Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Insurance Agent’s Guide To Success

The successful insurance agent always stays informed on how he or she can improve themselves both personally and professionally. In these days of fast paced lifestyles and the quickly disappearing face-to-face communication styles of doing business, the professional has to adapt. First, your personal good health is an important component to the success of your business. Second, I’ll present some proven business and customer satisfaction strategies that will guarantee you a thriving business and continued success for the future.

Taking care of your personal health is very often overlooked. The daily life of the professional is fraught with burnout and responsibilities. Many of us juggle on a daily basis the demands of family, parenting and other essential duties. Even the regular duties of getting the dog to the vet, grocery shopping and paying the bills, to name a few, can become dreaded tasks. Eventually, we’re going to get burned out and possibly ill. There are strategies to keeping a healthy mind and body.

Start having a social life outside of work. Just like your daily “to-do” lists at work, start planning a social “to-do” list. In other words, don’t forget to have some fun. Listen to your favorite music for a few minutes each day. Take in a concert or musical affair. Go out to dinner occasionally.

Exercise. Start going to the gym or fitness club. A healthy physical body will give the hard working professional the energy needed to be both highly productive and active socially. Go for a short walk in your neighborhood. Get some fresh air and breath.

Manage your time wisely. Poor time management can be costly. Missing appointments or being late NEVER looks good. The client’s time is just as valuable as yours.

Aside from these tips to stay healthy physically, don’t forget your mental health. Be sure to take regular breaks away from your desk, the phone, the laptop or anything else keeping you chained to your desk.

So, you might ask, what does this mean for me? Many studies have shown that productivity levels significantly decrease for the professional that doesn’t take time for fun, a social life, rest and exercise. If you become both physically and mentally weary, your customers are going to notice.

Many professionals are keenly aware of the saying “presentation is everything”. When you present yourself to a potential client, be it on the phone or in person, it is important to be at your best. I don’t know about you but I would definitely re-think associating with any professional that was unkempt in appearance or tired and sluggish in communications with me. It is very difficult to convince your potential clients to accept your advice to stay healthy when you appear physically ill yourself. Be a role model of what you’re trying to sell. Now that you have some vital information to help you stay personally healthy, let’s examine some strategies to keep your business thriving and profitable.

Continuing Education

Many professional associations offer continuing education workshops, seminars or classes. If you are not a member of a group or organization in your field, then look into classes at an institution of higher learning. It is imperative that you keep up to date on the latest news or information regarding the type of insurance you provide. Don’t forget—classes in human psychology can go a long way in providing you an advantage to understanding your customers better.

Network! Network! Network! Experienced agents know that aligning themselves with a company that will appreciate their skills is a must. Building a customer base with a reliable and strong company that can bring the clients to you is valuable. Your reputation as an experienced, reliant and self-assured insurance agent will guarantee a successful business and many good leads for clients.

The Psychology Of It All

Building a relationship with your customer(s) is integral to your success as an insurance professional. People want quality service. They rely on you to guide them into making the best decisions around their insurance coverage needs. If they don’t trust that you know what you are doing (remember the continuing education and how you present yourself?), they will not buy anything you have to offer. How can we gain their trust?

First and foremost, if you have been informed of a potential client looking for insurance, contact them immediately. As mentioned earlier, people want quality service. A quickly returned phone call sets a good first impression. This action alone tells your customer you care about their needs and are interested in their inquiry.

Next, follow through with what you promised in a timely manner. For example, if you stated you would get back to them in 48 hours on a matter, then return your call within that time.

Be sure you are giving them the appropriate and best advice you can. Obviously, I can’t stress the “educational” component enough in this article. None of us knows the answer to everything and it is acceptable to say I don’t know to a client’s question. Let them know that you will find the answer.

A healthy, informed and experienced insurance agent that is genuinely attentive to their client’s best interests and communicates that effectively will have a successful business.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

There is an Enemy it’s Name is Inflation

It would be great if we lived in a world that was affordable. But we don’t. The reality is that prices often rise faster than our income! No matter how hard you work, you’re still not earning as much as you were yesterday… or the day before. So we have to make due with the money we have. Sometimes that means getting a payday loan to bridge us to the next paycheck. Other times that means using our credit cards to consolidate our monthly expenditures and paying it back once at the end of the month. And still other times it means getting a loan to help us buy the things we need. There are two types of loans. An unsecured loan is money that a lending agency gives to you based on their assessment of your risk. Your credit rating is one of the ways they make that decision. And since they lose their money if you default on your payment, the risk is higher so the interest rate is higher. However, if you need to borrow more money or you want a loan at a more attractive interest rate, or you want some flexibility with the repayment terms, then borrowing against your assets is the way to go. Some examples of assets, or equity, that you may be able to use include your home your car, your stock certificates, or some other kind of valuable possession. Borrowing against these assets assures the lending institute that they can recoup their losses if you fail to make your payments since there is an alternate form of payment. Lending agencies like this because it minimizes the risk they take. And you’ll love it because it increases the amount of money you can potentially borrow, it lowers the interest rate you’ll have to pay, and it lengthens the amount of time you’re expected to pay the loan back! What could be better than that? Some excellent uses for secured loans include such things as debt consolidation or home improvement loans. In both cases, you’ll find that a secured loan gives you a good amount of money at an attractive rate so you can reduce your debt payments or increase the value of your home affordably! We live in a world that expects us to borrow now and then. Don’t you think that a secured loan is the way to go the next time you need to borrow?

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Most Beneficial Features of Low Interest Credit Cards

If you’re seriously interested in knowing about low interest credit cards, you will need to read this article. This informative article takes a closer look at things you need to know about low interest credit cards. If you don't have accurate details regarding low interest credit cards, then you might make a bad choice. Don't let that happen: keep reading. The most beneficial feature of low interest credit cards is the popular zero introductory interest rate that can last up to 12 months. These offers may only apply to the balance transfer and not to new purchases and cash advance. Therefore, making purchases and taking cash advance with your promotional offer credit card may result in paying multiple interest rates. Individuals who are planning to make purchases and carry a credit card balance each month may be better off with low fixed interest rate credit cards. Customers will need to decide if a 0% intro APR or a low fixed APR credit card is better suited for their personal needs. It’s not uncommon for the interest rate to shoot up dramatically after the introductory period expires. Therefore, customers should know what the interest rate will be after the promotional period ends. The promotional offer or interest free period can save hundreds of dollars in interest expense. During this interest free period no interest is accrued if the account is in good standing. Many customers utilize the interest free period to transfer balance from high interest rate credit cards to a low interest credit rate credit cards to save money on interest expense. These cards are also very important for customers who are planning to consolidate credit card loans, make large purchases and carry a credit card balance from month to month. Credit card issuers charge a fee to do a balance transfer. This fee varies from bank to bank so it is a good idea to shop around for the best deal. Individuals with excellent credit score can ask to have the fee waived. Low interest credit card can be very versatile because they have similar feature to a standard credit card. Features can be similar to a standard credit card such as cash back, rewards, no annual fees, bonus miles etc. It’s important to compare features of low interest cards and apply for the one that fulfils your needs. Paying your entire outstanding credit card balance on time each billing cycle is the only way to avoid paying interest expense. This may not be financially feasible for many customers due to the fact that they do not have the available funds. Therefore, by using a low interest credit card to make purchases and maintaining a credit card balance will be the next best choice to save money on interest expense. The amount of interest accrue on your account depends on the interest rate you receive. It’s a common situation for individuals with bad credit to pay credit card companies large fees and finance charges. This situation keeps the card holder indebted to the credit card companies for years to come if no action is taken. This is a good reason to have excellent credit to avoid high finance charge and fees. Credit card issuers can change the rate of interest on your low interest credit card for several reasons such as making late payment, poor payment history with other creditors, applying for too much credit etc. To maintain good credit habits only charge what you know you can afford. Many individuals use a low interest credit card to consolidate credit card debts to save money on interest expense. It can eliminate making monthly payments to various creditors. Do the necessary research before deciding to consolidate because if not done wisely can end up costing more than you would have saved. Because consolidation will extend the term of your loan it may increase the total amount of interest payment paid over the life of the loan. Debt consolidation is an excellent opportunity to keep you out of bankruptcy and get your finances back on track. Consolidating simplifies your paperwork and saves time and energy by only keeping records for a single loan instead of several loans. Understanding grace period as it relates to your low interest credit card is very important. The grace period generally last between 20 to 25 days. This is the number of days stipulated in your credit card agreement before your credit card company starts charging interest on new purchases with certain conditions. During this period customers do not pay finance charges on new purchases if the account did not carry a previous balance. Also, monthly payments must be received during the grace period time frame. Usually credit cards without a grace period are charged finance charges immediately on new purchases even if your previous month's bill was paid in full. The internet is the easiest place to find low interest credit cards with online credit card application. Website like www.icreditonline.com offers various types of credit cards. The cards are grouped into different categories. Clicking on low interest credit cards will bring up a list of low interest credit cards. Customers will then be able to compare offers and submit their online credit card application for approval. Going on line to find your credit card is very rewarding because it is very convenient and fast. There is no need to travel from banks to banks trying to find the right credit card. Customers can obtain all the information needed to make a wise decision in choosing a credit card that meets their needs just with the click of your mouse. Read your credit card agreement to find out if there are separate interest rates for balance transfer, new purchases and cash advance. Card holders maybe charged a very high interest rate and fees for cash advance or making new purchases while getting the 0% intro offer for balance transfer. Don’t let this happen to you. Take the time to read the credit card agreement. Reading and understanding the credit card agreement is of utmost importance because it gives you the knowledge needed to make the right decision.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Will You Do With Your Credit Card Debt? Credit Card Debt Solutions

