Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pension age in UK could rise further

I just wonder why are senior citizens always sidelined? With an increasing life expectancy UK Pension Minister Angela Eagle stated that the state pension age is expected to rise to 68. As of now the state pension age is 60 for women and 65 for men.

There are certain sections of the society which believe that with rising life expectancy each year government can simply not afford to maintain state benefits at the current level. If this happens it would mean people would have to depend more on company and private pension arrangements in the future.

A sorry situation for senior citizens at the moment I believe.

Set aside money for college with Upromise plan

Are you a teenager who is all set to go to college or a worried father who is concerned about college fees of his child then this is the best time to save for your college education so that you don’t have to run hamper scamper? You must check out the Upromise plan

The Upromise plan enables families to save for their child’s education through 529 college savings plans offered by the company. Whenever an Upromise account is linked to the participating 529 plan it ensures that Upromise savings are transferred automatically into the plan on periodic basis. It’s a free service and members will be able to earn 1 to 25 % on qualified everyday spending.

It’s a good program for self employed people who don’t have an employer-sponsored college savings program. Certainly a cool plan if you would like your kid to zoom through college without any sort of trouble.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Some interesting money savings tips for recession

Recession is still looming large and despite assurances nothing seems to be clicking. Now in order to deal with the testing times here are some interesting money saving tips for all you people out there:

Switching from bottled water to tap water
Canceling gym memberships
Using food left overs for making food rather than throwing it away
Maintain an unshaven look to avoid buying razors
Training cats to use the toilet to save on kitty litter
Throwing frock swapping parties

This is just few of some amazing money saving tips and I hope many of you would have already started following a few of these.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Get bad weather insurance from Lufthansa

What if your holidays get marred by bad weather? Airline Lufthansa has realized this and it is offering sunshine insurance where it would return back the money to the traveler in case it rains. Just for an extra fee of 20 euros travelers would be able to book flights with added insurance to 36 destinations worldwide between Sept 1 and Oct 31.

Holiday travelers will be eligible for 20 euro rebate every year in case more than 5mm rain is recorded on wetteronline.de with a maximum compensation of 200 euros per passenger.

Hurry up people as the offer ends on Aug 18!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cover your mortgage with insurance and get peace of mind

Today it’s impossible to buy a house without taking expensive loans. In these times of uncertainty people must definitely consider an insurance policy which could cover their expensive home loans in event of job loss, death, critical illness or disability.

Insurance covering your mortgage is a pure risk product and since it’s not an investment alternative don’t expect any kind of returns on it. In case of death or disability of the breadwinner the outstanding amount is returned to the lender.

You should definitely consider this kind of insurance as the premiums are affordable and the premium amount is based on your age, amount of loan, loan tenure and interest rate. In some kind of policies the insurance cover also covers the house and its content.

Above all do read all the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It’s better to pay off your mortgage when you are still working

Gone are the days when most of us ended debt free or without any mortgage by the time we retired but times have changed for the worse and most of us who retire today end up with mortgage on our heads.

As per Boston College Center for Retirement Research report, it would be good if you pay your mortgage rather than drag it into retirement or if you cant then another option would be to set aside money in taxable or tax deferred account for the purpose.

In the current environment you must consider that a mortgage pays better return on the money as compared to other risk free assets. It’s better to write a check to the lender rather than stack up those investments which could lead a lot of grey hair for you.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Online mortgages and you

You might feel that online mortgages is pain but let me tell you online lenders can offer you better mortgage rates at lower fees when compared with a traditional bank. It means enormous savings and benefits for you provided one adopts tried and tested method for evaluation of the lenders.

Check out LendingTree which is a search engine that enables borrowers to compare financial products which includes mortgages from online lenders. One of the tools is Look Before You Lock which enables borrowers to compare customized loan offers to sort out the best of the lot.

One of the problems encountered with online lenders is that their appraisers are not local therefore they may not be able to understand the market and in case numbers don’t match the borrower would end up with a higher than expected mortgage payment.

At the end of the day go for a reputable lender in order to avoid troubles later on.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Get free insurance worth £10,000 for your new born child from Aviva

In these times of duress lot of freebies are being offered by lotta companies including insurance companies. Aviva is offering parents of new born child with £10,000 of free life cover for a year. In order to be eligible for the free insurance cover you need to register before the child becomes six months old and it would cover him till he reaches the age of one. Though your full medical history is not required but people receiving treatment for life threatening conditions are excluded from the free insurance cover being offered by Aviva. If you are interested Call 0800 046 6446 or visit www.aviva.co.uk

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Co-ownership mortgages being offered by banks

Check this!! Commonwealth Bank and several other banks are launching mortgage products which would enable co owners to keep their repayments separate after it visualized several friends opting to buy a house together.

Already there has been a 300% in the number of buyers opting to take mortgage with their friend in the last six months. This is being opted by first time home buyers who cannot afford it on their own or don’t meet the strict lending requirements. All of them seem to be eager to seek advantage from the boosted federal grant before its expiry by the end of this year. Life is not as easy mate as you might feel!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Unemployed?? Get free Car Insurance

Recession is at its peak and people are losing their jobs like pack of cards and in this present scenario Allianz has declared that it will be offering free car insurance for a year in case their customer becomes jobless.

