Basic Financial Information Tips (Part I)
Savings. Pay yourself first. Start now stashing 10% of your income in an "Emergency" savings. Don't use it for anything but real emergencies. Keep a "For Sure" savings account for yearly expenses you know are coming and you can estimate (e.g. Christmas, insurance, taxes, etc.). Also have a "Buy Stuff" account. If you do, you'll be able to avoid many financial disasters which will face you, and you can avoid borrowing money from high-rate lenders.
Borrowing. Don't borrow money unless you are willing and able to pay it back. Failure to pay debts - on time - causes severe financial, emotional, and family problems. Experts recommend you don't borrow for wants, only for needs, or for things that increase in value. Many lenders will loan you money you can't afford to pay back, especially high-rate lenders.
Co-signing. Don't co-sign on a loan unless you are willing and able to pay it back. Often, co-signers end up paying off loans they are unprepared for, and financial hardships follow. Numerous co-signors now have negative credit ratings because a primary borrower paid late. Many lenders do not notify the co-signor before reporting delinquencies or repossessions to the credit bureau.
Compare. Before you decide who to borrow from, compare! Find out who is offering the best deal at that time - look for the loan with the lowest rate (APR).
APR. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR). It is the standard rate, so we may compare the cost of borrowing. It is the cost of credit expressed as a yearly rate. When you borrow, always beat 13% APR (consider "13" to be unlucky when it comes to borrowing). Some have been illegally stating other rates such as weekly or monthly rates. Compare APR to APR. If you pay your bills on time, and you aren't over-extended, you can nearly always find loans or financing arrangements at rates lower than 13%. Beware though, because beating 13% does not always mean you are getting a good deal. For instance: the difference in total interest paid on an 11% versus an 8% 30-year, $100,000 mortgage loan is $64,283 (assuming all payments are made as agreed).
Consolidation Loans. A consolidation loan can result in great savings to borrowers if the new interest rate is significantly lower, and if you don't run-up debt similar to what was just consolidated. But beware, because consolidation loans usually result in substantially more money out of your pocket into the lenders'. For instance, mortgage loans usually involve closing costs. They increase the total debt. Many refinances involve reducing the monthly payment, but increasing the length of payback, which substantially increases the total interest paid. Borrowers, who refinance unsecured debt (e.g. credit cards) into a home mortgage, also increase their risk of losing their homes. Also, remember to keep all of your payments current until the old debt is paid off. Too many people have damaged credit ratings, and are in bad financial condition because they counted on money which didn't come when they expected it. Expect delays when applying for loans, especially consolidation loans. Don't spend money before you
Desperation. Don't get desperate for money. The more desperate you are, the less likely you are to get a good loan.
Auto insurance. Keep your auto insurance current. If you fail to keep your insurance up-to-date, you could end up making loan payments for years after your car has been totaled.
Establish good credit. To avoid bad credit, don't borrow too much, and do pay your bills on time. Inexpensive ways to establish good credit: (1) Obtain a good credit card. When you charge things, pay off the balance each month - on time - and pay no interest. (2) Establish a revolving line of credit (an empty loan) as an overdraft protection against bounced checks, and don't use it as a loan. (3) Get a loan to buy a car, or furniture, or etc.) and pay it off within a few months.
Late fees. To avoid late fees (which multiply the cost of borrowing), pay early, or at least on time.
Repossessions. To avoid repossessions and associated fees, pay early or on time, and keep your insurance current.
Financial Mistakes To Learn From
In this day and age, there really shouldn't be any reason to make certain financial mistakes. Do a search of the internet and you will find that there are thousands of articles out there that warn you of the pitfalls of certain choices. Advice for living a financially stable life is everywhere. What are you waiting for?
Here are the most common mistakes that I've seen people make. I've even made a few of them myself. These are the financial mistakes that you can learn from. You've probably made a few of them yourself, they are very common.
Mistake #1: Using that little plastic card to get what you want.
We'll just start off with the number one mistake out there. This is probably the most common mistake in the country. Almost every person in the US today has a credit card. It is almost like a right of passage when you turn eighteen. There are even people out there that aren't eighteen yet that have them.
Credit card debt is the fastest way to ruin your finances. It is easy to acquire and difficult to pay off. The minimum balance doesn't pay off enough of your outstanding balance to help you very much. You will be paying on your balances for decades. Even a $500 balance can take you over a decade to pay off if you simply make the minimum payment.
Add in the interest rate, which rarely goes down. If you miss a payment, you will really be paying the bank. Thirty percent interest is common on a credit card once a payment has been missed. And you only have to miss that payment by a day - which can happen in the mail or processing if you don't plan ahead well enough.
Mistake #2: Buying more home than you can afford.
With the real estate market in the state it is today, many people are regretting their housing decisions. Adjustable rate mortgages are acceptable loan products for some people. But only if they can afford the maximum rate that the loan can hit if interest rates go up. Too many people only consider that introductory rate. They stretch and purchase as much as they can afford. Then, when rates go up and their rate adjusts, they can't afford the payment. Add that to a slowing housing market, and you may have a foreclosure on your hands.
