Retire To Asia And Why
In reading this article you may realize that the best part of your life could be in Asia, and the best time is now.
The theme of most retirement articles is the best place to retire in the USA. However, according to the AARP about 80 percent of Americans do not plan to move when they retire. Work a lifetime, and with the door open to have a fresh start in retirement, one just stays in the same town, the same house, the same routine. There must be a better quality of life in retirement, and there is! Nowadays, more retirees are not only moving from their house to another city or state, but are moving out of the United States.
Over recent years I have had an increasing number of friends write to me about my life in Asia. The motives behind the questions have varied from political discontentment to financial. Many of the concerns are related to the high cost of living, including heating and A/C bills, taxes, grocery bills, the cost of gasoline, medical bills, dental bills, home repair bills, and list goes on. There is no doubt about it, the cost of living in the USA goes higher each day. Many of those who write to me are not really enjoying their Golden Years but are just getting by. If you are in the stage of retirement planning or are now retired that should concern you, as each day is precious and we should be enjoying life to its fullest. The best is yet to come.
Travel with me down a different road of thought. I have lived in retirement for the past 7 years in Asia, in the beach resort city of Pattaya, Thailand. Being a tourist destination, you immediately picture an area with a beautiful bay view, fine restaurants, and entertainment galore. It is more than just that. It is so easy to get around the city using public transportation that my car sits in the driveway. We have modern shopping centers, movie complexes, health spa's, fitness centers, golf courses, and even an IT center with 5 floors of computers, mobile phones, and electronics. Pattaya has not one, but two International Standard hospitals. Health care is affordable. Being a tourist city, the Thai staff in most stores and restaurants speak English, German, Russian, and other languages. Language is not a problem, but learning a little basic Thai is both fun and useful. A Hollywood movie with English sound track, shown in a high tech theater costs around $2.50. The air-conditioned city bus is 50 cents, private buses around 25 cents. A Thai food-bar meal runs around 75 cents. We have clubs that meet weekly where the foreign community can get together. They have Open Forums where newcomers to the community can ask questions. The glimpse just given is representative of life for foreigners in most Asian countries. A stress free, quality lifestyle on your retirement pension.
Why Asia? Because Asia is the most exciting, the most user friendly continent on earth. Luxury living for pennies - not just "getting by" on your retirement pension. The United States and Europe are becoming almost impossibly expensive to live and retire in. Learn more about the Asian countries, which ones to consider for retirement, and why. If funds permit, plan a holiday visit to some of the countries of interest. Alternatively, the Internet is a great source of information. Also, one can join an Internet blog or group and gain information and tips from persons already living overseas. As I said in my opening, the best part of your life could be in Asia, and the best time is now.
Payday Loans How To Borrow The Instant Money
Salaried people require instant money very often for some urgency. While they tend to rush to take out Payday Loans, they must ensure that its repayment burden does not become a nightmare. These loans may turn out to be highly burdensome as well.
These loans provide money on certain conditions, which you must meet. For instance, you must be an employee for at least last six months, with a fixed monthly salary. There should be an active bank checking account in your name.
You should also be ready to write a post-dated cheque of the borrowed amount and fee. It is against the cheque that the lender will electronically deposit the loan amount in your bank account. Most of the applicants receive the loan amount within 24 hours in their bank account.
Payday loans range from
7 Online Banking Success Stories
You have seen their ads and you may have wondered if they are worth a second look. What am I talking about? Online banks! Also known as internet banks, these are financial institutions who provide the majority of their banking services over the internet. Typically, online banks offer consumers high savings rates, low loan rates, and a mix of other services. Let's look at 7 winners in this fast growing field:
1. E Trade Bank Part of E Trade Financial, the discount internet stockbroker. E Trade Bank offers checking accounts, money markets, and certificates of deposits as well as a VISA credit card.
2. Netbank Along with offering checking and money market accounts, Netbank provides mortgage and home equity lines of credit to customers. With tie-ins to affiliated companies Netbank also offers Auto, Homeowners, Condo/Co-op & Renters Insurance and Life, Health, Long Term Care & Dental Insurance.
