5 Health Insurance Mistakes to Avoid

Find the perfect health insurance plan for you and your family.

The Affordable Care Act brought health insurance to the forefront of the public’s collective consciousness, but that doesn’t mean we’re necessarily any smarter about how we use our policies. Everyone who has health insurance, whether it’s from a private or government marketplace, should take care to avoid these common missteps.

Not focusing on the big picture. “The most common mistake people make when buying health plans is only looking at premiums and deductibles,” says Abir Sen, co-founder and CEO of Gravie, a free service that helps individuals and employers comparison shop for health insurance. (For those who are new to paying for your own health insurance, the premium is your monthly payment; the deductible is the amount you are responsible for paying before your plan takes over and pays all or most of the costs.)

While they are important, Sen says, considering only premiums and deductibles is “kind of like choosing a car based only on the monthly payment and ignoring things like gas mileage, reliability, safety, maintenance costs and so on.”

Sen says most people “don’t read the fine print regarding how the terms of the plan may affect them if they actually get injured or really sick. This could be everything from the copay for doctor’s visits … how much the plan will pay out after the deductible is met, whether or not there is an added cost to seeing specific specialists and more.”

Lawrence Thaul, president of Millenium Financial Inc., a company that specializes in designing company health, retirement and executive benefits plans, concurs. “People are reducing their initial out-of-pocket premium costs in many instances, but they are exposing themselves to more on the claims end,” he says, noting that some companies have tried to expand their deductible limits up to $4,000 and beyond. In general, he adds, the health insurance industry has changed so much that you can’t get a policy and forget about it indefinitely.

“Don’t bet the house budget on a long-term plan which may not be offered next year. This is a one-year-at-a-time environment,” Thaul says.

Find the perfect health insurance plan for you and your family.

Not learning how your policy works. Ivan Williams, senior policy director for GetInsured.com, an online health insurance marketplace, says many people don’t fully understand what’s included in the “in-network” portion of their plan or what a deductible is.

There’s good reason for that, of course. Health insurance is confusing, particularly when it comes to in-network pricing. But if you don’t try to learn how your policy works, you risk spending more than you need to – possibly far more.

“For example, a hospital may be in your network, but the doctor you’re seeing there may not be, so you’d be charged out-of-network prices, which are generally higher than in-network prices, for that doctor’s services,” Williams says.

He adds that individuals with ACA coverage will likely be protected from high out-of-network costs due to special rules in place. Still, he advises, “Check with your insurance provider before any scheduled procedure to be sure you fully understand what services and doctors are considered ‘in-network’ and where you may be exposed to out-of-network prices.”

Deductibles are also a maze of confusion because some health care bills are subject to the deductible and some aren’t. Williams says that’s why health insurance will promptly pay for doctors’ visits, prescription medicine and certain preventive care services, but often not diagnostic lab tests, X-rays, outpatient surgery and hospitalizations.

“Some people think they have to pay their entire annual deductible before they can use their insurance to see a doctor, which isn’t true,” Williams says. This is also a little scary, since one can imagine consumers with health insurance still not going to a doctor, thinking they can’t afford it.

And while plenty of consumers have been disappointed by what they discover in their insurer’s policy, there are hidden gems as well, according to Jennifer Fitzgerald, co-founder of PolicyGenius, a soon-to-be launched national insurance education platform and exchange.

“Don’t forget to take advantage of your health plan’s perks, like gym membership reimbursements or free smoking cessation programs,” Fitzgerald advises.

Not reporting changes to your insurer. This is not a mistake people currently make, but Williams suspects many people will in the future if they aren’t careful. Now that there’s a government marketplace for insurance through the ACA, Williams says you need to report any major changes to your income or household size to the marketplace where you bought your health insurance policy.

“For example, if you purchase insurance using tax credits and you end up making more money during the year than what you estimated when you qualified for tax credits, you could end up having to pay some or all of it back when you file your taxes,” Williams says. “Conversely, if you have a new baby or your income decreases at some point during your policy, you could qualify for additional tax credits that will help you pay your monthly premium for the remainder of your policy.”

Not bothering to consult your insurer when you have questions. Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company recently surveyed almost 400 employee benefits counselors about the top mistakes they see employees make during their annual benefits enrollment. They reported that 69 percent of employees don’t read their benefits information before they enroll, and the same number don’t know what benefits they have or what they cost.

