Buying Right: 7 Need-to-Know Tips to Remember When It Comes to Buying Diamonds

Getting engaged is one of the most exciting moments of your life. A beautiful moment with your intended bride all culminating the start of your life together. The biggest part of that moment, besides her saying yes, is finding the perfect ring to complete it.

Discover more about buying an engagement ring by reading these seven tips to remember when it comes to buying diamonds.

  1. Carat (Size)

How big the ring should be is all in personal preference. Take into consideration both the size of the person’s hand, whereas something too big will look a bit awkward, and what you can afford. The size of the diamond is probably the most prominent factors in its’ price tag, so determine the size first. The bigger diamonds are more expensive because of how rare they are. Some diamonds may look larger or smaller based on their setting, so make sure you have a nice balance between the two.

  1. Cut (Shape)

There are many different types of diamond cuts or shapes. Nearly every jewelry store is taking one of the cuts already known and adding a slight twist of their own and calling it a new name. The most popular cuts are: round, oval, marquise, pear, heart, emerald, asscher, radiant, cushion, and princess. No cut is better than another, but most people have a distinct impression of what they do or don’t like or want. If you are going more traditional, a round stone is always timeless and classy. The cushion cut is very popular recently and gives a timeless quality in that it looks very retro, almost a throwback to the roaring twenties. Many elegant styles are available and one for all characters.

Although cut mainly refers to the shape of the diamond, it also tells us how the light will bounce off that particular diamond. More light will give that sparkle that many of us desire, and the light reflecting the quality that bounces off every wall in the sunshine in a beautiful way.

  1. Color (Clear or Not)

Did you know that all diamonds aren’t the clear, sparkling pieces of an icicle that we typically see? Diamonds of different colors are becoming more and more popular.

What we think of as a “colorless” diamond aren’t colorless at all. They are graded on a scale of D through K with D being the most crystal-clear diamonds that have absolutely no residual color in them, down to K which still retain a slight tinge of brown in them as a result of graining inside the diamond. The brown tint is barely visible to the naked eye and most people won’t even notice this color in their diamond.

  1. Intensity (Color Grade)

Intensity involves the grading of diamonds that have a visible color to them, like yellow, blue, or pink. A scale of how that color shines and the rarity places them in one of the following categories: fancy vivid (also called fancy deep or fancy dark), fancy intense, fancy, fancy light, light, very light, faint. The further along that scale the diamond is, the deeper and more intense the color becomes. A yellow diamond, for example, maybe the intended recipient just wants a faint wash of that yellow hue so something on the faint or light category would be just perfect.

  1. Clarity (Perfectness)

All diamonds come with some measure of “imperfections” found within them. This happens when diamonds are made, which is under pressure within the deep ground of Earth’s surface. Each imperfection, called an inclusion, is in a different spot depending on the diamond, so some may be closer to the surface of the diamond and some may lie further within the center.

Inclusions are also rated just like color is. The rating system for inclusions ranges from FL or Flawless down to I1-3 which have visible flaws to the naked eye. Those that range in the middle have imperfections that would only be seen under intense magnification. Keep in mind, having a small imperfection can save you in the long run and it won’t even be visible without a microscope or loop.

Again, the more towards Flawless range that the diamond you pick lies, the more expensive it is going to be since a Flawless rating would be extremely rare. Finding inclusions you can live with will retain the budget you desire.

  1. Setting (The Ring and Band)

Buying a loose diamond gives you the flexibility to customize your ring and get the best possible diamond your budget allows and place it in a setting that both works for that particular diamond shape, and within a setting that the couple both loves. This allows a choice in the color of the metal that will become the band. It can allow spaces for any side diamonds to flank the middle diamond, such as a “past, present, future” ring where three stones represent the couple’s life together. Bands can also have diamonds all around the band in different sizes and shapes. Choosing your own diamond and settings allows this level of customization that walking into a mall jewelry store wouldn’t compare to.

  1. How to Buy

Buying rings used to involve going to a local jeweler, the shopping mall, or even a big trip to the nearest city to the diamond district. With the upgrades to modern technology, you can research and buy diamonds online now. Buying online gives you the capability f browsing on your own time, and without the eyes of someone, you might want to surprise. All the possibilities will be right at your fingertips without traveling to the store, and everything is labeled so you can really get an idea of what you are after without staring at a huge case of rings.