With Consumer Debt at a National high, many Americans are faced with increasing credit card interest rates, minimum monthly payments, etc. It is becoming harder and harder to meet our monthly obligations each month and many consumers are looking for answers. This article will give you a brief run-down of the options that are available today to help make the decision a little easier. The first option is to keep doing what you are doing now. Make your monthly minimum payments, pay increasingly high COMPOUND interest and lose thousands of dollars over the course of several years doing so. According to Bankrate.com, the average household has approx. $30K in unsecured debt. Did you know that paying the minimum monthly payments will cost you $112K in interest and it will take you approx. 59 years, yes you heard correctly, YEARS to pay off? That is a definite financial choice that will put you in the poor house quicker than anything else. When you are paying interest like this, it does not even benefit you to save your money in a savings account, because the interest would not gain fast enough to offset the interest you are paying on your credit cards. So, what should you do? Consider the other options! The next option is a Debt Consolidation. This is a generic term now being used but true debt consolidation is taking your current debt load and rolling it into a new loan, with interest over a longer period of time. You will either need some security like a home or bank account. You will pay interest that is non-compounded, which is definitely better than compound interest; however, you will spread your debt over a longer period of time and therefore shell out more cash than necessary. If you have a small debt load, under $10,000, This may be a good option for you if you dedicate yourself to making larger monthly payments than are required, paying off early if possible. Another option is Consumer Credit Counseling . You will recognize these companies because they usually have a non-profit status. They are actually sponsored by the credit card companies themselves and they have what is called a “fair share” arrangement, meaning the credit card companies pay these companies to keep you paying them. Your money is not dispersed into an escrow account, but the cccs companies disperse it evenly amongst your creditors how they see fit. You will not experience any relief from your monthly payment since they will stay pretty much the same. Interest rates are lowered most often, but are not completely eliminated. I have heard many complaints that payments are skipped and facts show that most enrollees in this type of program quit after the first 12-24 months. The reason being is that your credit report is negatively affected closely to that of a bankruptcy. When lenders and loan companies see an account managed by CCCS, they view it the SAME as a BANKRUPTCY. These types of programs usually take about 5-7 years to complete. Once the program is completed, the creditors release comments about CCCS on your credit report. To Sum it up, you have no monthly savings relief, you still pay your entire debt plus interest and your credit is negatively impacted for 5-7 years. The last option I will outline is Debt Settlement. This type of program is becoming increasingly popular because of its many benefits to consumers. Debt Settlement Companies are experts at negotiating your debt down, on average for all cards/accounts, to 40% to 70% of what you owe. One card may settle at 80%, even 100% in some cases, the next card could be 30%. The end result is an overall total average of 40% to 70% of all the cards. This will be based on who your creditors are and their criteria. Creditors are directed to speak only to Certified Debt Mediators once enrolled and the process begins. Enrollees are set up on monthly payment plans, usually at a savings of 50% out of pocket providing immediate cash flow. You will be set up with one monthly savings amount, which will be deposited into a secured trust account at a Bank. Savings amounts are YOUR money. Settlement Companies have no access to it, beyond their fees, and neither do the creditors. It is a secure, protected trust account. This is the money, as it accumulates, that will be used to settle your debts. The consumer will have control of their own funds throughout the whole process. The average time a consumer is in the program is 12-36 months. During this time, the creditors will be reporting late pays on the consumer's credit report while this process is going on. As settlements are reached with each creditor, the creditors will report a “settled in full,” “paid with a zero balance.” So, ultimately, at the end of the program, then your debt to income ratio will have improved and your credit will begin to heal itself for the future. In addition, you will not have the long term effect of a public record as you would with a bankruptcy. Debt Settlement Companies do charge fees for their service, because creditors are not in alliance with DSC's and do not give them kick backs for payments like in Consumer Credit Counseling programs. The fees average 15%-18% depending on which company you choose and the quality of service they provide. Most established firms will offer an online back office in which you can track your payments and settlement activities. Often times, fees are looked at in a negative light. But if you actually do the math, the savings still add up to substantial amounts and your credit gets back in shape pretty quickly. For instance, for $30K in debt and fees at 15% or $4500.00, you will still have an average savings of approx. $10,500. That is nothing to sneeze at! If your credit is a concern, then you must weigh your priorities. Becoming debt free will give you many more advantages in your long term financial path, then two years with some late marks on your credit report. You may even consider credit repair after you are out of this type of program.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Why Your Broker May Not Be Recommending The Most Competitive Annuity

There are over two thousand life insurance companies offering over fifteen thousand different annuities, and they run the gamut from horrific (I wouldn’t offer it to an enemy) to outstanding (I own it myself, and recommended it my parents). To make matters more confusing, annuities can be very complicated, with lots of different hard-to-understand variations. Enter the insurance agent / financial advisor / broker, to whom most annuity sales are outsourced, and who get paid a commission from the insurance company when they sell you an annuity. Let’s look at how they’re paid and how that can create a conflict of interest that can leave you, the investor, with an inferior annuity and less retirement dollars. When a broker sells you an annuity, the broker can typically select from a range of commission structures offered by the insurance company. Let’s say you invest $100,000 in a variable annuity. The insurance company might offer the broker a choice of three commission structures: a) 5% up front and nothing ever again in the future – so the broker dealer would be paid $5,000 on your $100,000 and nothing ever again; b) 4% up-front and 0.25% per year (called a “trail”) for however long you hold on to your annuity – so the broker would make $4,000 up-front and then 0.25% of your account value every year after the 15th month that you hold your annuity; or c) 2% up-front and a 1% trail beginning in the 15th month. These are just typical commission structures, and they vary from insurance company to insurance company, and from annuity to annuity, but you get the gist of it. You may say that option “b” or “c” in the above example – where the broker gets a lower up-front fee and an ongoing trail – is better for you because the broker will work harder knowing that he is actually being paid to service the contract year after year, and it may help the broker think longer term. Furthermore, a long-sighted broker might think, “I’ll take the lower 2% up front commission, and 1% each year thereafter, because if I do my job well and my client’s account doubles over a period of time, then I double my trail.” Then everybody wins, right? For the most part, yes. But enter greed. I’m going to give you two real-world examples that will help you understand why some brokers are not working in your best interest, but in their own. One typical example is when a broker offers an investor a standard annuity, and fails to mention that there is a “bonus” version of the same product that pays the investor an up-front bonus (and hence the broker a lower commission). Take two variable annuities offered by American Skandia: APEX II and XTra Credit SIX. Both have the same options and features, but the XTra Credit SIX pays the investor an immediate 6.5% bonus – meaning the minute you invest $100,000 in that annuity, your account value goes up to $106,500. Furthermore, both annuities have the same fees for the first ten years (1.65% at the time of this writing), but after 10 years the XTra Credit SIX fee drops to 0.65%. You may be asking, “Why wouldn’t my broker recommend the XTra Credit SIX with its bonus and lower overall fees? Well, at the time of this writing the APEX II pays the broker a 5.5% up-front commission and after four years 1.25% annually. But the XTra Credit SIX bonus annuity pays the broker just 4.75% up-front and a 0.25% trail annually after the first year. An unscrupulous broker may not tell you about these bonus products because, in effect, they benefit the investor at the expense of the broker’s commission. Let’s take a second example of how a broker’s greed can keep you from the most competitive annuity. Suppose your investment profile makes you a prime candidate for a variable annuity with a reasonable surrender period and a great living income benefit. Two annuities come to mind: the Allianz High Five and the Ohio National Value. Both are competitive annuities, but I’d typically recommend Ohio National’s Value because it gives has lower fees, a better living income benefit, and no trading restrictions. But guess what? The Allianz High Five pays the broker a whopping 7% up-front commission (no trail). Ohio National Value pays the broker a 5% up-front commission (no trail). An unscrupulous broker may not mention the Ohio National Value to net him or herself an extra 2% commission. The top variable annuities in the marketplace are among the best investment vehicles for helping people achieve their retirement goals, including financial independence and peace of mind. Finding the right people that can, and will, make the right recommendations is the ultimate challenge. How can you make sure your broker is recommending the most suitable and competitive annuity? A few simple guidelines: • Don’t buy an annuity that you don’t understand. If you invest in something you understand, you significantly reduce your chance of being taken advantage of. • Never buy an annuity from someone who cold-calls you. These strangers are the least likely to give you the best recommendation. • Make sure that if your financial advisor is recommending an annuity, they have a lot of experience in working with annuities. The average financial planner who deals mainly in stocks and mutual funds is quite likely to fall into the “trustworthy but unknowledgeable” camp. • Look up your financial advisor’s NASD record (including customer complaints and regulatory actions), free of charge, at http://pdpi.nasdr.com/PDPI. • Be leery of someone trying to sell you “non-registered” products like the now very popular Equity Index Annuities (EIA’s). Many of these so-called financial professionals only have an insurance license, and may bad-mouth variable annuities and mutual funds because they are not licensed to sell them. • Finally, take the annuity recommended by your financial advisor and call a free, independent annuity resource like Annuity FYI (www.annuityfyi.com) and see if you get the same recommendation. If not, ask why. This will start a dialog between you and your financial advisor that will help educate you and give you confidence in your advisor (or expose your advisor’s shortcomings).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Was tun, um Geld zu sparen

