Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Stressed Out Over Mounting Credit Card Debt? Here's how To Pay It Off

A change in lifestyle plays an important part in the elimination of debt. A person who is an excessive spender should adopt an attitude of spending less. There is no need spending money and buying something that you cannot pay for. It is always better to note down all the expenses you face in a month and the income you generate. Then if your expenses are greater than income, it sure means you have to limit on expenses! Once you lower your expenses, you will end up with more money to pay for your debt. The best approach to adopt to eliminate credit card debt is to have your excessive debt discounted. Sometimes, credit card companies accept about 50% or less as payments for the debt if they are convinced that you are heading towards bankruptcy. So write a letter to the credit card company explaining your situation and how you intend to pay off the credit card debt. Including the point that you plan to file for bankruptcy, and intend to settle with willing creditors will compel them to agree with you, lest they be left with nothing! When paying yourself out of debt, it is always better to pay the high-interest credit cards first. This means that if you have three credit cards, you could pay the minimum for the two cards with lower interest rate. If you allot $300 per month for paying credit card dues, you could pay $60 for two cards as minimum payment. You then pay $180 for the remaining high interest card. Then once one of the lower interest credit card debts gets covered, you pay only $60 to the remaining of the two and $240 to the high interest credit card. This way, you can pay off credit card debt quickly. Switching to a credit card with a lower interest rate is a great way of eliminating credit card debt. There are many low interest credit cards in the market nowadays; some also offer introductory 0% interest for your first twelve months. Once you open an account in such a credit card company, you have to switch your balance to this 0% bank account. There will be no interest incurred in this account, and so the money you used to pay for interest could be used to pay the actual debt you have with the credit card company. These regular payments will help reduce your debt faster. There is no point in only making minimum payments to your credit card payments. You have to pay part of the principle, and not only the interest when paying monthly installments. The more of the principle you pay, the lesser your interest turns out to be. You will feel the difference when you see your reduced credit card bills. If all these fail, you can always turn to a credit card debt consolidation loan. Here you take a debt consolidation loan that will cover all your credit card loans. The credit card debt consolidation loan is usually of a lower interest rate, and can be paid over a longer period. The consolidator will first assess your financial position, and approach your creditors to negotiate for lowered interest rates, and a longer period to repay the loan. The credit card company usually obliges to this as they prefer a small payment against no payment! Instead of you paying all the credit card companies their monthly payments, you just have to make a single payment to the debt consolidation company. It is up to them to disperse the money to your creditors. With this, you rid the hassles of facing your creditors every month.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Payday Loans - A Bad Type of Loan

The number of people using payday loans has greatly increased in the last year. Despite this, the payday loan industry has come under attack from a variety of different organizations. They have been criticized for charging high interest rates and putting people who are often already low income further into debt. In this article I will discuss payday loans, and why it is best to avoid them unless you absolutely have to use them. No Credit History? Many people who use payday loans are unable to get cash advances from traditional banks. This is often due to their credit history. Banks will typically reject people who either have no credit or bad credit. This has left open a large market for payday loan companies to make money from. Many services are now offered online, making it easier than ever for people to borrow money. The irony of this is that many banks are now giving credit to payday loan companies in order to tap into the market. Paying More For Your Credit From Your Bank This allows the banks to make money off the payday loan industry without having to directly provide loans to the customers it normally rejects. This fact alone should make anyone who uses payday loans angry. With the rise of the internet many people don't even have to fax information to be approved anymore. It is not necessary to show a credit history when applying for a payday loan, and this is why the industry has become so large. Many people argue that payday loans are good for people that need cash for emergencies. You Must Save, Save and Save Some More My answer to that is people should save money for emergencies. If you save money consistently, you should rarely have to use a payday loan. These loans are easy to get but come with a lot of strings. Many people become dependent on them, and begin using them between each paycheck. This puts them in a state of being dependent on a loan company that doesn't have their best interests in mind. The large interest rates they charge guarantee they will get more money back than they loan out to you. Are Payday Loans Like The Plague? My advice for payday loans is to avoid them unless you have a large emergency and no money is available. If you save a large amount of your income every month, you should never have to use a payday loan. These loans can put you into a cycle of debt which is hard to break free from. As soon as you pay back one loan, you will probably have to borrow another one. Some companies even ask for collateral, such as your car. If you default on your payments, your car could be taken from you. This is something you should want to avoid at all costs. The Payday Loan Market Continues To Grow The payday loan industry will continue to grow larger, especially due to the popularity of the internet. Many of these companies are only allowing new customers to borrow $500 until they can demonstrate a good payment history. While some would say that this is a good thing, I think that this will entice more people to jump on board and begin borrowing money. It is important to understand that the payday loan companies win, not you. You are not going to get ahead financially by using their services. Planning For Your Future If you are looking to become wealthy, you can do so by avoiding debt and saving money. You can invest for your retirement or purchase things that will appreciate in value. You should want to earn interest on your money instead of paying interest on money you borrowed from someone else. This is what separates wealthy people from the poor. They earn interest while the poor pay it.

