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    Performance contracting helps save on energy costs

     

    To improve energy efficiency, some companies are doing more than just turning out the lights at the end of the day. As soaring energy costs increasingly affect the bottom line of U. S. businesses, the "energy performance contract" has become an attractive solution for commercial building owners. This contract is a financing or operating lease offered by an energy service company, also known as an ESCO, to help businesses improve the energy efficiency of their buildings or facilities. The key to energy performance contracting is to use long-term utility savings to fund the improvements. The ESCO often guarantees energy savings that will meet or exceed annual payments to cover all project costs, usually over a contract term of seven to 20 years. "A building owner either pays a utility for an inefficient building, or they can pay an ESCO to improve their building," says Jeff Stokes, a vice president at World Energy Solutions, a publicly traded ESCO (symbol: WEGY) based in St. Petersburg, Fla. World Energy Solutions strives to reduce kilowatt usage by up to 30 percent. The company offers a variety of services, including utility billing and rate analysis, energy auditing, installation of building improvements, building systems maintenance and ongoing monitoring and verification of the energy savings. ESCOs can provide flexible and unique ways to finance their services. For example, World Energy Solutions offers to pay the total up-front cost of installation as well as equipment maintenance in return for an 80 percent share of the actual savings realized over a minimum 10-year period. "In some cases, our company will fund the entire installation, at no charge to our customer, and live off the savings we generate over a certain amount of time," says Ben Croxton, chief executive officer of World Energy Solutions. ESCOs not only identify energy-saving opportunities, but also develop engineering designs and specifications and manage the entire process. They also can provide staff training and ongoing maintenance services. Even the federal government has gotten into the act, and for good reason: Executive orders that require federal agencies to use 35 percent less energy by 2010 in comparison to 1985 levels will require $5 billion in energy projects. Much of that will go to "Super Energy Savings Performance Contracts," offered by the Department of Energy.

         
    Personal finance. credit agencies refused access to information about student loans

     

    These days, when you apply for a mortgage, loan or other form of credit, the lending industry will automatically scrutinise your personal credit history. In practice, you hardly need to tell them anything as within a fraction of a second, the lenders computers will lock into your credit file held by any one of the big three credit agencies; Experian, Callcredit or Equifax And you'll be amazed what they know about your finances! For many years now banks, building societies and other lenders have been providing information about your finances to the credit agencies. They know about every credit applications you've made, the occasions you've been late or missed paying a loan, mortgage or credit card, the balances on your loans and credit cards and whether you just pay off the minimum each month - even your credit limits! The agencies also accumulated lots of other information about you provided by public records, the voters' roll and the public register of court actions where all county court judgements are recorded. Their computers then statistically analyse all this information and assess your application. So in this context, the credit industry argues that the more information they have about you, the more accurately lenders can make lending decisions. Yet within this mass of information, there is one notable omission. Despite representations to the government, information about student loans and their repayment history's, is not provided to the credit agencies. The data is refused because student loans are a debt to the taxpayer, not a commercial business. Prior to September 1998, graduates repaid their student loans by mortgage style direct debits collected once the graduate started earning over Ј15,000. But more than 59,000 of graduates from before 1998 graduates are understood to be in payment arrears to the tune, on average, of around Ј2,750 per graduate. After September 1998, the system of collecting student loans changed. These days, repayments are deducted directly from salaries by employers along with national insurance and income tax. This method is far more efficient and avoids the possibility of bad debts. The credit industry argues that it needs the information on student loans as they can represent a significant strain on the graduates' finances – especially following the introduction of top-up fees which results in the average student loans being much larger. These loans are repaid at the rate of 9% of the graduates' income in excess of Ј15,000 and can represent a significant drain on their monthly income. Therefore, to fully assess graduates' financial situation the credit industry argues that it needs student loan information. The Association Consumer Credit Counselling Service agrees. A spokes person said, “Knowing whether a young person has a student loan and whether it is being paid back, is useful.” Yet despite the pressure to share its information, the Department for Education and Skills remains steadfast in its decision to refuse permission to the Student Loan Company to provide information to the commercial sector. Even the Citizens Advice Bureau wants this decision changed arguing that lenders need information on student loans to help ensure that graduates avoid taking on so much debt that they can't maintain their repayments. But for now at least, the situation remains. The credit industry cannot obtain any history about student loans.