3. Virtual Bank VirtualBank, a division of Lydian Private Bank, is a federally chartered bank regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision. The bank offers checking, savings, and credit card services to customers.
4. Ever Bank This leading internet provider of banking services offers the most extensive, and varied services of any online institution. Ever Bank offers business and personal checking accounts, mortgages, home equity loans/lines of credit, reverse mortgages, a VISA credit card, and world currency accounts. This latter category is for investing in Deposit accounts and CDs denominated in any major world currency.
5. Emigrant Direct Part of Emigrant Savings Bank which traces its roots back to 1850 as a service provider to Irish immigrants. Emigrant has $10 billion in assets and more than $1 billion in net worth. It operates as a full service bank through 36 branches in the New York metropolitan area, and through EmigrantDirect.com. Emigrant offers only consumer services online; their high paying savings account is a chief investment vehicle.
6. ING Direct ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, insurance and asset management to over 60 million private, corporate and institutional clients in more than 50 countries. ING offers mortgages, loans/lines of credit, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and money market mutual funds through another division.
7. MetLife Bank Yes, MetLife. A division of insurance powerhouse Metropolitan Life, MetLife Bank offers savings accounts, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, mortgages, and IRAs to consumers.
If you are banking exclusively with a "brick and mortar" institution you may be missing out on high paying investment options or competitive loan rates that easily undercut many traditional banking entities. These online banking success stories are only part of a growing number of savvy providers, some of whom are definitely worth a closer look by you, the consumer.
Why Not Earn Money From Your Talents Mom
I come across talented Moms all the time. Moms who sew baby slings, nursing clothing, cloth diapers.... Moms who make their own herbal skin care, healing balms, and the like. (I'm pretty envious of women who are crafty like this!)
Or maybe they are really good at designing their home school curriculum or writing interesting lesson plans. I know Moms with large families of grown children who could make a million bucks if they wrote a book with their parenting success secrets!
Sometimes I will ask these women if they've ever thought about taking their interest or hobby to the Internet to earn some income with it. I usually get responses like: "I don't know the first thing about how to build a website." or "I wouldn't have any idea how to market my business online."
Yet, you may have a ton of knowledge in your head that could make you money on the world wide web. Or maybe you have a creative skill like sewing. Even if you don't have a physical product to sell, you can still make money online marketing other people's products, either through Direct Sales, Affiliate Marketing or Drop Shipping.
Why not get the knowledge out of your head and into a business that could earn you some cash!
Building a business on the Internet isn't difficult like many Moms assume. If you don't know how to build a website, you can use a "What you see is what you get" html editor. HTML is the coding language of web designers. But you don't have to learn it in order to build a site. WYSIWYG html editors are as easy to use as word processing software. If you can write a fancy email or draft a nice letter, you can build a website.
Some website hosts even include professional looking website templates and beautiful stock photos, so you don't even have to hire a web designer to get a great looking site online anymore.
What is more, there are resources online that can teach you what you need to know in order to get traffic to your site and market yourself. Why not ask around at a work at home Moms message board and see what other Moms in business recommend for learning these techniques?
Don't let a small budget deter you from starting a website. For less than $25, you can buy a domain name and website hosting for one year. As you start to earn income, you can reinvest in other tools and learning that will help you grow your profits.
Building a business on the Internet has never been easier. Don't let fear or a lack of technical know-how stop you from meeting your income goals. Reach out and ask for help and you'll soon be up and running.
What You Should Know Before Buying Annuities
Americans hear a lot about the shaky outlook for Social Security. In the future, the federal program likely will play a smaller overall role in Americans' retirement plans.
One way to fill in the gaps of a savings portfolio is to put money in annuities. With an annuity, you pay a premium in exchange for guaranteed income payments at regular intervals. It is most often used for retirement purposes.
The basic types of annuities are equity indexed, fixed rate and variable. The major advantage of annuities is that they all guarantee benefits such as tax-free growth, the ability to pass money directly to heirs or charities and an income stream for life.