Tipp : Kaffee und Mittagessen Die meisten Menschen düsen morgens in Windeseile zur Uni, Arbeit oder sonst wo, ohne sich eine Minute fürs Frühstück, geschweige dem Kaffee zu nehmen. Kaffee wird auf dem Weg gekauft und Frühstück zur Arbeit bestellt oder schlimmsten Falls ausgesetzt. Das muss aber nicht so sein. Wer nur 10 Minuten früher aufwacht, kann auch einen angenehmen und leckeren Kaffee mit heißem Croissant zu Hause genießen! Dies ist billiger und stressfreier! Das gleiche gilt fürs Mittagessen, warum Mittagessen auslassen oder bestellen, wenn es doch anders geht. Wer sich am Vorabend ein bisschen vom Abendmahl zur Seite legt, spart Geld und Nerven beim bestellen! Tipp : Wo ist die Bibliothek! Sind Sie auch so eine Leserate und wollen jede Woche sich neue Bücher holen? Ja Bücher sind etwas Wertvolles und es gibt nichts Schöneres als ein neues Buch zu lesen, aber wer sparen will sollte nicht immer zum Neubuch greifen. Es gibt heutzutage viele Secondhandbuchladen, die so gut wie nicht gebrauchet Bücher sehr billig verkaufen. Auch ist die Bibliothek immer eine Alternative, die so gut wie nicht in die Tasche greift. Tipp : Shoppen, aber gezielt! Viele, besonders Frauen, gehen gerne Einkäufe machen oder besser gesagt shoppen. Da kann einen beim Bummeln schnell das Geld aus den Taschen fließen. Dabei braucht der Mensch meistens nichts fürs Schrank, sonder eher etwas für die Sinnen! Also unnötiges Shoppen auf die Ferien verschieben und wenn man was wirklich braucht, gezielt Shoppen gehen. Nur das Kaufen, was man auch wirklich vor hatte zu kaufen bzw. was einem fehlt. Tipp : Restaurant! Wer gerne ins Restaurant geht, sollte es auch genießen, endlich mal bekocht und bedient zu werden, und dann noch so gutes Essen! Doch wer auch hier sparen will, muss nicht wirklich aufs Essen verzichten. Glück bestellen anstatt wild bestellen ist hier das Motto. Mal auf eine Vorspeise, Nebenspeise und Nachtisch verzischten und sich ganz auf die Hauptmahlzeit konzentrieren! Auch ein süßer Tee oder heiße Schokolade statt dem Nachtisch können ein gutes Ausgehe Essen abrunden. Hier wurden nur einige Ideen, wie man Geld sparen kann, vorgestellt. In anderen parallelen Artikeln werden weitere Tipps und Tricks präsentiert. Dabei kann sich jeder die Sparaktion aussuchen, die ihm am besten passt (oder auch mehrere). Wichtig ist aber, dass man sich beim Sparen nicht wirklich einbeschränkt und dass man das zur Seite Legen des Geldes nicht ernsthaft spürt. Um das Sparen nun letztendlich sehbar zu machen, muss man sich an folgendes halten: Dank diesen Tipps sollte man sich eine bestimmte Summe festlegen, die man in einer jeden Woche gespart haben will. Am Ende jeder Woche wird nun diese Summe, die man gespart hat, in den Sparschweinchen gesteckt. Wenn jedoch all diese Ratschläge nicht funktionieren, muss man wohl oder übel mehr verdienen, im Lotto gewinnen oder gar zum Casino zurückgreifen, um sich seine Ferien zu investieren. Article Body: Viele Menschen schaffen es einfach nicht, innerhalb des Monats ein bisschen Geld zur Seite zu legen. Dabei kann es doch so einfach sein! Hier ein paar Tipps und Ideen, wie man auf angenehmer und einfacher Art und Weise im Alltagsleben sein Geld zu Seite legen kann, und nach nur weniger Zeit mit dem Gespartem in den Ferien fliegen kann. Tipp : Kaffee und Mittagessen Die meisten Menschen düsen morgens in Windeseile zur Uni, Arbeit oder sonst wo, ohne sich eine Minute fürs Frühstück, geschweige dem Kaffee zu nehmen. Kaffee wird auf dem Weg gekauft und Frühstück zur Arbeit bestellt oder schlimmsten Falls ausgesetzt. Das muss aber nicht so sein. Wer nur 10 Minuten früher aufwacht, kann auch einen angenehmen und leckeren Kaffee mit heißem Croissant zu Hause genießen! Dies ist billiger und stressfreier! Das gleiche gilt fürs Mittagessen, warum Mittagessen auslassen oder bestellen, wenn es doch anders geht. Wer sich am Vorabend ein bisschen vom Abendmahl zur Seite legt, spart Geld und Nerven beim bestellen! Tipp : Wo ist die Bibliothek! Sind Sie auch so eine Leserate und wollen jede Woche sich neue Bücher holen? Ja Bücher sind etwas Wertvolles und es gibt nichts Schöneres als ein neues Buch zu lesen, aber wer sparen will sollte nicht immer zum Neubuch greifen. Es gibt heutzutage viele Secondhandbuchladen, die so gut wie nicht gebrauchet Bücher sehr billig verkaufen. Auch ist die Bibliothek immer eine Alternative, die so gut wie nicht in die Tasche greift. Tipp : Shoppen, aber gezielt! Viele, besonders Frauen, gehen gerne Einkäufe machen oder besser gesagt shoppen. Da kann einen beim Bummeln schnell das Geld aus den Taschen fließen. Dabei braucht der Mensch meistens nichts fürs Schrank, sonder eher etwas für die Sinnen! Also unnötiges Shoppen auf die Ferien verschieben und wenn man was wirklich braucht, gezielt Shoppen gehen. Nur das Kaufen, was man auch wirklich vor hatte zu kaufen bzw. was einem fehlt. Tipp : Restaurant! Wer gerne ins Restaurant geht, sollte es auch genießen, endlich mal bekocht und bedient zu werden, und dann noch so gutes Essen! Doch wer auch hier sparen will, muss nicht wirklich aufs Essen verzichten. Glück bestellen anstatt wild bestellen ist hier das Motto. Mal auf eine Vorspeise, Nebenspeise und Nachtisch verzischten und sich ganz auf die Hauptmahlzeit konzentrieren! Auch ein süßer Tee oder heiße Schokolade statt dem Nachtisch können ein gutes Ausgehe Essen abrunden. Hier wurden nur einige Ideen, wie man Geld sparen kann, vorgestellt. In anderen parallelen Artikeln werden weitere Tipps und Tricks präsentiert. Dabei kann sich jeder die Sparaktion aussuchen, die ihm am besten passt (oder auch mehrere). Wichtig ist aber, dass man sich beim Sparen nicht wirklich einbeschränkt und dass man das zur Seite Legen des Geldes nicht ernsthaft spürt. Um das Sparen nun letztendlich sehbar zu machen, muss man sich an folgendes halten: Dank diesen Tipps sollte man sich eine bestimmte Summe festlegen, die man in einer jeden Woche gespart haben will. Am Ende jeder Woche wird nun diese Summe, die man gespart hat, in den Sparschweinchen gesteckt. Wenn jedoch all diese Ratschläge nicht funktionieren, muss man wohl oder übel mehr verdienen, im Lotto gewinnen oder gar zum Casino zurückgreifen, um sich seine Ferien zu investieren.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fund Manager Ron Pollack on Friends and Family

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the man, Ron Pollack (http://www.ronpollack.net), who had set up what was at one time one of the largest hedge funds in the US, peaking at over a billion dollars. We met in a Florida office in early summer. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and if you had passed him walking down the street you wouldn't guess the amount of finances that this man can control. During the interview, Pollack talked about his career as a short seller and hedge fund manger, the charity groups he helps, his family, and why he's decided to return to short selling after a six-year hiatus. "Short selling is what I do and I need to get back to doing it," states Pollack. Both Yale and Harvard seem to have a penchant for turning out successful investors: Jim Chanos (widely credited with exposing Enron as a fraud, and who Pollack got to know back in the 1980s when they were both short First Executive Life), Zoe Cruz (a brilliant commodity trader who rose to the co-presidency of Morgan Stanley, a section-mate of Pollack's at HBS), Jamie Dinan (CEO of JP Morgan Chase, who Pollack used to play pick-up basketball with at HBS), Strauss Zelnick (media wunderkind and Chairman of ZelnickMedia and Take-Two Interactive, Pollack's roommate at Harvard), Scott Schoen and Scott Sperling (co-presidents of leveraged buyout giant THL, and friends of Pollack from Harvard), Steve Pagliuca and John Bekenstein (of Bain Capital, friends of Pollack from HBS and Yale respectively), Glenn Hutchins (of Silverlake Partners, also a Harvard classmate), to name just a few. Pollack, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale and went on to get both an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, is no exception. After graduate school, Pollack went to Wall Street where he became an investment banker and later honed his skills as a hedge fund manager. Pollack was trained as a short seller by industry pioneers, the Feshbach Brothers and later went into business for himself. After leaving Feshbach in the early 1990s, Pollack built a highly successful family of hedge funds, the most well-known of which was his short fund, appropriately named Dancing Bear. But towards the end of 2001, Pollack started to a look how he could spend more time with his growing family and helping charities. "After the terrorist attack on 9/11, I was moved by what happened and I really wanted to help," said Pollack. For the months following the attack, the financial markets were in turmoil and Pollack began to feel the pull of loyalties between his investment business and the needs of his growing family. In November of that year, Pollack was at a family vacation with his expectant wife and three children. Sitting with his laptop on a hotel room watching the markets, he told his wife that he had to go back to the office because the markets were just too crazy. On the drive back, he started on a plan of action that would allow him to have more time with his family as well as be able to help charity organizations. In 2002, Pollack merged his hedge fund business into the Monitor Group, based in Cambridge, MA in order to have more time for his outside activities, in particular, volunteer work and being a dad. During this time, he successfully set up fund-raisers for sick firefighters, police, sanitation workers, etc. of New York working with Vail Valley Foundation, the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Foundation and others. As part of his fund-raising activities, he would occasionally end up in the offices of fund managers. This would invariably pull at his heart strings as he had stopped trading after his decision to become a full-time dad and volunteer. In fact, during his time as a volunteer, Pollack only traded once. At a charity auction in Vail, Pollack had bid for a day of trading and instruction with a local stockbroker, "just for fun." Little did this broker know who had won the bid. Needless to say, he was shocked to find out the depth of knowledge that his visitor had. Within the first 15 minutes, Pollack had completed a successful short sale and knew that he "still had it." Although the broker hadn't recognized him when he first came to the office, there are many others that know he had built one of the largest successful hedge funds in the US. When Russ Ramsey, Chairman and CEO of Ramsey Asset Management, wanted to set up a hedge fund specializing in short selling, he called in Pollack as a short sell guru for advice. During this time, Pollack did some research into the current markets and what other fund managers were doing. He figured that by this time, other managers would have saturated the short sale space. They hadn't. "I was amazed. Nothing in short selling had changed in the years of my absence. They were still using the same techniques that we were using back in the 1980s" exclaimed Pollack. "I had already moved on to a newer short-selling model with Dancing Bear back in the mid-1990s I thought for sure others would have followed suit, and that by now short-selling would be over-crowded, just like most other hedge fund categories." Not only was the space not crowded, he found out that only a handful of managers were doing well. Although it was still not the right time to get back into this field, he realized then that this truly was what he wanted to do and would eventually come back to it. In late 2007, Pollack decided that it was now time to get back to being a fund manager. He realized that although he enjoyed working with the charities, he could actually contribute more by making and donating money than through hands-on hours. His children were growing up and although he had enjoyed his break from the sometimes turbulent and often stressful world of hedge funds, it was also his passion and in his blood. To put it simply, "I needed this time away to be with my family and really enjoyed working with my charity groups but I realize it's now time to come back. I loved the challenge of investing; especially shorting stocks, and I missed it dearly."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