         
    Personal finance. student loans debts do not go on your credit record

     

    Every time you apply for credit, for example a credit card or a loan, the lender will request to see your credit history from a credit reference agency. The information they hold is so detailed that there's really no need for us to fill out that long application form, because within a fraction of a second they can see all they need to know from Experian, Equifax or Callcredit, the three main credit reference agencies. You would be very surprised to see just how much they know about you. Banks, building societies and other financial institutions providing credit have been passing on details of your financial transactions to the credit agencies. Every time you apply for a credit card, every time you miss a mortgage repayment – it gets noted. They know whether you pay the minimum or the balance each month, they even know details of your credit limit on each credit card. They also look to public records, the voters' roll and the public register of court actions because that is where all county court judgements are listed. It all happens automatically, and when your credit history is requested, the computer will provide a statistical analysis of your financial habits and provide an assessment of your suitability. It enables, the industry argues, lenders to make an accurate judgement about whether they should lend you money or not. However, there is one piece of financial information that the credit agencies are not allowed to access, and that's the student loans. Despite the industry's remonstrations to the government, nothing has changed, and they are not allowed to access the information. The reason? Student loans constitute a debt to the taxpayer, they were not funded by commercial business. Before September 1998, the student loan system worked like this: once graduates were working and earning the national average, which was Ј15,000 at the time, they had to repay their loan on a monthly basis by direct debit. 59,000 of those pre-1998 graduates still haven't started repaying their loan, and each has on average a debt of Ј2,750. In September 1998, the student loan system changed, and the system remains the same to this day. Now, repayments are taken directly at source, straight from the salary in the same way as national insurance and income tax. This method has been a lot more successful. The lending industry is not happy about the student loan situation, their main argument being that they need to know, when considering an application for credit, if the applicant has extra financial responsibilities. The introduction of top-up fees resulted in increasingly large student debts, and as the post-1998 loans have to be paid off at a rate of 9% of the graduate's income once it has reached Ј15,000, it is a large portion of income to lose. The Association Consumer Credit Counselling Service made the following statement: “Knowing whether a young person has a student loan and whether it is being paid back, is useful.” So they are in agreement with the lenders. The Citizens Advice Bureau is also keen to have the information made public, because they feel that graduates could be taking on too much debt, and if lenders could see their student loans, they would ensure that graduates are not given the ability to borrow beyond their means. However, the Department for Education and Skills is showing no signs of wavering on its decision to keep individuals' debts to the Student Loan Company private. For the foreseeable future – the situation will remain the same and student loans information will be inaccessible to the credit industry.

         
    Personal finance how to reduce your monthly expenses

     

    : Everyone has fixed expenses which are the basic of needs for our daily living. There is no way to eliminate the fixed expenses but with some innovative budgeting, you could save some good money from this practice. If you have debt problem, a good practice in expense control and budgeting can help you to free up enough money to pay down your debt and may prevent you from bankruptcy. Of course, to accomplish your goal, you might have to live a very austere existence and scarification. This article will list down some ideas on how to lower your expenses. While reading this article, you can make a list of you own ideas to cutting down your expenses. Ways To Save Money 1. Reduce the Number Of Credit Cards For many people, owning a credit card is the style of life and there are people holding 5 to 10 credit cards. It's so convenient to make payment with credit cards and you many overlook your budget. Although to terminate all credit cards are not possible for many people, you could reduce the number of credit cards in hand. 2. Ask for a Lower Credit Card Interest Rate A major consumer group conducted a study to find out how easy it is to get a lower credit card interest rate. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of those who simply telephoned their credit card company and asked for a lower interest rate got one instantly. Getting your credit card interest rate lowered depends on various factors. Normally the bank will approve your request if you meet the following conditions:

