5 Benefits of Creating a Personal Budget

A personal budget is like your own spending plan. It allows you to know where your money is spent on and how much you have to work with. Creating you own budget is not easy. But, a budget can bring you many tremendous benefits.

Here are 5 great benefits you can get from creating a personal budget.

1. A budget helps to makes it easy to save and have more extra money. By simply tracking your expenses and income and controlling how much you spend on variable expenses, you will likely find that you have more money than you thought you needed. So, with the extra money, you can either save it or set aside just a little bit of that extra money to do something fun – like take a vacation or go to that five star restaurant you’ve always wanted to try.

2. A budget saves you time. How long does it take you to collect information at the end of the year for taxes? As you know, gathering all of those financial documents can take days and can be extremely stressful. With a budget, all of your expenses and income, including your taxes, are documented. This is particularly the case if you use a spreadsheet program or accounting software to help to keep record.

3. A budget allows you to easily track and control your spending and reduce stress. It gives you freedom from the stress of not knowing you have enough money to cover certain expenses. You are more in control of your finances. Besides, a family budget creates an environment of teamwork and communication in the family rather than one of stress and blame. It also get family members to be accountable for the spending decisions made and the financial goals you’re striving towards.

4. A solid budget makes it easy for you to make spending and investment decisions with confidence. With a solid budget in place, you know exactly where you stand financially and your investment decisions can be made with the right information at your fingertips.

5. Budgets can help you to plan for the future with ease and confidence. You will be able to plan how much to save for retirement and whether your budget allows you to get a new car soon. A budget gives you the ability and the confidence to plan for the future because you know exactly how much money you have to work with right now.

There really is no downside to budgeting. It reduces one of the most significant causes of stress and it puts you in control of your money and your future.

Source by Ethan Lewis

Is it Better to Buy or Lease a Car After Bankruptcy?

If you want to get approved at the best possible terms when buying a car, it’s important you know a car lender’s credit guidelines before you apply for credit…especially if you’re bankrupt.

It will save you time and frustration–but more importantly, it will help you avoid credit inquiries that may lower your FICO credit scores up to 12 points per inquiry.

Step 1 in making a lease or buy decision is to determine a lender’s credit guidelines.

You start by asking if they lend to people with a bankruptcy. If so, on what terms?

That’s right. You have to be upfront that you’ve filed bankruptcy. Don’t hide it. We have to face the fact that some dealers just won’t work with people who’ve filed bankruptcy. So our job is to find the ones that do.

Some lenders will only lease to people with a bankruptcy. Others will only offer purchase financing. Yet still others will only lend using a hybrid of the two–this is especially common in Texas.

Ask the finance director at the dealership to direct you as to what structure the manufacturer prefers.

And here’s a quick tip for you: if your bankruptcy doesn’t appear on the credit report your lender pulls–then, in the eyes of the lender, you’re not bankrupt.

The only lenders I would consider using are:

– First choice: Captive lenders (car manufacturers)

– Second choice: Banks (not finance companies)

– Third choice: Credit unions

Ninety-nine percent of the cars I’ve leased over the years have been with captive lenders. Just one was leased by a bank.

That particular deal came from a conversation I had with Amy, the finance manager at the local Land Rover dealership here in Indianapolis. I told her I was open to her financing recommendations, but I preferred financing through the car manufacturer.

I told her my current FICO scores. She immediately said that with my scores she could do better through a local bank. I signed a credit application and told her to go for it.

The next day I signed a lease agreement with that local bank. Being open to her advice literally saved me hundreds of dollars a month on that car.

So be flexible…but be careful. It seems most car dealers call all of their funding sources banks. When in reality some are banks, some are credit unions, and most are sub-prime finance companies.

Here is a list of some of the most commonly used sub-prime auto finance companies:

1. HSBC Automotive

2. Capital One

3. AmeriCredit

4. WFS Financial

You want to pass on the sub-prime finance companies–unless you have exhausted all other options. Sub-prime lenders should be your last resort.

And only use credit unions if they report to all three national credit reporting agencies. How do you find out if a credit union reports to all three credit reporting agencies?

