Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Supplementing Your Income with a Part Time Real Estate Business

This is a guest post by Jeffry Evans, licensed real estate agent.

If you are approaching or are in retirement, or simply want to have a little extra money come in here or there, then pursuing real estate as a side career part time might be just the thing to do. Out of all the things I can think of, it's hard to think of one job where you can make a few thousand dollars, with just a few hours of work and all from your home (or office, if you prefer).
The typical real estate contract pays some 5-6%, and the paperwork to complete it is just several pages long, and often promulgated by a state body, such as a real estate commission or association of Realtors. This makes the technical part of being a real estate agent easy. So it really just comes down to getting your license, and working with buyers and sellers.

Getting Your Real Estate License

To become legally able to act as a real estate agent, you'll have to get licensed. Each state varies slightly on the steps to becoming an agent, but they all following the same basic steps. First, you'll have to have some education. There are many companies, both online and offline, that can deliver a custom package of real estate education to you.

Once you have completed the courses, you'll have to pass a state exam. Once that's passed, you need to deliver the paperwork, and any background checks the state requires. Then you'll need to partner with a local broker, until you become a broker yourself (and you don't have to, you can stay under another broker indefinitely). Once the state acknowledges you partnership, you are ready to begin helping buyers and sellers.

Becoming Successful and Making Some Money

Now that you have your license, your focus needs to shift to finding and helping interested parties. Starting a website is the best approach, because over 80 percent of home buyers begin their search online. Be sure to get a website that you can list properties on, and then begin promoting your site out through social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Start searching online for other websites that have something to do with real estate and/or finance. Partner with them to deliver helpful content that their visitors can use. In return, you'll get creditability and visitors to your site. This is the vital part of the process called real estate internet marketing.

If you consistently publish quality work that is helpful to online home searchers, you'll soon find that you have prospects that want you to help them find their next home. When they do, all you have to do is use the MLS and any other means you have of finding properties to locate and show your new prospect homes that fit their desires.

Be as helpful as you can, and you'll end up with more business than your competitors, and a nice supplemental income, that doesn't cost you all of your time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Budgeting for Your Pension

This is a guest post by our friends over at, I recommend you visit their website for solutions to your financial problems.

Saving for your retirement is an important thing to think about for the future. The basic State Pension for a single person currently stands at £102.15 per week, which you may qualify for when you reach retirement age.

If you want to have more than that when you retire, it's important you start putting money aside as soon as possible - if you haven't done so already - which may mean making changes to your monthly budget.

As with any kind of saving, putting money aside for your retirement can be a lot easier if you increase your disposable income every month: that is, the amount of money you have left over after you've covered your essential expenses (such as mortgage/rent payments, utility bills, etc.).

Your disposable income is what you have left to repay your unsecured debts and, if there is any left over every month, to spend on non-essential 'luxuries' - or save for the future.

If you'd like to save more for the future, you could try to maximise your disposable income by cutting back on non-essential spending and/or increasing your total income (all the money your household earns/receives).

How could I maximise my disposable income?

There are two main ways of increasing your disposable income every month:

  1. Increase your income. Check that you're receiving all the benefits you're entitled to, or look into working extra hours if it's reasonable to do so. Some people decide to take in a lodger and charge for rent/bills, for example, which could considerably raise your income every month.
  2. Reduce your expenditure. Find out if you're entitled to any tax reductions/exemptions, or if you could switch to a cheaper utility supplier to save on your monthly gas and electricity bills. You may decide to cut back on your main yearly holiday or other luxuries you feel you could live without for the time being.

However, if you're also repaying unsecured debts every month, trying to save up for retirement isn't always easy, as some of your disposable income will go towards covering your repayments every month. How could you budget for this while still keeping on top of your debts?

Saving and repaying debt

When saving for the future, it's important to make sure you can still afford your repayments every month to your unsecured lenders. The sooner you can pay your debts off in full, the more money you'll have every month for savings.

This could mean a change in the way you manage your debts, or, if you already have savings, it may actually be worth using part of them to repay your existing unsecured debts first, then starting to save more for your retirement after you've paid them off.

If you can't afford to save anything at all because of your unsecured debts, you might want to get some professional advice - at, for example - to find the best approach for your circumstances.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Medical Issues Can Ruin Good Credit

This is a guest post by Ed O’Brien. This is his third time writing for 50PlusFinance and we always appreciate his insightful perspective.