Allianz will also be offering free motorcycle insurance for its bike insurers who have lost their job in these difficult times. Allianz will be offering guarantees of Unemployment Protection Auto Insurance. The company will be reimbursing their car insurance policies between August and July 2010 and people who become unemployment before maturity of the policies will be offered free auto insurance coverage for a year. It will be reimbursing the full amount of the premium.

Sounds like music to my ears!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Now Songwriters get access to insurance cover

Songwriters can now take a peaceful breath as Nashville Songwriters Association International has introduced insurance to insure songwriters facing lawsuits for plagiarizing songs. Starting at $1,600 per year this insurance policy offers a $100,000 in coverage per case for copyright infringement which would be administered by Frost Specialty, a Music Row insurance agency.

You can even opt for $1 million in coverage provided you are willing to fork out $12,000 as part of the group's copyright infringement insurance policy. Until now this was an expensive proposition but now frivolous lawsuits will be a thing of the past.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hey, what is 401(k)?

Many of us are not simply aware about what 401(k) is? Today I will try to explain and clear doubts about what exactly 401(k) is. It can be regarded as one of the several retirement packages which took shape in 1978 and is defined as 401(a) and 401(k) in several IRS code sections. It offers a favorable tax treatment for both the employer and employee.

Let me tell you all that 401(k) is not some kind of investment rather it’s an account. The account has got limitations with $16,500 being the limit for 2009 and people above the age of 50 can contribute up to $22,000.

Check out the advantages which you can incur by opting for 401(k):

Your contributions are made with pre-taxed salary thereby reducing your income tax.
• All contributions are allowed to grow free of capital gains and income taxes.
• Some employers will match the employee contribution up to a certain percentage. For example, your employer allows you to contribute up to 10% of your salary; if they offered a 50% match and you made a 10% contribution, your company match could potentially add another 5% to your overall salary!
• You can dollar-cost average or create the habit of routinely contributing to your account no matter how the market is performing. By doing so, you buy more shares when the price is low and less shares when the price is high while reducing the overall volatility of your 401(k) portfolio.
• You have the protection of the ERISA laws, which prevents creditors and predators from raiding your retirement savings in the event you suffer financial challenges.
• And lastly, you can take it with you when you leave (and not until then)! You have options. You can take the money out. Or, you can roll it over into your new employer’s 401(k) program or your own Traditional IRA.

One thing you need to consider about 401(k) is that you cannot withdraw money until the age of 59 ½ and in case you withdraw before that you will have to pay 10% penalty besides federal and state taxes which you owe on the deferred amount withdraw.

Seems I have been able to make you a lil aware about the term called 401(k).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Now avoid using credit card for paying your college fee

Beware university students before using credit cards for paying for your tuition fee as this could burn a hole in your pocket. Several universities in US which includes the like of University of Southern Maine, Northwestern University, George Mason University, University of Virginia to name a few are in the process of charging 2.75% processing fee for students using credit card to pay for their tuition fees.

This is being done as colleges are looking to cut costs as they have been facing budget shortfalls. Earlier colleges had been bearing these costs themselves but in these difficult times it has become tough for them.

With more than fifty percent students paying their tuition fee through credit card it would be a tough ask for them in the coming months forcing them to shift to other forms of payments.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Seniors look to reverse mortgage in times of recession

Time is bad and unpredictable at the moment and one of the biggest losers are the senior citizens who are facing trouble in taking care of themselves. Reverse mortgage is one such area towards which seniors are turning to and it has enabled retirees to take equity from their houses in a tax free manner. There is no need to pay back the loan or interest until the property is sold or the owner dies.

To be eligible for reverse mortgage you need to be at least above the age of sixty one and the older you are the higher amount of cash is available. In case the owner of the house dies the heirs have the option to either sell or refinance the mortgage. It is a complex mortgage and with lot of scam artists around you need to be careful enough before opting for it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Colorado State University Extension offering three scholarships for the Center for Environmental Research and Technology Institute Mitigation Course

Check this out. Colorado State University Extension has come up with three scholarships worth $595 each for the Center for Environmental Research and Technology Institute Mitigation Course.

This scholarship comprises of membership to American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists worth $250 each. This course would enable people engaged in construction, remodeling or handyman businesses to acquire requisite training for meeting the growing demand of houses in the region.

The scholarship is being offered under the continuing radon education being offered by CSU Extension in Northeast Colorado. In order to be eligible for this scholarship you can contact the Colorado State University Extension offices in Phillips, Morgan, Yuma or Washington counties or send an email to gisele.jefferson@colostate.edu for the application packet. For further information get in touch with Luann Boyer at 970-542-3544 or Gisele Jefferson at 970-345-2287.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Child Health Plus program expanded from 250% to 400% Federal Poverty Level

If you are in the US and don’t possess a medical insurance then you are certainly in a soup as the cost of healthcare in America is one of the costliest worldwide. Just think about what the poor in America would be going through who cannot afford medical insurance for themselves but here is a good news for the poor children out there as the Child Health Plus program has been expanded from 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) to 400% of the federal poverty level making it one of the most comprehensive and affordable coverage for uninsured kids in Rockland County.