When to Sell Your Structured Settlement

A structured settlement often follows a life changing incident, whether it be positive or negative. Due to these circumstances, you may be faced with the need for a large lump sum payment rather than small monthly payments over a number of years. So, where do you turn? To a company that can buy your structured settlement from you and turn it into an immediate payment that you may use on whatever you see fit. Each individual has different reasons for wanting to sell their structured settlement, however, first you must decide if it is the right decision for you. The Benefits of Selling Your Structured Settlement A large portion of those who receive a structured settlement can benefit from selling it for a lump sum payment. The situations listed in this section represent possible circumstances of individuals that may get the most rewards from selling their structured settlement. · If you cannot wait to receive small, spread-out payments over a long period of time due to a dire financial situation or hefty medical bills and/or lawyer fees. Many of the situations that can bring about a structured settlement can also stick the individual with such obligations. · If you and your family decide that this is the time to finally make that large purchase that you have had your eye on. For example, if you have previously been denied mortgages or loans and would like to take this opportunity to buy that dream home you have always wanted. Or if you have a child or children who are preparing to go off to college and you fear you may not have the financial means to support that dream otherwise. · If you have talked with a financial advisor and both of you feel that you could profit more by investing a lump sum payment, rather than waiting on monthly payments. If the money is invested properly, there is a chance that you could end up with more money in the end than your settlement was ever worth. However, this should not be a plan that is entered into lightly. You should work closely with a financial specialist and feel confident that you have found a great opportunity to invest in. · If you are of older age and feel that you may not be around long enough to receive a fair amount of your structured settlement. You may want to the chance to enjoy the benefits of your settlement or may want to secure part of it for your family after your passing. This way you can distribute the funds as you see fit instead of relying on lawyers or courts. · If you don’t plan to use the money right away, but would rather put it into a savings or money market account to draw interest. This would be best suited for someone who has a very hefty settlement, can find an account with large payoff terms, and plans to keep the majority of the money in the account for many years. No matter what your reason for wanting to sell your structured settlement, choosing this option puts you back in control of money that is rightly yours. The problem that many individuals have with their structured settlements is that the control over their money is left to lawyers, courts, and the company or persons paying out the settlement. You are now able to say where, how, and - most importantly - when you spend your money. The Drawbacks of Selling Your Structured Settlement For a few individuals, selling their structured settlement and receiving a lump sum payment may not be in their best interest. One must also evaluate these situations and determine if they outweigh the reasons you are considering selling your settlement. · First and foremost, selling you structured settlement means that you will receive less money than you would if you were to keep it. However, for many people considering this option, this seems like a win-win situation - they will get one large lump sum payment and the company they sold it to will make a profit in the end. The good news is that since you have several companies competing for your settlement, you can choose the one that will give you the a portion of the full settlement that you can live with. · Because you may lose out on a substantial portion of your settlement by selling it, if you are in a financial situation where regular monthly payments will only be a bonus on top of what you already make, waiting out your settlement may be in your best interest. However, if you’re a senior, then you should also take your age and the length of your structured settlement into consideration. This would be the ideal situation for someone who is young enough that they have a great chance of living out the life of their settlement. · If you are a person who is poor at managing large sums of money, then selling your structured settlement may not be right for you. For example, if you are the kind of person who gets a large paycheck every two weeks and finds themselves running low on available cash at the end of those two weeks, then that may be an indication that needs to be closely looked at. In this type of circumstance, having your settlement portioned out to you on a monthly basis may keep you from spending it too quickly. Once your settlement is gone, you will be back at square one. · For those reasons, you should also not consider selling your structured settlement if you have an addiction to gambling, shopping, or drugs. · If your settlement was due to an accident that has put you out of work and the funds from it will replace your monthly income, then keeping the payments on a monthly basis may help your family keep your finances in order. However, even in this situation selling your settlement may be best for you if you would like to renegotiate your payments into a larger sum each month to shorten the life of the settlement. Most individuals receiving a structured settlement can benefit from selling it to a company that can give them a large lump sum payment or shorten the life of the settlement, especially if they are older persons, an individual who has enormous expenses due to an accident or court case, someone in a critical financial position, or one who wishes to make a large purchase for themselves and their family. Finding the right company with terms that fit your needs is a key component of making your experience with selling your structured settlement a positive one.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Top 5 Reasons Why You Should NOT Invest Your Home Equity

In the past few years, hundreds of people have invested home equity, only to lose it all and get into serious financial trouble. With this in mind, here are five reasons why you should not invest your home equity. Avoiding these five pitfalls will prepare you to safely maximize the productivity of all your financial resources, including home equity. Reason #1: Personal Consumption If you're going to use any of your home equity to purchase items of personal consumption, do not touch it. This is the single most prevalent and damaging pitfall with this strategy. Consumption is anything you spend money on that does not directly return money to you, such as clothes, food, vacations, jewelry, cars, boats, etc. Consumption must be sustained by production, which means creating value for others in such a way that value is returned to you. When your consumption exceeds your production, the only logical outcome is insolvency and eventual bankruptcy. The Solution: The wealthy never use their assets to consume--they only consume the profits generated by their assets. Only access home equity to produce and invest in things that will generate returns. Your home equity is your golden goose. Don't kill it by consuming it--use it wisely to enjoy the golden eggs it can produce. Reason #2: Lack of Knowledge & Chasing High Returns With home appreciation rising in double-digits, banks giving loans liberally, and people having access to investments promising high returns, the exuberance of many so-called investors in the past few years has only been exceeded by their ignorance. People were putting money into investments that they knew very little about, they had no idea where the money went, they had no idea how to control the investment, and were doing so simply because they were receiving high returns. That is until it all came crashing down. The Solution: If you don't know where your money is going, what it's doing, how it's creating value, what your exit strategy will be, what the tax consequences are, and how you can recover if it's lost, don't do it. Also, if your primary reason for wanting to invest in something is to make money, don't do it. Only invest in things that reflect your knowledge, abilities, expertise, and passions. Reason #3: Unsafe Investments Not only have many people been ignorant about the investments in which they have invested their home equity, but also many of the investments themselves have made very little economic sense. The investments didn't have clear value propositions (they weren't creating real value in the marketplace), they weren't collateralized (or backed by hard assets such as real estate), they were speculative, they were based on artificial demand, and they had poor or no exit strategies. The Solution: Here are just a few things to consider with any investment: Is there a real demand for this investment? Is there a clear value proposition? Is it legal? Is it ethical and moral? Is it collateralized? How well can you control the terms? Do you have the opportunity to contribute to its success in meaningful ways, or are you contributing money alone? What are the tax consequences? Can you create a foolproof exit strategy? Is the investment self-sustaining, or does it require ongoing capital contributions from outside sources? How soon will it create cash flow? Do you know the people involved? Do they have an established track record of trustworthiness and success? If you can't answer any of these questions satisfactorily, then either stay away from the investment or provide viable solutions for any troublesome aspects. Reason #4: Investments Removed From Soul Purpose Soul Purpose is the combination of your inborn abilities, talents, and passions and that provide a natural direction for your most fulfilling life. It is your greatest purpose for being on the Earth--the mission you were born for. Every thought and action leads you either closer to living your Soul Purpose, or further away from it. Few people invest in things that align with their Soul Purpose because they get sidetracked chasing high returns. Investing out of alignment with Soul Purpose inevitably leads to mediocrity at best, and failure at worst. The Solution: What are you great at doing? What things are you naturally drawn to? What are your dreams? What is your vision of your best self? What things increase your energy? These are the only things you should be investing money into. For example, if you have a passion for real estate, invest in real estate. If your passion is philanthropy, start a non-profit or contribute to an existing one. If you love cooking and entrepreneurship, maybe starting a restaurant makes sense. Creating portfolio income is hard work, and the only way you'll endure challenges is if what you're doing is an expression of your Soul Purpose. The best investment is an investment in yourself and your Soul Purpose through education. Education will help you develop your Soul Purpose and bring it to the marketplace practically and meaningfully. Reason#5: Learning the Wrong Lessons If your investment fails, what's the lesson you're going to learn? For most, the answer doesn't go further than, "I knew I shouldn't have done that!" This type of thinking is disempowering and leads people to avoid future action. They learn to stay away from investing, rather than learning how to manage it better. The Solution: No matter how well you mitigate risk, in a dynamic world things will inevitably go differently than you anticipate. Commit now to learning the right lessons when things go wrong. Learn what things you can change about yourself and your approach to increase your safety, returns, and success. Unfortunate events present amazing opportunities to become more confident with your investments, rather than cynical and distrustful. Conclusion Investing your home equity can be one of the riskiest strategies if you do so for personal consumption, to put money into things you know little about in order to chase high returns, to invest in inherently risky investments, to invest in anything removed from your Soul Purpose, or if you will learn the wrong lessons when unexpected events occur. However, it can also be a powerful strategy that will help you unlock your financial potential. To do so requires that you never borrow money to consume, you always have a good understanding of your investments and never invest to make money primarily, your investments make good economic sense and your risk is mitigated well, you only invest in things that align with your Soul Purpose, and you commit to learning the right lessons when you encounter setbacks and difficulties.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Low Interest Credit Cards Are Considered by Many The Most Popular Credit Cards