William Byron, vice president of customer service operations for Geisinger Health Plan, headquartered in Danville, Pa., sees a similar lack of initiative in employees when it comes to finding out what’s covered and what’s not.

“The top mistake individuals make is not calling their insurance provider’s customer service team when they have questions regarding their coverage,” Byron says. “The most common issues, including not having a prior authorization to see a specialist or visiting an out-of-network provider, can cost an individual more or may not be covered at all. Individuals should talk with the experts provided by their insurance company.”

He adds that information can also often be found on any insurer’s website.

Overinsuring yourself. It’s understandable if you do. You may plan on using your health insurance fairly often, and the last thing you want is a string of unpleasant billing surprises. So why not simply insure yourself for everything and go for a high premium and the lowest deductible possible?

It may work, of course, but be sure to crunch the numbers first. Sen says a lot of people lose money every year by covering themselves for services they don’t need.

“It’s almost like buying food at the grocery that you don’t like simply because it’s on sale and you want to save money, but then you end up throwing it away,” Sen says. “There’s no cost savings in that.”

Marketplace America Health Insurance - 3 Easy Steps to Becoming Insured

Be Smart – Learn From Your Business Mistakes

We all make mistakes in business. The important issue is that we learn from them and apply the lessons in both our online and off-line business activities. One of my most costly mistakes happened about twelve years ago in the off-line business world. However, the lessons I learnt are just as applicable online as they are off-line.

Having established a small mail order business part-time, I decided to expand the business using direct mail techniques. I had read all the books and attended a course and it seemed like the best approach to achieve my goals. After approaching various mailing list providers, I decided I had found the perfect list to reach my target market.

Pricing was obtained from the list owner and he was happy to provide me with small quantities of names initially so that I could test his list. These tests were successful enough for me to decide to undertake two large mail campaigns one after the other. I was very confident that I would be receiving countless orders and soon leaving my full-time job.

Disaster struck with the first mailing and the second mailing was too far progressed to stop. The initial sign was a significant increase in the dead letter rate. Then the quantity of orders was less than half what I expected. The second mailing had similar results. I was significantly out of pocket and I had to stay in my full-time job to repay the debts I had created.

Shortly thereafter, I began to read reports that the list owner was being investigated for fraud and other criminal charges. All in all, a sorry state of affairs.

The key lessons I learnt from this experience were:

a) Always check the integrity of who you are doing business with – especially if you have not had previous dealings with them.

b) Never assume that limited test results will be duplicated in larger scale tests.

c) Never over-commit to promotional activity – it is better to grow slower than to lose your hard earned money.

d) The stated size and quality of a mailing list should be regarded with caution.

e) Ensure you have sufficient profit margin in your product to be able to survive should your response be very poor – especially in direct marketing activities.

Today, the lessons I learnt are applied to my online business activities in the following ways.

Solo mailings to lists of newsletter subscribers are done with caution. Some list owners will inflate their subscriber numbers to encourage advertisers to use their services. The first thing I do is subscribe to the newsletter to see the quality of content and what others are advertising via solo ads.

Then I run a classified ad in the newsletter to test the responsiveness of the subscribers. This also gives me an indication of whether the stated size of the list is true or not. I have had better response from a list of 20,000 than what I received from a list of over 200,000. Many factors can influence such a result.

While you should receive a far better response from solo ads than classified ads, it still pays to test wherever you can. If a classified ad in the newsletter did not result in responses, I would not advertise using the solo ads. However, I might test a few different classified ads to see if the initial results were correct before moving on to other possibilities.

It is worthwhile to “do the numbers” before spending on advertising. While many marketing experts talk about the ‘lifetime value of a customer’ concept, those whose business activities centre on promoting the products of affiliate programs should regard this with caution. Instead, determine how many must be sold so that the commission you receive will cover the cost of your advertising.

The higher the percentage response to your offer you need to cover your advertising cost, the greater the chance you will make a loss. Do not rely on industry statistics or averages to make your decisions. Keep careful records of your activities so you know what works, what is to be avoided and what to expect from future promotional activities.

Finally, exercise caution when considering safe-lists and any type of email address lists that can be purchased. My experience is that there are NO truly safe-lists available other than having your own opt-in list. Any form of bulk email to people who have not agreed to receive your message will damage your business reputation and your prospects of making a decent living on the Internet

Going The Extra Mile to Business Success

You cannot fail when you give more than 100 percent. In whatever endeavour you are doing, always give more than one hundred percent. You will find that whenever you do this, your rewards will always be far greater than the extra effort you expended. Some people refer to this success concept as going the extra mile. What it means is that you need to give people more than they expect.

