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Americans Cut Their Credit Card Debt

Category: Personal Finance | May 8, 2015 | 5 Comments

Outstanding consumer debt (which is American’s total debt that does not include mortgages) grew in February. The debt increased from $15.52 billion to $3.34 trillion overall according to the Federal Reserve. However, the gain was attributed to an increase in auto loans and education loans instead of increasing credit card debt. In fact, credit card debt had the largest decline in February since April of 2011.

Although debt increased significantly, credit card debt (revolving debt) fell about 4.97% in February, and it has been declining at about that rate for the prior four months. Student loan debt and auto loans, on the other hand, grew 9.44%, which is the largest monthly increase in two years. This data seems to reflect that consumers are making efforts to rein in their spending (outside of car loans).

This controlled spending also likely means that they are trying to rebuild credit and increase their overall financial outlook. For those starting a small business or looking for ways to accept payments at their small business, a suppressed credit score could be a serious problem. If this describes you, look into getting a high risk merchant account at eMerchantBroker.com.

Increase in Household Spending, But a Decrease on Consumer Spending

Although overall credit card debt decreased, consumer spending actually increased 0.1% in February. Although this doesn’t sound like much, consumer spending was declining in both December and January, which unusual for that time of year, so this is a welcome change. However, spending on goods and services actually declined slightly. That makes the numbers a little confusing, but when you consider that Americans are putting more money into their cars instead of goods and services, then numbers start to make a little more sense.

The decrease in spending on goods and services may signify that consumers are still worried about spending too much and are focused on saving. On the other hand, it could also be that the unseasonably cold weather has caused households to reduce shopping trips and put their money into paying for heating bills, for example. Consumer spending drives economic growth, so this decrease is a little troublesome. On a brighter note, the auto industry has definitely benefited from increased sales of trucks and SUVs because consumers want vehicles that will deal better with the colder weather. Of course, those types of vehicles generally cost more than an average car, so the auto loans are also much higher.

5 Tips for Improving Your Finances

Category: Personal Finance | February 22, 2015 | Comments Off on 5 Tips for Improving Your Finances

Are you struggling to make ends meet? Would you have enough money to cover a medical emergency or car accident? If you have worrying answers to these questions, it’s time to take control of your future by improving your personal finances. Here are five ways to start building a nest egg.

1. Track Your Spending

It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people have no idea how much they spend in an average month. They swipe their credit cards without looking at their bank balance first, and they don’t even realize they waste $100 a month on Starbucks. Make a habit out of recording your purchases so you always know exactly where your money is going.

2. Lower Your Bills

Are you paying for comprehensive car insurance when liability coverage is all that’s required by law? Is a competing cellphone company offering lower prices for the same services you’re using now? Leave no stone unturned when it comes to lowering your bills. Small reductions applied over twelve months a year can save you hundreds and even thousands in the long run.

3. Start Investing

You don’t have to be rich to get rich. Groups like the Online Trading Academy can teach you everything you need to know about investing, and what’s more, investment groups exist all across the country so you can join like-minded individuals in their search for wealth.

4. Improve Your Credit

Get on the phone with your creditors and work out a payment plan for any debts that have been dragging down your credit score. Not only will this improve your financial standing overall, but it will also pay off when you apply for a home loan or insurance policy. Better credit scores mean reduced rates, and that means more money in your pocket for things that matter. When in need of a loan, one can always leverage the equity of their home. It is important to become familiarized with Home Equity Loan Rates.

5. Save Money Regularly and Consistently

Everyone can afford to save. Yes, that includes you. Even if you can only put 2-3 percent of your paycheck into a savings account, these small amounts will build over time. Even more importantly, making a deposit with every paycheck will turn saving into a habit instead of a chore.

These are just five ways to improve the balance of your bank account. If you’re serious about safeguarding your family against accidents, disasters and emergencies, use these tips to start building your personal fortune.

Compare loans step-by-step

Category: Personal Finance | February 21, 2015 | Comments Off on Compare loans step-by-step

Are you looking to borrow money?

The first step you need to complete is to work out how much you need. Personal loans are available for all kinds of sums, as are home loans, business loans and car loans. Consider why you want to compare cheap loans and how much you will need to borrow to meet your needs. Ideally you want to borrow the lowest amount without actually getting less than you need.

Once you have crunched your numbers you are ready to move on to the next step.

Know whether you want a secured loan or an unsecured loan

There is a big difference between the two, namely that a secured loan will be secured on something of value. Usually this will be property, but in the case of a business loan it could be on equipment. A car loan might be secured on the vehicle itself.

A personal loan is also sometimes referred to as an unsecured loan. You won’t be able to borrow as much but it could be just the thing if you need a smaller amount. However the interest rates on a secured loan can usually be cheaper than you’d expect to get for an unsecured one. This means you may wish to consider a secured loan if you want to borrow more money at a cheaper rate and you have a property to put up as collateral.

Start your loans comparison process

The easiest way to do this is to use an online comparison calculator. Typically speaking you need to type in the amount you want to borrow, as well as choosing the repayment period. This could be a year, three years, five years, 10 years, or longer if you are looking at a secured loan of a larger value.

A loan comparison will enable you to compare different loans that are available over the same period of time. You can use the comparison process to find a range of lenders who would be willing to lend the sum of money you need over a specific period of time. You can then adjust the repayment period depending on how much you can afford to pay back each month. This will also tell you how much you will pay back in total depending on the interest rate given.

Looking for the cheapest loans 2015

Needless to say you’ll want to pay back as little in interest as possible. Different loan periods will bring forth different interest rates. For example we ran a comparison recently and found that £7,500 paid back over seven years was significantly pricier than the same amount paid back over five years.