Simple–you ask. Ask the branch manager at the credit union if they report. And after you get the loan, check all three of your credit reports and make sure their trade line appears on each one.

The three worst luxury captive lenders to lease or purchase from after bankruptcy are:

1. BMW

2. Mercedes

3. Porsche

The three worst mainstream captive lenders are:

1. Honda

2. Kia/Subaru

3. Toyota

What makes these the worst?

Once these lenders see that you’ve filed bankruptcy, they are less likely to work with you. However, if they are willing to work with you, they’ll want you to be at least several years from discharge and have perfect credit during that time.

Now that I told you how bad the above six lenders are–there are times where they may offer you good deals. For example, if one of the above happens to be the biggest dealer in your area, they may be able to offer you special deals that a smaller dealer can’t.

Of course, things change all the time with captive auto lenders. They change their credit guidelines on a whim to meet their own financial goals. So, it’s always a good idea to at least research these dealerships–just don’t get your hopes up too high.

OK, so you’ve done your research and narrowed down your choice to one or two car manufacturers.

Step 2 in making a lease or buy decision is to purchase your FICO credit scores.

It’s important you have your most recent scores when you talk to car dealers (just like I did with Amy). It puts you in charge.

When you enter a dealership with your FICO scores, the dealer will know you’re a more informed consumer and cannot be taken advantage of. Just know that the FICO credit scores auto dealers use are a little different than what we see as consumers. The scores the dealers review are called FICO Auto Industry Option Scores. The good news…these FICO scores may be higher than your normal FICO scores if you paid all previous auto loans as agreed.

Some car dealers have told me that if your FICO scores are higher than the scores the dealer reviews–they may even use your scores to get a better deal.

You can buy your scores from myFICO.com.

Step 3 is to interview the remaining car dealers on a deeper level.

Start by asking them these questions:

– Which credit reporting agency do you use to make a lending decision?

– What is your minimum credit score requirement to get approved?

– What credit score is needed to get the best interest rate?

– Do your lenders prefer offering lease or purchase financing to a bankrupt debtor?

– What incentives are there to lease or purchase right now?

At this point it’s important to remain open to either leasing or purchasing. Evaluate your options and incentives. Remember, you’re buying the financing. In other words, the most important factor is the willingness of the lender to loan you money.

I personally view the lease versus buy decision in three ways:

1. If you’re recently recovering from bankruptcy, the only thing that matters is if you can get approved at an interest rate you can afford through a lender that reports to all three national credit reporting agencies. So you should only consider lenders that are bankruptcy friendly.

2. Once your credit scores begin to increase, you can start selecting cars based on which credit reporting agency the lender uses to determine if you qualify. Obviously, you should choose the lender who uses your highest FICO credit score to make a lending decision.

3. When your scores are high enough…or two years have passed after your bankruptcy…or your bankruptcy doesn’t appear on the credit report the lender uses, then you can choose almost any car you like. But make sure you still do your research and use your credit scores to help you compare interest rates, terms and incentives.

Source by Stephen Snyder

Call Center Seat Leasing in the Philippines

Few people only know the importance of call center seat leasing in the outsourcing industry. To establish your own company will entail lot of efforts and shelling out huge amount of money for you to start up your business operational. If you're a businessman and you consider setting up your own call center, the best scheme that you need to try is the call center seat leasing.

Seat leasing is defined as a do-it-yourself company. You need not require releasing huge amount of money because seat leasing usually offers the lowest rates and equipment which you need in the call center industry. The outsourcer will only provide his manpower to handle his account effectively. In terms of infrastructure, the location, the chairs, and any kinds of equipment related to call center will be provided to you instantly.

This would be the best idea if you're a newbie in the industry. A lot of investors preferred seat leasing because it helps their business operating smoothly without any problem. The cost that you need to pay will depend on the agreement between the lessee and the seat leasing company. The investors express their positive thoughts because their business is expected to grow.

