Showing posts with label Payment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Payment. Show all posts

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Considerations When Taking out a Home Loan for the First Time

Buying your first home is exciting business, but it’s also a source of stress and uncertainty for those who have never taken out a mortgage before. But don’t let that discourage you. You’re about to pass an important milestone in life, and as long as you do your research and take the proper precautions, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Begin by running through this important list of considerations:

  • Take Your Time.

The most important thing you can do in preparation for your first mortgage is to slow down and take time to process everything. It’s easy to feel rushed – especially when you have to be in a new location by set date to start a new job, for example. However, rushing leads to missteps. Remember, you can always rent a room for a few weeks or even months if necessary. The last thing you want to do is rush into a 20- or 30-year mortgage when you’re not convinced that a particular property is the right one for you. Just remind yourself that homes go on and off the market perpetually. Even if there are no ideal properties available right now, there certainly will be in due time.

  • Don’t exhaust your savings on the down payment.

This is not an attempt to go against traditional wisdom. Make no mistake: a substantial down payment reduces the principle and cuts down on the amount of interest paid over the life of Smartline home loans. However, once you move into your first house, you’re going to need to buy furniture, appliances, tools and a host of other expensive items that home ownership requires. Better to take this extra money out of your down payment and pay a low mortgage interest rate on it than to pull out the credit card and pile on high-interest debt. You can always increase your monthly repayments down the road. 

  • Ask the Sellers to See Past Utility Bills.

One of the most essential considerations for first-time home buyers is the feasibility of repayment. You want to make absolutely certain that you can afford this house on a monthly basis, and that means taking more than your mortgage repayment into account. Ask the current owners if you can look at their utility bills so that you can cut the guesswork out of how much it takes to heat, cool, power and supply water to this house. Ask for past bills from all seasons (or better yet, from a full calendar year) so that you can accurately determine how much you’ll be paying on top of your monthly mortgage 

  • Scrutinise the Taxes.

As with the utility bills, the annual taxes on the property are going to add to the burden of repayment. Ask to see past property tax statements from several years to help you predict upcoming trends in tax as well. It is also a good idea to speak to your realtor about property taxes in specific cities and neighbourhoods.

  • Request a Record of Past Improvements.

Regardless of whether or not you plan to do any remodelling, you will want to know what the previous owners have done up to this point. Sellers are prone to making a few improvements before they list a house so that they can get a bit more for it. This is all well and good as long as they are using superior materials. If, on the other hand, a closer inspection of their handiwork reveals second-rate craftsmanship, you may have to make additional repairs to the house after you purchase it. Those are going to cost you.

About the Author: A company with offices in most major regional areas in Australia, Smartline is one of the leading providers of financial solutions such as home loans to customers all over the country.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How to Overcome a Personal Finance Crisis in Retirement

retirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)
Having financial troubles when you're retired is the pits. A financial crisis can strike at any time, however, and completely wipe you out. You've got little or no savings, and you just don't know what you'd do if you had to pay for a major car repair, a new furnace, or if you had to loan money to a friend in need. 

Go To Work Part-Time

One option that many seniors consider these days is going back to work part-time. Part-time work can include anything from a dietician or nutritionist to a mediator to Santa Claus during Christmas time. Now, dressing like Santa might not seem like it would rake in the big bucks, but it can. If you negotiate a 40-day season contract, you can reasonably earn between $10,000 and $50,000, depending on where you live.

That's more than some people make in an entire year. Of course, it all depends on your expertise. Entry-level Santas only make $10 per hour. 

Sell Your Annuity Payments

If you're desperate for cash, selling an annuity payment can help. This is mostly a last-ditch effort kind of thing though. Most courts in the U.S. make it difficult to sell payments to a third-party funding company unless there's a good reason for doing so.

Basically, you must prove that you will be put into a better position financially if you sell the annuity. Since annuity payments protect you from the possibility of spending through all of your retirement, many judges are reluctant to allow these transactions to go through. But you can convince a court if you wanted to, say, pay off a large debt or debts, if you were planning on using the money for emergency purposes, or if you needed the cash to pay for health insurance deductibles or an expensive medical procedure. 

Get a Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgages were popular in the mid-2000. They've mostly fallen out of favor because they were oversold. Still, for the right person, a reverse mortgage could be the right move. Basically, a reverse mortgage turns your home into a sort of savings account. Your home's equity is opened up, and you're allowed to spend it "at will."

