Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Four Most Important Reasons to Purchase Travel Insurance

The Four Most Important Reasons to Purchase Travel Insurance
More and more people are choosing to go down the budget route when it comes to traveling right now as almost everyone is feeling the pinch of the recession. One way that some people are choosing to cut back on the cost of their trip however is to take said trip without travel insurance. Can this save you money? It certainly can, but unfortunately, it can also end up costing you hundreds of times what you are saving. I will now outline a number of reasons why travel insurance should be moved to the essential category when you are listing what you can drop and what you cannot, for your next trip.
The Peace of Mind That Comes With Being Covered
Unfortunately, regardless of how care free we would all love to be, most of us are a little neurotic at heart. And there is no way more sure to bring out your neurotic side than to travel without travel insurance. Unfortunately, regardless of what type of trip you are taking, some things can go wrong. And if you don't have insurance, most people find it very difficult not to worry about those things.
The Costof Hospital Bills Abroad
The most important reason to purchase travel insurance is probably the ridiculous cost of medical bills in many countries. Should you be heading to America for example, a serious stay in a hospital could easily lead to bankruptcy if you are not insured. And there is not just the financial aspect of getting injured on holiday. Could you really handle the stress should you have to deal with an injury, a foreign hospital and financial pressures all at the same time?
Protection Against Lost Luggage
One of the most commonly claimed elements of travel insurance policies is lost luggage. Not only can a trip take a pretty serious nosedive in terms of pleasure when you lose your luggage, but it can also be a pretty expensive problem. If your airline loses your luggage at the start of your holiday, you are going to have to purchase everything again should you want to actually enjoy yourself. Travel insurance ensures that you can do so without returning home to massive credit card bills.
Protection Against Having to Cancel Your Trip Unexpectedly
Regardless of how well you plan your holiday, unforeseen events can occur that would lead to you being unable to head off. Travel insurance protects you if you are unable to take your holiday because of one of a number of common reasons. Eventualities that travel insurance protects against include serious illness, a death in the family, jury duty or an important exam needing to be retaken. And should you find that the destination that you are planning on heading to happens to be experiencing weather that would make your trip unwise, you can stay at home safe in the knowledge that your travel insurance also covers cancellation due to extreme weather conditions.

Does It Pay To Refinance?

Refinancing isn't always the best move. Here are some things to consider before you decide to redo your mortgage.

Refinancing a mortgage means paying off an existing loan and replacing it with a new one.

There are many common reasons why homeowners refinance: the opportunity to obtain a lower interest rate; the chance to shorten the term of their mortgage; the desire to convert from an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate mortgage, or vice versa; the opportunity to tap a home's equity in order to finance a large purchase; and the desire to consolidate debt.

Some of these motivations have both benefits and pitfalls. And because refinancing can cost between 3% and 6% of the loan's principal and--like taking out the original mortgage--requires appraisal, title search and application fees, it's important for a homeowner to determine whether his or her reason for refinancing offers true benefit.

One of the best reasons to refinance is to lower the interest rate on your existing loan. Historically, the rule of thumb was that it was worth the money to refinance if you could reduce your interest rate by at least 2%. Today, many lenders say 1% savings is enough of an incentive to refinance.

Reducing your interest rate not only helps you save money but increases the rate at which you build equity in your home and can decrease the size of your monthly payment. For example, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 9% on a $100,000 home has a principal and interest payment of $804.62. That same loan at 6% reduces your payment to $599.55. (To learn more about the home costs, see "Mortgages: How Much Can You Afford?""Home-Equity Loans: The Costs" and "The Home-Equity Loan: What It Is And How It Works.")

When interest rates fall, homeowners often have the opportunity to refinance an existing loan for another that, without much change in the monthly payment, has a shorter term. For that 30-year fixed-rate mortgage on a $100,000 home, refinancing from 9% to $5.5% cuts the term in half to 15 years, with only a slight change in the monthly payment, from $804.62 to $817.08.

While ARMs start out offering lower rates than fixed-rate mortgages, periodic adjustments often result in rate increases that are higher than the rate available through a fixed-rate mortgage. When this occurs, converting to a fixed-rate mortgage results in a lower interest rate and eliminates concern over future interest rate hikes.