Once the agreement will be secured properly, the lessee will avail the following equipment: $ 350 per station per month which equivalent to $ 2.20 an hour; No long-term commitments – one month advance payment; No deposits; guaranteed 99.9% up time; Hardware provision and maintenance; Call station per employee – complete with a computer and dial pad equipped with air conditioning and adequate lighting; Technical support; Access to IP webcam; Guaranteed security for the employees – PBX, ACD, CRM IVR and Music on hold; Two Tier three VOIP carriers, the quality is just as good as your regular phone; 800 numbers or main land local US numbers; Conference Room; Predictive Dialer; Redundant Internet Connections; Unlimited phone calls to the main land US; One nine hour time slot is dedicated for lease, 8 hours of calling and a one hour lunch break; and Men and Women's restrooms.

If you plan to seat lease, a famous place to outsource is the Philippines. The Philippines is the preferred destinations of the outsourcers because of the outstanding facilities and cost-effective rates. Filipino workers are amazing working in the world because they are competent and talented in helping your business up and running.

Once you made up your plans to do seat leasing, you need to plan a trip to the Philippines and start searching for the place you want to outsource. Thousands of contact centers are operating only in Metro Manila, and also in the provinces. If you're wise enough to experience the wonderful BPO (business process outsourcing) call center seat leasing is perfect for you.

Tying up your business to Filipino workers are the best in the world. Do not be afraid to try new things in investing your money. There are people out there who tried to outsource their business using seat leasing. After a year of operation, their business dramatically improves because of their passion and dedication in helping their business to survive against competition. A business can not survive without competition, as a businessman you need to be objective and possess the best qualities in getting things done. Outsourcing business is a great opportunity for everyone. And call center seat leasing is here to teach you how to manage your business effectively. Follow your instincts and design the best plan for your business which will serve as backbone in attaining the goal of your business.

Further, call center seat leasing is considered today as the leading business provider helping investors choosing the best technique as a beginner. Today, the Philippines is not only known in supporting all types of off-shoring operations, small businessmen enjoy the benefits of seat leasing.

Try putting your business on the map of the Philippines. Look for the best company offering seat leasing business. In a matter of time, your business will be known in the world of outsourcing. You will be thankful that you preferred seat leasing because it is beneficial and cost-saving.

Source by Roberto Bacasong

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Tax Refund Anticipation Loans

Tax refund anticipation loans provide a way of gaining access to the funds due from a tax refund faster than if you were to wait for the IRS to process the refund. In essence, they are short-term loans against the anticipated income from a tax refund.

Whether this type of loan will be suitable for you or not, will depend on your personal circumstances. While a tax refund anticipation loan will undoubtedly give you virtually instant access to the money that you are owed by the government, there are also some disadvantages that you should bear in mind too.

The advantages

The main advantage of a refund loan is that you will have the funds that you expect to receive from your tax refund available to spend earlier. This type of short-term loan is usually processed very quickly and you could have your money in your checking account within just a few days. That can be especially beneficial if you have urgent bills to pay and you can’t wait for the refund to come through the usual channels.

The disadvantages

The main disadvantage of these types of loans is that you will be charged interest and fees, which can be quite high, and that will reduce the amount of money that you receive from your refund. It is important when you apply for this type of short-term loan that you are fully aware that it is a loan, it is not, as some advertisements would lead you to believe, a means of getting your tax refund processed faster.

Another potential disadvantage that consumers need to be aware with this type of loan is that, if the tax refund is delayed or the IRS refuses the refund, the loan will be still be outstanding and it will still need to be repaid.

When is a tax refund anticipation loan appropriate?

As with all types of loans, the need for a tax anticipation loan will depend on your own circumstances. If you don’t need the funds urgently, then it would be better to wait for the refund to be processed in the normal way than it would be to spend money on the fees and the interest of a loan.

On the other hand, if you need funds urgently and you are prepared to receive slightly less of your refund than you might have originally expected, a tax anticipation loan would make those funds available to you within just a few days.

Shop around

If you do decide to apply for a loan in anticipation of tax refund, it is better to shop around rather than taking the first loan that you see advertised or the loan that your accountant offers you. There are lots of loan companies who provide this type of finance and the interest rates and fees can vary considerably, so a loan matching service is often the best option, because you may be offered a loan by more than one lender, in which case, you can look for the best deal that is available.

It is always important when agreeing to any loan, including tax refund anticipation loans, that you read the terms and conditions very carefully and that you understand what the cost of the loan will be and when the loan will need repaying.