If you are working in your business and want to see it grow, the surest way to achieve it is by giving more. Customers are impressed when they discover a business that is innovative and gives them more than what they expected. Look for better and more efficient ways to do things. For example, make it easy to order from your site. Reduce the number of clicks to get to relevant information about your product or the order form.

Don’t be afraid of giving information for free. This is a crucial step in the online world to building credibility and trust. A free report or a sample (or extract) from your information product will enable your potential customer to determine whether what you are offering is what they are looking for.

Always include some free (but valuable) bonuses with every product ordered. This also promotes the perception of getting more than what was paid for. In some cases, I have purchased products on the net because the free bonuses interested me more than the main product.

Ensure that your product delivery is quick and efficient. If you sell an information product, ensure that the customer can download it as soon as they have paid for it. Provide alternative download formats and locations so that all needs are catered for. Follow up a couple of days later to ensure they received their products without problems. If they had problems, resolve them straight away and provide an additional bonus to compensate for their inconvenience.

If your product needs to be shipped, provide your customer with alternative shipping methods. You customer can then choose how quickly their order is to be delivered and they can pay for the faster alternatives. Again, follow up to ensure they received their order on time and without problems.

Go the extra mile with customer complaints. This is an excellent opportunity to turn a disgruntled buyer into a life long supporter of your business. Acknowledge problems and resolve them quickly. Thank the customer for making you aware of them. You can be sure that if one customer has had a problem, then others have also had the same problem too.

For those working directly with customers, always give them more than they expect and you will generate more sales. Sometimes just giving a big, warm smile and courteous attention to the customers’ requirements are all that is required. In the online world, prompt attention to email and courteous responses will boost your reputation and your sales. Spend the time to determine the customers’ need and then you will be in a position to satisfy it. I stress to you be sure to concentrate on satisfying the customers need.

Have you ever been into a store and everyone is glum and does not want to serve you? Do you feel inclined to buy from them? No. But go into a store where they seem glad to see you and willing to help you and you feel far more like buying their products. The same applies to the online world. A well-designed web site with easy access to information will yield greater results. Make your web site user friendly!

Don’t sit around waiting for people to buy. Ensure that your marketing communications ask for the order! Encourage responses through offering a strong guarantee. When someone makes a claim under your guarantee, honour it. This is part of the trust building process.

Make the effort to develop additional skills in your spare time. Studying about leadership or how to motivate people will always be of help in building your business. There is always something new to be learnt when it comes to dealing with people and influencing them to buy.

However, never lose sight of your most important task right now – keeping your existing customers satisfied.

Being Organized Equals Small Business Success

You started your own business because you have a burning passion for what you do. You are also – we hope — good what you do and have a desire to help others. Little do you know that running a business includes, well…running a business. This little bombshell can throw many a new business owner for a loop.

I receive numerous phone calls every week asking me how to start a business as a professional organizer. The first thing I say is that the organizing part is easy because it is a natural gift (sometimes a curse); it’s running the business that can trap you. This is not to scare a potential entrepreneur away, but to help them realize that it’s not all fun and games doing what you do best. You have to:

Find an accountant
Buy insurance
Get legal advice on how to set up your business
File for the company name with the state
Find working capital if necessary
File all the proper tax forms
Open up a checking account
Get office supplies
Market the business
Build a network
And the list goes on and on…

In the initial start-up stage, entrepreneurs are often so excited about starting a new business that they pay little or no attention to what is happening with all the paperwork and electronic data you are generating. That is typical and expected. However, around the six to twelve month mark, entrepreneurs start calling people like me – a professional organizer – begging for help in setting up a system to help them be organized. I envision a hand protruding from mounds of papers reaching for help.

The sad news is that many small businesses have never taken the time to set up systems once they’ve built up paper and electronic backlogs. They just keep generating documents without stopping to assess what is being created.

I firmly believe that the healthiest small business is the one that visits and reviews their organizational systems every six to twelve months. The small business that keeps doing the “same old, same old” is losing money. So where do you stand?

Something that has really hit home in the past year or so is that you don’t GET organized and have long lasting success. You have to BE organized. Getting organized is a quick fix of cleaning up and putting things away – usually a Band-aid (r) approach – that doesn’t last for more than a few days.