Some companies encourage you to use an annuity in combination with the reverse mortgage, but many do not.

Now, because it's a mortgage, it's technically a loan against the property. The bank charges interest and fees, like closing costs, so there's a lot to consider before rushing out to sign paperwork.

One of the benefits of this type of loan, however, is that it does not need to be repaid prior to your death. If you plan on staying in the home forever, the reverse mortgage will be repaid either by your children or the home will be given back to the bank and the bank will sell it.

You can get around this by buying a life insurance policy that's just large enough to pay off the mortgage when you die. That way, the house stays in the family, but you get the lump sum of cash you need right now.

Anthony Jensen has worked with a number of retirees. He is thrilled to help people through difficult financial times.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Different Ways to Sell My Structured Settlement for Cash

Selling your structured settlement isn’t exactly brain surgery. Many people believe there is an exact science to it, that there is a formula that you have to follow in order for your sale to be successful. That is not true. Selling structured settlements is not a complex process nor is it something that makes you want to pull your hair out before it is even over. It is actually quite simple. It simply comes down to two things: how much do you want to sell for and how much you want left over in your savings. That is it. However, there are different ways that you can sell your structured settlement for especially for cash and in this article I will explain all the different ways you can do this in detail. 

Before you sit there and ask yourself, “How can I sell my structured settlement?” there are a couple of things that you need to do first. The very first thing you need to do is figure out exactly how much cash you need. I know that this may seem obvious, but it is nonetheless important for you to do. Sit down and ask yourself, “What do I need the money for?” Do you need money to pay off some medical bills that you recently received? Do you have some debt that you need to get rid of? If so, how much do you need? Do you feel like you want to go on a vacation? If so, figure out how much you will need in order to pay for it. This step is all about budgeting. Never take more than you actually need.

The next thing you need to do is figure out every little detail of your structured settlement. From which insurance company did you purchase your annuity from? When did you win your lawsuit? When does your first payment begin? How much is it? How much is your total settlement? Finding out these details is crucial because whether you use a private investor or company to sell your annuity, they will need to know these details before they can even start the selling process.

The last thing for you to do is to figure out your payment options. The private investor or company that you hire to help you sell your annuity will tell you what options you have available. You are usually left with only two options: cashing your annuity for one large lump sum or receiving a little bit at a time in the form of monthly payments. With whatever option you choose always choose the one you are most comfortable with and whichever one will make you happy.

The whole process of selling your structured settlements may seem like a daunting prospect. Do not let your fear control you. It is a rather simple process and usually only takes little more than a week to complete. If you follow the steps I have outlined in this article you should be able to sell your structured settlement for cash in no time at all.

Author Bio:
Mark Long has very much experience and is a leading expert in selling structured settlements payments. If you ever find yourself asking, “how long does it take to sell a structured settlement?” you can always ask Mark for some guidance which he is more than happy and willing to give.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Avoid the Pitfalls in Recruitment by Factoring

When it comes to the labour market there are many opportunities for companies that can provide the staff a business might need on a temporary, contract or permanent basis. There are a few pitfalls as well that you need to consider. Plenty of people who are in full time employment also register with a recruitment agency just in case a better opportunity comes along. There are unemployed people who do likewise believing that a privately run company with contacts is more likely to find them new employment than the government exchanges.

Some others are available for short term contracts in specialised employment and a fourth element are people available for temporary work which comes up in holiday time but also to cover enforced or paid absences within a company. The opportunities are there for someone with contacts and the determination to build up even more. 

Cash flow issues

It is not all plain sailing if you run a recruitment agency and are responsible for paying everyone on your books yet find yourself waiting for your clients to pay you. Your biggest client could be your slowest payer and that will inevitably cause you cash flow problems, which you need to solve. Without a planned and accurate cash flow you can go out of business quickly.

Much depends on whether you specialise. If you have many weekly paid contractors on your books yet get paid monthly, then that alone needs to be taken into account when you are preparing your forecasts and cash flows. One obvious answer is to factor your invoices so that you receive 90% of the invoice total immediately and the balance when it has been paid. 

Factoring an answer

The factoring company specialises in credit control and will take over that function from you, and will likely be more effective. There are fees involved and you can decide whether you want to pay a smaller fee and do your own credit control, but it is hardly ever worth it.