Knowledge can give you a real advantage. To make sure you're fully informed about low Interest credit cards, keep reading. Imagine the next time you join a discussion about low Interest credit cards. Your friends will be amazed when you start to share your knowledge about low interest credit cards. If you're not using a low interest credit card, ask yourself why? This credit card have numerous advantages such as the 0% Intro APR (annual percentage rate) that enables the consumer to save on interest expense. Several factors should be considered in choosing the right credit card. Depending on your situation a fixed low APR interest rate might be a better choice than the 0% intro APR if you are planning to carry a credit card balance each month. If the 0% intro APR changes to a low fixed rate after the promotional period ends then this will be an ideal situation. If the interest rate jumps up to over 20% then this might not be the best deal. This is why customers need to know what the interest rate will be at the end of the introductory period. For customers deciding on the 0% intro credit card offer will save money on interest expense which can be used to pay off the loan much sooner. Low interest credit cards main benefit is to save money on interest expense. These credit cards are very essential in saving money on interest expense when used to transfer balance from a high interest credit card to a low interest credit card. They may also be beneficial to cardholders who make large purchases and carry a balance forward every month. Banks charge a fee for balance transfers. Since this fee varies from bank to bank, customers should compare offers to find out which banks charge the lowest fees. Individuals with excellent credit can request to have the balance transfer fee waived. Customers may be pleasantly surprised to find that low interest cards offer many features similar to standard credit cards. Features can be similar to a standard credit card such as cash back, rewards, no annual fees, bonus miles etc. It’s important to compare features of low interest cards and to apply for the one that fulfils your needs and save you the most money. Individuals who are able to pay the balance off each billing cycle will save the most on interest expense. This is because credit card companies usually waive interest charges if the entire balance is paid on time each month. Unfortunately, many customers are unable to pay their credit card balance off each month because they are not making enough money or they may be having financial problems. However, using a low interest credit card could be the best alternative to save on interest expense if you are planning to make purchases and maintain a credit card balance from month to month. Individuals with bad credit pay an astronomical amount of money for interest expense and fees to credit card companies. With this kind of financial problem it can be a daunting task to get out of debt. As you can see, having excellent credit is very important because it makes it possible to get approved for a low interest credit card which in turn will save you a vast amount of money on interest expense. Be aware that credit card companies are able to change the interest rate on your low interest credit card because of late payment or they can change the interest rate for no reason at all. Managing your credit wisely is extremely important for financial success. Make sure to report errors on your credit report to the three major credit bureaus which are: Equifax, Trans Union and Experian to correct the errors on your credit report promptly. If you are overwhelmed with bills and credit card debts, why not consolidate your loans into one loan. This will save an enormous amount of money on interest expense. Consolidating your credit card debts into one loan can improve your financial situation by making your monthly payment more manageable. This is an excellent opportunity to start the process of improving your credit score. Consolidating simplifies your paperwork and saves time and energy by only keeping records for a single loan instead of several loans. Card holders will need to know about grace period and the way it relates to their specific low interest credit card. The grace period is between 20 to 25 days. You have this free period to pay no interest if your payment is credited to your account during that time frame and your account carries no balance. Customer’s monthly payment must be received by the creditor during this time frame. Learning about grace period as it relates to your specific credit card is very important. Usually credit cards without a grace period are charged finance charges immediately on new purchases even if your previous month's bill was paid in full. The internet is best place to do credit card research and submit online credit card application. The credit card types are organized into categories making it easy to find the credit card you are looking for. Just by clicking on the low interest credit card category will bring up a vast amount of information. The best thing about applying for a credit card on the internet is the speed and convenience of processing your online credit card application. No need to travel from banks to banks trying to find the right credit card then having to wait weeks for banks to process your application. Individuals with good credit can receive instant online approval. This means that the credit card applicant can receive an online approval within minutes of filling out their online credit card application. Some card holders may believe that that they can use their low interest credit cards to make new purchases and take cash advance with the 0% introductory offer. They will be surprised when they found out that they are charged different interest rates for balance transfer, new purchases and cash advance. Protect yourself from identify theft by shredding credit card offers and reporting stolen or lost credit card to your credit card issuer as soon as possible. Also, it is very important to read the credit card agreement to avoid surprises and unnecessary financial problems. Reading the credit card agreement will give you the knowledge and confidence in choosing and using the card correctly.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Plastic Trap - Personal Responsibility For Your Debt

Recently, I read a report called “The Plastic Safety Net: The Reality Behind Debt In America”. This report is all about Americans using and building up credit debt due to life emergencies and trying to keep up with standard cost of living expenses such as rent, utilities, medical care, tuition for children and even food. Furthermore it makes it seems as if people who have gotten into debt, especially low to mid income citizens, are victims and have very little control over why they have gotten into debt. It is very well researched and has a lot of eye opening truths and facts in it that I must agree with, mainly because I’ve been there and done that as far as being in credit card debt myself. To jump ahead, I will tell you my happy ending now. After being in almost $14,000.00 in credit card debt alone, at the age of thirty… I made a plain, distinct decision, that no matter what, I would pay it all off – without adding more to it and enjoy my life without ever getting into that kind of needless debt again. I paid off the entire amount in about 4 to 5 years, all on my own. It took dedication, discipline and all out self control. I now live a life where I do not use credit for anything, anymore. My whole financial philosophy has changed. I have learned the hard way, that saving the money first is far easier than getting into debt. Learning skills for saving money, plus a little determination has so many personal benefits. When a person saves money towards a worthy goal, it gets easier as time goes on and the money is actually growing by adding to it. If an unexpected emergency happens, it doesn’t hit that hard. There is some money saved, that can be used. Striving for the goal of saving a certain amount of money and becoming successful does wonders to a self-esteem level. There is control over planning a budget of how much can be saved from each paycheck. It’s very basic stuff. Now, using credit does the exact opposite. It’s a form a self-destruction because, the main thing that happens is hopelessness. Credit bills start piling up and the payments HAVE to be made every month, with interest added. There is no control then. Since it’s already bad, feeling worse by adding more to it becomes mute. It’s easy to fall into an indifferent mode. Self-esteem gets torn down because in reality, you are failing financially. Now granted, I was a young adult –on my own without a family to support. But here is my message. It fits in with why many people, no matter what circumstances or backgrounds they come from, get into this trap of credit card debt. They really think it’s easier than saving money first. It all goes back to self-indulgence and instant gratification. For many people these habits don’t start when they are in dire need of financial help when a life emergency occurs. It started way before that, when they obtained their first credit card in college, possibly. Before they got married, before they had a house, before they had children. It’s easier for young adults to use credit to obtain new things they want, right now. The habit starts with something that simple. When an individual allows themselves to fall into this trap, I can’t help but to say it is like a drug. Soon after aquiring all the great “wanted” items that feel good on credit, it snowballs. It becomes a trap because you have added bills (most people in credit card debt have an average of 6 to 8 credit card bills per month) and you are then forced to use credit cards even more just to survive. Like paying for rent, utilities, medical expenses, vehicle payment and maintenance, and of course food. Let’s not forget, what happens when a special event or a yearly holiday comes around. It’s all self perpetuated and it does become a vicious cycle. I was a prime example of this cycle as a young adult, on my own. Looking back, I can easily say that if I had learned better budgeting skills and not used credit lines haphazardly in the first place, I would have been able to afford to live very well on the income I was earning, in the career of my choice. It is possible to get through emergencies without going into further debt. I had three major unexpected emergencies happen to me while paying off my debt and I did not go into further debt because of them. I used my brain, skills, resources, and further commitment to get through my unexpected emergencies. My car got stolen, after I had just paid it off. Then, I got into a car accident with my brother’s car. I was let go from a job, where I thought I was very secure. These emergencies all happened to me in the course of about 6 months of time. Because of a weird turning of the universe, these kinds of problems usually happen for most people almost all at once. As far as people paying for their children’s tuition… and yes, this is an American dream to be able to put a child through a great learning establishment and then into a good college….etc… but if a family can’t afford it, then public school is always still there. A child can be conditioned to learn they will need to become responsible enough to pay for their own college education if that is what they are striving for. Plenty of successful adults have put themselves through college, by working and staying committed to their goal. Families earning two incomes, yet paying outlandish childcare fees are fighting a losing financial battle, because they are not willing to cut costs on everyday items to make ends meet with one income of who ever is the bread winner. They are not willing to own older, yet reliable vehicles. They can’t live without cable TV or cell phones. Though they are not splurging on expensive vacations or going to high cost events all the time, they still believe there are everyday services and products they can’t live without. There are so many ways to save money on basic food items a family needs to survive, it could make your head spin, but it takes effort that many people would rather avoid. I believe this is the deep seeded truth as to why millions of Americans are suffering with major credit card debts. Millions of Americans can stop the insanity of living the way “The Plastic Safety Net” describes simply by making what I call a personal attitude adjustment. Being debt free can be a very accomplishable goal. For the people who say “I can’t” … it mainly boils down to “I don’t want to.” They live with excuses for nearly everything, so why not their debt problems. I had this problem and I made a commitment to change it. The new attitude has changed my life 100% and it can happen for millions of other people. “The Plastic Safety Net” report in a PDF download can be veiwed on http://www.demos.org/pub654.cfm

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why Debt Settlement Works Best in Texas