Source by Neil Savin

Looking For A Debt Settlement With An Auto Title Loan

Debt settlement may seem like a solution to getting rid of your credit card, medical, or payday loan bills, but using this option for an auto title loan may make your circumstances worse. However, depending on your negotiating skills, bank balance, and willingness to pay, you may have a chance to settle with your auto title loan lender for as little as 25% – $ 75 of what you owe.

Debt settlement can work in two different ways: utilizing a debt settlement company or trying to settle the debt yourself. If you go through a debt settlement firm, you will give them all information regarding what you owe and to whom. You will make payment to the settlement company and in return they will put that money into a savings account. Once the balance in the account has reached a certain amount, the company will call your creditors to make an offer on settling your debt. It may be a flat fee or a percentage of what you owe. Once determined, the debt settlement company will pay your creditor.

If you choose to attempt debt settlement on your own, you can call your creditors and negotiate a settlement price. Keep in mind; you will have to be ready to give them a lump sum should they agree on a settlement amount. In most cases, the collector you are negotiating with is automatically given permission to reduce the amount you owe by as much as 75%.

A debt with settling an auto title loan lender Directly is going to be a bit different, though. First of all, the lender is not going to consider negotiating with you until you have defaulted on your loan. They will make every attempt to get you to pay before they are willing to take a lesser amount than what you owe. Loan amounts on auto title loans range from $ 1,000- $ 5,000 which means the lender is going to want to get their money back.

One of the biggest differences between settling on a credit card or medical bill versus a car title loan is that the lender holds the title to your vehicle and has the option to repossess the car, sell it at an auction, and recoup part or all of their money. This puts them in a good position to negotiate. They know you do not want to give up your car and therefore will have more bargaining power. One benefit for you, the debtor, is that most title lenders do not report to credit bureaus so in the case that you settle, it most likely will not affect your credit score.

Whether or not your car has been repossessed and you want to attempt to negotiate a debt settlement with the auto title loan lender, start out by reviewing your loan documents to find out how much you owe. Next, find out how much your car is worth by looking it up online at Kelly Blue Book or another reputable automotive vehicle valuation company. If your car is worth less than you owe, the lender may be more open to negotiating a settlement since it is more profitable for them than trying to sell at an auction.

Decide on how much you can afford or are willing to pay should the lender accept your offer. Most lenders expect debtors to offer at least 20% at which time they can counter offer for more. Start low so you will have a better chance of settling for less. Once determined, send a letter to the lender with your account information, how much you owe, the current value of your vehicle and how much you are willing to pay. You will also want to explain why you can not repay the full amount of the loan.

If at first the lender does not accept your offer, be persistent. Keep negotiating until you and the lender reach an amount that you can afford. Get the settlement in writing and make sure you pay the negotiated amount! If you default on your settlement you most likely will not have another chance to make good on your loan!

Source by Laura J Solomon

Finding Places to Rent an Apartment in Chicago With Bad Credit, a Broken Lease Or a Criminal Felony

Chicago is the third largest metropolitan in the United States and as such attracts thousands of people each day. The city is also a formidable financial center making it a magnet for people seeking economic and career opportunities. Chicago has many different apartments which are excellent for any purpose and for any family size. If you are shopping for an apartment rental in Chicago, it is best to be armed with the necessary information required. One of these is to know your credit score because Chicago apartments will conduct credit and rental history checks not to mention criminal background checks as well. So where can one rent an apartment in Chicago if they have a prior broken lease, less-than-adequate credit or a criminal record?

There are many different localities within Chi-town where this is possible. The following areas have different apartment leasing homes that cater to applicants with an unflattering rental history, tainted credit or criminal past:

  • Downtown Chicago
  • Southside
  • Center City
  • Southwest
  • Bridesburg

One challenge that many people who have a poor rental background or less-than-perfect credit is where to locate apartments that are willing to work with them. This is because many second-chance apartments in Chicago do not advertise that they work with people with imperfect credit. This leaves applicants to guess which can be a costly and frustrating exercise indeed.

Techniques of find bad credit apartments in Chicago

One way to find second chance apartments in Chicago is off course the Internet. This can also be tricky because not all websites are straightforward and apartments rental regulations are constantly being revised.