It may complicate things but there is an argument that you may want to do some of your own invoicing and collection because you are assured prompt payment and it has always happened in the past. You perhaps think it is not worth the trouble for the saving you would make. 

Reduce your administration

You can decide to actually use third party services for everything relating to your payroll including the statutory returns to the taxman, the payments to everyone, and all the paperwork that is involved. If you go further and actually outsource your invoicing, you can get the VAT returns done every quarter as well. It is something that would certainly reduce your own administration.

If you are able to concentrate your energies on finding more clients and placing more people then your turnover will increase. That is surely your area of expertise? Knowing you can leave many of the administrative and financial problems to a specialist is reassuring and one less worry for you on a daily basis.

Recruitment factoring allows you to identify your financial commitments and meet your liabilities on time, even if some of your clients are not so responsible.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

How Much Home Can I Afford?

Obviously, everyone wants to own a home, and this can be easier as long as there is sufficient money to buy a new one. However, there are many ways and options to consider in buying and owning a home. The first thing that comes in mind when planning to buy a home is the amount of the house. If you are thinking of getting a home loan, then you should first determine how much you can afford for the home loan.

There are several factors to consider in getting a home loan since the payments can be on par. This makes sense in considering your current financial situation before deciding to buy a house. Likewise, you should also take into account your income, the credit history, debts and the cost of the house. In this way you can easily determine how much home you can afford to loan. Before making your final decision, it is important to consider some pointers.

Down Payment

One of the important pointers to consider in determining the amount of home that you can afford to buy is the down payment. Usually, home loan would require paying 20% down payment from the total house cost. However, you can also opt for non-standard loans that require lower amount of down payment. The downside of getting non-standard loan is the higher interest rates. This makes sense of asking for calculations before making your decision.

Income and Monthly Obligations

In determining how much home you can afford, you need to consider the monthly income and obligations. The mortgage company would require you to furnish the income details as well as the monthly obligations. These details will help the company in identifying the mortgage amount in which you can qualify. In calculating your loan capability, the mortgage company will check your credit card debts.

Interest Rate

Another factor to consider in determining the amount of home that you can afford to buy is the interest rate. Obviously, if the interest rate is lower, most likely you can afford buying bigger house. That is why home buyers should be aware about the prevailing interest rates in the area. It is also necessary to ask for quotes from different mortgage companies. In this way, you can compare which mortgage company can give you the best deals. In addition, you should also consider fixed rate mortgage than a variable rate mortgage. It is because the latter would impact your monthly obligations.


The cost of the property that you want to buy also depends on the location. If you want to own a home in a commercialized area, then you should expect for higher cost. You need to conduct thorough research if you want to find a property located in your chosen area yet with the price that you can afford. Usually, if the property is of close proximity to the city it would be more expensive.

Indeed, it is very challenging to find affordable property. Nevertheless, St. Louis real estate can help you in finding the home that you can afford. If you cannot afford to buy a home, there are other options to consider. All you have to do is to seek advice from mortgage companies.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Understanding the Basics of Vehicle Financing

Purchasing a new vehicle can be a very daunting task. The average vehicle today costs anywhere from $15,000 for a used model and almost $30,000 and up for a new vehicle. Because of this increased cost, most consumers have to have some type of financing. The financing will help with the vehicle purchase by setting up payments per month. It is important for consumers to understand the financing process before shopping for a vehicle. Understanding the lingo and how financing works allows for consumers to get the best deal. Below is a simple guide to understanding vehicle financing. 


When it comes to purchasing a vehicle, consumers have two options: Direct Lending and Dealership Financing. With direct lending, the consumer is using a bank, credit union or finance company to obtain a loan. The financial establishment will need personal information to see if you qualify. If you do, you will then agree to a set amount for purchase, then an agreed finance charge which is paid over time. once a contract is in place for a new vehicle, the contract is signed and the amount is paid to the dealer. You are then responsible for a monthly payment on your new vehicle.

With dealership financing, you have the option of financing the vehicle directly from the dealer. You agree to the price of the vehicle and a finance amount, plus a charge which is set over time. In most cases, the dealership will retain a contract but sell the contract to a bank, credit union or finance company as an assignee. This group will then accept the payments on your loan. Most consumers find that dealership financing is best because it is convenient, there are more financing options and special programs can be found for saving additional funds during the purchase.