Conversely, converting from a fixed-rate loan to an ARM can also be a sound financial strategy, particularly in a falling interest rate environment. If rates continue to fall, the periodic rate adjustments on an ARM result in decreasing rates and smaller monthly mortgage payments, eliminating the need to refinance every time rates drop. Converting to an ARM may be a good idea, especially for homeowners who don't plan to stay in their home for more than a few years. If interest rates are falling, these homeowners can reduce their loan's interest rate and monthly payment, but won't have to worry about interest rates eventually rising in the future.

While the previously mentioned reasons to refinance are all financially sound, mortgage refinancing can be a slippery slope to never-ending debt. It's important to keep this in mind when considering refinancing for the purpose of tapping into home equity or consolidating debt.

Homeowners often access the equity in their homes to cover big expenses, such as the costs of home remodeling or a child's college education. These homeowners may justify such refinancing by pointing out that remodeling adds value to the home or that the interest rate on the mortgage loan is less than the rate on money borrowed from another source. Another justification is that the interest on mortgages is tax deductible. While these arguments may be true, increasing the number of years that you owe on your mortgage is rarely a smart financial decision, nor is spending a dollar on interest to get a $0.30 tax deduction.

Many homeowners refinance in order to consolidate their debt. At face value, replacing high-interest debt with a low-interest mortgage is a good idea. Unfortunately, refinancing does not bring with it an automatic dose of financial prudence.

In reality, a large percentage of people who once generated high-interest debt on credit cards, cars and other purchases will simply do it again after the mortgage refinancing gives them the available credit to do so. This creates an instant quadruple loss composed of wasted fees on the refinancing, lost equity in the house, additional years of increased interest payments on the new mortgage and the return of high-interest debt once the credit cards are maxed out again. The possible result is an endless perpetuation of the cycle of debt.

Refinancing can be a great financial move if it reduces your mortgage payment, shortens the term of your loan or helps you build equity more quickly. When used carefully, it can also be a valuable tool in getting your debt under control. Before you refinance, take a careful look at your financial situation and ask yourself, "How long do I plan to continue living in the house?" and "How much money will I save by refinancing?" (For more information, see "The True Economics Of Refinancing A Mortgage.")

Again, keep in mind that refinancing generally costs between 3% and 6% of the loan's principal. It takes years to recoup that cost with the savings generated by a lower interest rate or shorter term. So, if you are not planning to stay in the home for more than a few years, the cost of refinancing may negate any of the potential savings.

It also pays to remember that a savvy homeowner is always looking for ways to reduce debt, build equity, save money and eliminate that mortgage payment. Taking cash out of your equity when you refinance doesn't help you achieve any of those goals.

For a one-stop shop on subprime mortgages and the subprime meltdown, check out the "Subprime Mortgages Feature."

This article is from, the Web's largest site dedicated to financial education. Click here for more educational articles from Investopedia.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Are You Having Sleepless Nights Because Of Your Finances?

You've worked hard all day and come home at night, only to discover that you can't get comfortable in your own bed. You toss and you turn for well over three hours. As 3a.m. approaches, you finally go to sleep but the alarm sounds all too quickly at 6 a.m. It's time for you to go to work. Day two comes and you're off again to the usual rat race. You repeat the same pattern once you get home. Later that night you lay in bed, thinking how you're going to pay all of these bills. Despite your best efforts on the job, including overtime, it doesn't seem to be enough. What can you do? Who can you to turn to?

Does this sound like you? Are you a Christian having sleepless nights because of your finances? Here are the top five reasons I have found why people get into debt:

1) Try to live beyond their means. Keep up with the Joneses. 2) Lost job and bills pile up 3) Have never been taught money management 4) Divorcing and the other party charged up cards in the process splitting up 5) Impulse Shopping

I too was a victim. Not from just one, but two of these debt catalysts. My husband equally had financial woes, his was still on this list. Being in debt has a way of having a hold on you and causes you not to think clearly. People in debt tend to operate out of fear - for example they ignore phone calls because it might be a collection agency on the other end. How many calls have they missed? Or perhaps, they write a check in the hopes that it will clear the bank; knowing full well they spent the money on luxuries and other needless excesses that have caused the bank account to have insufficient funds.