    • You have a good credit rating -- meaning no late pay notations on your credit report and a good credit score;
    • You do not have a high debt-to-income ratio and you do not carry a big balance on your credit card;
    • You do not send in just the minimum payment required each month;
    • You have an excellent payment record with that particular creditor;
    • The credit card is not one that is categorized as "sub-prime", meaning it is not a secured credit card or one marketed exclusively to those with bad credit.
    When you call and ask for a lower interest rate, your reasoning should be based on the argument that you deserve it because you're an excellent customer or you're getting better offers from other credit card banks. 3. Always Buy Classic Style on Clothing Clothing fads come and go so quickly and it will become out of fashion after a season. Instead, buy only good quality classic clothing that you can wear five years from now if you haven't worn it out by then. This will help you to reduce the frequency of buy new cloths. 4. Know Your Budget on Food According to some survey, people who do not know how much they spend on groceries each month are twenty times more likely to be over their heads in debt than those who know exactly how much they spend on food each month. A lot of money can be saved by with below practices:
    • Stop eating outside - Dinners you prepare at home is significantly less expensive than meals you pay someone else to prepare.
    • Don't buy what you don't really need - Good examples are soft drinks, sugary snacks and other sweets. Giving them up will improve your health, reduce your medical and dental-related expenses and fatten your wallet.
    • Get the best price by comparing supermarkets -- Don't shop at the closest supermarket just because it's more convenient. Driving a mile or two down the road can save you as much as $50 per week on groceries.
    5. Car pool with your neighbors If you have neighbors who work close to your company, you can car pooling with them to save gasoline and transportation cost. Summary Above are just a few ideas to reduce your monthly expense, sit down and list down your own list. You will surprise that by listing down all your monthly expenses, your will realize that actually there are a lot of expenses which can be reduced or eliminated. And you can use the saved money to pay down your debts.

         
    Personal finance three timeless wealth concepts to impart to your children

     

    Have you ever wondered why the rich get richer? Some say that it is because they can leverage on greater wealth in each successive generation. However for many, the real reason it that the rich teach their children financial skills that stay with them for life. These skills are then used with greater skill in each successive generation leading to a snowballing increase in wealth. This article therefore highlights three wealth concepts that you may consider imparting to your children at an early age so as to give them a financial head start in life. #Concept 1: Good debt and Bad Debt Many people are drowning in debt today and on the flip side, some people stay away from debt as far as they can. A more balanced approach is needed. Debt is important in our economy as it is used to fund large projects. Thus, the key is to learn the difference between good debt and bad debt is the purpose for which it is used. For instance, credit card debt is bad debt when used to purchase depreciating consumer products, while debt can be good debt if you can use it to purchase real estate and start getting a cash flow from the difference between the monthly rental proceeds and the monthly mortgage instalments. Thus teach your child how to use debt wisely. #Concept 2: Cash Flow and Capital Appreciation Many people cannot tell the difference between these two concepts. There are generally two types of financial instruments and some hybrids in between. Most financial instruments are capital appreciation instruments meaning that when the price goes up and someone buys from you when you sell the instrument, you make money. (e. g. stocks & shares) Thus the capital (the principal sum that you paid) has increased in value thus “Capital Appreciation”. On the other hand there are instruments that give you a cash flow meaning a share of the profits. Examples include real estate investment trusts and other mineral rights trusts like oil trusts where you get a share of the monthly oil income. These instruments are great when you make a large enough sum from your capital appreciation type instruments and you park a portion of the money in them for monthly cash to actually use. Children should be taught this difference early in life so that they can start learning how the free economy works. #Concept 3: Take Charge of your own money Fund managers and analysts love to tout their own horns telling you about how they over performed the market. Actually, the fund managers earn money from managing your money. I. e. they either charge management fees or flipping charges and not whether your portfolio makes money or not. This means they can manage your money badly and still be paid. Studies have shown that at the end of the day that many fund managers at the end of the day may fare no better than an individual in stock selection and giving rise to the report that monkeys throwing darts at random stocks on a dart board may actually fare better. Thus teach your children to start learning more about investing and take charge of your own finances and do your own investing. In conclusion, teaching children about finance at a young age is great and in fact some of the brightest fund managers today talk about their parents and grandmothers analyzing stocks in front of them when they were small. Start teaching children young about managing their own finances and how to understand how the modern economy works and they will grow up better placed to handle the financial world out there. Copyright © 2006 Joel Teo. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author's information with live links only.)