Your Credit

Before purchasing a new vehicle, it is also a good idea to check your credit report. you want to be sure that you have an up-to-date account of your credit. to obtain the best loan, you will need a score of 725 or higher. Always check your credit and work on any issues so that you do not have any problems when purchasing a new vehicle.

Consider a Co-Signer

When financing a new vehicle, you may be in need of a co-signer. A co-signer is someone who signs a loan agreement with you to assume an equal responsibility for the amount owed. You want to choose someone who has a good credit history and one that is willing to help you if you are in need. This is a major obligation and one that the purchaser of the vehicle must take very seriously.


Consumers should always be aware of their finances. Take the time to go through your financial records and bills for each month to be able to determine the payment amount you can afford. You never want to spend more than you have or you may end up losing money and your new vehicle. Do a little budgeting and determine a set amount you have for a vehicle payment and stick to this amount. This will allow you to remain comfortable in your lifestyle despite a new vehicle purchase.

Overall it is important to learn the basics. Take the time to learn financial terms and even go so far as to speak with a loan officer to find out what you can afford as well as learn about the process. You will feel more comfortable with a new vehicle purchase by learning more about the process.

About the Author

Ashley Parker has vast experience with purchasing vehicles and likes to spread her knowledge about the financial aspects of a purchase. A great bonus tip is to search for a website of a car dealership so that you can take advantage of special deals and promotions.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

How Long Does Settlement Funding Take Now that The Judge Has Awarded My Money?

There is no easy answer to the question of how long settlement funding can take. But there are some basic things that you can know to help you get your money as fast as possible. Once your court case is decided, the judge will award your damages. This award will be stated as a lump sum, however, if you are reading this article then most likely the judge also determined that you should receive your settlement through a structured settlement, paid out over some lengthy term. This type of settlement funding can take weeks or months to complete. 

Understand the Basic Process

While the exact method of settlement funding can vary from case to case, jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and even change based upon the parties involved, the basics are relatively simple. It all starts when the judge makes the award and determines that the damages should be paid out with a structured settlement. From there the judge will likely set terms under which the defendant must fund an annuity in the name of the plaintiff. This judgment can include restricting the time that the annuity must be funded within. You should talk to your lawyer prior to this point and ask him if his recommendations to the judge can include some time frame for this decision within his judgment.

Once the order for a structured settlement is made, the defendant and his lawyer will find an annuity company to work with. This is where it is best if the judge ordered this to be done within a set period of time, because as you can imagine the defendant could really drag their feet and stretch this out. Likely, you can count on them to take up the full amount of time that the judge allows them. This will probably take anywhere from four to twelve weeks, but it could go much longer. Of course, if the defendant appeals the judge’s original decision, this can take years.

Settlement Funding in the Hands of the Annuity Company

After the defendant chooses an annuity company they will have a lot of paperwork to fill out, and then they have to actually fund the annuity account with the amount of money ordered by the judge. This can take time depending upon the internal processes of the annuity provider. By the time they mail you your first check it could now be a number of months since your original award by the judge.

Accessing Your Lump Sum

Now if you decide that your settlement funding plan is not working out for you, that is you want a large lump sum of money instead of the smaller monthly payments, you can call an annuity settlement company who can purchase your annuity payments in exchange for a single, large payment. In this way you can cash in your entire settlement funding amount, or just a portion of it – whatever suits your financial needs at the time.

You can work with a settlement funding company, like. Here, we do all the footwork, including handling legal issues and paperwork; all you do is answer a few simple questions and sign some papers when the time comes. And, of course, you must decide how best to use that lump sum of cash that we can deliver to your door or bank account in four to six weeks.

So call Strategic Capital now. We are happy to answer all your settlement funding questions, even if you are not quite sure what decision to make yet.

Friday, July 26, 2013

How to Deal With Mortgage and Credit Card Management

As we are all aiming to ride out the financial wave to safety, you may be currently facing issues when it comes to repaying on a credit card or taking out a mortgage. Thanks to the economic recession we have all be tightening our fiscal belts whilst taking out favourable terms with a number of different credit card firms or banks. Whether you are seeking alternatives or looking to control your personal finance, here are a few options on how to cope with managing your credit. 

Do your research

If you wish to keep a hold of your credit cards then it is essential that you scan a wide variety of companies on the net. This is in order to obtain the best interest rate or APR so your repayments or as low as possible. Different firms will charge different types of rates so it is essential you find the best deal where you can reduce interest rates and more. This includes;

  • Decreasing monthly payments.
  • Eradicating any charges.
  • Asking for a lower interest rate.