So all uninsured kids would stand to benefit from it as the fee scale for premiums have been reduced but there is a waiting period for kids with family incomes above 250% the FPL which implies that kids having access to employer sponsored coverage should have been uninsured for six months before they can apply.

Selected population has been exempted from it and the Rockland County Health Department will be helping these uninsured children get insurance through the Child Health Plus program irrespective of income or immigration status.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ask for Kwik Fit Car Insurance quote and get 28% discount

Just an announcement for all you car owners out there. For all those customers opting for a quote from Kwik Fit car insurance will be eligible for an extra online discount which sums up the total discount to 28% off making extra discount available but the offer is valid for just one single day.

If you ask for a quote on Monday June 29 you will be eligible for an additional eight percent discount to the existing twenty percent online discount being offered.

One more thing you would be eligible to receive a free satellite navigation device worth £29.99 with every policy you purchase apart from ten per cent discount at Kwik Fit centers. So if you are interested check for the details out here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More than a million South Carolinians don’t have health insurance

If you are from South Carolina then you must read this. As per government statistics more than a million South Carolinians don’t possess health insurance. In today’s age where medical expenses are touching the roof you simply cannot ignore health insurance.

The best option for you would be to opt for health insurance even if it means additional burden on you but one must realize that the benefits outweigh more than the costs attached to it.

Keep these following tips in mind before purchasing a health insurance for yourself:

Check out on websites such as eHealthinsurance.com and compare health insurance benefits and prices attached to them.

Visit the Department of Insurance of South Carolina where you can come across complaint records of individual insurance companies.

Opt for the services of a health care broker who will be able to help you in finding out with which company you have a greater chance of being accepted depending on your health conditions. You don’t have to pay your broker a single penny as he or she would be paid commission by the insurance company itself.

So go ahead and get yourself health insurance for your own benefit.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to come out debt free from college

You have finished school and are wondering as to how you will be able to pay for the debt you mounted during your study days. There are many students out there who wonder whether they ever will be able to pay back their dues or not. Take the case of a law school student who had $120,000 in debt and is still trying to figure out whether he will be able to repay the loans and is still questioning whether it was worthy of spending such amount of money on education.

Most of the students tend to panic in such situations as paying back this loan can be daunting in tough times where thousands of people are losing their job each day.

Parents and students don’t need to panic in such situations and should work towards ensuring a debt free life for themselves. One way to get rid of this debt cycle is to own some kind of property which generates income from rent while you are still studying in school and though it may seem difficult at first but parents and students can certainly benefit from it. The good thing is first time buyers will also be able to benefit from the $8,000 tax credit.

So by the time you graduate you will stand apart from the rest as you will be debt free. Think about it!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to come out debt free from college

You have finished school and are wondering as to how you will be able to pay for the debt you mounted during your study days. There are many students out there who wonder whether they ever will be able to pay back their dues or not. Take the case of a law school student who had $120,000 in debt and is still trying to figure out whether he will be able to repay the loans and is still questioning whether it was worthy of spending such amount of money on education.

Most of the students tend to panic in such situations as paying back this loan can be daunting in tough times where thousands of people are losing their job each day.

Parents and students don’t need to panic in such situations and should work towards ensuring a debt free life for themselves. One way to get rid of this debt cycle is to own some kind of property which generates income from rent while you are still studying in school and though it may seem difficult at first but parents and students can certainly benefit from it. The good thing is first time buyers will also be able to benefit from the $8,000 tax credit.

So by the time you graduate you will stand apart from the rest as you will be debt free. Think about it!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Apply for Japanese Scholarship before it’s too late

Are you a student from Bahrain wanting to earn Japanese scholarship then here is your last chance to earn it? Don’t worry you still have time to apply for Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Scholarship 2010 at the Japanese Embassy.

Given below are the criteria to be eligible for the Japanese Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Scholarship 2010:

You should have been born between April 2, 1988, and April 1, 1993
Completed twelve year school education whereas research students should have been born on or after April 2, 1975.

The Japanese embassy will be conducting primary screening of candidates on recommendation of Education Ministry based on submitted application documents, interviews and written examinations.

Further secondary screening will be conducted depending on the results of primary screening. The last date for submitting the documents is before June 26 and benefits include air fare between Japan and Bahrain apart from monthly allowance and tuition fees.

Students interested in the scholarship can get in touch with the embassy on 17716565 or 17711323 for further information.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Your child and his first credit card

Your child has grown up and intends to get his first credit card then you must take the following things in consideration so that he or she doesn’t burn his fingers in the process.

Keep the following things in mind before shopping for the first ever credit card for your child:

What is the reason behind purchasing credit card for your child?
Spending habits of the child
Risk tolerance level

While shopping for the first ever credit card for your child check out for the following things:


What kind of fees is charged by the card company? Does it include annual fees and other fees such as international transactions, cash advances, charging over the credit limit, balance transfers or late payments?