You can always learn more about buying engagement rings online or ask a trained jeweler to help you with your selection.  There is plenty to choose from, and truly a diamond to fit every personality.

10 Ways Total Beginners Can Learn About Stocks

One spectacular thing about the world of investments, especially stocks, is that people in the business are oftentimes presented with a host of paradoxes.

One among these paradoxes is that although there are quite a number of bodies of information about the market out there—in the form of websites, books, podcasts, videos, television programs, magazines, blog posts, and lots more—investing in the industry remains a tricky task for beginners.

This is one of the reasons why beginners find it difficult to weave their way around the business and fully settle in the industry. It becomes to get confusing when you see numbers and names of businesses, coupled with upward and downward arrows. You begin to wonder what they all mean.

However, there is some good news; with just the right information at your disposal, you can learn the stock business much easier and quicker too.

Stock exchange strategies in a lot of cases last for a very long time. This goes to say that the strategies you learn and employ today as a novice might still very much be effective and work for you in the next twenty years.

Here, in this article, we will be discussing the ways in which beginners can learn the stock business.

Start up a stockbroker account

One of the best ways in life generally to learn is by experience. Same goes for the stock market.

The more you practice simple transactions in the market, the more you get familiar with it and the more you learn the business.

Look for a good stock Broker online like this company and start up an account. Take advantage of the free trading tools on the platform to learn about the business. It is important that you familiarize with the overall workings of the industry.

Read articles that teach about the stock business

There are more than a thousand and one good resources out there that teach about the investment market. These resources are online through blogs, social media, and websites, or offline through circulars.

Articles, generally, are a fantastic and sure educational resource. Make sure to read as much of these articles as you can get your hands on, and make the most of the information contained in them. They are definitely going to be of great help.

Get yourself a mentor

It is also a great idea to get yourself a mentor in your pursuit to learn the stock business.

Your mentor could be a friend who is already well-grounded in the field or a stock analyst.

It would be an added advantage to be mentored by a person who has been hugely successful in the business too. Ask for useful resources and questions in areas you are confused from your mentor and learn as much as you could from him or her.

Read good books about the stock market

One of the cheapest and most reliable sources for information concerning any work are published books.

They provide an easy and less expensive alternative to seminars, classes, etc. You should build a habit of reading books that talk about the stock market and make sure to apply the strategies talked about inside them. You can pick one now or more from this list of 20 amazing stock trading books.

Follow the market trend

Another easy way to get familiar with, and learn the stock business is by closely and passionately following the trend of happenings in the industry.

Keep tabs on the latest news in the market by monitoring it daily and reading news stories that concern the market.

This will expose you to the economic concepts of the market, trends, 3rd party analyses and general workings of the industry.

Some platforms where you can get the best coverage of news about the stock market are: Yahoo Finance, Google FinanceBloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, etc.

Follow the market on TV

Another impressive way to monitor the market and learn more about it is by following it on TV.

Just 20 minutes each day spent watching CNBC or CNN, which, by the way, is one popular channel that gives the most stock updates, is enough to teach an investor in the industry new things he should know. Follow the news, commentaries, discussions, interviews and more on the channel to learn things about the industry each day.

Try paid subscriptions

For some investors, it works best to observe professionals in the market than try to apply new lessons they learned by themselves.

If you are one of such, you might want to consider paying (subscribing) others to help you do the research and analysis. This strategy can also be useful, as well as educational.

Register stock market courses and take classes

Although, it might be a bit pricey, registering for stock courses is one very effective strategy that could help you to learn the basic fundamentals of the stock market. Sites like Udemy offers a comprehensive outline on stock market.

You can also seize opportunities to register with stock market classes near to you to learn things about the industry.

Attend seminars

Seminars avail investors the opportunity to get valuable insights into both specific and general types of investments in the stock market.

When speakers who have found relative success or who have a deep understanding of the market organize seminars, you should attend.

Most of these seminars are online, so the ease of learning at your pace is guaranteed. Make a decision to attend one.

Get in the zone. Start Trading

As earlier mentioned in this article, one of the best ways to get knowledge about any aspect of life is to get experience in the field.

So, do not be afraid to start up your own trading with the little knowledge you have gathered already and then continue to learn as you trade.