Settle debt immediately

Whether you have a credit card or are renewing an existing mortgage loan, it is crucial that you pay off the monthly debts in good time. This is because you may run into trouble in the long run when it comes to missed payments. Like a credit card, a mortgage payment is taken monthly so you should ensure;

  • Settlement of any outstanding monthly payments as soon as possible in one lump sum.
  • Ask to discuss how to pay less over the course of a month.
  • You have enough money to pay or your credit rating may be affected. 


Do you really need to take out a credit card or struggle with mortgages? If you really do not have enough funds to cover these monthly payments then you should draw up a schedule. Credit card repayment can be left to a certain extent while a mortgage needs to be paid off in full. Alternatively it may result in the loss of your home. Yet, if you speak to an independent financial advisor, they will be able to put you in the right direction as far as the best home loan rates are concerned. This will provide you with the opportunity to repay within your budget so that you are not short at the end of the month.

Little and often

If you choose to pay back the minimum amount each month, it will allow you to be in control of your personal finances. In this way, it may take you longer to pay the full amount back on your mortgage or credit card but paying in bite size chunks will ensure you don’t run into debt. By adopting a less is more attitude you will have the chance to;

  • Be in control.
  • Repay the lowest amount when necessary.
  • Not rack up any additional loans.

Seek help

If you have been unable to agree on reduce interest rate payments as well as reduced balance, then there are other solutions available. You can always seek approval from independent advisors or ask friends or family to cover you until you can repay them back. This won’t be as much of a burden especially as it will only be a temporary loan to tide you over until your next pay cheque.

If you are disciplined and keep a close record of all your outgoing and incomings then you will have the ability to manage your finances. By following just a few of these steps, you will be well on the way to financial freedom and taking control of your personal finances.

About the Author:
Westpac is one of the banks in New Zealand that offers the best and reasonable home loan rates. They also have credit card deals and more.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Make Credit Card Debt Disappear, Even If You're Retired!

Retirement isn't supposed to be a debt riddled way of life. It should be a worry free, enjoyable time. Unfortunately, for many consumers debt has ruined their retirement. But what if I told you that, you could still pay your debts off? What if I told you that you could do it paying no more than your minimum payments right now? Well, you'd probably think I was trying to sell you something. Good news, I'm not, you can do it on your own! No need to pay that debt consolidation company $3,000 to do it for you. It's actually pretty simple, here's how:

Step #1: Make A List Of Your Debts: 

I've seen the smartest people I know make stupid mistakes because they forgot to prepare before doing something. When you do anything as important as working your way out of debt, it's vital that you get prepared. To do so, you will need to understand your debts. Start by making a list of all of your credit cards with a balance. Make sure to order your list from highest interest rate to lowest. Also, it should include the lender name, interest rate, balance, minimum payment, customer service phone number and pay to address for each of your credit card debts.

Step #2: Decide How To Go About Reducing Your Interest Rates: 

There are 2 different options that you can chose from for DIY interest rate reduction, first is interest rate negotiations and balance transfers, the second is financial hardship programs. Either of these options coupled with solid, aggressive payment plans, which I will go over later can prove to be a dream come true for you and your family. So, how do you decide? It takes a bit more than one paragraph so, I'm going to separate this step into sub-steps:

  1. Check Your Debt To Income Ration – Add all of your credit card balances up. Do they add up to more than 15% of your annual income? This plays a crucial role in your decision because if your debts add up to more than 15% of your annual income, chances are, you will not qualify for enough of a credit line to transfer your balances via balance transfer credit cards. Also, you may be in the midst of a financial hardship.
  2. Add Up All Of Your Minimum Payments – Can you afford to pay at least that amount of money every month? If not, you are dealing with a financial hardship and your lender has assistance for you.
  3. Figure Out Your Credit Scores – If you have poor to fair credit scores, the truth is, you will not qualify for any balance transfer credit cards that are worth applying for. This however is often a sign of financial hardship!
  4. Make Your Decision – If your debt to income ratio is too high, you can't afford to send at least your minimum payment comfortably and you have bad credit scores, financial hardship programs will be a better option for you than balance transfer credit cards. However, if you do have a low debt to income ratio, good credit scores and can afford to pay make your payments with a little extra comfortably, balance transfer credit cards are going to be your best option.