Another option is to contract an apartment locator. Usually if you tell them what the issue is they can look for an apartment for you which can cater for people with previous issues such as broken lease agreements, bad credit or criminal pasts.

Important information to bear in mind

It is essential that you understand that even if the apartments are willing to work with impaired credit and / or an imperfect record as far as renting, they will still request that you fulfill a few requirements:

  • Have a job for at least six months prior
  • Be earning at least 3 times the rental amount
  • Not be convicted of violent crime or crime against minors
  • If felony, it has to be at least 5 years old

Sometimes the apartments will also require a hefty deposit and may hike their rent. But again these requirements vary from apartment to apartment and locality to locality.

Are you looking for apartments in Chicago which will approve you despite a previous broken apartment lease agreement, sub-prime credit or a criminal record?

Source by Jimmy Jamm

Four Factors You Must Understand and Can Control to Change Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a snapshot of the contents of your credit report at the time the score was calculated. If your score is high (above 900), then you're due some congratulations. Read on at your desire for some helpful hints to further improve your score. If your score is considered medium to low, then you should immediately read this article and begin to apply the useful hints.

Your credit score is essentially a translation of your credit report into a 3 digit score that enables lenders to evaluate your application for credit in a fast and more objective manner. Most people do not realize that although they are entitled to receive their credit report, free of charge, annually from each of 3 reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, etc), obtaining their credit score requires a payment to one of these services. The credit score is one of a few factors that a lender uses when deciding to extend credit, provide insurance or financial services. Understanding the contents of your credit report and your credit score, is critical if you are considering a major purchase where you will seek credit (or a loan) or even if you're simply changing auto insurance companies.

Besides your credit score, other factors considered by lenders include: length of employment, income and previous experience with a customer. Depending on what you're applying for, some lenders will consider the various factors differently, applying more weight to one than another.

In theory, if you have a high score, lenders should be able to conclude that you are capable of repaying your debts. This enables lenders to provide you with the best available loan terms, including interest rates. If you can understand the factors that determine your credit score, you should be able to improve upon those where you're weakest and increase your overall score.

Factors

1) Amount paid on an open real estate account is too low – if the balance remaining on your home or auto loan is close to the value of the property, it may be considered a negative factor when determining creditworthiness. Lenders will look more favorably on a customer who has committed a large down payment to a home or auto.

2) Available credit on open revolving credit accounts is too low – having credit available is a sign that you are able to manage your finances responsibly. Lenders like customers that have large amounts of credit available.

3) Balances on your open accounts are too high in comparison to their credit limits – it is a good idea to use your accounts regularly, but remember to keep you balances low in comparison to your available credit limits. If you have 2 – 3 Visa, Mastercard and / or American Express cards and if you're carrying a large balance on these credit card (s), it's a signal that you may have borrowed too much and may be living above your means. This high ratio of balances to credit limits on open accounts indicates you do not have much available credit. Seeking more credit may be viewed negatively by lenders.

4) Average credit amount on open real estate accounts is too low – having credit available to you is a sign that you are able to manage your finances responsibly. Lenders like to see that consumers have a large amount of credit available to them.

Improving your credit score

Regardless of whether your score is high or low, when you receive your credit report and score, there may be a lot of discussion and interpretation included. You should read the report thoroughly and identify what opportunities you can immediately take to improve your score. Most of the easy fixes (which I refer to as, "low hanging fruit") may be disputing and correcting errors or simply closing a few older retail accounts that you have not used for a while and you do not intend to use anymore . Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete or unverifiable information.

For example, if you opened an account with Target 6 years ago in order to save 10% on a large purchase, you have not used the card since, you've paid off the purchase long ago and you have other older active accounts, it would be a good idea to close the account. You may also discover errors on your report such as an unpaid and overdue balance on an account with a doctor or local merchant. If an error exists which is negatively impacting your score, you have the right to dispute the error. If you believe your debt was paid on time and in full and / or at least paid in full, then you should approach the person / company that is reporting the issue with your account. You may request that they remove the documentation of a problem from your account.