Home Equity Loans – A Walkthrough Guide of Home Loans

As the interest rate on credit cards and other loans continues to increase, many people have turned to home equity loans as a method of borrowing money at a low interest rate. The equity of your house is the difference between the value of your house at any given time and the amount of money you owe on the total balance. A home equity loan is a great tool for consolidating high interest loans and credit cards. Another Mortgage – Can You Afford That? Home equity loans are also known as second mortgages, and can provide you with many benefits that don't exist with other types of loans. The interest rates can be much lower than credit cards. It isn't uncommon to see equity loans which have interest rates which are at least 60% lower than credit cards. They are also tax deductible for up to $100,000. This makes them the obvious choice for those who have equity in their homes. Equity loans are flexible, and homeowners can also use a revolving line of credit to borrow money. Security And Equity Are Required Unlike many other loans and credit cards, home equity loans are secured. This means that your house is used as collateral. For example, if your house if worth $300,000, and you've paid off $50,000, you still owe $250,000. However, if the value of the house has increased from $300,000 to $350,000, you have $100,000 of equity. You can borrow money against this $100,000 by using a home equity loan. At the same time, it is important to remember that if you default on your payments, your home could be taken as collateral to cover the losses of the bank or mortgage company. Who Will Lend To Me? Most banks and mortgages companies enjoy providing home equity loans for their customers. A house tends to be the largest investment a person has, and many banks realize that few people will run the risk of losing it by defaulting on their payments. Because of this, home equity loans are considered to be a safe investment. Many people who have homes tend to have a more established credit history than those who do not. What Can I Use The Home Loan For? Many people choose to use home equity loans for remodeling their kitchens or bathrooms. Remodeling a part of your house is a great way to increase its value. It is also easy to get approved for loans which you plan on using for remodeling your home. They tend to have very low interest rates, and the amount you choose to borrow should be dictated by how you plan to remodel the home. Another common use for home equity loans is higher education. As the cost of education continues to rise, it will become harder for many families to send their children to school. Many parents choose to use a home equity loan to invest in the education of their children. Despite this, many federal student loans have low interest rates as well, and parents will want to weigh all their options carefully before making a decision. Home equity loans which are used for education have many tax benefits. My Mom Used To Say, ‘Prevention Is Better Than Cure’ Because many Americans don't have health insurance, using equity loans in the event of an illness or injury is a great way to avoid debt. It has become much more difficult for people to file bankruptcy, and because of this it will not be easy to get out of a situation in which you have an unexpected illness. An equity loan could protect you in a situation where you have high medical bills with no health insurance. As the cost of healthcare continues to increase, having a equity loan or line of credit can greatly help you.