Over the past few years, equity-indexed annuities have gained a great deal of popularity. They offer interest or benefits that are linked to an external equity reference - a stock index like the S&P 500, for example. But you get a guaranteed minimum return in exchange for a limited maximum return; that is, you get less upside, but also less downside, to your stock-market investing. Your principal is never at risk.
Fixed-rate annuities, on the other hand, guarantee an interest rate and a declared minimum. They have traditionally been the most popular annuities.
Variable annuities provide more options. They enable you to invest in stock, bonds, mutual funds and money-market instruments.
Reputable financial companies, like TrueYield Financial, want to make sure investors are comfortable when purchasing annuities. Here are some tips for the potential investor.
* Be sure the firm you work with is not limited to offering just one company's annuities. There are many options available, so work with an agent that can get the one that best fits your needs.
* Understand what you are buying. Talk to your financial adviser or agent about which annuity may be right for your retirement portfolio. Fully understand the annuity contract you are considering.
* Define your goals. Annuities can be used to accomplish a number of financial goals. For example, they can supplement your monthly income or provide emergency funds. Decide which purpose your annuity will serve.
* Ask your agent if you have a "free look" period to review your annuity contract and make sure you have made the right decision.
* Investigate whether or not a bonus annuity is right for you. Bonus annuities credit premium bonuses to allow a retirement saver to make up for stock market loss or to provide an immediate boost to the account value.
Saving Money Online With Digital Coupons Freebies And Comparison Shopping
The Internet is a great invention for many different reasons. But, did you know that it can be a great resource for saving you money when shopping? You no longer have to clip coupons out of the Sunday paper; you can find them right at the tip of your fingers just by knowing where to look!
One of the easiest ways to save money on the Internet is by printing online coupons. All you have to do is type the search criteria "online coupon" in your favorite search engine and you are on your way to savings! Here are some examples of great online web sites that help you save money:
CouponSurfer CouponSurfer has almost 300 coupons from over 100 stores on their web site. Do you need new brake pads on your car? You can save up to 50% just by filling out the free registration form at CouponSurfer and printing their coupon. Other recent savings at CouponSurfer were a 40-cent coupon from Tropicana, a 50-cent off coupon from St. Joseph's aspirin, and coupons from Pampers.
Hot Coupons Hot Coupons lets you type in your zip code or city name to find discounts offered in your area. You can find savings for local restaurants, automotive centers, health centers, retail stores, and businesses including real estate, lawyers, hotels, and doctors.
Also, pay attention to television commercials. Many times, companies coming out with a new product will advertise on television and list a web page where you can print a money saving coupon. A recent commercial from Febreze listed their web page address. By going there, you can fill out a form and have Frebreze mail you $20 in coupons for many of their products, including their latest electronic air freshener, NOTICEables.
There are also web sites that offer a percentage off online purchases. Ultimate Coupons is a great example of this type of online savings site. Ultimate Coupons constantly updates their site with the latest in online savings. A recent search showed coupons for 10% off at Target.com, 15% off Pet Supplies at Petco, and $5 off $20 on Digital Photos & Gifts at Snapfish. Many times, if you search online, you can also find codes for free shipping to places like Macys, Sears, Amazon, and Old Navy.
Many web sites have user forums where people can share online savings and free offers with each other. Big Big Forums is an excellent place to visit to find coupon codes, freebies, and reward programs. Members (there are over 31,000) post different offers they have seen on television or found online. There are folders for each particular type of offer, so it is very easy to find things here. Once you register for free, you too can post coupon codes and freebies. You may even be lucky enough to get in on a free subscription to a magazine such as TV Guide or link to a free Schick Quattro razor.
A great feature of many Internet web sites is that they will give you price comparisons of items for which you are looking. Froogle is Google's shopping search engine. All you have to do is type in the name of what you are looking for and Froogle does the rest! It will find web pages selling the item you are looking for and lists the price. That way, you can find the best deal available. There are several other web sites that will help you to do comparison shopping such as MySimon and Bizrate. Letting these sites help you find the best price can make every online shopping experience enjoyable.