Many people mistakenly believe that paying doctor and hospital bills is not as important as paying other expenses. However, medical bills are typically reported to the credit bureaus just like any other debt. Unpaid medical debts can cause big problems in your financial life very quickly. Plus the stress of debt on top of poor health can be a dangerous combination.

Medical Bills Matter
Doctors and hospitals will report unpaid bills on your credit report which leaves black marks against your good credit. Unfortunately because medical bills will often pop up unexpectedly and can get quite expensive, debt can easily start spinning out of control. Add to the situation your inability to work and earn and income and a life-long struggle may be ahead to get back on financial track.

Consider also that medical debts you are not paying may eventually go to a debt collector who will be more aggressive in collection efforts and also add black marks to your credit score. Even with insurance, medical costs are high these days and are projected to only go higher in the future.

Staying Above Water with Medical Costs
In order to avoid major debts heading into your retirement years, it is better to prepare for the unexpected as soon as possible. The more you prioritize your plans for what may happen in the future, the more you are able to safely navigate the financial waters when your health makes a turn for the worse.

Here are some ways to get yourself in order before something should go wrong:

Understand Insurance Coverage
Most people will chose insurance coverage based more on price than benefits. Others who receive affordable insurance through their employers often have no clue what they even have. It is important for you to understand what kind of benefits you are paying for long before something happens. You will likely make wrong decisions concerning your health and treatment when you remain unsure about the financial side of things. Review your policy information and contact the insurance company for explanations on anything you don’t understand.

Contribute to an Emergency Fund

Financial experts urge consumers to sock away between 6-12 months worth of living expenses in a good interest-earning account. This money should be allowed to earn interest and should only be used during times of true emergencies, including health concerns. If you can’t work due to a work injury or medical illness, an emergency account may be your only viable resource. Contribute to the account monthly. You may even consider setting up automated deposits from your payroll department. What you do actually see will likely not be missed. It will allow you to build a significant stash of cash for when you need it.

Live a Better Life
Many health conditions that break us are actually of the preventable variety. Eating better and getting regular exercise is important. Sedentary lifestyles can trigger all kinds of expensive medical conditions including unhealthy weight, high blood pressure, depression, and heart problems among many other things.

Organize Your Life
If medical treatment requires you to be treated in a hospital for a period of time, other people will be relied on to get your important documents the hospital might need. Always keep relevant health information, including updated health insurance policy information in an accessible and clearly marked folder for easy retrieval.

Ask for Assistance
If you anticipate having issues paying your medical bills even if you have insurance, it is wise to contact your medical provider’s office right away and keep them informed of what is going on with your situation. Many will work with you on new payment arrangements that will keep you out of collections until the debt is satisfied. If you do not communicate, your bill will likely be expedited to the collection agency.

If you don’t have insurance or have a co-pay you can’t afford, speak with the medical provider’s office on the day of your visit and explain the situation. Many times doctors will allow for discounts or will waive service fees for their loyal patients. The worst that can happen is they turn you down with a ‘no’. At least you tried all available resources to save money.

Ed O’Brien is a seasoned writer in personal finance, specializing in credit repair. You can find more of his articles located at

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fraud Alert - A Few Things to Watch Out For When Refinancing your Mortgage

With the recent economic meltdown, millions of people become victims of financial instability across the globe. People have been literally forced into debts and their financial lives have got stuck in the debt mire. Mortgage refinancing can save you from this danger. However, people who are carrying outstanding debt balance, their thought process often get paralyzed and desperation overrides good judgment. As a result, mortgage refinancing scams often take advantage of their desperate situation and put them into further debts. You must have heard the question "mortgage how much can I borrow", well, it is the most crucial question in the current scenario and you should be ready with the answer of this question in order to prevent yourself from mortgage refinancing scams. As, most mortgage refinancing scams are linked with home equity if you don’t pay enough attention to the refinancing procedure of mortgage you might run the risk of loosing your home in future. Read on to know about the most common mortgage refinancing scams and stay away from them in future.

Loan Application

  • Mortgage refinancing scammers usually target consumers who have low incomes or bad credit rating or who rushes into signing the mortgage deal without being aware of its consequences. The most common mortgage refinancing scam comes through the application form you send in to a mortgage company. Sometimes, you are encouraged by the refinancing company to write down higher incomes than what you actually make, in order to get the loan amount sanctioned. Such unethical practice can lead you to loose your home because you won’t able to afford the high monthly charges on a month to month basis. As you have declared a higher income amount, you might have to pay different loan amount and rates based on what you declared. Remember, if you put on paper something that you do not really have, it is you who will end up paying for it as the application form does not count. 