         
    Personal finance three simple steps to improve your financial literacy

     

    Many people today place money with financial analysts, fund managers and experts in the hope that they can grow their funds. However studies have shown that in the vast majority of cases, the individual generates the same return as the experts. But most people when confronted with this fact, usually reply that they do not know how best to invest their money themselves and it is submitted that the real reason is a lack of financial literacy. So the usual question is how someone can increase his financial literacy? This article will therefore list three simple ways for anyone to start increasing their financial literacy. Firstly, the best way to start is to start browsing an online investing dictionary and start learning simple financial jargon. A great place that you can consider is investopedia where you can start learning the meaning of basic financial terms so as to be better able to understand financial literature. You would want to spend some effort in learning those pertaining to the stock market first because such terms are most commonly used in the papers when financial analysts talk about the state of the economy. Secondly, once you have a basic grasp of financial terms, you can then graduate on to reading the financial section of the newspapers. I know of friends who attack the movie section of the newspapers and maybe a little about the crime news but avoid the business section like the plague. These are the same people that gripe about the lack of understanding of the “recent increase in Initial Public Offerings”. It can be a bit intimidating for the uninitiated but you will gradually start learning more about the particular market that you are in and how it works. Thirdly, a fast way to learn more about financial terms is to make it a point to listen to the financial news daily before you head to work. This can be on the radio or on the television. Remember to take what the analysts say about stocks and shares in the news with a pinch of salt as sometimes the stock moves in response to what they say and as the scandals have proven, they sometimes actually move against the advice that they tell the general retail customers. After doing these three simple steps daily, you will find that your financial knowledge will start increasing and you can then subscribe to Forbes and other financial magazines or newspapers like the Financial Times and feed your ever growing interest in financial matters. If you finally reach the stage where you want to know more then you might consider doing a MBA or CFA. In conclusion, the quest for knowledge in the financial arena is a never ending one. New financial instruments are created ever so often and keeping abreast of such changes can be an almost impossible task. But getting started is ever so important in this fast moving world and you can then manage your own investments better and with more confidence. Copyright © 2006 Joel Teo. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author's information with live links only.)

         
    Personal finance is your responsibility

     

    Whether or not you choose to ignore it, you cannot deny the truth embedded in this statement: Your personal finance is and always will be your responsibility. When it comes to finance, many people put an impractical blind eye to the fact that finances need to be managed. Personal finance is an ever-growing popular term for adults and teenagers alike, regardless of whether you are earning the money or not. After-all bills have to be paid, family members have to be fed and your lifestyle has to be maintained. The biggest and most neglected step for many families is teaching their teens how to manage their money. Teenage finance is about educating teens on the value of money. Teach them how to save by showing them how to use their primitive form of book-keeping. This can often be incorporated through the child's upbringing via piggy-banks, savings accounts, and little chores in exchange for money. Teenage finance is an important part of your personal finance because, too. When your children learn to save and use money wisely, you are subsequently saved from bailing them out of financial troubles in the future. Personal Ethics and finance go hand-in-hand; if you have a good relationship with yourself, you will be able to save money. You won’t feel the urge to do things that go against your ethics like sign-up for a credit card using someone else’s name. Personal finance involves taking a few steps toward safe-guarding your money. Your money spent should not exceed your money received. In order to prevent this from happening, you should make a crude balance sheet and use it to record all of your transactions. Each month write down how much was received and how much was spent. Make a list of all the things the money was spent on, so you can keep track of your money. You will be amazed at how much we spend on things that are not necessities. Make a list and stick to it. Always try to get the best deal for your money and remember that cheaper does not necessarily mean lower quality. After-all it is your money; managing your personal finances should be seen as a mandatory part of making money work for you.