Other web sites can save you money online too. You can refinance your home loan and find the lowest interest rates by searching at Ditech or search for the cheapest car insurance at Geico. How do you learn about all the sites available? The best way is to pay attention to the media. Commercials, newspapers, and magazines are always listing web sites. Also, join a forum such as Big Big Forums. When people share ideas and resources, it can be great for your pocketbook. Remember that every coupon and savings opportunity adds up!
Straight Facts On Financing Your Retirement
According to a recent global survey by AXA Equitable, American workers are confident, but not well-informed, about their financial outlook in retirement. For example, 60 percent of workers believe their retirement income will be sufficient, but only one in five actually knows what that income will be.
Workers' confidence may come from watching their parents live well in retirement:
(*) On average, U.S. retirees receive $4,243 in net monthly income (including Social Security, company pensions, personal assets and savings, etc.); however, the median (middle point) net monthly income is just $463.
(*) 98 percent of U.S. retirees are confident with their living standard, claiming they already have everything they need.
However, with Social Security and pensions falling out of favor (about 9 in 10 believe the Social Security program is in trouble or crisis), workers are receiving a wake-up call for retirement planning. In fact, an estimated 65 percent of workers realize they will need to rely on their own savings to get them through retirement.
Of all respondents worldwide, Americans are the least likely to rely on government-managed retirement savings programs or to hold the government responsible for providing retirement income.
"Not only are Americans on their own for retirement financing, they're also living longer and realizing that they may need funds to last them for more than 30 years after they retire," said Ken Gelman, AXA's director of market research. "As a result, they're taking retirement savings very seriously by starting early and consulting trusted financial advisors."
As a result of sound advice, Americans are able to build diversified retirement portfolios.
When asked how retirement income is being secured, about two-thirds of respondents-working and retired-cited several types of assets, including IRAs, 401(k)s, investment funds and company pensions.
However, Americans are being cautious with the funds that should last a lifetime. Seventy-eight percent of workers favor investments with a modest ROI and no financial risk. Even so, Americans lead the survey in financial risk-taking.
The Retirement Scope survey was conducted by AXA, a leader in financial advice and wealth management. More than 6,900 working and retired people in 11 countries were surveyed.
When Debt Collectors Cross The Line Bogus Threats Illegal Collection Tactics
If you are behind on your bills and on the receiving end of collection phone calls, you will probably hear collectors make some very threatening statements. While most debt collection professionals try to stay within the boundaries defined by the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), many others cross the line on a regular basis. In 2004, the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) received more than 58,000 complaints about debt collectors, a figure which represents 17% of the total number of complaints received all year. Consumers complain about the collection industry more than most other industries combined.
Collection professionals would probably respond that the enormous size of the industry and the sheer volume of collection activity accounts for the large number of complaints. However, only a small percentage of violations are actually reported by consumers, so the data collected by the FTC represents only a tiny fraction of the true scope of the problem. Even so, a pattern of abusive and illegal collection activity has been well documented by the FTC, and it is getting worse instead of better.
Here are some common threats made by debt collectors:
"We're going to take your house unless you pay this bill immediately." This is a bogus threat. Unless the debt being collected is secured by the house in question (i.e., a mortgage or home equity loan), the creditor does not have the power to take your house away from you.
"If you don't pay this bill today, we're going to have a warrant issued for your arrest." Nonsense. Failure to pay a debt is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. Threatening a debtor with jail time or accusing them of committing a crime is totally against the rules.
"We don't care that you sent a cease communication notice. We're going to call you anyway." The FDCPA gives you the right to terminate contact efforts by a debt collector. Failure to respect a cease communication notice is a clear violation of Federal law.
"We're going to garnish your wages to recover this debt." A collector can only threaten action it has the legal authority to take, and the vast majority of collection agencies have zero legal authority. Your wages can only be garnished by a creditor after they have won a judgment against you in a lawsuit.
"We know where you live, so you better pay up." Yes, threats of violence still happen in this industry. Nearly 300 complaints against collectors received by the FTC last year cited the threat of violence as the cause of the complaint. This is absolutely illegal.