Balloon Payment
  • Another notorious mortgage refinancing scam is associated with the balloon payment. These Loans are used when an individual is no longer able to pay a mortgage. When you face a mortgage foreclosure you no longer think prudently and a scam lender take advantage of this to make his way to profits. He pretend to be compassionate individual offering mortgage refinancing and lower monthly payments to save you from foreclosure but the actual story is quite different. All you repay each month is the interest fee only and the principal amount is in store which you remain obligated to pay at the end of the loan term. It is referred to as a balloon payment and such refinancing scam is pretty hard to spot. If you fail to pay this amount within a stipulated period of time, you end up losing your home.

Many individuals are there who have been hit by mortgage refinancing scams. Stay alert, go through the mortgage deal thoroughly before signing it and evade falling into such scam traps in future.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Five Reasons A Mortgage May Be Declined By A Lender

Preparing and filing all of the required paperwork in an effort to get a mortgage for your family’s new home is an enormous task, only to wait for some banker to call you to inform that the financial institution has decided to turn you down. It might seem flat out unfair and difficult to understand why you’ve been denied. As time has passed by, financial institutions seem to have become increasingly strict on who they are willing to lend their money to. Because of this, consumers need to be prepared. You need to understand how the lending process works and how you can best put yourself in a position to be approved for your mortgage. Here are five tips how.

1) Too much credit already used

It’s important to understand how financial institutions view existing consumer debt when considering a mortgage. A general rule of thumb is that an individual’s housing costs should account for no more than 33% of their gross income. Consumer debt should account for no more than 5% on top of that. When an individual’s consumer debt exceeds the 5% figure, it cuts into the 33% that is allowed on housing costs. For example, if your consumer debt accounts for 9% of your gross income, a financial institution may only approve a mortgage that account for no more than 29% of your gross income. So what does this all mean? Keep your credit cards under control to keep that consumer debt down.

2) Change of Employment

Changing jobs can increase the difficulty in getting your mortgage approved. The reason for this is that financial institutions are looking for consistency in your earnings. Specifically, they would like to see 2+ years of financial consistency. There are exceptions to this, however, such as individuals who are moving to higher paying positions in the same or a very similar field. Perhaps the most fatal job change mistake people can make during the mortgage process is transitioning from a salaried position to self employment as they now have zero financial consistency to offer on the loan application. Not surprisingly, the self-employed and those who work sales based jobs that rely heavily on commission are those who find it the most difficult to get accepted for a mortgage.

3) Your credit score is fluctuating

Because of the length of time is can take while shopping the housing market, it may be a matter of several months between filling out your credit application and finalizing the loan. Because of this it’s natural to expect that the financial institution may perform several checks on your credit. You want to be sure nothing happens that might cause it to go down during the process, causing you stress and complications. Make sure all of your payments are made on time during the application time period and also avoid opening any further lines of credit. For good measure, also be sure to request your credit report from all of the refutable agencies and check for any inaccuracies before beginning the mortgage process.

4) Mortgage payments are missed

To piggy back off of reason 3 a bit, it is extremely crucial that you do not miss any of your significant payments while applying for your new mortgage. The last thing you want to do is make the financial institutions start viewing you as a credit risk. If you have a current mortgage it is imperative that you pay it on time. If you are having issues paying your current mortgage you should discuss options with the mortgage holder to have it amended.

5) Missing the obvious

Lastly, be sure not to miss the obvious. When going through the application process be sure you read every form intently and understand what you are filling out. Make sure all of your information is accurate and complete. Double check and then triple check your work. This is an extremely important process so you will need to pay extra attention to detail.


This author of this guest post is Andrew Potter who is the director of My Online Estate Agent. My Online Estate Agent is a UK based low cost estate agent which allows sellers to advertise on Rightmove, Zoopla, Primelocation and Find a Property.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Flood Of Financial Risk For Homeowners

A guest post by Mike Bowman of

When you review your monthly budget you may be putting money aside for items such as groceries, rent, clothing, and your gym membership, but have you ever listed flood damage on your budget? According to a spring 2010 edition of the Western Pennsylvania AAA Motorist magazine, flooding is the most prevalent natural disaster and you are 3 times more likely to be affected by flooding then fire. We certainly hear about the overwhelming flooding troubles in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi, but flooding comes in all sorts of intensities.