Do explain all such charges to your child before handling over the card to him.

Introductory rates versus the real rate

The introductory rates change after a few months and the real rates take over and I must tell you that these credit card rates are not very attractive therefore a child needs to be explained about before he lands in some kind of shock.

Grace Period

What is the grace period offered by card company to its customers, the longer the better and this aspect must be explained to your child to avoid any kind of penalties.

Rewards programs

Also check out any kind of reward programs offered by companies which your child will be able to benefit immensely from it.

Last but not the least ask your child to pay off balance in full to keep their experience with credit cards a happy one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Scholarships on offer for students wanting to study in Japan

Do you wish to study in Japan at some of its top technology colleges, professional training colleges or universities on scholarship? If yes then there is some good news for you as Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology is offering scholarships to international students intending to study in Japan.

As per the press release Consulate General of Japan is offering three, four and five year scholarships beginning April 2010.

At the Professional Training College three year scholarships are being offered in the following courses:

Civil Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Hotel Management
Infant Education
Secretarial Studies

Scholarships are available for four years at the College of Technology:

Civil Engineering
Information Communication
Mechanical Engineering
Networking Engineering

Undergraduates are eligible for five year scholarship in the following courses:

Agricultural Engineering
Animal Sciences
Business Administration
Civil Engineering and Architecture
Electrical Engineering
Japanese Language
Social Sciences and Humanities
Information Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Naval Architecture
Chemical Engineering
Textile Engineering
Maritime Engineering
Veterinary Medicine
Food Sciences
Medicine and Dentistry

In order to be eligible for this scholarship applicant must have been born between 2 April 1988 and 1 April 1993 and should have completed 12 year regular course of education. The applicant will have to undergo one-year intensive course in the Japanese language. A written examination will be conducted in July 2009 at the premises of the Consulate followed by an interview. Results will be conducted in February 2010.

If you are interested you can obtain prescribed application form along with the guidelines from:

Consulate-General of Japan (Culture and Information)
12/1, Cenotaph Road,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How to raise your credit score

A good credit score ranges anywhere between 300 and 850 and everybody wants to reach the magic figure of 850.

A good credit report is really important these days as a higher credit score means lower rate of interest for you. It’s important not only while you are buying a house or a car but also if you intend to rent an apartment.

Here are some simple tips on how you can raise your credit score:

Avoid delinquency of accounts at all cost
Late payments will lower your credit score
Don’t maintain too many accounts
Delete your old accounts
Above all always keep a watch on your accounts

These simple steps will really help in pushing up your credit score.

Friday, May 15, 2009

How to bypass high interest rates on your credit card

As per U.S. Senate Banking Committee around one-third credit card holders in US pay interest rates of over 20%.

Here are some simple steps on how you can thwart higher interest rates on your credit card:

Keep a watch on your monthly statements

You may feel this is something which should be ignored but I must tell you that you should keep reviewing your credit card statement. As per law credit card companies are required to have a written notification of pending rate hikes and in case you get to know about a hike in interest rate get in touch with your credit card company.

Hit back at your credit card company

In case your credit card company says that it is going for an interest hike on your credit card tell them that in case they intend to go ahead with it you won’t be interested in their services.

If they don’t budge get hold of another credit card with 0% balance transfers and no annual fee and then approach your existing card company and tell them about your current deal, in most of the cases the companies are willing to negotiate.

As canceling your credit card could impact your score therefore think twice before leaving your current card.

Opt for the temporary closure route

Rather than opting for closure of credit card account which could hurt your credit score you could ask your credit company to suspend your account at the current rate which implies although you can’t use your card but its still open and safe from any kind of credit score damage. Later on you could activate your card at lower interest rate.

I hope these simple yet important steps help you to avoid high interest rate on your credit card.

Monday, May 11, 2009

$315,000 worth home auctioned off for $20,000!!

Ever thought in your wildest dreams that a credit card debt of only $8000 would make you lose your dear home which would cost over $315,000? This is what a Brisbane couple had to experience for non payment of their credit card dues and to rub salt to their wounds the home was sold off for $20,000 at a bailiff's auction.

And the biggest shock was when the new owner of the house who had to pay the $220,000 mortgage of the couple phoned to them and asked them to get out of the house. So what this married couple got at the end of the day was $5000 since the rest of the $15000 was adjusted towards the costs. Imagine $5000 for a home which costs $315,000 in the current scenario!!!

In another case a debt collection company tried to sell a home for just $850.

There have been several such cases happening and will continue to happen around the globe for non payment of credit card debts.

Moral of the story

Never spend more than you can pay
Pay off your credit card debt on time
If possible use your own cash rather than opting for a credit card

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Housing Slump: First Time Buyers stand to benefit the most

Few months back people were caught between their modest salary and expensive real estate market making them wonder whether ever they would be able to afford a decent housing in their lifetime but situations have changed for better though some may not agree with me.

Real estate prices have nosedived and are as much as 40% lower than the skyrocket prices. Besides price drop, federal tax credits for first time home buyers are a big motivation. The good thing is it might serve as a motivation for 300,000 buyers who had been adopting a wait and watch policy or those who had already given up hope. The high rate of foreclosures have already given them a reason so celebrate as first time buyers get an opportunity to buy their dream home.