         
    Planning for every expense

     

    Making a budget for a home business start-up is more of an art than it is a science. No matter how exactly you think you’ve pinned down all your expenses, it’s guaranteed that more will appear that you either didn’t think of or just couldn’t have predicted. That’s why you need to make sure that you always plan for every possible expense. Things Break. Remember that any equipment you buy can go wrong, no matter how expensive or high-quality it was (this is especially true of anything IT-related!) When things break, you probably won’t need to buy a new one, but you’ll at least have to wait for the manufacturer to replace what broke. This can lead to days of lost or less-efficient business, and cost you money. Budget for equipment failures. People are Unpredictable. When you hire staff, you have no way of knowing that they aren’t going to let you down. You might have worked out that it takes $200 to train one new staff member, but what do you do when that newly-trained staff member quits and moves to France after three weeks at the job? You’ve got no choice but to train someone else and take the loss. Budget for staff turnover. The World is Against You. Or at least it can sometimes feel that way. Just when you’ve got everything perfect, someone sets up a little construction site next door, and drives your business away. Or maybe it rains for a few weeks, meaning that there’s just no demand for your bouncy castle hire business. Whatever, you need to budget for times when you’ve got no customers – and make sure you have something else to be getting on with in the meantime. Customers are Out to Get You. ‘The customer is always right’, right? Well, yes, but their ‘rightness’ can sure cost you a lot of money. You have to be prepared to take huge losses to pay off complaining customers. Remember that one unhappy customer can undo hundreds of dollars worth of marketing efforts – once you make a customer unhappy, your options are to take a loss fixing the situation or to take an even bigger loss when they tell everyone how you didn’t. The only way to avoid this expense is to please all of the people all of the time, which just isn’t possible. Budget for unhappy customers. Competitors Kick You When You’re Down. If one of your competitors spots a good opportunity to take some business from you, they won’t hesitate. You need to have a ‘war chest’ ready to make aggressive offers and marketing efforts, and be prepared to get into a full-scale price and advertising war with the competition. It’s massively frustrating to be in a position where your rivals are getting all your business simply because you already used up your marketing money for this month. Budget for war. Double Your Budget. Whatever happens, remember that under-budgeting is the worst mistake you can make. It’s known as ‘under-capitalisation’, and is generally thought of as one of the quickest ways to kill a business – anyone who might be willing to give you finance will just think you’re a fool if you’ve under-capitalised your business, and might even refuse to lend to you. Most home businesses budget only a few thousand dollars for their expenses (if they even make a budget), thinking that they already have everything they need. People don’t realise how quickly little costs like having some business cards made or getting your suit dry-cleaned start to add up. This doesn’t apply for other kinds of business, but if you’re like 99% of home business starters, you really ought to double your budget. If you doubt me, start adding up all your ‘little’ expenses over a year, and see what happens. Budgeting for every expense in your initial plans shows that you’re not the kind of person who thinks that everything’s going to go right for them just because they’re so great – instead, you’re a practical businessperson who knows that anything that could go wrong probably will, and you plan to make a profit anyway. There is a difference, after all, between arrogance and cool-headed determination, and it’s one that the people with the money want to see.

         
    Planning for your retirement tips

     

    When you are planning for your retirement, a 401K plan is a good place to start. This a very special account that you fund with pre-tax earnings and is deducted from your paycheck each pay period. These funds are then invested in a variety of bonds, mutual funds, and stocks, and no taxes are charged upon it until the funds are withdrawn from the account. Congress created this in the early 1980’s and is used as a vehicle for saving for retirement. There are many benefits of a 401k plan that can make an excellent financial net when it comes time to retire. Some of the advantages include, tax, match programs initiated by employers, the flexibility to customize your investments, portability, and the ability to withdraw for a loan or hardship cases. Most employers match a portion of the employees 401K contribution as a appealing factor of keeping employees. Some employers will even increase the amount of their match when the employee works for them for so long, it all depends on the company. It is of your best interest to invest the maximum amount you can to the 401K to fully benefit from this program. Additionally, the 401k plan allows you to customize your investments and are flexible in this manner as well. One very flexible and appealing option of the 401K plan is the fact that if you decide you change employers you have a variety of options available to you. These options include, leaving the 401K plan with the employer you are leaving, the administrators could begin to charge you money for keeping the records and managing your account. You also have the option of rolling over your 401K to your new employers 401k plan. You could also do the rollover and put it into an IRA. This will allow you to control the allocation of your assets meaning you are not limited to only what your employer provides. Your last options is to cash out, pay the taxes, plus a possible penalty fee. It is important that you investigate all options and properly weigh the pro’s and cons of each, this will help you to make informed, educated, and practical decisions that will benefit you and your future retirement. After working hard all of your life, many people like the comfort of knowing that when they retire they will have some sort of financial backing to help them out.