However, in doing this, do not jump all in at once. You can start small and begin to expand as your stocks increase significantly.

With the right information and resources, almost everything is easy. Some of the best tips to help you get started in the stock market have been outlined above. You should put them into practice.

Did You Know This? 10 Clever Ways to Grow Your Real Estate Business

In a hyper-competitive real estate market, sustainable growth has proven to be an elusive dream for a significant number of investors. Partly to blame for the woes faced by investors is the inconsistent real estate market.

While the market was at its boom back in 2006, the housing financial crisis adversely affected the industry such that it was at its lowest in 2012. The silver lining is that it has been improving in the last few years.

So how can you grow your real estate business? This is the million dollar question, and I’m hoping that this blog will give you helpful insights that will help you navigate a competitive real estate market.

  1. Maintain An Online Presence

In recent years, we have seen a paradigm shift as more property buyers move to research about a property online before making contact with realtors or seeking to view a property. Studies by the National Association of Realtors shows that about 92% of property searchers use the internet to carry out some research about properties before seeking out the real estate experts.

A strong online presence can go a long way in generating leads, building your brand image and even improve your customers’ experience. Use digital marketing platforms such as websites to publish some information about yourself, social media to connect with potential clients and email marketing services to reach current and previous customers.

  1. Improve Your Customer Satisfaction

Customers are the drivers of any business hence focusing on them seems like a rational investment. Happy customers often translate to a booming industry even in the real estate market.

One way to improve your customer satisfaction levels is by enhancing your customer journey. You should try and make the journey right from finding you all the way to making the purchase easy.

  1. Embrace Innovative Marketing

Make your business visible through advertising. You should then make contacting you as easy as possible for example by having an eye-catching contact us page. You should then have a virtual tour where potential customers can get to view your properties before the actual visit to the property. You should optimize your pages and make them mobiles friendly.

  1. Enhance Your Customer Experience

You should also make arrangements to ensure that when customers visit in person, they have the best viewing experience and afford them space to make up their minds on whether to purchase immediately or hold off on the purchase. After the acquisition, follow up to see if they are satisfied with your services or if you can improve in some areas.

Having good customer satisfaction levels makes good business sense. About 85% of the times, a happy customer is likely to return in case they ever need a property. Moreover, they can become a positive referral source for your business hence direct more business your way.

  1. Keep An Eye On Your Competition

As both you and your competitors are competing for the same customers, it is rational to keep an eye on them. Keeping an eye on them and picking up on a few things can help you get the better of them.

Why should customers choose you and not your competition? Keeping an eye on your competition can help you get insights from them. You may learn from their mistakes or even steal ideas on how you can improve your business. Answering this question satisfactorily can make the difference between customers choosing you and not your competitors.

Additionally, keep tabs with the industry’s best practices and continuously integrate them into your business and look for ways to improve. This will help with your differentiation strategy, read more now

  1. Stage Your Houses Well

When potential customers visit an open property, interior design can significantly influence whether they purchase or not. Therefore, if you want to sell properties often, you should stage them well whenever you have an open show.

One way you can stage them well is by ensuring that everything is neatly arranged and looking new and stylish. This will help potential clients feel the warmth of the property and be interested in buying the place.

Alternatively, you can make the property stand out. People looking for property often want to compare several homes before eventually settling for one. Due to a large number of properties they may view, it may be helpful if remembering yours would be easier.

You may standout by having one quirky item or making your property ideal for a particular niche like for a family or dog owners among others. This will help improve the suitability of your property to the desired group or memorable.

  1. Do Not Underestimate The Power Of Great Photography

When it comes to property hunting, a great visual representation of the property can often elicit interest in a particular property. Great photography can help your real estate business make a great impression on potential clients.

It can compel potential clients to seek out your business actively.

Great photography can help you showcase your well-designed interior and exterior of the property. Additionally, you can use excellent photography to showcase the surroundings of the property. A great environment can help you sell more property.

  1. Promote Your Visibility By Hosting Regular Events

Besides other forms of advertising, hosting regular events may help you grow your network. The regular events for past and present clients may help you to not only showcase your property but also to grow your circles as your business may get to be introduced to new people as you retain your clients.