What Are Bad Credit Mortgages

The primary difference between a bad credit mortgage and a normal mortgage is that a bad credit mortgage is typically given to people who have a history of bad credit. Many people end up with bad credit due to bankruptcy, not making loan payments, or other issues. Others are taken to court or have been reported to credit agencies. These mortgages are also known as credit impaired mortgages or a poor credit mortgage. Because the competition between banks is fierce, many institutions have been looking for ways to maximize their profits. Because many people have bad credit, this have left open a huge market which for many years was untapped. Banks begin to realize that by offering bad credit mortgages, they were capable of increasing their profits. In the past most lenders have rejected people who had less than perfect credit. The interesting thing about these mortgages is that the interest rates and terms are the same as you would find with standard mortgages. There are mortgage companies today that cater to those with bad credit. These mortgages are typically given to people who have had a bankruptcy, criminal charges, or other financial problems. While the interest rate for these loans was high in the past, they have know come down to levels which can compete with standard mortgages. You may be wandering why banks and mortgage companies would suddenly decide to start offering mortgages to people with bad credit. There are a number of reasons for this. The banking industry has become more competitive with the rise of the internet and globalization. Small businesses like payday loan companies are beginning to compete with banks in many areas. Credit card companies are competing with each other to offer the lowest interest rates possible. This has led to a market which is very competitive. Because our society is so dependent on credit, many people who have bad credit look for companies and services which cater to them. While there haven't been many in the past, payday loan companies and other businesses are starting to tap into the market. Most banks will not give a mortgage to those who have bad credit, and this has created a market as well. By offering bad credit mortgages, banks are able to tap into a market which is composed of millions of people who would normally be rejected from getting a home. Some would say that the banks are taking a risk by doing this, because people who have filed for bankruptcy in the past are likely to do so again. Though this may be true, banks and mortgage companies can make a nice profit when customers make the down payments. If someone with bad credit puts down $10,000 towards their new home, this money goes to the bank. If they should default on their payments within a year, the bank can simply foreclose on the home to cut their losses. By this time, they would have got down payments from thousands of other customers, and this would allow the bank to earn huge profits. Banks have become proficient at avoiding losses. They are well aware of the fact that those with bad credit may default on their mortgage payments. In the event that this happens, the lenders will simply foreclose the home and take it away from the homeowner. The homeowner will ultimately lose if they default on their payments. However, bad credit mortgages are good for those that want a second chance at owning their own home. Some people are honest, but simply make mistakes and end up in more debt than they can handle. A bad credit mortgage can be good for these people.

Balloon Mortgages Explained

A balloon mortgage is a loan that is provided for a short period of time for a set amount of money. Balloon mortgages will often involve periodic payments that are made at a fixed interest rate. During this period, the loan may not be amortized. The balance of the loan has to be paid in full at a specific time. Another feature of balloon mortgages is that they will combine many of the features seen in adjustable rate mortgages and fixed mortgages. The interest rate will remain fixed for a certain period of time, which may be from 5 to 7 years. The payments will be based on an amortization cycle that lasts 30 years. If homeowners can't pay the balance by the end of the term, the lender will decide how the payments will be made. The sum is usually converted into a fixed rate mortgage. Advantages? A balloon mortgage can be good because it offers an interest rate that is much lower than standard 30-year mortgages. If you are buying a larger home, a balloon mortgage can help you. Larger homes tend to have interest rates that are high, and this can make them difficult to pay off if you don't have a large income. Balloon mortgages can make things easier. They are also good for people who plan on refinancing the home before the term ends. Despite this, balloon mortgages can be much more complex than standard mortgages. Some homeowners who use them end up running into problems. You will need to make sure you have solid documents before signing up for a balloon mortgage. You will want to make sure you choose the right lender and read all contracts carefully for hidden fees or other terms. Balloon mortgages can be risky for people who don't understand them. Extra Charges For Balloon Mortgages One problem that customers run into with these mortgages is prepayment penalties. These penalties will often be placed on people who choose to pay off the mortgage early. If you refinance your existing mortgage or sell the home, this can lead to prepayment penalties. The problem with these penalties is that they greatly increase the chances that your home could become foreclosed. Mortgages that have balloon payments are highly susceptible to foreclosure. Pre Payment Penalties The cost of prepayment penalties can be large. They are usually calculated as a percentage of the total balance owed. This could be as high as 12% and many homeowners have found themselves paying thousands of dollars more than they expected. If you choose to get a balloon mortgage you should make sure there are no prepayment penalties. If you get into a situation where you can't afford the home, prepayment penalties can keep you from being able to refinance the home in order to get out of debt. These mortgages can be risky, and should only be used by those who fully understand the risks involved. Short Term Mortgage – Long Term Problems A mortgage is a serious financial endeavor that you should take seriously. They involve large amounts of money that most people simply don't have on hand. If you get into a situation where you can't make your payments, you could end up losing your home and your credit could be ruined. Many people have made the mistake of getting involved with balloon mortgage without doing their research. They chose not to read the fine print on the applications. They often end up in situations that can haunt them for the rest of their lives. While balloon mortgages may have low interest rates at first, you should have a plan to make your monthly payments after the first term ends. This can keep you from defaulting on your payments.