So if you are a first time buyer then this is the best time to go for your dream house!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Top Ten Money Management Tips for College Graduates

Youngsters are very careless with their finances and it’s not them to be blamed but the youth as they tend to feel that the whole world is on their feet but the recession has taught the youth of today in a hard manner and how they should equip themselves to deal with it but with a smile.

Check out some of the money management tips which every college graduate should try and follow:

• Get on a budget. Belt-tightening should be your new plan of action. Put pen to paper and closely examine your monthly expenses. See what can be eliminated, like too much dining out, and what can be placed on hold, like the purchase of that new computer. There are web sites that can help such as Wesabe.com, Quicken.com and Finance.Yahoo.com as well as books such as It's All About The $Money, Honey!,
• Plan for the worst. With the unemployment rate continuing to soar, the rule of thumb is to try to save an amount equal to at least six months of living expenses--just in case. This is not 401K money, since there are penalties to withdrawal from 401K funds. This is just a regular savings fund or money market fund that is easily accessible without penalties.
• Cash is king. Playing the credit card game can be a dangerous one. Remember that "cash is king" and when possible, pay for what you need by cash not credit. And better still, eliminate any unnecessary spending.
• Join the 401K plan. Yes, you should join your company's 401K plan even if you contribute only $25.00 a month to start. Remember that most employers match your contribution, so you're earning extra money while at the same time relieving your tax burden.
• Learn to monitor your money. With the creation of 401K plans many people have been placid participants, unsophisticated novices who have not learned the importance of reviewing their portfolios and marking timely adjustments. You should look at your 401K plan as fluid not fixed--review it for diversification and rebalance on a quarterly or bi-annual basis.
• Financial literacy. Since most Americans are woefully financially illiterate, it becomes your responsibility to educate yourself. When you enroll in your first 401K plan you'll be given a laundry list of funds in which to choose to invest your earnings. Take the time to research them before you invest. Web sites such as FinancialLiteracyMonth.com. Quicken.Intuit.com and Bloomberg.com offer advice.
• Use debt sparingly. Learn to rely more on your debit card and use your credit card for emergencies. Never borrow more than you can repay. Start out with one credit card and learn to pay it off monthly, instead of incurring huge finance charges. Or consider a secured card from a bank which is paid for in advance.
• Live within your means. Understand that going out with friends several nights a week can be a costly venture and buying designer duds, although they make quite the fashion statement, don't do much to keep your finances in line. Realize that most of those designers have web or brick and mortar outlets where you can usually get what you want for a lot less.
• Don’t lend money to friends. It can complicate friendships and in the end you can not only lose your money, but your friend. It's just not worth it.
• Choose your first job wisely. Remember, in this economy take any job that has anything remotely to do with what you are interested in. The rule of thumb is that it is the second job that is the most important step in your career path. But, with any job, make sure that you have healthcare benefits and a 401K plan.

I hope these intelligent money management tips come to your rescue and impart wisdom to all the youngsters out there!!

Pregnant Women and unfair Health Insurance Policies

I never knew women were being charged higher premiums or limited or even denial of health insurance coverage depending on whether they are pregnant or not until I read this.

As per the National Women’s Law Center a September 2008 report it has been found out that insurance companies can reject applications for reasons affecting women i.e. pregnancy, its hard for women to find out health insurance which takes care of their maternity needs and women have to pay higher premiums as compared to men for identical coverage.

For these very reasons Senator John F. Kerry came up with a bill that would prevent insurers from charging higher premiums from women or deny or limit coverage depending on whether they are pregnant or not.

Women’s Health Insurance Fairness Act has been summarized below for you:

Prevent insurers in the individual market from charging women higher premiums than men;

Prevent insurers in the individual market from denying or limiting coverage based on a current or past pregnancy or past or future method of delivery (such as a Cesarean section);

Require all insurance policies offered on the individual market to provide comprehensive maternity coverage for the full scope of maternity services from preconception through postpartum;

Provide the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the authority to monitor compliance with the requirements of this Act and assess fines of at least $10,000 against any health insurance company that fails to submit the required data; and

Direct the Government Accountability Office to issue a report by December 31, 2010 about problems remaining for women on the individual insurance market in all 50 states and DC following enactment of this Act.

This legislation has got the support of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Children’s Defense Fund, Consumers Union, Families USA, National Partnership for Women & Families, OWL - The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, and the Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH).

Seems women will not be discriminated from now on!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The wisdom words of Warren Buffet at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting

I never ever miss the wise words uttered by Oracle of Omaha or Warren Buffet and I made it a point to attend Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting this Saturday which was attended by around 35,000 shareholders.

Between sipping Cherry Coke and biting peanut brittle he uttered some words of wisdom that could have saved jobs and financial losses if investors had heeded to them.

Check out some of the wisdom words of Warren Buffet:

If you have a 150 I.Q., sell 30 points to someone else. You need to be smart, but not a genius.

