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Tools to Increase Your Sense of Financial Security: Financial Products Review Sites

Finance Product ReviewIn 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 pros and cons of financial products review sites

Review sites are those websites that offer you comparisons among a selection in a certain category. In financial products, for instance, there are review sites that compare credit cards – their plans, benefits for cardholders, and such.

With plenty of sites doing reviews on various financial products, you are faced with a multitude of things to ponder before deciding one financial product to take.

Like everything in life, there are pros and cons of financial review sites.

Pros:

  • Reviews help you decide which financial products are the most beneficial for your need.
  • You can access plenty of key information on products highlighted – all in one place.
  • You can learn as much as you can about a financial product, without the fear of being chased around by financial product salesperson.

Cons:

  • Reviews could be non-genuine ones, or even fake, to drive you to a limited choice that bring the review sites the most revenue for recommending you.
  • The review sites themselves could be scammers – Their aim is to lure you to provide private information for them to take advantage of.
  • Non user-generated review sites can be subjective in their recommendations.

The key is to find reputable financial products review sites that offer you legitimate reviews and unbiased recommendations on multiple financial products, such as the Australia-based Good With Money.

How to make the most of financial product review sites for your benefit

First of all, you should seek a reputable review sites that can offer you more details in user’s review, not only a star rating system. This is important, because it is imperative that taking loans will need more effort from you to minimise risks.

Secondly, you should visit the recommended third party sites to learn whether the financial products reviewed are claiming the same features and benefits. This is also useful to see whether the information found in the review sites still relevant with the information found in the provider or issuer sites.

Good luck on your endeavour in increasing your sense of financial security.

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

Identity TheftAre you being paranoid?

Some people consider being paranoid is normal if they deal with anything that involves the share of personal info.

That is particularly a case in online shopping and financial service applications.

Regarding online shopping – although sometimes considered as technophobia – the fear of technological advances, including the Internet – the paranoid of stolen private information is more often reasonable than not, particularly today.

Identity theft

One of the reasons people being paranoid about anything involving the share of personal info is identity theft.

According to Wikipedia, Identity theft is basically a term used to refer to fraud that involves stealing money or getting other benefits by pretending to be someone else.

This fraud causes damages beyond money – your reputation, both online and off line.

There are four type of identity theft, according to Wikipedia:

  • Financial identity theft: using another’s identity to obtain goods and services.
  • Criminal identity theft: posing as another when apprehended for a crime.
  • Identity cloning: using another’s information to assume his or her identity in daily life.
  • Business/commercial identity theft: using another’s business name to obtain credit.

All causing reputation damage, and most cause financial problems for the victims.

What identity thieves can do to you

Most commonly, they will use your identity to buy goods and services, as well as applying for credit.

The latter often causes severe problems, because your identity is linked to your credit report – when identity thieves apply for a credit (and of course, they will not pay when it’s due), it’s your name linked to the credit; Not paying the credit will not only cost you money, but also problems with the collection agents and ultimately, leaving ‘red marks’ in your credit report, decreasing your credit score.

Being paranoid, on lesser extent, actually helps you to deal with the risk of identity theft

Although being paranoid is obviously unhealthy, it does arguably help you being cautious is a good way to protect yourself from identity theft.

Many people who are victims of identity theft thought that it would not happen to them – unfortunately, they realise it when it strikes them.

There are ways to help you deal with identity theft, some of them available online.

Stop being paranoid, start being cautious

You can actually start a simple measure to protect yourself from identity theft – never, ever share your personal information with non-trusted and questionable third-parties, either in online shopping or financial service applications.

However, to ensure your reputation and credit report protected, you might want to consider the help of identity theft protection service providers. They are more than ready to help you protect your identity, both online and off line.

Some of the big names providing such services are Lifelock and TrustedID.

Which one is the most suitable solution for you? You can learn about Lifelock VS TrustedID from the Net.

I also suggest you to read Lifelock Reviews and other identity theft protection reviews to learn others’ experience with the service provider.

Last but not least, don’t apply for any credit cards or credit applications on sight! Managing your personal finance closely will naturally decrease the potential of identity theft.

Image by CarbonNYC.

Depression and Finances: Can Money Buy Happiness?

Can Money Buy Happiness?

We’ve spoken a bit in this blog about how the brain can effect our financial decisions, but what about hour our financial health can effect our mental health?

Make Love, Not Debt bills itself as a Relationship Finance blog. It’s a bold statement, but at the same time an interesting perspective to take. Recently, the author has taken to speaking about depression, as he has been diagnosed with it.

There were two posts that caught my eye on the topic. The first “Depression is expensive, denial much more so.” deals with the idea that people often try to buy their way out of depression. This touches upon what some of the other blog posts here have discussed. The most telling post for me though was “Depression and Finances: Socioeconomic Status“.

What really jumped out at me from that post was this quote: “In one British study, actual poverty or unemployment increased the duration of any existing depression, but it did not appear to play any important causal role. Feelings of financial insecurity, however, both caused and prolonged depression.

Think on that for a second. It really is an immensely freeing statement. If you’re feeling depressed, and your feeling financially insecure, the two could be related!

So, to tackle the question that started this post, can money buy happiness? No. Not directly. However, managing your money and eliminating feelings of financial insecurity seems to help eliminate depression, so I think that’s as good of a reason as any to get your finances in order.