You may choose to host monthly events at a nearby bar, host a webinar for your online clients or free seminars to help you add your clients’ knowledge on property buying and remodeling among others. These various events will attract attention to your business hence help you generate leads.

  1. Request For Testimonials

Positive referral can have tremendous effects on your real estate business. Testimonials from previous clients can help your business showcase how reliable and dependable your business is. This will, in turn, help new customers trust you hence make them more likely to buy a property from you.

You may request for testimonials by asking clients to answer some questions or by turning to review apps or sites. You should showcase the feedback you get strategically through your websites or social media platforms without any modifications.

If you get a few negative feedbacks, do not engage unless you are following up on how you may improve. Take criticism well and know that it is an opportunity to improve.

  1. Convert Your Online Leads

While an online presence might seem a little too much, you will be surprised by how rewarding it can be. It may cost you to engage digital marketing experts and host your websites, but the returns will be worth it. Convert all your online leads.

Try it today, and you will realize its potential in no time.

The real estate industry is very competitive. Subsequently, growth and continuous revenue generation by selling property is often difficult. However, with these proven ways, you can quickly grow your business in no time. Try them today, and you will begin to reap results in no time.

Do You Know These? Advantages and Disadvantages of Taxation

In 1716, Christopher Bullock wrote, “Tis impossible to be sure of anything but Death and Taxes.” You’ll pay taxes throughout your life and, for some, even after you die. But, they do serve a purpose and present some advantages and disadvantages.

It helps to understand there are direct and indirect taxes. Direct taxes are levied on income and profits. Indirect taxes are paid by consumers on goods and services and, then, paid to the government.

Taxes are often classified as:

  • Consumption taxes are determined by how many things people use rather than by their income.
  • Sales Taxes are imposed by local or regional authorities on purchases of goods and services.
  • Cascade Taxes hit each stage of production and process leading to point of sale.
    Vat Taxes are Value-Added levies determined by the value of the product at each stage of its supply chain.

Regardless of their type or origin, taxes have advantages as well as the disadvantages about which everyone complains.

So, what are the advantages of taxation?

  • Reduces inflation. Inflation puts the nation’s economy at risk. It distorts the value of a currency and devalues the cash you have in reserve. Taxation reduces your purchasing power and slows demand.
  • Manages sales of vice products. Taxation on cigarettes, alcohol, and other toxic products discourages the purchase of goods that harm society.
  • Taxes produce revenue. Taxation produces a major revenue stream for local, state, and federal governments. As Eiliff.com puts it, “The money that is raised from various taxes is spent by the government for the construction of schools, roads, hospitals and also for other development causes.”
  • Paying taxes shifts income. A tax that charges the wealthy more than the poor has a way of redistributing income across the different social classes. Those with higher incomes pay more than those with low incomes. According to AOSS (Australian Council of Social Service), “Tax and related expenditure reform should improve the living standards of people on the lowest incomes and result in a more equitable distribution of public supports between low, middle and high-income earners.”

And, are there disadvantages?

  • Lowers purchasing power. When you pay taxes on a product, you have that much less money. For example, if you buy a car, you may be charged thousands in taxes. When that money comes out of your pocket, you have that much less to spend.
  • Reduces your savings. Because that taxation cam out of your wallet, you have that much less to save. Paying taxes takes away from the money you would add to your retirement or savings plan.
  • Investments suffer. As you spend money on taxes, you have less money to invest in the market, business capital, and retirement strategies. If this becomes a problem for the business or individual involved, they may want to seek the advice of a tax accountant (Sydney).

Pros or Cons?

Taxes are levied by governments you vote into office. If they are proving a real problem for you, you can demand accountability and transparency of the officials. If they are being misused or misdirected, you have some power in your vote.

Nonetheless, you must pay the taxes they levy accurately and on time. Penalties can be significant and damaging.

3 Ways to Easily Improve Your Financial Health

While money can’t buy happiness, money is required for most things we do. In order to have shelter, food, water, heat, and entertainment, we normally have to pay for it. While it would be great if everyone was able to buy all they wanted and pay their bills in full all of the time, we know that’s not the case.

In fact, more than half of Americans have less than $1000 in savings which could leave them susceptible in the case of emergencies. This gives you a true understanding of just how many people are struggling financially. With that in mind, this article is going to look at a few different ways to easily improve your financial health and situation.