If you need to use a computer or a calculator to make the calculation, you shouldn’t buy it

There is so much that’s false and nutty in modern investing practice and modern investment banking. If you just reduced the nonsense, that’s a goal you should reasonably hope for.

Charlie Munger, his business partner added his own insights too:

Some of the worst business decisions I’ve ever seen are those with future projections and discounts back. It seems like the higher mathematics with more false precision should help you, but it doesn’t. They teach that in business schools because, well, they’ve got to do something.

Probably you all could learn from their wisdom words and don’t make a mistake in the future.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Keep your health insurance kicking even if you have lost your job

Even if you have lost your job to recession stay assured that in these difficult times you can still have the coverage of your health insurance. Check out how all this is possible:

In your mailbox keep an eye out for COBRA forms which is a federal law enabling you to maintain healthcare coverage from your earlier employer for up to 18 months even if you go on to lose your job but it has a downside to it.

COBRA can prove out to be expensive in testing times as it can cost $1,000.00 or more per month for family coverage.

Also not everybody would be eligible for COBRA and in case you have been fired rather than laid off then COBRA is not for you. In case you are married and not eligible under COBRA your spouse could be covered under the plan.

You may term COBRA to be expensive but in case of real medical emergency need it will emerge out to be cheaper as compared to shelling out money from your own pocket.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rising Auto Insurance Frauds, Who is to blame?

Recession has witnessed a spurt in the cases of auto insurance frauds which has cost over $6 billion in terms of auto insurance payments.

Here are some of the startling facts to prove it:

In Hawaii, there was a 61 percent increase in convictions for auto insurance fraud from 2007 to 2008. Car give-ups -- abandoning a car and reporting it stolen -- rose by almost 33 percent in 2008 in New York

In Pennsylvania, law enforcement saw insurance fraud and related crimes jump 30 percent in 2008 over 2007, with car insurance fraud accounting for 46 percent of total fraudulent claims.

According to the state's fraud bureau

These auto insurance frauds are not just denting the insurance companies but even burning hole in the pockets of vehicle owners due to rising costs of premiums. Auto insurance frauds are costing at least $80 billion every year or around $950 per family.

I wonder does this signal the desperation of average Americans who are not able to foresee the demarcation between right and wrong.

Seems in this scenario fewer number of people are bothered about not committing crimes and at the end its ‘we’ who end up facing the music.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where is real estate prices headed for?

There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding real estate market whether real estate prices are still very high or have stabilized or still there is a chance for the prices to fall down.

We need to realize that the real estate market is all about value. At any given point of time the value of the real estate is not determined by the asking price but by the amount
the buyer is wiling to pay. Today the situation is such that there is a dearth of buyers in the market and in case the seller is unwilling to negotiate buyers are ready to walk out of the deal.

Even easy mortgages are hard to come by and financial institutions are not willing to part away with loans without complete documentation.

With economic insecurity on the rise people are very much ready to part with their properties as it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the high mortgage interest off their back.

There may not be any kind of free fall in the real estate market at the moment but you can’t even talk about any kind of stability also.

Still nothing can be said about the topsy turvy real estate market but one thing is for sure that gone are the days when you could put any big price on the property and still manage to get a good number of offers on it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Clearing myths regarding credit scores and credit reports

I answer several mails a day trying to clear myths of people regarding credit scores. Today I will make an effort to clear some of your myths regarding credit scores and credit report.

Check out some of the myths regarding credit scores and the truth behind it:

Checking your credit report damages credit

This is not true as your credit information does not affect your credit score

If you are not in default, there is no need to check your credit report

You should check your credit report at least once a year to ensure there is no error in it.

Married couples share a credit score

Only in case you have a joint account the credit sores will be similar but every individual maintains a distinctive credit score.

A credit score is a credit report

No, credit report lists your payment and debts whereas credit score is a number assigned between 300 and 850 which is assigned to the record depending on the complex formula.

Shopping for a loan destroys credit

It has a small negative impact on the credit and does not ‘destroy’ credit as claimed by many.

To boost credit fast, just pay off bills

Things don’t change overnight as credit scores will reflect performance over time.

To improve a score, close unused accounts

Not true as closure of unused cards leads to removal of available balances and can actually lower your score.

For a fee, vendors can fix a bad score

Stay away from companies making such claims because when information is verified it would return to the credit report.

I hope I have been able to clear some of the myths associated with credit reports and credit scores

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Types of College Financial Aids for Students Joining Colleges

With college expenses touching the roof we all tend to look for ways in which we can unburden our pockets and college financial aid is one of the ways to ensure that you don’t end up with several loans by the time you pass out of college.

College grants or financial aids are either given by universities or state or federal governments. Check out some of the ways to get college financial aid:

Pell Grants

This is offered to low income graduates and in 2010 the grant available under Pell is $5,500.


There are a range of scholarships available for students depending on areas such as academics or sports besides several other reasons. There are several websites where one can search for range of scholarships available. One could even contact companies for scholarships or even businesses with strong community ties.