Being organized is recognizing that organization is an ongoing journey. Life doesn’t stop happening the minute you GET organized. You have to have systems in place that will help the daily flow; a lack of systems will cause clogs. These clogs come in many forms:

Piles of papers
Lost documents
Misplaced items – glasses, phone, pens, keys
Running late
Stress and frustration…

You get the picture.

When it becomes clear to you that you are running through your day feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing, you may need to reassess your organizational skills and systems.

Your small business must overcome many hurdles to be successful. Fortunately, being organized is one hurdle that you can learn to overcome. Or you can work with a professional organizer to set up customized systems that make you functional, productive, and more pleasant to be around.

I challenge you take a deep look at the state of your small business’ organization. If you see your passion being overrun by disorganization, it’s time to take some action.

Here’s to simplifying your life!

Unsecured Business Loans – Fuel your business with a low cost finance

Every business has a vision and a mission to follow. But, to achieve these, entrepreneurs need to have leadership expertise and adequate capital to finance the business. You may have the vision to reach the new heights in the world of business, but lack of funds may be stopping you from using your skills. You need not feel disheartened, unsecured business loans can provide you with the funds you need for making a mark for yourself as a “business tycoon”.

Businesses vary on the basis of size. A business could be of small, medium and big size depending on the capital invested and the scale on which business operate. Businesses are also categorized on the basis of ownership or on the way they are managed such as sole proprietorship, partnership and corporations. An individual requires capital to start up or expand the business irrespective of the size of the business. Unsecured business loans can work as a great help in such cases.

Unsecured business loans are designed specifically for UK businesspersons to finance their need for capital to start up or expand a business. Unsecured business loan offers flexibility to a borrower; he can use the loan for any purpose. Purpose of borrowing an unsecured business loan may vary from person to person. The amount borrowed with an unsecured business loan can be used for the commencement of business, expansion purpose, to finance the asset or equipment purchase and refinance or to restructure finances. Some entrepreneurs use the loan proceeds as a working capital. It allows a borrower to preserve his cash and working capital.

The best thing about an unsecured business loan is that it does not require a borrower to put a security against the loan. Thus, the borrower’s property is not under any risk of repossession.

Unsecured business loans are available for amounts ranging form £15,000 to £ 250,000. The repayment period of the loan vary from 1 to 20 years depending on the amount of loan a borrower wants and his or her credit history. This loan is best suited for short term and small cash needs.

A borrower by applying for an unsecured business loan gets the following benefits:

  • Retention of the Ownership – An entrepreneur can retain the current ownership in his company instead of raising funds by selling interest in his company to an outsider.
  • Cash Flow management- Unsecured business loan provides borrower an access to capital with minimal up-front payments and the flexibility to design a loan repayment schedule suitable to your finances.
  • Tax Advantage- Interest on the loan is tax deductible. Thus, can help in saving hard earned money of the borrower.

Each loan requires a borrower to pay interest on the amount borrowed. Unsecured business loan are usually provided at higher rate of interest as no collateral is put against the loan. You can either choose to pay a fixed interest rate or variable interest rate on the amount borrowed. In a fixed rate business loan, the interest rate applied to the outstanding principal remains constant for an agreed period that may be the loan term. Variable interest rate imply that rate of interest on the loan is not constant and fluctuates to common standard rate.

You need to understand the fact that the lender is entitled only to the interest on its loan. You are not liable to pay any percentage of the profits or a share in the company that an investor would expect.

A good credit history is always useful while applying for a loan. In case of an unsecured business loan, absence of collateral makes it necessary for a lender to recognize or identify the credit worthiness of the borrower to avoid any default by the borrower in the future. Higher the credit score, higher is the possibility of getting a cheap and fast loan, so work on your credit score and you will see it doing wonders for you.

Though, there are various lenders in the finance market. Online lenders can help you overcome all the shortcomings that you must have faced while borrowing from the traditional lenders. Apply for an online unsecured business loan that will save your time and money. You just need to fill up a small application form online which hardly takes few minutes and the lender will get back to you with the appropriate loan option. If you are looking for the best loan, then don’t relax. Collect loan quotes from various lenders and compare them, I assure you will definitely end up with the best deal.

Profit maximization is the main objective behind every business. But, to accomplish it, requires a lot of hard work and dedication on the part of the entrepreneur matched with adequate capital investment. Unsecured business loan can provide with the funds for your business, follow your intuition and work with dedication. And one day you will be known among the top businessman of the world.