Have a Budget

In order to give yourself the best chance at a great financial situation, you need to have a budget. A budget is a great way to not only see how much you are spending and making each month but also where it’s going. Without a budget, you may not know exactly how much things like eating out, shopping and entertainment are costing you.

Once you begin to budget and track your spending, the view of your financial health will become much more clear. Once you have a budget, you should cut down on certain areas where you are spending too much, and should easily be able to see potential areas for improvement.

Be Smart About Borrowing Money

Borrowing money in the form of a loan is something nearly everyone will have to do at some point in their lives. It could be for a vehicle, for your education or even for a home. Unfortunately, this borrowing of money is often what gets people in trouble financially. This is often because they borrowed too much, or their loan has an interest rate that is too high.

As a result, it is incredibly important to be smart when you borrow money. Not only should you look for a great interest rate, but you should only borrow what you can afford to pay back. Also, not all lenders are created equally, and you want to work with one that is experienced and reputable.

While your local area is likely full of great lenders, there is an increasingly high number of those going online for loans. Online loans are often simpler to apply for, can get you money quicker and can even have better interest rates. If you are looking for a reliable and simple online lender, be sure to check out this link: easy payday loans online | quick application | slickcashloan

Find Ways to Make More Money

While saving money, budgeting and such are smart, improving your financial situation is tough if your income is low. If you only make minimum wage, no amount of budgeting or saving is likely to get you where you want to be. Instead, you will need to find ways to make more money. This might seem difficult, but might be easier than you thought.

Thankfully, there are many different ways to make more money in the modern day, especially online. You can get a second job, become a freelancer, rent out rooms in your home or sell items. The opportunities are truly endless, and anyone can make a little extra money on the side. When you have more money, you can not only put more into savings but can also feel more comfortable in the case of emergencies.

Hopefully this article has been able to help you learn how to get control of your finances and improve your situation.

Ways to Invest in Real Estate – With and Without Buying Property

When most of the people think about real estate, all they know is buying and selling the property. However, not all people want to deal in buying and selling real estate directly. In case you are interested in investing, there are many avenues to do so in real estate. It is true that starting out in real estate is costly. You have to raise enough money to buy a house so that you can start your investment. You do not have to own a lot of money with the new options for investment. You only have to determine the option that is best for you. There are also opportunities for those with lots of money to invest.

  1. Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)

The real estate investment trust is a company that specializes in real estate investment. The company either owns or finances the real estate business to earn profits. REIT was introduced back then in 1960, and since then, many people have benefited. You will find some of the REIT specializing in one thing or the other. There are REITs for a mortgage, mortgage bonds, residential, and commercial property. You can look at all the options then find the investment that gives you the highest returns.

You can invest your money in the REIT and in return receive constant cash flow on investment. REITs are governed by the securities and exchange commissions. All the REITs pay over 90% of the incomes they earn to the shareholders. You will have an opportunity to build your portfolio until you can afford to buy your real estate property.

  1. Home Construction

The good thing with real estate is that it has various facets. Instead of waiting to buy a house expensively, why not invest in building them. Home construction allows you to participate in something you have an interest in instead of buying and selling. Looking at the current trends in the market, experts confirm that there is a likelihood of an increase in home construction in the next ten years. You can take advantage of the situation and invest.

It is vital to consider various elements before investing. Find out where home construction is taking place. Determine whether there is a ready market for the homes. Are the houses being built high end or low end? The questions will help you approximate your returns. Apart from building homes, the companies can rehabilitate the other old houses.

  1. Real Estate Mutual Funds

The real estate mutual funds and REITs are closely related. However, the real estate mutual funds provide you with a wide array of portfolios to invest. An example of such a fund includes the Vanguard REIT ETF which has over 145 different stocks. The other popular one is the prudential global real estate funds. Note that REITs consist of companies while the mutual funds are not a corporation. Mutual funds are merely a group of investors who choose to pool resources together. The group appoints an investment manager to manage the investments.

You can diversify your portfolio as much as you want from mutual funds to real estate. You have an option of choosing investments based on growth rate of the income you can get. The alternative is instrumental in mitigating risk as you have a wide range of investment. Find out more about maximizing your portfolio and real estate investment to minimize the risk of putting all your investment in one. You can participate in mutual funds with as little money as $ 1,000.