         
    Point and click to your financial plan

     

    You've organized the contents of that bulging shoebox and tracked down the stray receipts lurking in jacket pockets. Now you're ready to point and click your way to what you hope will be a generous tax refund. But while your records are still organized and your computer's still on, why not look beyond that refund to your financial future? Using do-it-yourself online financial tools, planning ahead is easier and more convenient than you may think. "The purpose of creating a financial plan is to define what you hope to achieve in terms of financial success," says Peter J. Rossi, director of financial planning for NetBank. "If you take the time to write down what you want to achieve, you're much more likely to achieve it." For NetBank customers, it's as easy as clicking on your mouse. The bank's online interactive planning tools include an Express Planner that provides an overview of the customer's current finances; plans for specific goals, like retirement, education and insurance; and a Comprehensive Planner that integrates all the others for setting multiple goals. In addition, the bank offers access to brokerage services and other investment and insurance products. Dedicated financial advisers are available to help analyze the plan, answer any questions and help put the plan into action. Financial planning isn't just for people with excess wealth. Financial planners recommend that everyone have a plan in place for their financial future. The experts at NetBank recommend taking control of spending by tracking expenses over two to three months. After you get a clear idea of your expenses, develop a plan to spend less and save more. For instance, you could consolidate your high-interest debt by refinancing your home or getting a home equity credit line. They also suggest reviewing the asset allocation in your investment portfolio to confirm that it's in alignment with your goals. And make sure your insurance coverage is enough for your financial position. With an online plan, you can complete it on your own time and update it as often as you like.

         
    Point and click your financial plan

     

    You've organized the contents of that bulging shoebox and tracked down the stray receipts lurking in jacket pockets. Now you're ready to point and click your way to what you hope will be a generous tax refund. But while your records are still organized and your computer's still on, why not look beyond that refund to your financial future? Using do-it-yourself online financial tools, planning ahead is easier and more convenient than you may think. "The purpose of creating a financial plan is to define what you hope to achieve in terms of financial success," says Peter J. Rossi, director of financial planning for NetBank. "If you take the time to write down what you want to achieve, you're much more likely to achieve it." For NetBank customers, it's as easy as clicking on your mouse. The bank's online interactive planning tools include an Express Planner that provides an overview of the customer's current finances; plans for specific goals, like retirement, education and insurance; and a Comprehensive Planner that integrates all the others for setting multiple goals. In addition, the bank offers access to brokerage services and other investment and insurance products. Dedicated financial advisers are available to help analyze the plan, answer any questions and help put the plan into action. Financial planning isn't just for people with excess wealth. Financial planners recommend that everyone have a plan in place for their financial future. The experts at NetBank recommend taking control of spending by tracking expenses over two to three months. After you get a clear idea of your expenses, develop a plan to spend less and save more. For instance, you could consolidate your high-interest debt by refinancing your home or getting a home equity credit line. They also suggest reviewing the asset allocation in your investment portfolio to confirm that it's in alignment with your goals. And make sure your insurance coverage is enough for your financial position.