Except for vehicles with "comprehensive" insurance in their policy, flood damage is not part of any typical insurance coverage, and everyone is at some level of risk of financial loss due to flood damage. You can be the most financially conservative person, but one flash flood could severely harm you, financially speaking, when you consider that the average flood damage claim is $33,000.00. Most people will not have that much money set aside, even before a natural disaster hits. Also, nearly all disaster relief money is considered a loan and must be paid back to the issuing authority. Flood insurance, purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program is one of the best ways to insure yourself against the financial risk that flooding presents.

Why should you be concerned about flooding? Here are facts found from FEMA's and the CDC's websites:

-Only flood insurance will cover flood damage.

-25% of all flooding claims come from moderate to low risk areas.

-You do not need to be next to a body of water for flooding to occur on your property.

-Melting snow / poor drainage / deteriorating natural or man-made barriers are just a few of the least expected sources of flooding.

-All 50 states have been affected by flooding.

-While risks vary, we all live in a flood zone, according to

Considering buying flood insurance? Keep an eye on what is going on with this program. Flood insurance is issued by the National Flood Insurance Program and funding must be approved by Congress. Currently, funding for the National Flood Insurance Program is scheduled to stop in September 2011.

From the Insurance Information Institute

In the absence of any legislative agreement between the House and the Senate on funding the program for the long term, the NFIP was reauthorized for short periods of time under a series of continuing resolutions that extended funding for many different programs. After allowing the program to lapse four times, during which new policies could not be issued, leaving homeowners without the option of buying coverage and delaying thousands of real estate closing per day in flood-prone regions, in September 2010, as the last extension was close to its expiration date, both the House and the Senate extended the program for one year to September 30, 2011. Insurers hope that during this longer extension period Congress will take time to make significant and long-term changes in the program.

About The Quarter Roll

Mike Bowman writes for, whose website and magazine help readers get a quarter more for every dollar by providing personal finance tips, advice, and stories in an easy to understand and entertaining format. The tips and stories found in are designed to give readers the ability to earn more, save more, and get more value for their money.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Facing Baby Boomer Retirement Problems

As the generation of American Baby Boomers head into retirement age, many are astounded by just how much they didn’t save over the years. With the continuous high cost of living increases and the downfall of many stocks, the baby boomer generation is finding it really hard to retire.

Why The Failure?
For many baby boomers, the reasoning behind the failure to adequately save for retirement is the same. Most baby boomers started too late – well into their thirties in some cases – instead of capitalizing on the funds earned in their late teens/early 20’s. As a result, many people over the age of 60 have saved barely a quarter of what they really need to retire on.

Today’s personal finance experts are urging the working youth to start contemplating their retirement savings plans as soon as they start earning an income. Many youth still struggle to grasp the concept of the importance of savings but many are getting on board with starting their employee-sponsored 401k and other retirement savings vehicles. For baby boomers, 401k accounts did not start appearing until the early 1980’s which means they had less time to save than young workers today. Back then, the 401k account was meant to be a supplemental account for retirement whereas today they are a full vehicle for retirement savings funds.

Another possible reason for the lag in savings funds is the fact that many American families find it hard to save. Their income is often already extended just to live month to month, from one paycheck to the next. They have been neglecting their retirement accounts in lieu of keeping the lights on and food on the table. With the additional loss of retirement funds due to the recession and the high rate of unemployment, workers of every age have been hit hard. Those so close to retirement are really feeling it the most.

What Can You Do to Recover?
As the saying goes, it’s never too late to start saving. The main resource most people have for making it to retirement is to keep working as long as you can, even if it is only part time work. If you have managed to keep your job long-term, it will certainly benefit you to stick with it while you put serious focus on your savings plan for the very near future. You will also get to contribute to your 401k for a longer period of time and likely have the ‘extra’ income necessary to continue making deposits to your IRA or other savings accounts designated for retirement. There are provisions within the government that allow people over 50 years of age to contribute additional funds into their retirement funds as a method of catching up on savings. If you are not able to contribute the maximum amount of funds to your 401k account, make sure you are at least depositing enough to get the company match. At this point in your life, it would be detrimental to refuse free money in retirement.
The next thing you can do to help finance retirement is to delay taking your Social Security payments until you have reached 70 years of age. Even though an individual can claim full benefits at the age of 66, taking benefits too early also means you lose some of the benefits. At 70-plus years, you would be entitled to full Social Security benefits.