Step #3: Reduce Your Interest Rates: 

I have written several publications on both options for reducing your interest rates. If you decide on financial hardship programs, I suggest reading, “Understanding And Applying For Credit Card Hardship Programs”. If you decide that you would rather use balance transfer credit cards for interest rate reduction, please read “Do It Yourself Credit Card Debt Consolidation”.

Step #4: Decide On A Constant Payment: 

Have you ever noticed that as you pay your credit card bills, every month or two, the payments get a few cents or even a buck lower? This is because your minimum payment is based on your credit card balance. Therefore, if you can commit to sending no less than your minimum payments this month, you can commit to sending more than your minimum payments in the future. Every extra penny going to your principle balance saves you money in the long run. So, to decide on a constant payment, add all of your minimum payments together. Can you afford to send more than the total? If so, write down the total payment you can afford. Now, commit to sending no less than this every month until your debts are completely paid off. If you do so, you stand to save thousands of dollars in interest and years of time paying off your debts!

Step #5: Stack Your Debts: 

The debt stacking payment method is one that attacks your highest interest rate first. To do so, send minimum payments to all of your credit cards with the exception of the highest interest rate each month. All extra funds left within your constant payment should be directed to your highest interest rate. When your highest interest rate credit card is paid off, don't go back to making small payments and keeping the rest! Now, send all extra funds to your next highest. This aggressive payment method will really get you paid off fast!

My Conclusion

Even if you're retired, you don't have to live with credit card debts. If you follow this plan, you will be free in just a few years and finally be able to enjoy your retirement. I hope you've enjoyed my article and hope you come back to read more to come!

About The Author – Joshua Rodriguez

This article was written by Joshua Rodriguez, proud owner and founder of CNA Finance and avid personal finance author. This article was inspired by his most recent series, “Balance Transfer Credit Cards – A 7 Step Guide To Understanding This Option”. Join the discussion about this article, Joshua's series or any personal finance topic of your choice on Google+!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Save Money by Staying on Top of Your Bills

Every month those official looking envelopes keep rolling into your mailbox demanding money for the services and purchases that we have received. Nobody likes to look at them, and we certainly hate to part with our money. But you can really pile on the debt and get into a lot of credit trouble if you don't keep up with your bills.

Who has the time to deal with bills?

It can be a real hassle sitting down and writing a check out each month to pay the car note, the water bill and all the other creditors that keep sniping at us for the money we owe them, but not dealing with it can come with lots of bigger hassles. Try taking out a loan or getting store credit when your credit score shows that you tend not to make payments on time. Sometimes you can even have trouble renting a new house or apartment if the landlord does a credit check. But there are ways that you can stay on top of those bills and turn your situation into a positive one rather than a negative one.

Time for an attitude adjustment!

The first thing to think about is your attitude. When you think about how much you hate paying bills, are you really being fair to the creditor. They just want what they are owed for whatever they have provided. Wouldn't you? Are you enjoying whatever it is that you bought or service your received? That money isn't yours. When you can think about it in the right light, that you are enjoying the benefits of having been extended the credit, it can make it easier to sit and write the check or send the money online.

Start developing good habits now.

Come up with a regular routine for paying your bills. One of the reasons we let bills pile up is that we say we will get to them later. All too often later never comes, at least not until the collection agencies start ringing our phones on a regular basis. Develop a strategy that works best for you for paying bills and stick to it. One way might be to pay every bill as soon as it comes in, whether that is in the mail or in your email inbox. With this strategy, you get into the habit of dropping whatever you are doing and breaking out the credit card or check book and making a payment right then and there. This way you know all your bills got paid.

Do it once, enjoy the rest of the month!

Another strategy is to pay all your bills on the same day. This works for a lot of people because they don't want to have to think about bills every day or week. The one catch with this method is that you have to keep in mind the due dates of your various accounts and make sure you pick a day that won't make you late on some of your payments. This will probably mean that you will have to make some payments before a bill even comes in, so you'll have to have your account information somewhere. This is a great way for getting into a regular routine without letting bills take up all of your time. For example, you know that on the 3rd of the month you always pay your bills. So you don't have to worry about missing a payment, or forgetting, because you'll always have something to remind you.

Try automatic payments!

Another option that many people find convenient, especially those who are busy or who tend to be forgetful, is to have bill payments automatically deducted from your checking account. What's great is that most banks provide this service and some even offer discounts if you sign up for bill pay services. The one drawback to this method is that you want to make sure you always have enough money in your account to cover those bills. You don't want to be surprised that your account is suddenly in the negative and your car note hasn't even been paid yet.

