websites that allow people to open accounts, deposit their money and begin trading commodities with other users on a global scale. The ease and speed with which people can make money in this manner has attracted millions of people to online trading. Some people have quit their jobs and begun trading at home full-time. Here is how to make money trading online.

Get the proper instruction
While some people are blessed with a natural aptitude for online trading, most people will need to learn all of the ins and outs of commodities trading before they can be successful at it, let alone make a full-time living doing it. Therefore, it would be wise for all people who are seriously interested in trading online to enroll in a course that is given by a reputable online trading school, such as the Online Trading Academy. You can review online review sites to find out the experiences of former students, or check with the Federal Trade Commission to see if the company has been associated with inappropriate business behavior. The school that you choose to give you your instruction is important. Keep in mind, trading is a risky endeavor. The possibility exists that you could lose a large sum of money very quickly if you make the wrong trade. Learning about online trading from an excellent school will teach you how to minimize your risk and make wise decisions. They will also show you which commodities to stay away from.

Talk to successful traders
After you complete your online trading course, your education will not be complete. Just because you took a few classes does not mean you are ready to dive head first into the potentially dangerous waters of online trading. It would be in your best interest to talk to people who are already successful online traders. Ideally, you should try to find people who are making a living by trading full-time. These are people who obviously know enough about the art of trading to support themselves. These are the individuals who can teach you the most useful information. Ask them how they got started. Get them to tell you some useful tips that you can apply to your own online trading.

Things To Consider When Performing A Title Search

There are numerous things to consider when performing a title search. The value of the property is necessary to know before making a purchase. The previous history of ownership is also important for individuals who do not want to make a bad investment. Making a decision about the number of owners can also help a person to decide whether or not the investment is going to be worthwhile in the long run. The history of the property can also indicate the likelihood of being able to do business in a location as the property is intended for professional purposes. For more information a person has before purchasing property the user will be for them to make the best investments with their real estate investment money.

Property Value
If a person is interested in doing a investigation into a piece of property, understanding the value of the property is important before quitting and an initial offer. If a person is going to perform a title search in vic, they will need to be working with a company that is reputable and can give me information which is up to date and legitimate. The research methods used by a company to determine the value of property is also an important part of the consideration in terms of which company to utilize the services of when having the search completed. The relevance of the information is also essential for evaluation purposes. If the information is updated on a regular basis it will be seen as credible and can be utilized to make financial decisions. The ability to make financial decisions which are going to be the emphasis for long-term investments is important for the majority of individuals who are not knowledgeable about the real estate market.

Ownership History
Understanding the ownership history as a free is also essential to making intelligent decisions regarding real estate. If there are a lot of people making the investment and the property only to turn it over quickly people should consider the possibility that there’s something wrong with the land itself. Having a surveyor or other professional individual investigate the problems with the property prior to making an investment is essential for individuals were looking to do business on the property. This will also enable people to make the best decisions as it relates to understanding the zoning laws and regulations regarding a certain area. The more knowledge people have about the specifics expected from them when making an investment in a certain area me easier it will be for them to make decisions regarding it for long-term planning necessary when purchasing property.

10 CRM Mistakes Financial Advisors Should Avoid

As a financial advisor, your relationship with clients comes first, but how should you manage these relationships successfully? One of the many customer relationship management (CRM) solutions on the market can help you to improve those relationships. For on-the-go professionals, Contactually works everywhere you do – in the office and on the road. Another cloud-based option, Salesforce, offers similar portability. Whichever CRM you choose, avoid these 10 common mistakes to get off to a good start.

1. Not Identifying a Purpose
For a CRM to be an effective tool, you first need to identify why you are wielding it. Do you want to increase referrals or branch out into new regions? Knowing what you hope to accomplish can define how you use the software.

2. Failing to Realize Its Full Potential
You’ve just invested in a powerful tool. Be sure to use it to its full potential. In addition to managing customer relationships, a CRM can also streamline workflow and track performance.

3. Bypassing Training
New software can be intimidating without training. Although you may be anxious to jump in, make time for training. From learning short cuts to understanding features, time spent now can save you countless hours later.

4. Doing Too Much at Once
Rolling out a new system that promises to improve business is exciting. Don’t let that enthusiasm tempt you to do everything at once. Instead, pick out the most important features and implement those first.

5. Neglecting Standard Operating Procedures
Establishing standard operating procedures is important. By creating standard protocols, you can ensure that everyone uses the system the same way, maximizing efficiency.

6. Underestimating the Power of Leading by Example
It’s difficult to convince others to use a new system when you’re not using it yourself. Lead by example. Your enthusiasm about the product will be catching.

7. Planning for In-Office Use Only
Today’s business world isn’t tied to a cubicle. Consider how you can use the product on the go. By planning for mobile use, you won’t miss capturing important customer data on the road.

8. Assigning It to a New Hire
It may be tempting to hand off the software to a new hire. However, new hires don’t yet understand the company well enough to implement a CRM. Instead, get experienced employees in the system first.

9. Overlooking New Features
To improve their products, software companies roll out new features all the time. Check the website periodically to see what’s new.

10. Forgetting Maintenance
In the excitement of using a new CRM, it can be easy to overlook maintenance. Performing routine checkups can help you avoid compounding mistakes.

Even the best financial advisors can make common mistakes. By knowing what you want out of a CRM and tailoring the implementation to accomplish those goals, you can reap the full benefits. Improved customer relationships are sure to follow.

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