  1. Real Estate Partnership

A partnership is another alternative for the people who would like to invest in real estate with no direct involvement. You can come together as a group of people, and everyone can make their contribution. You can find someone who would like to directly engage in the real estate business and become a financier. When you don’t have a lot of money, you can opt to pay the mortgages or a down payment.

  1. Exchange Traded Fund

Exchange traded fund commonly abbreviated as ETF provides an avenue for you to invest. An ETF is a collection of bonds or stocks in a single fund. ETF closely resembles the mutual funds and REITs. They all offer you an option to diversify your investment at a low cost. You are then able to minimize the risk on your returns. Examples of ETF include the vanguard VNQ which offers investments in REIT through the purchase of property and real estate buildings. Another example is IYR which trades in real estate stocks and REITs.

  1. Real Estate Focused Company

The real estate-focused company is the best option if you want to invest in a particular real estate investment. It is straightforward as the only thing you have to do is find the company. It could be a hotel, resort operations, or real estate developers. It does not offer diversification as the REIT or ETF.

Even though the real estate-focused company is an actual corporation, they are different from REIT. The way they operate is different from the way REIT operates. Moreover, a focused company offers way less dividend than REIT offers on investments. Before investing, it is critical to conduct a background check. Confirm the company history and existence to avoid losing your money to unknown people.

  1. Hard Money Loans

Do you have a lot of money and you are looking for a place to invest? You can invest your money in real estate. You do not have to know the basics of real estate to invest. You can find people to do that for you. I’m sure the last things you want is to get the headaches that come with being a landlord or managing the property.

You can specialize in giving out hard money loans to the real estate investors. Let the investors worry about the other issues of management. In return, you receive a percentage of money on returns. Make sure you lend your money to people whom you know well enough. Another alternative is to determine whether the investor is creditworthy so that you have the assurance of getting your returns.

7 Steps to Financial Freedom: Learn the Right Way to Choose Your Debt Relief Company

It has become exceedingly easy to amass overwhelming amounts of debt. In fact, the average American has over $15,000 just in credit card debt alone. As long as you are paying your monthly payments on time, it can be simple and even exciting to be approved for new credit.

Eventually, though, many people find themselves living in the vicious cycle of taking out new credit cards to pay for their daily living so that they can afford to make their minimum monthly payments.

This type of debt is stressful and if you’re in it, you may feel like there is no end in sight. But the good news is that you are not alone. Due to the preponderance of people who have wound up over their heads in debt, there are many legal debt relief solutions available to help you out of it.

Most of these solutions are real and are used by millions of people to get out of the painful quicksand that debt can be. The problem is knowing which debt relief programs are real and which ones to avoid.

Here are 7 things you should look for when choosing your debt relief company so that you, too, can be on your way to financial freedom.

7 Critical Steps to Finding a Good Debt Relief Program

 

Not all debt programs are created equally. Some will say they are non-profit, but this just means that their profits are distributed differently.

What you need to know before jumping head first into a debt relief program is that it is not a magic wand that will eliminate your debt and let you start over immediately. No matter which program you choose, there are some drawbacks.

You will have to give up taking out new credit cards and loans. Your credit score will likely drop at first (see #5 below for details). Your creditors probably will not receive their first payment for two to three months, so you will still get those pesky phone calls.

But a reputable debt relief company can get you out of this spiral quickly and have your debt paid off on a regular schedule in one payment. You will be saving the hassle of juggling multiple monthly bills and interest rates and your overall pile of debt will go down much faster.

  1. Find a program focuses on saving you money. Some programs will work with your creditor to get them paid, but they put the effort in to get you the best deals. You need to choose a program that will negotiate with your creditors to reduce your interest rates or lower the balance that you owe so that your debt is easier to tackle.
  1. Check the program for predominantly five-star customer reviews. Do your research thoroughly. No matter which company you are checking into, remember that it’s common to see occasional bad reviews, but you should see many five-star reviews on sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, and Consumer Affairs. If there are satisfied customers across the board, you are likely dealing with a reputable business.
  1. Verify the fees that the program will charge. Obviously, your goal is to get out of debt as quickly as possible. When you are paying extra fees for a service to do this, you end up in debt longer. Instead, find a fair price for the service. It is normal to see fees in the range of 20% or less or a flat fee. Anything higher and you need to consider whether it’s worth the additional cost.
  1. Ensure that the program you choose is accredited nationwide. Each state has different laws when it comes to regulation of debt settlement. It’s important that you find a program that understands the laws in your state as well as how your debt resolution will affect you federally.
  1. Contact the debt relief program to have them explain how they handle the restoration of your credit and dealing with your creditors. Working with these types of programs will have an impact on your credit score. Most likely, it will go down in the beginning. Debt relief companies know this and good ones will work with you to help you improve your ratings as soon as possible.