         
    Poor people why do you give to help them

     

    This article may upset some people. Money can be a touchy subject. And when you combine the subject of money with religious feelings, there can be conflict. I saw a commercial on television that really bothered me and I wondered why it was so disturbing to me. Perhaps you’ve seen it, or similar commercials, or even heard a message like that from a pulpit. I finally figured out what was upsetting me. The message was intended to make me feel guilty if I didn’t give money to help poor people. Now I am in highly in favor of helping people, but let’s stop for just a minute to consider those living in poverty. First of all, God never intended for human beings to live in poverty. The very first recorded words in the Bible from God to man were, “Be fruitful.” It was not, and still is not the will of God for people to be poor and have lack. Secondly, Jesus Christ said that the poor will always be here. So, any talk of eliminating poverty from the face of the earth is to say that Jesus lied. Now there are people all over the world in need of help. No one can deny that. But why do some religious people try to make you feel guilty if you don’t give to help the needy? That is a violation of the principle of giving. The Bible says that we ought to give, not grudgingly or of necessity, because God loves a cheerful giver. You cannot give cheerfully if you are made to feel guilty about it. In my opinion, making someone feel guilty so that they will give you their money is stealing. Your feelings are being manipulated; you are being forced to give your money. Thievery! And have you ever wondered why is there so little preached about the benefits of giving? God has promised that as you give, He will fill your barns or storehouses with plenty. He has promised that you would have abundance. He has even promised that He would open to you the windows of heaven and that He would pour you out a blessing that you would not even be able to receive! The principle that God set up is that of giving, and receiving. When was the last time you heard someone ask for money and also remind you of the blessings that you should expect to receive back? Rare isn’t it? Instead, they want to take your money and not even tell you that you are supposed to expect to receive back. If people do not know that they are supposed to receive back, they will not be looking for it or expecting it. If you think that there is no fruit on a tree to pick and eat, you wouldn’t even consider going over to the tree to look. So, good, sincere, God loving people are robbed again, this time from the blessings they should be receiving back for their giving. Instead of making people feel guilty about what they have, and guilty about the lack others have, why not teach people about the abundance God has promised? Why not teach people how to prosper? The Bible says that God wishes above all things that you prosper and be in health. Why not teach people the principles of prosperity that are clearly defined in the Bible? Someone may shame you into giving up fifty or a hundred dollars. But think of what could happen if instead, they taught you how to prosper. What would happen if your income increased by 20, 30, or even 50 thousand dollars a year? Wouldn’t you have a lot more to give to help people in need? And you could give to help them, not grudgingly, but cheerfully. It is not a sin to be wealthy. Money is not evil. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Christians need to believe God’s promises of abundance and operate the principles of prosperity. Then their lives will be blessed and abundant and they will have plenty to give to those in need.

         
    Post christmas financial difficulties

     

    If you’ve spent more than your budget can cope with, then maybe you’re thinking about credit to help you through January. Many people fear the long, broke month of January. After a lovely Christmas full of joyous smiles January can see a mood swing in the wrong direction. Many of us turn to credit cards to help get through this terrible month. But without knowledge of the financial industry a person without a great income can fall victim to the evil grip of unscrupulous credit companies. In his newspaper article, Simon Bain of the Herald tells of how one particular bank has been sending credit card applications to people with offers of a credit card with APR of up to 69% ( theherald. co. uk/business/52784.html). This astounding rate applies with a credit limit of Ј150, while an APR of 41% applies to a credit limit of Ј1500. Quick additional sums of money may seem very tempting to people at this time of year, and without consideration a lot of people will be more than tempted. But it’s not until later that the repercussions of such a high interest hit home. This can lead to difficulties in February, which spill over into March …and so on, until before you know it it’s Christmas again and you have serious problems. So before you go looking for short-term solutions that could lead to long-term problems, take some time to consider your options so that you can decide what kind of year you’re going to have. There are many cheap and easy ways to get credit card advice this New Year. The best way is just to log on to the web. There are many sites out there dedicated to offering financial advice. One of these sites is Moneynet. co. uk. Here you can check out all of your options. There is a great page dedicated solely to providing credit card advice ( moneynet. co. uk/credit-card-guide/index. shtml ) as well as many pages advising the card with best introductory rate, the best standard rate etc. So, before you go down the wrong road, check out what your options are this January, and make sure you truly do have a happy New Year.