This shows how important it is to check through a number of comparisons to work out the cheapest loan you can have and the best repayment period to go for. The more effort you put into this process of comparing loans step-by-step, the easier you will find it to get the best possible loan for your situation. Why not start now?

This post was contributed by moneysite.com – Online money transfer.

Using Apps to Help Your Business

Category: Business | September 18, 2013 | 3 Comments

Before you consider having an app developed for your company think about what issues that app will solve. You need to be decide exactly what you want out of an app or you could wind up with an app that does nothing for the growth of your business.

Apps can be used to help solve business issues and can be useful when they are designed with both the end user and the business owner in mind. There are several issues that every business encounters and can be resolved with an app that is well designed. For businesses that use a mobile phone credit card reader there are also mobile apps that can help grow an existing customer base when used with social media.

For many retail businesses that are on the New York Stock Exchange or NYSE, slow moving stocks can be a problem. Mobile apps can help to overcome this issue by using direct marketing for products or services. Business mobile apps attract various types of users which are familiar with your brand and trust it. Mobile apps can help market slow moving products or services by using direct marketing to customers that most likely will use them. All that needs to be done is to update the app with a promo advertising a discounted price i.e. 25% off when another item with a coupon is used. This only takes seconds to make and your customers will consider purchasing the product which will helps you clear your inventory.

Slow selling days can be a huge hindrance to a business and greatly affects their bottom line. This is one reason why businesses need to continually attract customers to help their business flourish. One tool that has proven to be effective are push notifications. These can be sent out the day before or even on your slowest selling days to entice shoppers to your website or store to boost your sales. Be as creative as you want since push notifications as well as promos are free. They appear in front of the user as a text message and direct them to your company’s app to get more information.

Apps can also be used for customer loyalty programs that keep customers coming back for the rewards. They can be set up in your business app and ensures that customers will never lose their rewards card. The customer is also reminded to use it via push notifications.

If you need to grow your customer base then be sure to include social media sharing in the app. All you need to do is include your special or promo on a social media site such as Facebook. Putting your app on this type of social media site means that it will be viewed by at least 200 people. This is guaranteed to grow your customer base.

So in the end be sure you thoroughly understand all the problems your business has before you go to a developer to have an app created. Once the developer understands all of the problems there are within your business, they will be able to create an app with all the features you need.

Are shares a better bet than savings?

Category: General Investing, Personal Finance | September 13, 2013 | 4 Comments

With the recent further slump in savings interest rates, you can’t rely on a savings account to make you a decent profit. Increasingly, investors are choosing to invest in the stock market in an attempt to get a better return on their money. Shares are traditionally seen as a high risk investment but there is a huge variety of shares available and they all have different risk profiles. If you are considering investing in shares then the following tips will help you to get started.

What is your risk tolerance?

The first step for any budding investor is to work out the right amount of risk to take on. Risk tolerance is a very personal thing and you will need to take the following factors into account:

  • Income (in particular your expendable income). The more free income you have, the more you can afford to invest. You should never invest more than you can afford to lose – remember even low risk investments can lose you all of your capital and interest. Click here to see the software used by the professionals to manage risk.
  • Age – or proximity to retirement. Generally speaking it is considered wise to invest more aggressively (higher risk investments) when you are younger. As you approach retirement, your investment strategy should be increasingly conservative (predominantly lower risk investments).

What are shares?

Stocks and shares are financial instruments which, once purchased, mean that you own part of the company in proportion to your shareholding. Owning shares does not mean that you will have control over the running of the business but you will have a right to a share of the profits (if any) made by the company.

This share of the company’s profits is called a dividend and the amount to be paid is decided by the board of directors. Most well-established companies will pay a dividend which means that you will see some return on your investment even if the share prices aren’t great. The dividend will normally be quoted as the dollar amount to be received per share held.

There are 2 main types of shares:

  • Common shares – these are the ordinary shares that most people buy when they invest in a company. A common shareholder will have the right to receive      dividends and also vote on some corporate issues.
  • Preferred shares – If the company pays out dividends or liquidates then holders of preferred shares will receive payments as a priority over common shareholders.

How risky are shares?

When you buy shares, you are buying an actual slice of a company. For this reason, the risks attaching to particular shares are as varied as the companies themselves. It is unrealistic to expect an immediate return from your shares and your investment should be for the long-term. Professional asset managers use software such as that provided by www.Sungard.com/APT/ to manage their investment risk.

If you are looking for a lower risk investment then you should choose to buy shares in well-established companies with a proven track record. Generally speaking, good companies make better profits. Even professional investors sometimes suffer massive losses on the stock market as the recent cases of Northern Rock and Enron have shown. However, it is quite rare for big companies to go bust. Their share prices may fall in the short-term but they will normally rise again given time. The most difficult decision for you will be whether to cut your losses and sell or wait for the share price to increase again and hopefully turn a profit.

If you would like to make some higher risk investments (and hopefully a greater return) then you may want to consider purchasing shares in some of the following:

  • Invest in less well-known companies including start-ups or less well-established businesses. This is more risky but will provide a greater return on your investment if the company is successful. You should note that whilst the potential return is greater, the chances of actually receiving that return are lower.
  • Invest in businesses abroad. The location of a business always affects the risk attaching to that company’s shares. In the worst case scenario, as we have recently seen in Greece, the value of a whole country’s financial instruments can be devastated.
  • Invest in a higher risk industry. Technology companies are considered to be a much riskier investment than buying shares in other more well-established companies.

Do you have any shares in your investment portfolio? What shares will you buy?

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