Federal government offers low interest educational loans at subsidized rates. The good thing is you don’t need to pay them back until you have graduated. The federal government has been backing Parent PLUS loans, Stafford Loans and Perkins loans and you can even avail these loans in case your parents can’t qualify for it.

Hope this information helps you a lot towards furthering your career.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What is Mortgage Insurance?

Have you ever opted for mortgage insurance? If you haven’t then you should as it can really create a huge difference in the financial stability of a family and offer you a peace of mind.

Mortgage insurance is also known by other names such as mortgage insurance protection, mortgage life insurance, mortgage protection life insurance and mortgage protection insurance.

The benefit of mortgage insurance is that it comes to the rescue of families in need and in event of death the benefit is passed on to the beneficiary rather than the lender giving them total control over how the amount can be put to best use. The excess proceeds could be used towards auto loans, credit card debts, funeral/burial expenses, nursing home costs and income replacement. While choosing the mortgage amount ensures that your family is covered in the worst possible scenario.

Keep these small things in mind and you would have a peaceful life after.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Student Loan Debt and Consolidation

Graduating college students with hefty student loan who are not able to get a good job at the end of graduation generally find it difficult to keep pace with their monthly payments and for these very college students loan consolidation could be a very good option. Opting for student loan consolidation can help you to opt for lower interest rate which would mean lesser monthly payments at the end of the day.

So in case you borrow money at the rate of 8% you could easily lock in at a lower interest rate of 5% which would definitely mean a reduction in your monthly loan payments. This means you could also increase you total loan amount which implies when your debt is rolled into a single package you could get longer repayment terms which would mean higher total loan payments.

In case you have multiple school loans then the best option would be to opt for loan consolidation. It would help in better management of your loans and a better credit score too at the end of the day.

But before you go for loan consolidation you will have to fulfill certain criteria such as the original loan should have been taken from a credible lender, secondly the amount should be over $10,000 and thirdly there should not be any kind of default in payment of loans. At the end of the day a better option would be to try and get your loan from non profit sector.

I hope these loan consolidation tips come to your rescue.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chase this $20,000 scholarship to fulfill your education dream

In these tough times if you are a student then a scholarship can be your best friend. Students of San Rafael High School must not miss out on the chance to win $20,000 worth of college scholarship being offered by public finance company De La Rosa & Co.

One lucky student in each of the twenty schools across the state will be chosen for the scholarship and an essay competition would be used to choose the best. Let me tell you the topic of the essay which is based on one of the famous quotes of Albert Einstein –‘ The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community’

So go ahead and chase your dreams even in these tough times!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tips on how to stay away from illicit mortgage relief firms

• During recession you will come across companies proclaiming themselves as mortgage consultants or foreclosure services with the promise of saving your credit or pay up your closing costs. Just stay away from them!!
• Mails from your lender should not be ignored and please, please stay in touch with him or her even after foreclosure notice has been filed.
• In case you are facing problems then a better option would be to negotiate a new loan arrangement with your lender before seeking the help of experts.
• In whatever situation don’t transfer your property deed or title to a rescue firm.
• Never get into the trap which promises loan modification approval within a matter of week or two since as per the norm a minimum of thirty days are required for consideration of loan modification application.

Just keep these tips in mind and you would be safe!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

HGTV $250,000 Challenge: Pay off your mortgage in one shot

Caught in the recession trap and wondering how to arrange money for the next installment? If you are among the thousands of families caught in the trap of mortgage repayment owing to the current economic crisis then you have an easier way out of it – go ahead and participate in the HGTV competition series to be hosted by Drew Lachey which offers hefty mortgage payoff as prize money.

Dubbed as the HGTV's $250,000 Challenge, it will give five neighboring families an opportunity to grab the quarter million dollar prize money by competing in home improvement challenges.

Staring from May 31, this four part series show brings together families and construction and design experts who would be helping them with weekly contests which include kitchen and living room makeovers. The name of families and neighborhood location is still to be announced, so keep your fingers as you may be one of the lucky families to make to the show and get over their gigantic debts.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Believe it or not, Americans are still confused about personal finances!!

Americans are still confused about their personal finances, this is what the survey of Literacy Month and the Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Literacy has to say as to how much an average American is confused regarding financial terms and concepts.

Feel this could not be possible, just check out the results of the survey to get assured about the facts:

• 53 percent of respondents did not know what the Dow Jones Industrial Average was.
• 52 percent could not describe the advantages of a Roth IRA.
• 43 percent could not identify a FICO score as the most important factor in receiving a loan.
• 76 percent did not know that when in need of short-term emergency cash, bouncing a check costs more than wire transfers and short-term payday loans.
• 71 percent of people severely underestimated the amount of time it would take to pay off a credit card balance making only the minimum payments.

P.S: I had to read it a couple of times in order to believe it!!


Monday, March 30, 2009

Excellent financial tips for your child’s education

Is your child ready for college and you are wondering how it would be possible to foot for his educational expenses in such grim scenario. You don’t need to lose hope as here are some great education finances tips which will ensure that your child is not deprived of studying in some of the best colleges.