If any of this sounds like you or someone you know, assure them they can get out of debt without filing bankruptcy. They have to want help and not let pride or embarrassment get in their way of being helped.

At Journey To Wholeness, we work with people who want help getting their finances in order. There is no charge for our help. Why would you pay someone to help you get out of debt?
About the Author

Dr. Taffy Wagner is the author of Debt Dilemma. Debt Dilemma is her own personal story of how she got into debt and was able to get out without filing bankruptcy. She will be launching a national marketing campaign on October 18, 2005. View her website at for further details.

Written by: Taffy Wagner

Best Finance Guide

Written by: Venkata Ramana

Imagine you need to look great to get all the attention at the biggest party of the year. The cloak has already started ticking and you have got 7 days to fix yourself for the D-Day. If you can take out 15 to 30 minutes in the next few days, you can be ready for action.

Step 1:

Exercise: Start with skipping and jogging and chin-ups by hanging from a rod for warming up.

Two steps of crunches or sit-ups for strengthening and toning your abdominal muscles.

Then go for Flat bench press and dumbbell flyers for the entire chest area, focusing mainly on the inner chest and followed by 2 sets of push-ups.

Work on your trapezium for the collar muscle and shoulder pressing.

For biceps the exercise to be followed is standing barbell curl.

Next you can work out on your Triceps with Single dumbbell or French press and fore forearms.

Skipping will have an effect on your legs, other wise you can go for Squats and back with lat pull down.

Step 2:

Diets are just as important as exercise, because it is the most important part of getting the body you want. You have to eat good to look good. You need protein, and you don't need fat. Stay away from junk and fatty foods. Not all fat is bad; there is a healthy fat. This fat can be found in fish, Nuts and some oils. Have Lots of fibers such as leafy vegetables, salads and daily products.

Step 3: The results though wont come easily and they wont come very fast either, So Stay dedicated, motivated and consistent, and do all 3 steps correctly to get the desired result.

for more tips,

Bad Credit Auto Loan Refinance - Bad Credit Auto Refinance Tips

Most people know that it is possible to refinance their homes but did you know it is also possible to refinance your auto? Indeed for many people who have high interest sub prime car loans, refinancing their auto loans may be a wise decision. How do you know when refinancing your bad credit auto loan might be a good idea? And once you have decided to refinance, how should you go about doing it so that you actually improve your loan situation?

Just as when you refinance your home loan, when you refinance your auto loan the old loan is paid off in full and it is replaced by a new loan. If when you bought your car your credit score was below 620, the interest rate on your auto loan may be significantly above the interest rate you can qualify for today. By refinancing your bad credit auto loan the monthly payment may go down substantially. Also, over the life of the loan you may save several thousand dollars in interest payments.

You may be a candidate for an auto loan refinance if

Your car loan has become "seasoned"; that is, if you have had it for at least a year.

You have made your payments in a timely manner.

Your car's value is more than the amount you owe on it.

If all of the above statements are true, then it may be time to investigate refinancing your car.

First, make sure you are fully aware of the state of your current credit report and current credit rating. Both of these are easily available online. You are entitled to one free credit report each year. Your current credit score (FICO score) should also be available for a nominal fee.

Second, find out your car's value. Having your car appraised is not a requirement for refinancing your auto loan but you should know its value. Most auto loan refinance companies require that your loan be at least $7,500 so your car value must be at least that amount. At your local bookstore and online there are many resources for estimating your car's worth. Two of the most popular sources are the Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds Buyer Guides. Be sure and have a realistic eye when surveying your car's condition, you can be sure your lender will.

Third, research the available lenders. It may be that your current lender will be open to refinancing your car. However, you should shop around for the institution that will give you the lowest interest rate and refinance as small an amount as possible. When these two conditions are met you will then also get the lowest monthly payment available.

Fourth, as with any loan, have all offers put in writing. Take the time to read the fine print and compare the proposals.

Finding a lender to refinance your bad credit auto loan may take some time and effort. The savings to your pocketbook every month and over the life of the loan, however, can easily make the time and effort worthwhile.