Avoiding Common Business Loan Mistakes

Surveys show that 94.7% of small business owners feel their only lending resources are local banks or personal credit cards. This common sense advice will help you avoid these common business loan mistakes, regardless of your personal credit history… and avoid pledging your personal property as collateral.

First of all, getting approved for a commercial loan is definitely easier than getting personal loans… regardless of your personal credit scores. Additionally, getting the right types of corporate credit is absolutely critical: if you want to protect your personal assets, minimize the risk of a personal lawsuit affecting your business, and to your ability to weather the economic changes that happen overnight.

All business owners must be much more proactive about developing relationships with the right types of lending institutions. You usually want to start your application process with out-of-state, national lenders… not your local or regional banking institutions. National lenders typically won’t require a personal guarantee or your social security number.

Follow this simple roadmap to obtain a small business startup loan, a business debt consolidation loan, a bad credit business loan, or a government business loan… although I strongly recommend that you find a commercial loan expert who can help you through the process of building a strong corporate credit rating.

Finding a competent business loan expert will give you a head start on your competition & also let you focus on running your day-to-day activities… instead of dealing with the hassles of establishing a strong business credit rating. An excellent business credit score can help your company’s image, overnight. And, finding a small business loan expert isn’t that difficult. You just need to know where to look.

Now… let’s get started… before you start applying for any business loans!

1. How is your business structured? Is it a sole proprietorship, C-corporation, S-Corporation, Limited-Liability Corporation (LLC), Partnership, or Trust?

2. How long has your business been recognized by your State & Local government?

3. Has your company ever had derogatory information reported against it to either of the two (2) most popular business credit reporting agencies, Dun & Bradstreet or Experian?

4. Are your commercial permits, licenses and registrations current?

5. Does your business have a physical address, or are you trying to use a U.S. Post Office Box instead?

6. Is your business telephone number recognized by directory assistance?

7. Are your incoming telephone calls professionally answered in your business name?

8. Have you established a business checking account?

9. Have you registered & asked for an Employer Identification Number (also known as an EIN) from the IRS?

If your answer to the first question was a sole proprietorship, partnership or trust; I urge you to re-establish your company as a corporation or LLC. I’m not going to provide you with legal advice, but many CPAs and attorneys highly recommend
LLCs (Limited Liability Corporations) as a way of protecting your personal assets & estate… in the event of any lawsuits being filed against your company.

As a sole proprietor, your personal assets are at direct risk of seizure or forfeiture when faced with most types of legal action. Additionally, if you are applying for business loans in a corporation’s name… most lending institutions will not require you to provide any personal guarantee!

A corporation can still face difficulties applying for business credit, if it has been in business less than two (2) years or had previous credit problems reported against it. Here are some ways to fix these problems.

– Purchasing a “shelf corporation” or “aged corporation” that’s been in good standing with your State government (for longer than 2 years) can drastically improve your chances for small business loan approval.

– You can attempt to repair your business credit rating by writing dispute letters to Experian or Dun & Bradstreet, which isn’t always possible.

– Some corporate credit experts will help you find, select & purchase an established “shelf” or “aged” corporation, some of which already have strong credit ratings established… saving you alot of hassles!

I cannot stress this enough… you MUST have a physical address (not a PO Box) if you want to establish a solid business credit rating. The same thing is said for telephone numbers & the way incoming phone calls are handled. Would you lend
money to a company that does not appear to have a physical address or documented telephone number?

And, don’t forget to always keep your commercial permits, licenses & registrations current… and always keep copies of these documents in case a potential lender asks for this information.

Business checking accounts are a must. Again, this proves stability to your potential lenders. Here are a couple of tips for you, in case you’ve had any checking accounts closed by a financial institution. Pay off the outstanding balance (if any) that’s being reported by the bank, or open a checking account at a bank or credit union that doesn’t use the ChexSystems credit reporting system. Most credit unions don’t use ChexSystems, and you can always find a list of banking institutions in your area that don’t use ChexSystems… by simply doing a search on Google, Yahoo or MSN.

Small business credit ratings are tracked using your business name, business address and employer identification number (EIN). You can apply for & receive an EIN at the IRS’s website (irs.gov). You can also call the IRS, but be prepared for long waits.

Then you’ll want to obtain a D-U-N-S number from Dun & Bradstreet, the largest business credit reporting agency. You can apply for this without any fees at Dun & Bradstreet’s website (dnb.com), and you’ll usually receive this number within
thirty (30) days. Do not apply for this number until you’ve prepared your self thoroughly, because any information you give to them… goes into your credit file… permanently.