Aside from the usual bogus threats, collectors also use other tactics that are illegal. For example, discussing your debt with a third party is a clear violation of the FDCPA. Yet collectors routinely call neighbors, relatives, and employers to obtain information on debtors. So long as the collector does not discuss the actual matter of the debt, they still have their toes on the right side of the line. But as soon as they mention or even hint that they are calling about a debt, they have crossed the line.
Since many debtors have taken to screening their phone calls at home to cut down on the relentless barrage, debt collectors frequently call them at work (when they can obtain the number). In theory, a consumer can get the collector to stop calling their workplace simply by stating that they are not allowed to receive personal phone calls at work. That puts the collector on notice that such activity constitutes interference with the consumer's employment, which is not permitted. In practice, however, collectors routinely ignore this rule and continue to call at work.
There are many other techniques of harassment and intimidation that cross the line from permissible to impermissible collection activity. Use of obscene or profane language, shouting, constant and unrelenting telephone calls, failure to respond to written disputes, and publication of debtor information all constitute illegal activity as defined by the FDCPA.
So if you are on the receiving end of illegal collection actions, what can you do to protect yourself? First and foremost, it's important to know and understand your rights as a consumer. A description of your rights under The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act may be obtained directly from the FTC (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/fdc.htm).
If you believe that a collector has violated your rights in their attempt to collect from you, then you should not hesitate to file formal complaints with the Attorney General for your state (www.naag.org) as well as the Federal Trade Commission. If enough complaints are received about a particular collector, then these authorities are empowered to bring an enforcement action against them, which may result in expensive fines that will make the agency or collector think twice about using such tactics in the future. You also have the right to bring a lawsuit yourself against a collector that harasses or abuses you, or otherwise violates your rights under the law.
One final point. The FDCPA technically only applies to third-party debt collectors, which includes collection agencies and collection attorneys. It does not apply to the original creditor when collecting their own debt. For example, if you borrow money from a bank, the bank is not regulated by the FDCPA. However, numerous other public laws protect consumers from deceptive or abusive collection practices even by original creditors, and many states also have laws that parallel the FDCPA but go further and include original creditors in the definition of debt collector. So if an original creditor is harassing you or has crossed the line, you should still file a complaint with your state's Attorney General as well as the FTC. If a clear pattern of abuse emerges, the original creditor can be charged with unfair or deceptive acts or practices, either under state law or under the FTC Act that governs conduct of commerce in our country.
To sum up, if you are on the receiving end of collection harassment, don't just take it. Educate yourself on your rights as a consumer, vigorously dispute debts that you don't believe you owe, and take action yourself in the form of complaints to your Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. By standing up for your rights, you can put a stop to bogus threats and illegal collection tactics.
How To Transfer A Retirement Account
Make sure you know where you intend on moving your money in advance!
As you probably know, an individual retirement account requires that you decide where your money is going to be invested in order to work with the retirement account. Essentially this is called a "custodian" for your investments. You should generally chose a safe custodian - some of the most common ones are mutual funds, savings accounts, and bonds. While you should definitely be careful as to which custodian you choose for your retirement account, don't worry! You are not stuck with the same investment until you retire.
However, unlike a normal investment, you should keep in mind that you are only allowed to transfer or "roll over" your retirement account once a year. Also, there are some very specific rules that you need to follow. It is generally a good idea to find out how to transfer a retirement account before you even begin to invest in one. That way if you ever need to do a roll over in the future, you'll be ready.
First of all, you should probably have a good idea of where you want to invest the money before you start the rollover process. The reason for this is that after you take the money out of your original IRA custodian, you'll only have 60 days to put it into the new custodian fund. If you take too long, then you will be subject to a large penalty tax - and penalties are definitely not worth the few extra days that you take!
Something to keep in mind is that if you do a roll over, you will need to report that at the end of the year. Just like anything else that is involved with your finances, you should make sure that you keep track of which custodians go with your individual retirement accounts and how much money is in each account.
If you are going to do a smaller transfer from one existing IRA to another, then it is possible that you won't even have to report your transfer. These transfers are also tax-free. This is a good idea if you do not want to change all of your money from one custodian to another, but you think that it would be a good idea to change how much money you have in each IRA.
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