Debt settlement, also known as debt negotiation or debt reduction, is a relatively new way for dealing with your debt problems. In a debt settlement program, by negotiating with a creditor, a client can reduce their debt by as much as 50 percent and be debt free in as little as 12 to 36 months. Debt settlement is a great solution for consumers feeling overwhelmed with credit card debt that find themselves either falling behind on their payments or just able to afford the minimums. Considering the savings, in most cases it’s worth doing if you find yourself in any of the aforementioned situations. As with any debt solution, however, there are potential downsides to debt settlement that should always be considered prior to enrollment. First, debt settlement may have an adverse impact on your credit, particularly while you’re in the program. To put this point in perspective, however, it’s important to remember the following: 1) any third party debt counseling program and even debt consolidation loans from finance companies like Beneficial may affect your credit negatively in the eyes of lenders, 2) the effect on your credit in the long-term is minimal, given the fact you’ll be eliminating all your credit card debt (amount owed is 30 percent of your credit score, compared to credit history, which makes up 35 percent of your score) and 3) if you’re falling behind or about to fall behind anyway, then your credit has been or will be affected negatively anyway. Realistically, the two main draw backs of debt settlement that are unique to debt settlement are the following: 1) the possibility of legal action being taken by the creditor to collect the full balance and 2) the possibility of creditors harassing you until the debt is settled. Thankfully, if you’re doing debt settlement in Texas or even debt settlement in Florida these concerns are very much diminished. Why is Florida debt settlement so preferable compared to a lot of other states? The reason is Texas has highly favorable debtor laws that give consumers a lot of rights and protections when it comes to past due unsecured accounts like medical bills, credit cards, repossessions, and personal loans. How State Collection Laws Benefit Texas Debt Settlement Every state has laws that say if a collections agency is collecting a debt, they are legally obligated to stop contacting a consumer if the consumer sends a Cease and Desist letter and/or a Power of Attorney notifying the collection agency that a third party is responsible for handling all communications with the creditor. Texas law takes it a step farther and not only limits harassment from collection agencies, but also from the original creditor as well. In most states, when a consumer falls behind on their payments and the debt is still being collected by the original creditor (the bank that originally lent you the money or the hospital that serviced you, for example), then the creditor is reserved the right to call the debtor on a daily basis in order to collect whatever is owed, and although debt settlement companies servicing these clients can very easily reduce the calls (changing of your phone number and address and notifying the creditor that you are seeking third party help, for example), no one can ever make the calls completely stop. This is not the case however for Texas debt settlement clients. In Texas, the same law that deals with what collections agencies can and cannot do when collecting a debt also pertains to the original creditor. What does this mean in practice? It means that a debt settlement company servicing someone from Texas can easily get the calls to not only reduced, but completely eliminated all together (sometimes within days). State Homestead and Garnishment Laws and How They Benefit Texas Debt Settlement For Texas debt settlement clients, their wages and home are completely protected, which gives the creditor even more incentive to settle. Given the fact that creditors already have every incentive to settle even with clients who reside in states with less favorable debtor laws, Texas debt settlement clients are in an even stronger negotiating position with their creditors. What does this actually mean? Typically it means even greater protection in the event of a lawsuit and greater savings than what is typical. Let me explain. Although the vast majority of cases settle, as anyone who has ever read a debt settlement contract will tell you---it’s impossible for a debt settlement company to guarantee that a client won’t be the target of any legal action by their creditors. After all, creditors are always reserved the right to sue debtors to collect a past due account, regardless of whether the consumer is taking any action to resolve the outstanding debt. In the event a creditor sues a consumer in court and wins a judgment, they’ll usually go about executing the judgment in one of the following ways: 1) Wage garnishment---contacting your employer and asking that they set aside a percentage of your wages every paycheck until the debt is paid back in full. (It’s illegal for an employer to fire you for this unless more than one creditor is garnishing your wages). 2) Lien on your property---obligates you to pay back the creditor with any proceeds from the sale or refinancing of the property. A creditor prefers to put a lien on your home since it usually increases in value over time, which means the proceeds from your home’s sale will be higher, and thus they’re more likely to actually get paid back. 3) Seizing your bank account---contacting your bank, showing the proof of judgment, and asking to withdraw any monies held in deposit under your name. Fortunately, Texas laws protect debtors from having their wages garnished (unless you authorized in writing to allow your creditor to garnish your wages) and entitle Texas consumers to 100 percent homestead protection in the event of a lien. (Note: this does not apply to tax liens, alimony, or contractor’s liens.) One downside, however, is that bank accounts are not exempt under state law. That being said, for most consumers who are drowning in credit card debt, there probably will not be much for the creditor to seize anyway, and if so, it’s unlikely that it will constitute enough to decline a settlement offer. On top of that, bank account information can be difficult for creditors to locate, unlike your home, which is public record. In sum, these are major advantages for Texas debt settlement clients. Keep in mind that the vast majority of cases are settled successfully regardless of the legal advantages of the consumer. When you consider Texas state laws, debt settlement makes even more sense for the credit card companies, debt collection agencies, and most importantly, for the consumer. Debt Settlement in Texas and Community Property Laws If you are married, reside in Texas, and are seeking debt settlement services, you should enroll any and all debts that were accumulated during the marriage by both you and your spouse. Just because the debt is owned by only one partner the other partner is not exempt from having to pay for it as well under Texas law. Creditors know this and may use it to their advantage in the collections process.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ride your computer with horny

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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Pros And Cons Of Prepaid Credit Cards

Observers in the lending industry have estimated that there may be at least 50 million Americans who are not able to qualify for credit. These consumers are usually young, often members of the minority groups and unbanked…and they are faced with the long-standing dilemma of credit: how can I build my credit record if no one will give me any credit at all? One of the answers offered by credit card companies is a variety of prepaid credit cards, designed for use by specific segments in the market. The prepaid credit cards are meant for that significant portion of the population that cannot meet the qualification criteria for regular credit cards, or who qualified before but have since lost their credit due to repeated defaults and other reasons. Advantages of Prepaid Credit Cards For those who do not have enough credit history or have had it blemished, prepaid credit cards are an effective way to build or slowly rebuild credit. That may not happen immediately, but it is something to work on over time. The banks that issue prepaid credit cards are also prepared to extend normal credit the moment you are able to show that you have become a worthy credit risk. For the moment, you may have to make do with prepaid credit cards. You can use prepaid credit cards as you would any other regular credit card to purchase airline tickets, reserve hotel rooms, or order items online. Prepaid Credit Card for Students There is a special prepaid Visa credit card for students, which offers a lot of convenience not only for the students but also for their parents. These reloadable prepaid credit cards offer parents several options on how to reload. Parents can add money to reloadable prepaid credit cards by depositing money, by arranging an automatic transfer of funds from their account (a deposit account or their own credit card account), or by online transfer. Using the prepaid Visa credit card is no different from giving the regular allowance to their child, only they do so by electronic means and there is no more cash that changes hands. The big advantage of the prepaid Visa credit card is that the student is limited to spend only as much money as there is in the card. The parent is thus able to control to some extent the spending behavior of their child. They can use the prepaid credit card anywhere that the credit card brand is accepted. Prepaid Credit Cards as Gift Certificates Some prepaid credit cards function like gift certificates. You buy the prepaid credit card for a certain amount, and your recipient can purchase items with it at any of the brick-and-mortar stores or online merchants, and also for mail order items, that accept the particular credit card brand. Your recipient can use the prepaid credit card only up to the amount of money that you loaded on it. This particular version of prepaid credit cards is non-reloadable. Like any gift certificate, recipients of prepaid credit cards can buy whatever it is they want at any time they want. Unlike a gift certificate that, when it gets lost is lost forever to the recipient, prepaid credit cards may be replaced if it gets lost or is stolen. Prepaid Credit Cards for Travel There is a prepaid credit card designed for travel. These reloadable prepaid credit cards can be purchased in lieu of travelers’ checks or cash. In a way, it combines the best features of a credit card and a traveler’s check because of its convenience and security features. Should you lose the prepaid credit card while you are on travel, you can easily obtain an emergency replacement, both for the prepaid credit card and some cash. Prepaid credit cards for travel are accepted all over the world, and also allow you to obtain currency from ATM machines. When you need to reload and you are already traveling you can arrange for the reload by phone or online. Apart from the fact that it is a prepaid credit card, you can use it exactly like a regular credit card. That also means you enjoy other benefits just like a regular card — reimbursements for lost luggage of up to $1,000 per cardholder if your luggage is lost; zero liability if your prepaid credit card is used fraudulently after you lose it or have it stolen from you; purchase security up to $500 per claim for any items you buy with prepaid credit cards, which subsequently gets stolen or damaged for certain reasons. Generally, you can purchase prepaid credit cards of all the major credit card brands at their participating retailers. You don’t have to worry about not having acceptable credit because prepaid credit cards are made available without need of a credit report or a bank account. The only qualifications you need to have are that you have reached 18 years of age and that you must be able to present a valid identification issued by government. Disadvantages of Prepaid Credit Cards There are a few things about prepaid credit cards that may not be as convenient as the regular credit cards. For one thing, you load only so much money onto it. You will need to keep track of the balance on the prepaid credit card because not all of the merchant terminals where you use the card may be able to help you determine it. However, there are procedures that tell you how to determine your balance, and you will these detailed on the back of the prepaid credit card and in the instructions accompanying it. The process of reloading your prepaid credit card may be a little inconvenient to some. If you’re using cash, you would have to visit the participating outlet where you bought your reloadable prepaid credit cards. The more convenient way will be reloading online. There are also the charges. Prepaid credit cards impose an application fee, the amount of which varies with the issuer, and there is also a service charge that you have to pay monthly. You also have to pay for transaction fees, charges when you transfer funds to top up the balance, when you replace your prepaid credit card, and many other fees. To be sure about the fees, you should read closely the fine print on the prepaid credit card account. Prospects of Prepaid Credit Cards Prepaid credit cards do not provide credit; it is your money that you’re using. You are asked to pay other charges, so it is not for free. You are paying for the convenience and security of carrying plastic instead of large amounts of cash. People with bad credit will be able to act as if they had a regular credit card and enjoy the convenience of one. Issuers of prepaid credit cards realize that it is a good way to monitor the credit behavior of the cardholder. A prepaid credit card would be a source of information that indicates to the credit bureaus and issuing lenders about how you as the individual cardholder use the card to pay your bills such as utilities. If these consumer data could be formatted in such a way as to provide the basis for a statistical model on probable future behavior in spending, then this could become the foundation for building a credit history. You would benefit, because by using prepaid credit cards you are rebuilding your credit. The prepaid credit card issuers would benefit, too, because they would be making previously unproven customers bankable. More people could then qualify for regular credit, and that would mean tremendous incremental revenue for the lenders.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Who Else Wants Access To Real Private Banking Solutions?