Written by: Carrie Reeder

Friday, February 6, 2009

The great credit card scandal

Companies defy ministers by increasing charges despite plunging interest rates
By Kate Hughes, Deputy Personal Finance Editor, and Andrew GriceTuesday, 9 December 2008

Credit card companies are facing an investigation by competition watchdogs after defying government warnings to improve their lending practices.

An analysis by The Independent has found that the cost of card borrowing has risen over the past three months despite three cuts to the Bank of England base rate. Cardholders are now facing average interest rates of 17.7 per cent on credit cards, up from 16.6 per cent 12 months ago.

The Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, had given providers two weeks to come up with fair principles to help cardholders manage their debts following a summit with card providers in November. By Thursday, the Government is expecting proposals from the industry on how it will implement fair principles on existing debt, responsibly provide credit and support households in difficulty.

Failing to do so could see the card companies facing investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), but so far card providers have made no move to reduce the expensive lending rates which so often plunge debtors into further financial hardship.

One government source said last night: "We are not backing off. If the companies don't move, if necessary, we will go down the OFT route."

Only two cards, those designed to track the base rate, have reduced rates since Lord Mandelson's ultimatum and Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank have gone ahead with increases to the rates and fees they charge their Gold Mastercard customers. Halifax and the Bank of Scotland have also increased balance transfer fees.

A spokesman for Clydesdale Bank said: "The changes in our rates were announced in October and our rates remain very competitive. We fully support the Government's initiatives for helping people in difficulties."

Store card debtors are facing even higher rates despite cheaper borrowing for lenders. The average cost of borrowing is now 25 per cent a year, up from 23.9 per cent this time last year, with no sign of a cut in rates even though the base rate has dropped from 5.25 per cent to 2 per cent over the same period.

But based on the industry's response this week, Lord Mandelson and the Consumer Affairs minister Gareth Thomas are expecting to produce a plan to address the dramatic increases in some cardholders' bills.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said: "We've asked lenders to report back by the end of this week and have been in continuing talks with industry following our summit [on 26 November]. We have every expectation that industry will come back with proposals to stop the pockets of bad behaviour that we have identified in risk-based repricing and will continue to work with them to ensure borrowers are treated fairly, responsibly and consistently."

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats' Treasury spokesman, said: "The Government has got to get tough with credit card companies determined to make a quick buck out the millions of people struggling to make ends meet. Tough words are worthless unless they are backed up with real action."

Alan Duncan, the Conservatives' business spokesman, accused ministers of pumping out "hot air". He said: "The Government's policy after the banks' bailout has clearly not reached the credit card sector. It has done nothing to clamp down on credit card ownership – particularly by the most vulnerable people."

Industry leaders have been summoned to another meeting with Mr Thomas on Thursday.

Apacs, the UK payments association, denied interest-rate rises were the problem. "Risk-based pricing is not about the base rate at all," said a spokeswoman. "This is about a customer with a card whose APR may go up as a consequence of changes to their circumstances. It is a feature of credit cards that the interest on this unsecured borrowing may be adjusted. If the customer can't pay, the provider has no security on getting the money back and may decide to re-price the cost of using the card. The agreements that were made [at the summit] were about breathing space for customers in difficulty."

Critics of the move believe a half-hearted approach will make little difference to consumers. Martin Lewis, of, said: "This ultimatum is absolute nonsense, and shows that Lord Mandelson has never had any connection to credit cards in his life. Is he saying that credit card companies should drop their interest rates in line with the base rate drop, from an average of 18 per cent to one of 15 per cent? To make this work they would actually have to cut their interest rates by 60 per cent to mirror the real changes in the base rate, so if even if every credit card on the market took 3 per cent off their interest rates it would mean nothing."

Credit and store card companies have long been accused of employing dirty tricks to boost income. The order of payments is regularly skewed so that the most expensive debt, with the highest interest rate, is paid off last.

Low Interest Credit Cards

Many consumers continue to pay far higher rates of interest for spending on their credit cards than the current average APR. By simply changing to a different provider they are likely save a significant amount of money each year in interest.