After you’ve obtained your D-U-N-S number, you’re probably ready to start establishing some vendor credit. Vendor credit is where many business owners start establishing business credit ratings. Simply go to staples.com, officemax.com or officedepot.com to get started. Then, you’ll also need to fax your business telephone bill & the credit application to them… on your business letterhead (which you can create using your favorite word processing software if you don’t have expensive stationery). They usually don’t require any personal guarantees (if you’ve followed the outline above), and you’ll usually receive a starting credit line of $750.

This is critical & I repeat… critical! Always pay your invoices before the grace periods begin… especially on unsecured credit cards or vendor credit lines. Dun & Bradstreet will lower your credit score for every day a creditor reports your bill as unpaid while you’re within your grace period. Whereas, personal credit scores are not lowered unless you are 30+ days past your due date.

Dun & Bradstreet reports what’s known as a Paydex score (your corporate credit score), and a score of 80 is very good… with 100 being the highest score you can achieve. Your Paydex score is issued once you’ve established a known
vendor/credit relationship with at least five (5) creditors.

There are shortcuts that will help you get much more than $750 alot faster. When using a business credit expert, most small business owners (even startups) can be approved for vendor credit lines of $25,000-$50,000 and open credit lines of
$50,000, $250,000, $500,000 or more… in as little as 45-60 days… by using their knowledge of the application process & “shelf” corporations.

Now, it’s your choice. Are you going to go against the grain & try to establish business credit on your own (which could prove costly to your business health, growth & survival)? Or, will you choose to utilize a corporate credit expert… allowing you to remain focused on your daily business needs?

Most business owners make the mistake of trying to do this on their own… usually trying to find grants, investor “angel” money, or falling back onto the “personal credit card sword”. Don’t be a casualty like the rest. Learn more about how you can use the same tools that informed, educated millionaires have been using for decades.

Ran Out Of Cash? Finance With a Personal Loan!

Obviously, the best thing to do would be to count with a savings account to cope with such situations but for the majority of people who don’t, a personal loan is a much better source of finance than using a credit card.

Credit and Debt experts call running out of cash a liquidity problem. Unless of course the problem is recursive in which case, you would be facing an income problem. There are plenty of ways to solve such difficulties but each one has different costs and advisors suggest personal loans as the best solution for sudden lack of cash difficulties.

Problems With Credit Card Financing

The usual solution people find for these situations is to make use of their credit cards. With luck, the problem is solved in the short term. However, other problems will arise if you always resort to credit cards when running out of cash. Credit card debt accumulates easily and generates certain dependency that may trigger additional problems.

Since credit cards offer the option not to pay the balance in full and even pay only the minimum payment which is usually consistent only of interests, the capital keeps rising and so the interests. Besides, the interest rate charged for credit cards is rather high compared to other finance options such as personal loans.

All the above gives the user, the idea that he can keep on spending and prevents him from concentrating on the sources of his lack of cash problems. The lack of budgeting will sooner than later lead to debt problems. Many Americans are today finding out this fact the hard way. Defaults and bankruptcy are at the highest peak in decades.

What Benefits Do Personal Loans Provide?

As opposed to credit cards, the debt you incur when you apply and get approved for a personal loan is fixed. Moreover, unless you close a deal with a variable interest rate, the monthly payments are also fixed. Thus, you don’t run the risk of debt accumulation as long as you meet the monthly payments on time.

This fact also contributes to making things a lot easier at the time of budgeting. The loans monthly payments can easily be included in a monthly budget as a fixed amount even if the rate is variable. Besides, all variations are highly predictable and any differences can be included by stating a possible range of the amount of the monthly installments.
Also the fixed nature of this loans aids avoiding the temptation of incurring in further spending thus contributing to solve the problem that caused you to resort to financing due to a sudden lack of cash.

But most importantly, the interest rate charged for personal loans is a lot lower than the rates charged for credit card financing. The rates of unsecured personal loans are usually around two thirds to a half the rate of credit card financing and secured personal loans are even lower.
Credit cards can include a financing interest rate of up to 18% or even more and secured personal loans won’t exceed an 8% APR.

Self Employed Loans – by Lenders Who Do Not See Self Employment in Poor Light

There are many instances of people who gave up their cosy and paying job for the want of starting their own operations. Being self employed gives them the thrill of being able to work on a project from start to finish. It also helps them in making full utilisation of their skills. Lenders however do not consider the self employed worthy enough to qualify for their loans. Regular loans require a systematic payment from the borrower’s side. Self employed people, with an unsteady incidence of income are deemed incapable of making regular payments.