Basic Mortgage Terms

If it is your first time applying for a mortgage, there are a number of terms you should know. Educating yourself on the various mortgage terms you will run into will help you make better decisions when deciding which home you want to purchase. When you sign a mortgage contract, your home is used for collateral and it is your responsibility to make sure your payments are made on time each month. The first term you should know is principal. The principal is basically defined as the amount of money you borrow for your home. Before the principal is provided you will need to make a down payment. A down payment is the percentage you will put towards the principal. The amount of the down payment will often depend on the cost of the home. Once you pay off the principal, the home is yours. The next term you will need to know is interest. Interest is a percentage that you are charged to borrow a certain amount of money. Along with the interest rate, lenders may also charge you points. A point is a portion of the total funds financed. The principal and interest makes up the majority of your monthly payments, and this is a method that is called amortization. Amortization is the method by which your loan is reduced over a given period of time. Your payments for the first few years will cover the interest, while payments made later will be applied towards the principal. A portion of your mortgage payments can be placed in an escrow account in order to go towards insurance, taxes, or other expenses. The next term you will hear a lot is taxes. Taxes are the amount of money that you have to pay to your state or government. When it comes to your home, these are known as property taxes. These taxes are used to build roads, schools, and other public projects. All homeowners must pay property taxes. Insurance is another important term that you will hear in the real estate community. You will not be allowed to close on your mortgage if you don't have insurance for your home. Home insurance covers your home against floods, fire, theft, or other problems. Unless you can afford to repair your home if it is damaged, it is usually a good idea to get insurance for your home. If your home is located within a zone that is known for having floods, federal laws may require you to have flood insurance. If the down payment you put towards your home is less than 20% of the total value, you will often be charged additional premiums on your insurance by the lender. This is done to protect you in the event that you default on your loans and fail to make payments. Without this, many people would not be able to afford a house. Once you have paid off about 78% of the home, the lender will stop charging you insurance premiums. These are the basic terms you will need to know before your purchase a home. Understanding these things will allow you to avoid many of the pitfalls that exist in the real estate field. You want an interest rate that is low, and you should always try to get a fixed interest rate if possible. This will allow you to focus your income on making payments towards the principal, and this will help you pay off the loan faster. A mortgage is an important part of your financial picture, and you want to make sure you pick a home that you can afford. If you fail to make your payments, you may lose your house.

Home Loans Use For Maximum Benefit

While home loans can put you in serious debt if you don't use them properly, there are a number of ways you can use them to work to your advantage. In this article I will go over some things you can do with your home loan to improve your personal finances. The first thing many people do is use their home loans to consolidate other loans they have. Home Loans are Cheap! While this is a common method that is used to lower monthly payments, there are also some risks involved. Home loans are good because they can allow you to combine your credit cards and other loans into one monthly payment that may be lower. The interest rate may also be lowered as well. At the same time, this may not always be the case, and some people use their home loans for consolidation only to find that the interest rate is higher. It is important to do your research to make sure you bills will be lower once you've consolidated your debt. Loan Consolidation In addition to the money you will save with a home loan, you will also have more income at your disposal. This money can be saved or you may choose to invest it. Using a home loan for debt consolidation can also improve your credit over the long term, because your low monthly payment will make you less of a risk to lenders. When you have a large amount of debt, your credit could end up damaged. However, homeowners who don't exercise discipline could find themselves in more debt. You may also want to look at debt counseling service to learn how to keep your debt under control. The One and Only Once you have used your home loan to consolidate your debt, it may be a good idea to begin using cash as much as possible. If the home loan is still outstanding, avoid taking out any more loans. Another great use for home loans is home improvements. Your house is an investment, and the more you put into it, the more you will get back. Adding improvement to your home can greatly increase its value, and you could earn a lot of money if you decide to sell it one day. Drawbacks of the Home Loan The only problem with home improvement is making the wrong choices. You want to spend money-improving areas that will greatly increase the value of the home. Remodeling either the kitchen or bathroom will bring the most value to your home. You want to make sure the improvements you make enhance the beauty of the home. While adding carpet and paint to the home won't greatly increase the value, it will make the house easier to sell if it is done properly. However, it is important to remember that lenders who know you are trying to sell your home are not likely to give you a home loan. If they do, you can expect to have more costs. It is also important to remember that if you sale the home, you will need to make enough to cover the mortgages and other costs. Another good use for home loans is paying for the cost of education for your children. Like home improvements, using a home loan to pay for the cost of education can be an investment. It can keep your children out of debt. Despite this, many parents will be nearing retirement when their children head to college. Some parents may need the home loans to deal with the effect of not having an income from a job. The last thing that many people do with home loans is buy things they want, such as a boat or a nice car. If you get in a situation where you have medical bills, a home loan may also be able to help you.