People who have stayed loyal to their bank and never changed their credit card are more than likely being charged excessive rates of interest. With lower standard rates and introductory 0% offers for purchases and balance transfers available, now is the time to switch to a low interest credit card. It's never been easier to switch deals, and there is a wide choice on offer.
Posted by Mony at 2:02 PM 0 comments
Labels: Best Credit Cards
Ten ways to cut the cost of Christmas
If you exploit good deals and avoid the bad ones, then the credit crunch does not have to mean a gift crunch, find Nargis Ahmad and Julian Knight

Christmas can send a shiver through our finances. Each of us spends about £400 on yuletide presents and festivities, according to Asda. But with unemployment rising and credit both expensive and harder to get, Britons are looking to cut back – by up to £300m in total, says the Centre for Economics and Business Research. But what tactics can you adopt to make Christmas less expensive without being a credit-crunch Scrooge?

1. Look for card cashback

Many people spend more than they expect on plastic at this time of year. If that's you, look to use one of the cashback credit cards on the market. The American Express platinum card returns 5 per cent on the first £4,000 you spend in the first three months you have the plastic. Abbey's new "essentials" card offers a 3 per cent refund, up to £75 or £12.50 a month, on supermarket and petrol purchases at selected outlets for the first six months. But take care: fail to clear the outstanding balance within the interest-free period and you will be hit by high rates.

2. Get cashback on the web

Combining a cashback credit card with a cashback website could earn you even more. Sites such as, and offer shoppers an additional rebate of 2 per cent to 10 per cent, but you will need to set up an account first. Some sites will only release the money once you have earned a minimum amount, and it takes time for the cash to reach you.

3. Price-comparison websites

These services can also help you to find the cheapest deals. Sites such as and search the web to find which stores sell what you are looking for and at what price.

4. Make use of vouchers

To save a few bob at online retailers' virtual checkouts, it's worth getting your hands on a voucher code. These can be found on sites including, and It's also worth keeping an eye on forums such as Once you have found a code, all you need to do is type it in at the checkout to get the discount. But be quick, as most codes expire quickly.

5. Redeem loyalty points

Many of us will have built up pots of money on our supermarket loyalty cards, which are just waiting to be spent. Rather than using the points at the checkout, switch to vouchers, perhaps trading Tesco Clubcard vouchers for Deals Tokens through the Tesco site. These can be used for trips to the theatre, days out and jewellery, which can make nice Christmas presents.

6. Switch to Christmas ecards

Save on the cost of cards and stamps by sending a free ecard online from sites such as or For the ethically conscious, charities now do their own ecards. Friends of the Earth is encouraging others to ditch the paper version and save trees at

7. Sell unwanted gifts

If last year's dud Christmas presents are sitting in the loft somewhere, now's the time to turn them into hard cash. According to a survey by Churchill Home Insurance. 21 per cent of us will sell out unwanted gifts via the internet or at a car boot sale, and 14 per cent will recycle our presents, passing them on to someone else. You can flog your clutter from the comfort of your own home by selling at an online auction site such as eBay or eBid.

8. Avoid in-store credit

We've all been there. That expensive gift that will make a loved one's Christmas can be yours at a discount, provided you take out the store card offered by the smooth-talking salesman. But store cards are expensive, often charging 30 per cent interest. And like cashback cards, if you fail to pay off the debt within the interest-free period, it can soon eat into any initial discount given for taking out the card.

9. Bulk buy wine

Lots of off-licences and wine clubs offer deals to those buying a case of wine rather than a bottle. Tesco's wine store has substantial discounts in the run-up to Christmas and free delivery nationwide on orders worth £100 or more. Likewise, is discounting mixed-case wine deals. If you're partial to a nice vintage, the recently launched buys its stock at auctions and closed busi-nesses and sells them at discounts of up to 50 per cent.

10. Plan your present buying

Even with Christmas around the corner, a little planning can help you to spend less by avoiding impulse buying. Money advice website recommends making a list of who you want to buy for and setting a budget for each. If you think you're going to find that difficult, says, consider giving what you would spend on a present as a simple cash gift. After all, in these credit-crunch blighted times, cash is always welcome.