Since your credit score is a snapshot of your credit report at the time it was calculated, long term responsible credit behavior is the most effective way to improve future scores. Following are the best ways to improve your score.

a) Pay bills on time – utility bills, credit cards, mortgage and auto loans are the obvious bills to pay. However, paying medical bills and insurance on time also impacts your credit score.

b) Lower balances on revolving credit cards – this assists factors 2 & 3 above. This increases your available credit on card.

c) Use credit wisely – paying bills on time and lowering balances is the first step. Limit applications for additional credit, unless, of course you're seeking better terms to pay down balances on a high interest loan / credit card. Continually applying for new cards, in order to swap balances to lower interest cards, may appear to save you money, but it can be viewed as a negative by consumer reporting agencies.

d) Regularly review your credit report to ensure it is accurate

If you're the type that has no idea where your turbulent credit history has left you in the eyes of the lender, then do not worry, it's easy to request and review your credit report. It costs a little money to receive a credit score with your report. However, it's an exercise that's well worth your time and the minimal expense. If you are in the market for a new home or auto, then most likely, you'll seek a new loan. If you can confidently walk into an open house or new car dealer, knowing that you'll have no problems getting the loan to complete the purchase, then you'll likely get your choice of home or car that's in your price range.

Source by Dan Lyne

The Responsibilities of an Automotive Service Manager Job

Many dealerships regard the automotive service manager as an integral part of their business. They are the people responsible for acting as a go-between customers and service staff. They are also responsible for other duties within this department.

These managers hire for their department and must choose the most qualified person for the job. They are in charge of overseeing the employees to make sure they meet the dealership’s quality standards. They are directly responsible for teaching these to the employees. Evaluations of employees are also part of their job within their department.

They must set a business plan into place and enforce the goals so they are met. This makes them accountable for the budgeting of the department in making sure the labor costs are kept in check, inventory balances, and they suffer no additional costs by retaining employees. This also covers a marketing campaign plan to gain new customers, as well as keep the old – through coupons, merchandising and staffing needs.

They must stay current with the changes in the industry by attending classes, seminars, and reading literature. This also includes understanding and implementing any policy changes within the dealership, and offering suggestions for change to make the department run smoother. They must also be able to schedule classes for other employees and themselves when such are offered through the car manufacturer so everyone gets the most current information.

It is also the automotive service manager’s responsibility to stay on top of warranties and recalls offered by the manufacture. They will be required to send the warranty work in for payment and will be held accountable for write-offs to the department for failure to comply with the information. They also are the link between the factory representative and the dealership, and may be required to attend meetings and conferences to further this relationship.

The main duty of a manager is to handle customer complaints quickly and efficiently and maintain customer service and the department. They must create and act upon a plan to keep the customers coming back and must have a way to compromise to ensure customer satisfaction. Bringing in new customers is also a job duty, and they must make sure that the service will turn them into repeat customers.

The education for this position requires a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a complimentary technical field. You must have at least five years experience working in the industry, and many companies require an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. Some will allow work experience to compensate for the college education, where the candidate has many years of experience performing the duties.

Source by Ben Pate

The Shifting Economy, 12 Steps, and Three Pillars of Economic Survival

Keep in mind that most of these stats exclude millions of jobless who have given up looking for work or are employed only part time. It also does not include the homeless and those no longer on benefits.

The real unemployment in the US alone is likely between 17-20%. The unemployment in California alone is estimated to be a real 22%.

Most of these people are either bankrupt or reeling in debt, soon to be bankrupt, and have no way out.

Many will be facing even larger financial challenges.

You may be thinking that this won’t happen to you. But, don’t you think it’s time you protect yourself and your family from the possibility of experiencing these hardships?

There is a way out but it needs a diverse and practical approach.

Most people don’t realize this but there are thriving sectors of the economy while some sectors collapse.

For example, take the internet.

There are about 2 BILLION active users with ONE MILLION NEW users log on to the net each day. That means 300 million new users joined the internet revolution in the last 10 months.

Amazon paid out 4 Billion in commissions to its affiliates.

Google paid out 8 Billion.