Because the beginning of your debt relief relationship with your company will be based on ensuring that you both are doing your part, the first month or two of payments will not be going to your creditors. These will cover your fees and likely be placed in a type of escrow while your agent is working with your creditors to come to an agreement on your debt.

During this time, you will still be receiving phone calls. A good program has a system in place for this so that you can deflect those calls to an agent instead. You can find more  details at NationalDebtReliefReviews.com.

  1. Find out how they set up their monthly payments. You can expect that, due to the type of business you are dealing with, you will have to pay through direct withdrawals each month. However, some companies make this easier for you by having two smaller payments scheduled, while others prefer one lump sum each month. No matter what, your payment should be smaller than what you are currently paying as your total minimum amount due.
  1. Check the fine print. How the company handles your paperwork says a lot about their reputability. Before you sign on the dotted line, review everything from how they handle your processing to what the documents say. You should feel comfortable with the professionalism involved.

Choose the Debt Relief Program That’s Right For You

You don’t have to settle with the first one that comes your way. There are many programs out there to help you.

Do your research and talk to people at the company you are considering working with. When you feel confident that they have your best interests in mind and know what they are doing, you can sign up with them to get on the fast track to financial freedom!

Zero to Financially Free Hero

Tired of struggling with debt? It’s easy to fall into the common debt trap, particularly with the high cost of living these days. However, if like thousands of others you have found yourself facing significant debt to pay off, there are ways you can get out of it.

Regardless of how much debt you’re facing, there is a lot of help available these days. Here, we’ll look at some of the best ways to get out of debt and achieve financial freedom.

Know what you owe

The very first thing you’ll need to do is know exactly how much you owe. For many people, this is the hardest step. It can be extremely daunting facing up to your debt level and seeing exactly how much you owe. However, without knowing the total debt, you’re not going to be able to work on paying it all off.

So, take some time to sit down and work out how much you owe to each of your creditors. It helps to also work out how much interest you’re paying on each debt and how much you repay each month.

Break it down

Once you know how much you owe, you can then break it down. Many people choose to repay their debts using the “snowball method”. This is where you start with the smallest debt that you owe, focusing all of your efforts on paying it back, while making minimum repayments on other debts.

Then, once that small debt has been cleared, use the money you were paying towards it, to knock down the second smallest debt and so on. Alternatively, you may find it more beneficial to start with paying off the highest interest debt first.

Change your accounts

You can often benefit from switching your accounts while you work on getting your debt down. So, if you have credit card debt, it could be worth transferring over to a balance transfer credit card. This gives you a 0% interest free period for a set amount of time. This allows you to pay off the debt, without incurring any additional interest fees. You can also switch to a better bank account which can help you to control your spending.

Owing a large sum of debt can understandably be worrying. However, the above tips will help get you started at paying them off. If you’re really struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out to a debt advise charity who will help you to figure out the best way forward

Budgeting Changes to Account for When You Graduate

Graduating from college or university is cause for a major celebration. All of that hard work and studying has paid off and you’re ready to start focusing on your new career. However, one thing you really need to prepare for is the change in budget.

Now that you have graduated, you’re going to notice some major changes in your financial situation. So, what budgeting changes do you need to account for?

The cost of rent

While you did have to pay some amount towards your uni accommodation, now you’ll have two choices – either move back home with your parents or rent a property. Many graduates do choose to move back home in order to save for their own place. However, if you’d prefer to maintain your independence, renting is the best option.

The cost of rent is currently at an all-time high, so you’ll need to do your research to determine which areas are cheaper. You could also rent a room in a shared house, rather than an entire property to save money.