Check out some of the educational financial tips for your child:

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants or FSEOGs

Meant for undergraduates this grant is available depending on how much funding a particular school receives. The grant amount ranges between $100 and $4,000.

Pell Grants

Awarded to graduates depending on family and need base the maximum amount granted during 2007-08 was $4,310.

Federal Work Study Program

Under this program award is granted in exchange for work where the work schedule is 12 to 15 hours during the week with government or non profit agencies. You are awarded as per minimum wage.

Stafford Loans

Students eligible under this scheme are able to borrow money at favorable interest rates with flexible loan repayment option. Loans are subsided depending on the financial need.

PLUS or Parents Loans for Undergraduate Students

Parents can get this loan in case they pass the credit check but the loan amount is limited to the actual cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Retirement Planning Tips for Small Business Owners

For small business owners personal financial planning is a big headache as their business and personal financial planning is entangled. Here are some retirement planning tips which would ensure that post retirement you don’t have to struggle in your life.

• Ensure that your personal assets are protected
• If the economic climate is risky it will make sense to move your assets to a holding company
• You must also maintain adequate insurance provisions for your business and yourself.
• Try to keep your tax bill as low as possible.
• Give a thought to individual pension plans if you would like to boost your retirement savings.

Keep these simple yet important retirements planning tips in mind and your retirement will be the best phase of your life.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Things you need to know about 2008 Individual Income Tax Returns

With April 15 deadline fast approaching here are certain things which you must know:


• There has been an increase in standard deductions for 2008 to $10,900 for surviving spouses, 5,450 for single filers and married persons filing separate returns and $8,000 for people filing as household heads.

• The maximum IRA deduction per person has been increased to $5,000 in 2008.

• Temporary property tax deduction has been made part of standard deduction.


• The limit for personal exemption in 2008 has been increased to $3,500 per person.

• There has been an increase in AMT exemption to $46,200 for single filers, $69,950 for joint filers and $34,975 for married persons filing separate returns.


First-time homebuyer can claim credit up to $7,500 and will also be available for first time home buyers purchasing home before July 1, 2009.


• $12,000 can be excluded from amount of gifts per tax payer for 2008.

• Exclusion of amount from estate for estate tax purpose is $2 million for 2008

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We can only hire immediate families of our employees at the moment!!

With recession at an all time high, the coffers of most of the blue chips companies is empty and what all they can do is hire their immediate families of their employees as they wont cost a bomb. The irony is that the foolish top management had a good time at the cost of the company hence leading to one of the worst financial crisis of the globe which has lead to suffering of hundreds and thousands of families around the world!!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Read this if your mortgage application has been rejected

Sad and frustrated that your mortgage application got rejected?? Don’t worry, as per Mortgage Bankers Association around half of the mortgage applicants are turned down by banks and financial institutions. This means you are not alone and it is not the end of the road too.

Consider some of these points below which could help you in securing a loan:

• In case you don’t get approval for mortgage at a lower rate chances are that the financial institution could give you a nod at higher rate of interest or lower mortgage amount.
• If you are just miles away from the eligibility criteria i.e. credit score, you could reapply and get an approval if you are willing to pay the balance on your credit card.
• In case one financial institution rejects you try your hands at the other one. There is a very good chance that the other one may give you the nod. For eg. A local community bank might be flexible in its terms and conditions as compared to a bigger financial institution following stringent norms.
• Keep in mind that a rejection does not lower your credit score but reapplying within a month could lower your credit score by five points

So stay calm and don’t lose hope if your mortgage application gets rejected 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is 401k a Ponzi scheme?

It might be a bit hard to digest but several workers have seen their 401(k) balances shrivel over the past year and if we believe the estimates of Employee Benefits Research Institute then workers with at least ten years of job tenure have witnessed losses of between 20% and 30% in their account balances since the start of 2008. This makes me feel whether 401(k) plans are just to play havoc with your retirement?

Many of us may feel it is some kind of a Ponzi Scheme but even before 401(k) came into existence a number of companies were offering traditional pension plans which would ensure that they had a comfortable life even after their retirement and it was up to the employer to ensure that workers got the best deal.

Some may feel there is some grand conspiracy behind it and it has some serious flaws which helps the employers to get the monkey off their back but let me tell you at the end of the day you would be better off than some of the traditional pensions as government agencies backing employer pensions are already facing huge deficit and could witness their losses mount in the future. So stay cool as this shall also pass!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A 100% Ban on UK Mortgages?

Recession is slowly and steadily pouncing on each and every nation around the globe and with no sign of economy picking UK is likely to impose a blanket ban on mortgages in the country

This seems very likely as the PM intends to save the banking system of the country which is already bleeding under the effect of recession, thanks to some senseless steps taken by them to up the business. (Greed has got no dimensions I must say)

Also the country is expected to announce a 500 billion pound bailout package soon which would surely cause a pinch to the taxpayers in these harsh times so a ban on mortgage makes sense at the moment. Dear Prime Minister in these bad times don’t expect people to even cast a look at mortgages as you wont find any takers for it J

My take:

In the good times we tend to forget that it never lasts forever and we only tend to realize when the ship leaves the port. So true when we talk about human nature!!