As a middle aged, middle class, married, business owner, father of 3 (one in college….argh) freedom seeker, I have sought for many years to establish the knowledge, the relationships, and the resources needed to make a lifestyle of financial privacy and freedom available to me and my family. One of the most frustrating and problematic areas to resolve successfully has been that of how to establish a private banking relationship, for someone of moderate means, in today’s world of intrusive financial surveillance. Many have found that without doing something “shady” or “under the table” or downright illegal, and having to constantly be looking over your shoulder to see who is looking, having a workable private banking solution is, in real life, unattainable. But I have found something that simply works... If the above statement does not suitably impress you, perhaps you are not fully aware of what it takes to accomplish this in this day and time. Just because I said it is simple, do not underestimate the value of this “gem”. If you think it’s easy to find something that actually works...you have not tried...end of story. The Continental Trust and Credit Union has been the long sought answer to the banking relationships I required. But before I give you a brief review of it’s qualities and benefits, let me stress that I am not talking about just going out and opening an offshore bank account. In my opinion, this is not a valid and workable relationship. First, unless you intend on having assets of less than $10,000 USD (I am talking about US citizens here) you are required to report this account; and secondly, anything with your name attached to it in the banking system is discoverable. Just having an account in a supposedly sovereign jurisdiction that will “keep your information private” is not good enough in todays financial landscape. Suffice it to look at the large number of “high rollers” who tried to “hide” a good portion of their assets this way and got in a good deal of trouble. This is not the way to do it; it’s not what I want, and I will presume it’s not what you want. “Hiding” things and privacy are very different arrangements, and you want to be involved in the latter….legitimate, legal, secure, workable financial privacy! With that being said…let’s take a look at this treasure I have found… The Continental Trust And Credit Union is a private savings and loan association domiciled in Stockholm, Sweden and registered in accordance with the Economic Associations Act (1987:667). The activities are regulated by the Swedish Banking Act (2004:297). As a legally designated 'Ekonomik Foerening' (EF) it is essentially a Savings and Loan association. Under the law that regulates Continental Trust, provided that it does not solicit to the public and keeps its membership 'small' by legal definition, an EF is exempt from the standard banking regulatory regime and the only reporting required is an annual tax return filed on net profits. What this means is that this type of an organization is basically not required to report anything regarding its membership or financial transactions...ever! This is as good as it get’s! Now this does not mean you can get away with criminal activity, because if you give governments or courts a legitimate reason to come after you, they can eventually get just about any information they want...but as far as financial privacy, this is off the grid. This is a legitimate type of organization classified by the World Bank as a Non-Bank Financial Institution and recognized as “having an important role in a balanced and diversified financial sector”. In other words, it’s not some shady deal that you have to worry about being under the table. All of its officers have had background checks, the books are audited annually by a major, well recognized auditing firm. That’s the legal stuff...now as far as its usability and benefits...here are the major points: • Full internet access to accounts and built in secure message system • Internet security system twice as good as most major banks (Regarding security; Account data is held not only in secure and stable Linux servers with all the appropriate firewalls, but is then maintained on powerfully encrypted hard drives which are not on the same server as the web page but are instead, held and maintained very privately and secure half a world away. The domicile, banking, secure servers, web servers and administration are all conducted and compartmentalized from different parts of the world making Continental Trust one of the most secure operations of its kind in existence today.) • So designed that even if the webserver were hacked, no information could be accessed • Transfer accts. for general in/out activity by wire transfer or by transfer to linked private International Secured Mastercard Program (no spending limits except for the balance stored) • Credit card, not debit card; much more useful in situations such as car rental etc. Funds accessed by: • merchant purchases • ATM withdrawals • Wire transfer • Bankers draft • Savings Accounts with 9% yearly earnings • CD’s yielding from 1%-2.5% monthly (that’s right…monthly; excellent passive investment) • Minimum initial deposit is 2500 euro. • Loans against capital or real estate My experiences with CTCU have been excellent. The communications with the staff have been prompt and professional. The treatment I receive is as a person, not a “number”. The one small problem I once experienced was when opening a trading acct. The trading institution would not initially accept the wire transfer because it was sent from another institution than what was named on the account. This is actually how this kind of organization works, it’s clearing of funds is through a separate bank. The problem was easily resolved by the staff sending the proper documentation showing that the CTCU account was in fact the initiator of the wire transfer. Problem solved! The other thing you need to know is that access to the Credit Union is by private membership only...you must be a member of the private business group Venture Resources Group. There are other benefits as well to becoming part of Venture Resources Group as they are experienced professionals in the international arena, but I will not go into that here. The last thing I will point out, is that CTCU is still fairly young and it’s deposits and ability to do other things in the financial world is comparatively small…but growing. So there you have it as best as I can put it. More detailed information is available from the Venture Resources Group and guest login codes to access all the information on the Continental Trust And Credit Union website are available upon request. I sincerely hope that this article and the information it contains are of great benefit to you and can give you a sense of financial confidence that here, finally, is a solution to what you may have been looking for... as it did for me. Important Note: A pre-requisite to having this kind of financial privacy is to establish working relationships with properly formed and maintained international entities. For the purposes of this article, I have assumed that you understand this, and have access to this kind of knowledge and relations. If you do not, then allow me to refer you to Venture Resources Group where I know you can get reliable and reasonably priced access to them.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wie man jung bleiben kann