So, you see, there are lots of ways to make sure you can keep those creditors at bay and hold on to your own sanity. Who needs the stress? Find a way to stay on top of your bills, and you will be able to breathe easier every day.

Author Bio: Darren Carter is currently a resident blogger at covering topics such as budgeting and personal finance as well as commenting on the recent banking scandals.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Selling Your Structured Settlement for Maximum Cash - An Illusion or Reality

What a Structured Settlement Is and Why Some Plaintiffs Opt to Sell Their Future Payments?

Senior couple signing financial contract
Senior couple signing financial contract (Photo credit: SalFalko)
As you probably know, people who get injured in various accidents usually receive a structured settlement. This is actually a monetary compensation paid by the insurance company in a stream of fixed installments over time. Such financial agreements typically arise as the result of a lawsuit from various personal injury cases, like traffic accidents, medical malpractice, work related injuries, wrongful death and some others. There may be also cases with no relation to personal injuries, like legal malpractice, worker's compensation, commercial cases, etc. However, in any of these circumstances the entire amount of monetary award assigned to a plaintiff is spread out over some time period and distributed in the form of monthly, quarterly or annual payments, rather than in a single lump sum.

Of course, any structured settlement owned may become an excellent source of substantial additional income. Though many structured settlement holders who face sudden life circumstances change and unforeseen financial burdens, find that they need pretty much more cash than their periodic payments provide. There is also a group of plaintiffs who consider it rather stressful and inconvenient to be tied up to the inflexible schedule of small periodic payments and, therefore, wish to unlock their future payments and get access to their legal money in full now to use it however they need: either to eliminate current financial obligations or meet some short-term or long-term goals.

For both groups of structured settlement recipients turning their future payments into a lump sum of cash is definitely the most deliberate choice. Since 1988, it has become legal to sell structured settlements, annuities, insurance policies and some other related financial agreements in US in return for a lump sum of cash. In such a way, funding companies, also known as settlement funders, have quickly emerged on the asset-backed market. They are dedicated to accomplish such transactions allowing payment recipients to gain absolute control over their finances.

The truth is that many plaintiffs hesitate to sell their structured settlements, even when facing the dire need in cash, mainly influenced by a rather widespread opinion that a settlement sale transaction may dramatically reduce their monetary reward. But what actually happens with your money when you sell your future payments to a funding company? How much is your structured settlement worth in fact? What should you do in order to get most cash for your settlement or is it still wiser to keep to the initial payment schedule with small periodic installments coming over time? Let's clean the air on these rather crucial questions for each and every plaintiff.

Roots of the Misconception

Indeed, there is a strong belief that getting maximum cash after selling a structured settlement is no more than a myth and a plaintiff would get a dramatically reduced amount of his/her money. In fact, settlement sale transactions owe their bad reputation to non-direct funders. Unfortunately, there are some funding companies on the asset-backed market that partner with intermediate brokers and use some third-party assistance.

They typically require certain fees for their services, and it is rather obvious, that every broker in this chain will cut off a piece of your monetary award. As longer this chain is, as less money you may expect to get. And like many other promises and guarantees connected with third-party companies, adequate settlement cash payouts may also turn to be just an illusion.

When Getting Maximum Cash is Real

But the situation may go the whole different way, if you are dealing with a direct funder. Established and reputable funding companies operate typically as direct funders avoiding any intermediate brokers during the whole transaction process. While applying various solid financial and legal instruments, they are able to provide plaintiffs with maximum cash advances for their structured or annuity settlements. When you hand in all related papers, their financial consultants will determine the value of your settlement and tailor a package meeting all your specific needs and goals.

It's also worth to point out that an established settlement funding company imperatively submits every single transfer agreement directly to the local court for review to ensure that the proposed cash payout option is in the best possible interest of a plaintiff and a purchasing company works in the fullest compliance with both state and federal laws.

In such a way, whether getting maximum cash for your structured settlement is an illusion or reality is the matter of your deliberate choice only. If you would like to share your personal experience of cashing out future settlement payouts, feel free to do that in the comments below.

Author's Bio

Derek Wrend is a PR manager at OzarkFunding - a settlement funding company offering the maximum lumpsum of cash for structured settlements.

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