Committing to Your Plan
You likely were not caught completely off-guard by the fact you are lacking retirement funds but the realization can still be difficult to live with. The primary concern you should have right now, as you head toward retirement age, is to not give up all together. You need to instead be aggressive about your savings plan for retirement and educate yourself on all available options.

If the task and thought of prepping for retirement overwhelms you completely, you might be well-served to consult with a financial planning effort that can help you put your retirement goals and needs at the forefront of your financial life. Even if you only use the advice and resources initially, it can be a great way to motivate yourself into taking action on your own and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ed O’Brien is a seasoned writer on issues concerning repairing credit having a strong background in business and personal finance. His blog, Credit Repair, offers free advice to those seeking ways to improve their credit scores.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why Good Credit Still Matters in Retirement

You may think you are sitting pretty with a nice retirement fund and not much time left before punching the clock for the last time. With your home paid for and your other financial affairs seemingly in order, it may seem like the only thing to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

However, the road to retirement is just not that simple, especially these days and if you happen to have less than desirable credit. Even if you don’t foresee the need to take out a personal loan or finance a new car, it is essential that you stay on top of your finances and ensure you have nothing but the best of credit no matter where you are in life.

Your Credit History is Your Future
Credit scores and personal credit history reports are the hallmark of how you manage your money and your credit. During your working (and younger) years, you may have had a few mistakes that cost you some points on your credit scores. Even if you have managed to maintain your finances, the changes in the credit industry may have also caused your credit score to become lower. There are now new standards to follow in the credit industry and lenders are even more stringent than ever and require a much higher credit score than consumers could get away with in previous years.

These changes matter to you especially if you are planning to seek any type of credit in the future. But they also make a difference if you have no need for financing. These days it is well beyond the scope of good lending practices for having good credit. There are now other entities that lean on a person’s credit score for a variety of reasons.

Who’s Asking for Credit Checks?
As you approach the age of retirement, you likely have been working to pare down your expenses on every level. With a credit score that is less than perfect, you may end up paying way more than you can afford in your budget for a number of things. There are several relevant industries that will use your credit score to make decisions. These sources include:

·         Landlords/Property Managers - If you are planning to downsize and move out of your home in order to rent in a retirement-type community or just to a smaller place, your application may not get approved if you have a bad credit history. Since your ability to handle money is represented in your credit history and calculated score, a low score can signal to these rental agents that you may not be reliable enough to meet rental obligations regardless of how much you have saved for retirement.

·         Insurance Companies – If you own a home and/or drive a vehicle, you will continue to need auto insurance. The insurance agent will often pull a credit check on you in order to give you a premium rate. Those with lower credit scores will have to pay a higher premium rate than others with better scores. Insurance companies, like many other businesses, have made a correlation between people with bad credit histories and the amount of claims they file in a lifetime. Essentially, a bad credit score represents risk to the insurance company. In turn the insurance company will be sure to charge you additional money to cover that risk.

·         Part Time Work – Even in retirement, many people still are content to work part time as a way of earning extra cash or in order to get out of the house on a regular basis. Employers, even those who are hiring for part time positions, often run credit checks on applicants. If you are up against someone who has perfect credit, you may lose out to the other applicant. This is especially true if you are working in any type of financial position or are applying for any type of government job.

As we get older, our financial priorities do get more refined. We know more about what we need to do to become and stay financially stable. It is important to always stay on top of our credit scores even if we don’t think we need financing for any reason. Regardless of how much money you have in your retirement accounts, it is that little three-digit number which can have a huge impact on your life just when things start getting good.

Be sure to keep requesting the free annual copy of your credit report and make sure your information is correct. Be on the look out for fraudulent use of your identity on those reports and dispute any incorrect information as soon as you spot it. If there is erroneous information, look into credit repair. It is your financial obligation to ensure your credit report is as healthy as it can be and regular follow up is highly recommended.

This was a guest post by Ed O'Brien. Ed O’Brien is a seasoned writer with a strong background in business and personal finance. His blog, Credit Repair, offers free advice to those seeking ways to improve their credit scores.

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