The reason behind lenders refusal to self employed people is in no way motivated by the concern for safety of the amount lent. Lenders are well aware of the high paying potential that self employed people can offer. It is for this reason that a large number of loan providers have come up with special loan deals for the self employed people. These loans are known as self employed loans and are built in a form as to incorporate the features of the self employed people.

Trying to find a way by which self employed borrowers can make payments towards the self employed loans and also not be tied to fixed obligations, loan providers hit upon the flexible method of payment. Under a flexible method of payment, the loan provider does not tie borrowers to a watertight payment structure. The borrower has the option to pay as much as he wants against the loan taken. The months when profits see a high, payment too can be made of a higher amount. The higher payment will provide for the times when profit from operations is not as high. These are the times when underpayment on account of self employed loan can be made. The payment is left for the borrower to decide. He can decide the payment according to his state of financial affairs.

Payment holidays form another important feature of self employed loans. A payment holiday is when borrowers take complete off from making payments. This is when borrowers’ finances see a bad turn or when the borrower has other important expenses to make. Borrower must discuss his financial situation and the reasons behind the payment holiday with the loan provider before payment holiday is approved.

Would lenders have accepted to mould the repayment structure in this manner in a regular loan? No! Most loan providers expressly prohibit overpayments or underpayments stating that such moulding of the repayment structure of a regular loan would increase the number of calculations that they have to make. Thus the borrowers of regular personal loans have to make fixed payments whatever be their financial status.

Self employed loans are also beneficial for borrowers who have experienced bad credit history in the near future. Through self employed loans, such entrepreneurs can raise the necessary finance easily. Any regular loan lender would have fussed a lot on the bad credit history and would have raised the interest rate largely.

Self employed loans help borrowers make up for an important discrepancy. The self employed people are not able to prove their income. In fact, they cover up their income to evade taxes. Lenders, who need income records to check viability of borrower for loans, feel unsafe to deal with persons who only claim to have a certain income. Self employed loans can in such cases work as a self certified loan where borrowers have to themselves certify their income.

For the convenience and flexibility that is offered on self employed loans, the self employed people will have to make an extra payment in terms of interest. Self employed loans carry a higher percentage of interest. Still borrowers will not feel the pinch because interest rates now are at an all time low level. The typical interest rates or APR start from 7%. At any other time, borrowers would have to pay expensively for the self employed loans.

Self employed loans present an important method whereby borrowers can convert the excess of equity in their home. The terms on which self employed loans is lent is further going to improve if the borrower has pledged certain collateral to the loan provider. The loan proceeds can be conveniently used for any of the personal as well as business purposes that the borrower desires. Lenders, in a bid to make the self employed loans more flexible, wouldn’t interrupt in the borrowers’ decision of usage.

Can a Debt Consolidation Loan Help Your Credit Record?

Unpaid monthly payments will damage a person’s credit history. Even though you may plan to make double payments the following month, the missed payment will show up as a negative, and may compromise your future ability to borrow money or extend your credit limit on existing accounts. That is why it is important to make every effort to pay your bills on time. Sometimes a creditor will let you make partial payments temporarily for extreme conditions, such as disability or unemployment. Still, you will have to find sources of funding that will help you make those credit card payments and either avoid a negative credit history or prevent your financial standing from damaging reports if the bills remain outstanding.

A debt consolidation loan may be the answer to your problem. Although a loan will not automatically reduce your debt load, it can provide smaller payment options that will ease your financial strain and help you stay current with monthly balances. A consolidation loan could provide several benefits toward paying off your credit card debt in a timely manner without defaulting and hurting your credit reputation.

1. Shop around with different lenders to see if you are eligible for a debt consolidation loan. The internet is an incredible resource for debt management and offers a wealth of information if you know where to look. One such resource is www.banklady.com. Potential lenders will consider several things to see if you can get a loan of this type, including the amount of debt you currently owe and the monthly payments that are due for each one, your household income, previous credit history, paid items that were financed-like a car or a boat, and your ability to make monthly payments for the proposed consolidation loan.

2. If it appears that you are eligible, you can submit an application for the debt consolidation loan. You may be able to do this from home at your computer. This would be helpful if you need to consult records and pay stubs rather than bring them all to the bank for copying. On the other hand, making an appointment with a loan officer to review some of the necessary records will give you the opportunity to ask questions and clarify information. Make sure the application is filled out correctly and completely, as missing information could delay an answer.