ClickBank has 110,000 affiliates and as of this writing has paid out over 1.6 billion USD to its clients. This is not counting a similarly large sum paid to its affiliates. Then there is ClickBank’s profit. I estimate that CB must have done over 3 billion in sales to have been able to pay this amount to their clients.

Affiliates are not just making a couple of hundred extra a month. Some are making incredible incomes. I know of one super affiliate who made 2.4 million last year selling other people’s eBooks and products. He didn’t even need his own website. I know people making $3000 a day. I also know of people making more humble incomes in the neighbourhood of a $1000 a week. Regardless, there are people making good incomes on the net and their incomes are getting better not worse.

There is another 26 year associate who in about 4 years has topped over 7 million in income.

These are the new millionaires and they are growing in number by the day.

However, before any of this becomes possible people must learn how to ‘mind their money’. Money made on the net can evaporate as fast as it comes in if you don’t understand some basic principles of money management.

As a MoneyMinding advisor I teach people to get their basic financial house in order by following a simple 12 step plan of action.

Step One: Take note of your present blessings. Be grateful for what you have. 40% of the world lives on less than $2 a day. If you reading this you are likely not in that category. That is one thing to be grateful for. There are many more. List them.

Step Two: Understand where you want to go in one year, three years, five years, and ten years down the road. Be specific in describing to yourself your goals. Rather than ‘I want a house’ write down on paper that ‘I want a 3000 square foot straw bale rancher on 5 acres within 5 miles of downtown Santa Cruz’.

Step Three: Clarify where you are now. Be specific. What are your liabilities and assets. What is your income and expenses. Lay it out.

Step Four: Implement the systems that will fill the gap between where you are today and where you want to be in the future. You will start by getting a handle on your credit, understanding credit use and how to leverage it for wealth building. You will also learn how to manage your credit for cost effectiveness. You need to learn what your liabilities are and the cost of carrying them.

Step Five: Develop saving and giving habits. This starts with defining WHY you are seeking financial independence in the first place. What does financial independence really mean to you? What are your life’s desires? What is your ideal ‘budget’ keeping in mind that a budget does NOT mean cutting back on what you want in life. It is about expansion not contraction.

Step Six: Work on your INCOME. Most advisors get you focused on trying to make a million dollars to retire. Well, I am sorry to inform you but even a million dollars in the bank today at present interest rates will not provide you with much income. $40,000 a year is about what you might see from that sitting in the bank. If lucky you could see up to $100,000 a year. However, in 20 years this may not buy you much.

Step Seven: Ask questions and build relationships with bankers, lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, investment advisors, wealthy mentors, financial planners, insurance agents, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and so on. This will help you build your ‘dream team’.

Step Eight: Ensure adequate insurance and emergency funds and make sure you have up to date wills and powers of attorney set up. This is ensure that everything is taken care of in your passing. This is for younger people as well. Many younger folks think that this is something to think about when they are old and grey. Well, it is really something to consider when you are young because no one knows when the lights will go out.

Step Nine: Clear the clutter, develop supportive relationships, get your time management under control, and clear away obstacles. One of the obstacles may be your attitudes around debt. In this step you will learn to develop wise credit habits and understand the difference between good credit and bad debt. Using credit can be your friend. The rich are very good at using credit but call it OPM (Other People’s Money). You need to understand the difference between excessive debt for doodads and toys, though they may give you much pleasure, and credit that can build cash flow to enjoy your doodads without the burden of uncontrolled debt.

Step Ten: With your debt under control you can then move on to Step Ten where you start to invest in assets that can produce for you a positive cash flow. This can be from real estate, income producing stocks, businesses, FOR.EX, and so on. Part of this process is understanding the language of investing, understanding your investment personality and risk profile, and being able to evaluate risks and upside potential.

Step Eleven: Start to invest for long term growth and financial independence. After creating a positive cash flow you now have something to build an investment portfolio with. This is where you start to work with your advisors on choosing long term solid investments that will build and grow into something substantial over time.

Step Twelve: This step all about diversifying into shorter term, diversified, and more volatile, or creative investments. Because you have built, or are building, a strong financial foundation you can now afford to step out of the box a little. At this stage you can explore investments that can turn anything from 30% a year to 6000% in a year (if you hit it lucky!)