         
    Profiting from a personal finance checkup

     

    Making sure that you're on the road to financial security can start with a personal finance checkup. A financial checkup allows you to periodically review how you're doing in light of your finance goals. Taking the following steps can help put you on the course to financial wellness: • Evaluate your goals. How are you measuring up to the goals you set for yourself? Are you successfully putting money toward saving and investing? Are you saving enough in your 401(k) to get your company match contribution? Where are you falling short and why? Are there changes taking place in your life that will affect these goals, such as a healthy bump in your salary or the birth of a baby? For better or worse, it may be time to adjust your goals. • Assess your investments. Look at the return on each of your investments and make sure they are rebalanced. Are you satisfied with the performance compared to what the market is doing? Consider getting some advice. You can also find free investment advice tools online, such as ShareBuilder's PortfolioBuilder ( sharebuilder). The service provides a customized portfolio based on your budget, investing goals and risk tolerance. • Set your investments on autopilot. Regular investing is a key to reaching your goals. If you're serious about a saving and investing strategy, but find it is the last thing on your mind every month, start an automatic investing plan. You don't need a big lump sum to get the ball rolling. Services such as ShareBuilder have no account minimum and allow you to set up a program and contribute a set amount of money, such as $100 per month, on a regular basis. The money will be automatically transferred from your checking or savings account so it can be invested. • Just do it. People often hesitate or postpone their investments because they don't think they have enough to start or it's just not the right time to invest. In reality, it's always a good time to start investing. The first step is to develop a long-term saving and investing habit as early as possible. The value of compounding over time is irreplaceable. Once you get started, it's a good idea to review your investments at least every six months.

         
    Realtors save gas while you drive

     

    We're all desperate to save money on gas these days. We shop for the lowest prices, follow the news, combine trips, walk more. But for many of us, especially Realtors, dealing with the gas crunch is unavoidable. Not every house you sell is going to be in your neighborhood, not every house a client wants to see is down the street. They want the city, they want the suburbs, they want to see that charmer in a neighboring town. So if you're a Realtor that wants to sell houses, you do what you have to do - you drive. Fortunately there are four simple ways to make your gas go farther while you motor around. Four Simple Ways to Save Gas While you Drive 1. The single best way to save money on gas is so simple you probably haven't even considered it. It's this: SLOW DOWN Slowing down and (gasp) driving the speed limit is the most effective way to get maximum fuel efficiency from your traveling tin can. It simply takes more energy to travel at a higher speed. Increased wind resistance and inefficient fuel consumption are two ways that speed eats into your gas tank. The additional wear and tear on your car also eats into your pocketbook. So if you don't want your car to be an obnoxious gas guzzler, just drive the speed limit. You might get flack from drivers that want to speed like they're on the autobahn, but you'll save on gas and avoid flack from police cruisers, speed traps and your mom. 2. Keep it Steady. While you're at it, you might also try to keep going at a constant speed as much as you can. Keeping it smooth, or even better - keeping it on cruise control will save you big bucks on flat terrain. The ole "hurry up and wait" accelerate/brake combo takes a lot of energy and will cost you in the long run. Look well ahead when you're driving and prepare to slow down in advance. The gradual reduction in speed paired with a gradual increase will use less fuel. Gunning it on green lights is not fuel efficient. 3. Get a tune up and keep your tires inflated. Spark plugs that don't spark, filters that don't filter, and sensors with no sense all lower your gas mileage. Have your car tuned up regularly and check your tires while you're at it. Poorly inflated tires need more push from the engine to get where they're going. A little air goes a long way. 4. Choose the path of least resistance. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to avoid bumpy winding roads but if you can, you should. You can loose up to 30% of your gas mileage on a gravel road and even more if it's one of those beautifully scenic winding ones that require lots of turns and gas pedal/brake pedal maneuvers. Save these for vacations and take the highway. Of course, if you're a really serious driver these days, you're probably thinking about switching to a hybrid - the next logical step for people who simply can't part with their cars. While you're shopping around for the right one, however, you might want to do it slowly.

         
     
         
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