3. After discussing figures with the loan officer, make sure that you can afford the debt consolidation monthly payment. There’s no point in refinancing if the new payment will still be hard to meet. Try to get the due-date set to a day each month right around payday, so you can make the payment before spending that money on other things. Payroll withdrawals are another option that will automatically deduct the monthly payment from your paycheck before you ever get a chance to see or spend that amount. Ask your lender if this option is available, and if you use it, be sure to deduct the payment amount from your check register each month.

Should everyone in financial trouble take out a consolidation loan? Not necessarily. There are potential drawbacks to consider, so do your research before making the decision to apply for the loan.

1. How long will a debt consolidation loan extend your current balances? If your present credit card balances could be paid in full within three years by making regular payments as scheduled, is it advisable to refinance your debt and extend the loan another three to five years? You could end up paying far more over the life of the loan than you would by keeping current with regular debt payments. Compare the two to see if refinancing is in your best interests.

2. What will be your new interest rate? A debt consolidation loan generally is an unsecured loan, which means you may pay a higher interest rate than you might for a secured purchase, like a new car loan, for example. If your current credit card debt interest averages at six percent, and your new loan interest will be nine percent, how much more will you end up paying until the balances are paid in full?

3. Consider upcoming circumstances. For example, if your financial crunch is temporarily due to having a child in college, and he will graduate in a year, is there a way to make regular payments during this time by tightening the household budget rather than by refinancing a loan? You might be able to use your job’s year-end bonuses, an unexpected windfall, or a postponed vacation as a source of revenue to help you meet the present payment schedule, which could save money associated with the costs of a loan application, a longer payment scheduled, and higher interest.

These are some of the issues that typically come up when people think about refinancing their credit card debt to protect or clear their credit records. Give careful thought to the pros and cons of a debt consolidation loan before switching debt balances to a new lender.

Wholesale Real Estate Investing

Consider these parameters for a real estate deal:

Property Value: $250,000
Purchase Price: $160,000
Repairs: $2,500

If you analyze the numbers, you see that the equity available in this deal is $87,500 (Property Value minus Purchase Price minus Repairs).

So here’s a hypothetical question for you: Assuming that the information above is accurate, and the property is located in an area that you view as acceptable and/or favorable, then:

If I offered to give you this deal in exchange for $10,000 in cash, would you do it?

Remember – this is hypothetical. The real question here is this:

Would you exchange $10,000 in cash for $87,500 in equity?

For most savvy investors, the answer is: Absolutely YES!

This is called “Wholesale Real Estate Investing” – the process of buying a lot of equity at a very significant discount from another real estate investor who has already done the hard work of finding a deal and getting it under contract.

Just think about that – consider how easy real estate investing would be for you if you had a network of real estate investors in your area (and maybe even all over the country) who, several times each month, offered you the opportunity to purchase significant amounts of equity for a severe discount…

…It would be quite easy to become wealthy, fairly quickly, wouldn’t it?

The answer again, is: Absolutely Yes, it will.

It is through smart “wholesale real estate investing” that you can increase your net worth by $20,000 to $100,000 on every real estate deal that you do.

…Now the burning question becomes, “Where exactly do I find these wholesale real estate investing deals?”

I know of at least 3 solid sources…

You’ve got to admit – it will be a pretty wonderful thing when you know how to find great real estates deals in which you can trade a small amount of cash for a large amount of equity without even having to find the deals yourself…

…And that’s exactly what “wholesale real estate investing” is all about.

So let’s get right to it. Here are 3 places to find wholesale real estate deals:

1.) Visit the local real estate investing club in your area. Almost all of these clubs have networking opportunities to work with other investors who wholesale deals regularly, and this is an easy way to find great opportunities.

2.) Watch for ads in the newspaper, television, and in other media that advertise slogans like, “We Buy Houses”, or “Sell Your House in 9 Days” or anything similar to that. Most of the time, these people are real estate investors, and they are happy to wholesale deals to people like you.

3.) Watch your email-box. Why? Because if and when you choose enrollment in various free e-courses online, such as that via tm-RealEstateInvesting.com, you’ll be provided with automatic notification about great local and national deals as they become available. But be forewarned – you’ve got to act quickly whenever these deals are announced, because obviously the response is always significant.

Happy Hunting!