Your income should go up

If you were already working when you were studying at uni, your income should now increase. As a general rule, graduate incomes typically start around £20,000. However, again it’s worth researching to see what the average graduate salary is in your chosen profession and area.

Don’t forget to take off the tax too. Many jobs advertising their annual salary don’t account for the tax that is taken off. So, this is something to think about when applying for new positions.

Monthly costs to consider

As well as your rent, there are other monthly costs you’ll need to consider. You’ll already likely have a student loan to pay off through a company such as Smart Pig, so this needs to be factored into your budget. Then there’s the travel costs of getting to work, money for groceries, your mobile phone and money for clothing.

You’ll also need to pay bills including water, gas and electric. It all adds up so you will need to do some pretty clever budgeting until you get adjusted to your new circumstances.

Overall, your budget does change significantly once you become a graduate. It’s worth planning well in advance before you actually do graduate in order to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. The above are just some of the main things to factor in to your new budget.

Best Type of Insurance for Seniors

A life insurance company wants to minimize their financial risk as much as possible. Younger applicants are healthier than middle-aged people or senior citizens. They will live longer than older people and have decades of life to pay insurance premiums. Young applicants also get more worth out of a life insurance policy in terms of cash value, benefits, and coverage customization.

If you are over the age of 65, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get life insurance. It just means that it will be more difficult and expensive to acquire. The older that you are, then the closer that you are to death, statistically speaking. Men usually live until 69, while most women live to be 71. Of course, people live longer nowadays. Yet, the longer that you live the more prone you are to the illnesses, diseases, mental impairment, and physical degradation that comes with advanced aging.

A life insurance company is more likely to pay out beneficiary payments for a senior citizen applicant much sooner than a younger applicant. However, there are many life insurance products and alternatives that senior citizen can apply for. They may be costly and/or offer diminished benefits packages.

Final Expense Insurance

One of the cheapest ways to have some sort of life insurance is to have a final expense insurance policy.  These policies can provide a policy payout from $1,000 up to $50,000.  However, most people get enough to cover their burial and minimal expenses.

What is great about final expense insurance is the monthly premiums are inexpensive. Generally, less than $50 per month and there is no medical exam on most of these policies. This gives a family a sense of security and takes the worry and stress away from the family having to have the burden of paying the bills.

Source: Final Expense Insurance Quotes | Funeral Insurance for Seniors

Term Life Insurance

This is a life insurance product that provides coverage within a predetermined term. Term life insurance is usually offered in increasing increments of 5-year terms. You can buy a term life insurance policy for 5-years, 15-years, 20-years, and so on. If you bought a policy for 10-years, then the coverage would only be active within that 10-year window of time. Term life insurance policies are affordable and offer the kinds of benefits that you will find in traditional life insurance policies.

The amount of premium that you pay should not increase for the life of the policy. However, term life insurance’s greatest benefit can also be its drawback. If you choose a 10-year window of coverage, for example, then you must die sometime within that predetermined 10-year coverage window for your beneficiaries to receive benefits. If you were to die 10 years and one day after buying the policy, your beneficiaries get nothing.

Outliving predetermined term life coverage windows means that you must buy another policy all over again. You may be able to extend term coverage or convert it, but that will cost more. Term life insurance coverage is affordable but is also a gamble.

Source: Why Term Life Insurance Is Better Than Whole Life Insurance

Universal Life Insurance

This is a form of life insurance coverage is risky, expensive, and may depreciate in cash value in unpredictable fashion. If you have money to spare and are financially savvy when it comes to investing, then it may be right for you. Universal life insurance offers lifelong coverage. It also accumulates cash value over time. However, what you pay in premium may fluctuate over time. The cash value inherent in universal life insurance coverage is pegged to stock market performance.

The cash value of your policy is based on and tied to investments made on behalf of the carrier. If the investments tied to the policy underperform, then you might have to pay a higher premium to keep it from being canceled. You can borrow against the cash value of the policy. If you die before repaying, the loan amount will be deducted from beneficiary payments. If the investments tied to the policy perform well, then the policy gains accordingly in value.

Source: The Basics of Universal Life Insurance Explained – The Balance

Talk To a Professional

If you are 65 and over, don’t apply for life insurance coverage on a whim. Talk to a financial advisor, insurance agent, or broker. Consider your options. You can get life insurance coverage. It just might not be entirely on your terms.