Some of these kinds of investments might include:

1. The Forex market (trading, managed accounts, private Forex clubs)

2. Internet based business or investing

3. Venture Capital investments

4. Options trading

5. Penny Stock trading (must have a system!)

6. Real Estate ventures

7. Presold Commodities Contracts

Then I focus them on THREE main pillars of success:

1. Increase Passive CASH FLOW by increasing their assets (cash flow producing assets that is)

2. Manage Debt Intelligently (using it to create assets not liabilities)

3. Creating Business Cash Flow by using powerful advertising on the net to bring business to their online or offline business. Every business needs customers. Everyone should also have a business for better tax planning and because businesses provide a far better return on your money than leaving it in the bank. There are many low risk business investments online and offline to achieve this very quickly.

It is important to understand that this is a time when the economy is not dying but rather transforming. There is one of the largest transfers of wealth going on right now and your financial literacy will be the key issue as to which side of that transfer you are on.

When 63% of households are tossing their Yellow Pages in the trash and ‘Googling it’ instead, we have to rethink.

When newspapers and radio stations are going belly up, we have to rethink.

When more people are on the net at prime time than the TV, we have to rethink.

When alternative technology and green technology are making investors millions while oil stocks and prices plunge, we have to rethink.

There are sinking ships and golden ships. We need to disembark from the Titanics and board the new ships which are leading the way to the New Economy.

All this boils down to being able to see the trends and be financially literate enough to navigate the stormy waters that will prevail until about 2015 when the economic ‘Spring’ in will come.

Source by Wayne Nash

Marketing Plans for Commercial Real Estate Office Sales or Leasing

When it comes to marketing commercial real estate office space for sale or lease, it is important to understand the end target market that you are trying to reach. A few key decisions about the property and the location need to be made before the marketing strategy and campaign are implemented.

Vendor Paid Advertising

At the outset it should be said that client or vendor paid advertising or marketing is the norm in commercial office property marketing and should be sought at each and every opportunity. Any vendor that chooses a real estate agent based on the offer of ‘free’ or ‘discounted’ marketing are doing themselves an injustice. Getting the message out to the tenants and buyers about the property first and foremost, is of prime importance. A quick sale or lease is far more important than offered savings on marketing costs.

Some experienced agents will rightfully walk away from listings where the client will not contribute to marketing; this is a good idea considering that the client is really not motivated to help themselves sell or lease the property. The client is not really genuine or has not taken the market trends into account. Wasting time on clients that are less than realistic is not good real estate business practice.

Each Property is Special

Every property owner will regard their property as special; they want their challenges resolved as quickly as possible. The only way to do this is to tap into the target market relative to the property given the current levels of enquiry currently. Today the property market is changing and shifting almost on a monthly basis. As the local real estate agent, it is important to understand those shifts and changes so that each and every property can be correctly matched to the trends in the local area.

Here are some key questions to address in the marketing campaign for the property listing.

  1. Identify exactly who the ideal purchaser or occupier is for the office property. Factors that will have impact on the decisions here will be time of promotion, indicative price or rent, and the levels of improvements.
  2. Given the ideal purchaser or tenant for the property, how large is the audience and where can they be located? How can you reach this target audience?
  3. Most buyers and tenants for any property that is taken to the market today are already located in the local area. That is why local knowledge and networking is so important in your role as a real estate agent.
  4. What message should the property and advertising promote? What facts and points of difference does the property give you to work with in the marketing?
  5. Is the property known locally, does it have a history of note, and is that good or bad? Obviously these factors may have impact on your marketing choices.
  6. What segments of the media will best connect with the target audience for the property? Think outside the box with this. Use both traditional and non-traditional methods of marketing.
  7. How will you track the marketing impact or enquiries, so you know what results are achieved? This fact is critical so you can make changes with the marketing for things that do not work.
  8. What message should go into each advertisement? Advertising content is far more important than the media that is used when it comes to generating enquiry.
  9. What advertising budget do you have to reach the target audience? If money is limited, create 3 alternative budgets for the client to choose from. They will usually choose the middle of the range.

The marketing of office space and office property is a simple process if you keep to these rules that help you build the campaign.

Source by John Highman