Die richtige und rechtzeitige Gesichtspflege ist das A und O einer gesunden und jungen Haut. Wer sich schon in jungen Jahren um seine Haut sorgt und sie richtig ernährt, wird seine Jugendlichkeit in seinem Gesicht lange konservieren. Wer seine Haut nicht richtig versorgt, wird schon in früher Jahren seine Nacheffekte spüren. Doch wie pflegt man seine Creme richtig, was kann man tun, um seine Gesichtshaut lange jung zu halten. Hier ein paar Tipps, wie man seine Haut am besten pflegen sollte. Guten Morgen! Schon am Morgen sollte man den Tag mit eine richtige Gesichtpflege beginnen. Während der Nacht hat man sein Gesicht in der Decke und Kissen gewischt, man hat gegebenenfalls geschwitzt und das Gesicht fühlt sich morgens sowieso unrein. Also sollte man als aller erstens am frühern Morgen sein Gesicht waschen. In Ländern, wo das Leitungswasser klar und chlorfrei ist, kann das Leitungswasser für sein Gesicht benutzen. Nach dem Waschen sein Gesicht mit einem sauberen Handtuch trocknen, oder natur trockene lassen. Eine gute, vielleicht sogar bessere Alternative zum Leitungswasser, ist sein Gesicht mit Gesichtswasser zu reinigen. Ist die Haut des Gesichts erstmal gewaschen und getrocknet, sollte man eine Tagecreme speziell fürs Gesicht auftragen. Man sollte auf die Substanz der Hautcreme achten. Hilft sie gegen Sonnenstrahlen, wie lange hält sie, wieviel Fett ist enthalten, für welchen Hauttyp ist sie geeignet etc. Peeling Wer die Poren der Haut öffnen will und sie gründlicher reinigen will, sollte sein Gesicht regelmäßig peelen. Peeling oder Schälkur ist eine kosmetische Behandlung, bei der oberflächliche Schichten der Haut flächig entfernt werden. Peelingcreme kann man in jeder Drogerie oder Apotheke kaufen. Je nach Hauttyp kann das Gesicht ein bis zwei Mal die Woche gepeelt werden, dabei werden abgestorbene Hautschüppchen entfernt und die Haut wirkt frischer und glatter. Bitte Sonnenschutz! Eine passende und starke Sonnencreme speziell fürs Gesicht ist heute sehr notwendig. Die Strahlen, die die Sonne aussetzt können sehr gefährlich einwirken und lassen die Haut schneller veraltern. Also eine gute Sonnencreme ist ein absolutes muss. Generell sollte Solarium und Sonne vermieden werden. Natürlich kann man sich bräunen legen und die Sonne genießen, aber nicht in den Mittagsstunden, wo die Sonnenstrahlen direkt auf die Haut einschlagen. Auf Schminke verzichten! Wer auf seine Schminke verzichtet, tut manchmal seiner Schönheit einen gefallen. Denn Schminke ist nicht immer gesund für die Gesichtshaut. Besonders Make-up schadet dem Gesicht, verstopft die Poren und führt zu Hautunreinheiten und Pickeln. Wer hier und da auf das Schminken verzichtet, wird sich schnell an das Atmen seiner Haut gewöhnen, die sich darauf schneller regeneriert. Gute Nacht! Gesichtspflege fängt zwar morgens an, wird jedoch bis zum Abend durchgezogen. Sobald der Tag beendet ist und man sich schlafen legen will, muss man wieder mal um das Gesicht kümmern. Zuerst ist das Abschminken angesagt, gründlich jede Partie des Gesicht säubern. Anschließend vor dem Schlafen gehen eine Nachtcreme auftragen – die dann die ganze Nacht über ihre Wirkung entfalten kann. Article Body: Wer noch in ein paar Jahre jung aussehen will, muss jetzt schon mit der Arbeit anfangen. Besonders am Gesicht lassen sich Spuren des Altwerdens entdecken. Falten, fallende Augen und unreine Haut können einem jedem schnell die Jugend entnehmen. Gerade in unsere Zeiten ist sehr wichtig, sich um seinen Körper zu kümmern. Der Mensch kümmert sich immer wenige rum sein Körper rund Haut, man verbringt den Sommer entweder im Chaos des Schwimmbades oder unter der Sonne ohne Sonnenschutz. Die schlechte Luftbedingungen, der Smog und Rauch belasten die Haut und hinterlassen Schmutz und schlissen die Poren. Die richtige und rechtzeitige Gesichtspflege ist das A und O einer gesunden und jungen Haut. Wer sich schon in jungen Jahren um seine Haut sorgt und sie richtig ernährt, wird seine Jugendlichkeit in seinem Gesicht lange konservieren. Wer seine Haut nicht richtig versorgt, wird schon in früher Jahren seine Nacheffekte spüren. Doch wie pflegt man seine Creme richtig, was kann man tun, um seine Gesichtshaut lange jung zu halten. Hier ein paar Tipps, wie man seine Haut am besten pflegen sollte. Guten Morgen! Schon am Morgen sollte man den Tag mit eine richtige Gesichtpflege beginnen. Während der Nacht hat man sein Gesicht in der Decke und Kissen gewischt, man hat gegebenenfalls geschwitzt und das Gesicht fühlt sich morgens sowieso unrein. Also sollte man als aller erstens am frühern Morgen sein Gesicht waschen. In Ländern, wo das Leitungswasser klar und chlorfrei ist, kann das Leitungswasser für sein Gesicht benutzen. Nach dem Waschen sein Gesicht mit einem sauberen Handtuch trocknen, oder natur trockene lassen. Eine gute, vielleicht sogar bessere Alternative zum Leitungswasser, ist sein Gesicht mit Gesichtswasser zu reinigen. Ist die Haut des Gesichts erstmal gewaschen und getrocknet, sollte man eine Tagecreme speziell fürs Gesicht auftragen. Man sollte auf die Substanz der Hautcreme achten. Hilft sie gegen Sonnenstrahlen, wie lange hält sie, wieviel Fett ist enthalten, für welchen Hauttyp ist sie geeignet etc. Peeling Wer die Poren der Haut öffnen will und sie gründlicher reinigen will, sollte sein Gesicht regelmäßig peelen. Peeling oder Schälkur ist eine kosmetische Behandlung, bei der oberflächliche Schichten der Haut flächig entfernt werden. Peelingcreme kann man in jeder Drogerie oder Apotheke kaufen. Je nach Hauttyp kann das Gesicht ein bis zwei Mal die Woche gepeelt werden, dabei werden abgestorbene Hautschüppchen entfernt und die Haut wirkt frischer und glatter. Bitte Sonnenschutz! Eine passende und starke Sonnencreme speziell fürs Gesicht ist heute sehr notwendig. Die Strahlen, die die Sonne aussetzt können sehr gefährlich einwirken und lassen die Haut schneller veraltern. Also eine gute Sonnencreme ist ein absolutes muss. Generell sollte Solarium und Sonne vermieden werden. Natürlich kann man sich bräunen legen und die Sonne genießen, aber nicht in den Mittagsstunden, wo die Sonnenstrahlen direkt auf die Haut einschlagen. Auf Schminke verzichten! Wer auf seine Schminke verzichtet, tut manchmal seiner Schönheit einen gefallen. Denn Schminke ist nicht immer gesund für die Gesichtshaut. Besonders Make-up schadet dem Gesicht, verstopft die Poren und führt zu Hautunreinheiten und Pickeln. Wer hier und da auf das Schminken verzichtet, wird sich schnell an das Atmen seiner Haut gewöhnen, die sich darauf schneller regeneriert. Gute Nacht! Gesichtspflege fängt zwar morgens an, wird jedoch bis zum Abend durchgezogen. Sobald der Tag beendet ist und man sich schlafen legen will, muss man wieder mal um das Gesicht kümmern. Zuerst ist das Abschminken angesagt, gründlich jede Partie des Gesicht säubern. Anschließend vor dem Schlafen gehen eine Nachtcreme auftragen – die dann die ganze Nacht über ihre Wirkung entfalten kann.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Safest Ways To Invest In Uranium Companies

Summary: Because of soaring uranium prices, hundreds of companies have formed to capitalize upon the latest craze. How do you avoid being fooled? Look to ISL uranium companies. About 21 percent of the world’s nuclear reactors are now fueled by uranium mined using this method. How do you evaluate the many uranium companies now developing their ISL operations? Now that the spot uranium price has sustained above $40/pound, after a 20-year drought and a bottom of $6.40/pound at the end of December 2000, hundreds of junior exploration companies have thrown their hat into the ring. Both Canadian and Australian junior uranium companies hope to raise the big money required to bring a uranium property into production. A perceived uranium supply crunch has added to this frenzy. As occurred with previous uranium cycles, only the strong will survive. While numerous Canadian junior exploration companies hope to find a new discovery in various uranium-prospective regions through Canada, a safer investment strategy is to speculate on companies, whose properties were previously drilled during the uranium bull market of 1974-1980). Some of those properties had uranium deposits delineated by major oil and uranium companies, who did not blush at spending tens of millions of dollars in exploration. Some of the newly arrived uranium companies acquired those drilling databases and their properties, which were abandoned by the previous owners. Some companies have been actively moving their projects forward to production, using a more environmentally friendly mining method than an open pit or underground mine. It is called In Situ Leach (ISL) uranium mining, and the operation is much like a water treatment plan. Oxidized, or carbonated, water is pumped into an orebody, and uranium is flushed into a processing plant. These are relatively inexpensive to install, possibly for as little as $10 million. There are pitfalls when investing in those companies which plan to establish ISL operations. During the initial phase of this bull market, a common myth, circulated among investors, had been “pounds in the ground.” How many pounds of uranium oxide, or U3O8 for short, does a company have in the ground? The more pounds a company claimed, the higher its market capitalization ran. Once you sift through the companies with very real prospects from those who are cheerleading their “pounds in the ground,” you should have a realistic short list. These are the four key questions which must be answered if you wish to minimize your risk when investing in uranium stocks: • How permeable are the ore bodies you plan to mine? • What is your average grade? • Over what area does your rollfront extend? • What is the depth of your ore body? One of the most important factors to consider is the permeability of the sandstone, from which the uranium will be mined. Permeability is the flow rate of the liquids through the porous sandstone. Knowing what the permeability of the orebody will let you know how much water you can get through the sandstone formation. Harry Anthony, an internationally recognized ISL expert, noted, “You need higher grade ore for tight formations. With high permeability, you can space your wells further apart.” The make-break point for a formation’s permeability is its Darcy rating. How high is the Darcy? A typical Darcy can range from minus 1000 to plus 3. The higher the Darcy, the more permeable the formation. This helps determine how economic the orebody is. An acceptable range would be one-half to one Darcy. What is a Darcy? Uranerz Energy CEO Glenn Catchpole, who is also a hydrologist, said, “It is gallons per day over feet squared.” He added a pure hydrologist would calculate the feet per day or centimeters per second to get a more accurate permeability assessment. With low permeability in a tight formation, you may need to space more wells in a typical well field pattern. While explaining that costs are fixed and variable, Anthony computed the cost of a production well for a 500 foot deposit at $15,000. An injection well could cost $11,000 to install. By comparison, in New Mexico, where the deposits are wider and of higher grade, a 2000-foot production well might cost $27,000 and the injection well could cost $18,000, and it would still be economic. Obviously, the deeper the deposit, the more it will cost to extract the uranium. Not only will the capital costs increase, but operating costs will be greater. Uranium grades can be a contentious point. “Grade is the driving force,” Harry Anthony shot back. We asked him about companies which said they could run an economic ISL operation with grades as low, or lower than 0.02. Anthony laughed, “They’d be out of business before they started.” Strathmore Minerals’ president David Miller offered a more technical analysis, “That will not likely have enough recoverable pounds. The operating grade feeding the plant will be too low.” What is the best grade? Miller wanted to see properties with deposits that average on the order 0.5, 0.10, or 0.15. Uranium grades can impact the cost of operating an ISL plant. An ISL plant may operate at 5000 gallons per minute. Running 24 hours daily, the plant would process 7.2 million gallons of water. Operating costs are based upon cost per thousand gallons of water. “This includes electricity, reagents and labor,” said Anthony. On a daily basis, it would cost more than $21,000 to run an ISL plant, based upon Anthony’s calculations of $3.03 per thousand gallons of water. Under this scenario, a plant might produce 2360 pounds of U3O8 every day or 80,000 pounds monthly. The cost to produce each pound would be $8.18. Using that math, the uranium grades would be about 44 parts per million (ppm) or 0.08. Anthony said, “I like to see 70ppm or higher.” That comes to a uranium grade of 0.13. Another way to evaluate a company’s uranium property is looking at each part of its development costs. In a well field pattern, David Miller can determine the economic viability of the ground. “The keys to what is recoverable include how many pounds are recoverable per pattern and what it costs to install a pattern,” Miller explained. “If you have 10,000 pounds in place and can recover 8000 pounds, your well field development cost can be $8/pound, if it costs you $80,000 to install that pattern. The cost to install a pattern also depends over how much territory your uranium deposits run. “Ten million pounds over an area of one-half mile will cost less than those same pounds over an area of two to four miles,” explained Terrence Osier, Strathmore Minerals senior geologist. “That means more injection wells and more production wells.” Depth of the wells influences installation cost and impacts its daily operating cost. “When uranium costs were very low, a company needed 70,000 pounds per pattern,” Anthony commented. “Now a company might only need 20,000 pounds per pattern to make it economic.” There are many variables within the above advices provided by these experts. However, the important point to realize is the time of hyperbole and hoopla over “pounds in the ground” has passed. As more uranium development companies move closer to establishing an ISL operation, the go/no-go consideration, as UR-Energy CEO William Boberg aptly described it, will come down to permeability. After that, the economics of a project will either make it viable or not. Using these criteria, you can avoid the hysteria by speculating with the odds stacked more in your favor.