If you are going to buy a home, make sure that you purchase what you can afford. Take out a fixed-rate mortgage so that you know what your payments will be. If rates go drastically down in the next couple of years, you can always refinance. If rates go up, you are protected. Try to aim for a 15-year mortgage over a 30-year. It will save you hundreds of thousands in interest. But if you can't do it, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is an acceptable loan choice for the purchase of a home.
Mistake #3: Not controlling your money.
Too many people live paycheck to paycheck. They have no savings. They have no retirement plan. They have nothing to back them up in the case of an emergency. They have no control over their money.
You have to take control of your finances if you want to retire someday. You have to learn how to budget, save, invest and spend. All it takes is a little time. And once you get in the habit, you will notice that your life has more control. You should say where your money goes, not lenders or creditors or anyone else.
Mistake #4: Not saving for retirement.
There are more seniors in the work place now than there were twenty years ago. And even more than there were fifty years ago. If you want to retire with enough money to live comfortably, you have to start putting something back today. Start an IRA. Contribute to your employer's 401(k) plan. Figure out how much you need to invest and find a way to do it. This is your future. You don't want to reach sixty and realize that you can't afford to stop working. There is no guarantee that you will be able to draw social security or other forms of assistance then. What if you become ill and have to retire? What if you get hurt? Prepare for the future. Start saving for retirement today.
Searching For A Financial Adviser
The market has so many investment choices that it can offer you, people tend to become overwhelmed just with the thought of them. It is important to have a plan, the discipline, and proper guidance when implementing any financial goals. There are many things within the market that can become extremely tempting, that they will come out with portfolio's that are misaligned, thus resulting in high risks and poor performance within the market.
Any person wanting to become involved with the market should seek out the council and advice of a financial advisor. This professional can help you meet your goals, as well as helping you protect the finances you have. A financial advisor that is a professional should have all the necessary expertise, qualifications, and tools that can help you focus on your long term goals.
When searching for a financial adviser, you will want a person that helps you to build a plan according to the priorities you currently hold, as well as helping you build for the financial needs within your future. You should seek a person that is willing to meet regularly with you to make any adjustments that are necessary and monitor your progress. Here are specific qualities you will want to look for in your financial advisor:
So, Do You Need Financial Planning?
Well do you need Financial Planning? In this article, I will show you how you can answer this question.
Immediately after we complete our college education, we automatically participate in a race call rat race.
Everyone started the race with a cart. In this cart, we have personal bills, loans and our allowance. As we are single, everything is good and manageable. We can spend what we earn without worry.
Then we meet our partners and get married. Thus we begin our next chapter in life. Our cart becomes heavier and we now worry about our spouse's bills and loans and kids allowance. Some of us must support our parents too. We may even need to bring our family to vocation. As we grow older, our carts get heavier and heavier. Do you have enough savings to meet these expenses?
As we know, life is never a straight and smooth path. We will encounter obstacles. Some of these obstacles may set us back in terms of our financial standing .If we do encounter a big obstacle (e.g. critical illness, operation, surgery, business failure) and need a huge sum of money to recover, Do you have enough money to meet this expense? What if the big obstacle results in us being permanently bed-ridden or out of work for a long time, what is going to happen to our cart? Do you have enough money to support yourself and family if that happens?
Many may say, well we have friends and relatives to turn to for help. But our friends and family have their own carts to pull too. If they help push our cart, who is going to push theirs?
We will all retire from work eventually. From then on till we all rest in peace, we do not have regular income but our life must still go on. We still need to pay our bills and we still need to eat. Do you have enough money to support yourself during retirement?
At old age, our body is no longer working as well as they used to. Our health conditions deteriorate, as we get older. We will need to seek medical help frequently. We may even need to employ a person to take good care of us. Do you have enough money to spend on these medical expenses?
So do you need Financial Planning? If you answer 'Yes' to all the above questions, then you are safe and need not worry about Financial Planning. Otherwise, I suggest you start thinking about it.
Refinancing: Mistakes and Misconceptions
It is often the biggest mistake we make when attempting to refinance by overlooking and disregarding equity lines that are right around us and that can possibly be sourced with a little ingenuity. You never overlook any possible source of finance when building a property portfolio. This is a common mistake that can cost us a lot in the future as without the right financing we will be subject to things such as higher interest rates as well.
When we look at the equity available around us we also often limit it to our own belongings. This is not a bad practice however when looking to build out we have to think at a deeper level. In our list of equity lines we should in addition to our belongings have a potential list of persons that we can approach to sign with us as guarantors or even as joint owners. This is important to consider in tandem with refinancing.
There is no need to look too far when compiling this list and in fact this list should be close to home for the most part. Ask yourself this question, "Do you know anyone that owns their own home?" I am certain the answer will be an outstanding yes. What about someone that has their own business? These are all options when you are looking for someone to give you that last edge towards getting a loan or even in given you the additional boost so that refinancing is easier to accomplish.
You can use your own resources such as your own equity and any savings you may have and refinance as well but the importance of a guarantor is often overlooked. It is hard to get that loan if you have the requirement of a large amount or sum of money. Even with equity and savings there is no guarantee that the person that is approving the loan will be sufficiently convinced of your ability to repay and hence refinancing is easier with that additional guarantor. It also helps that this person is willing to go out on a limb for you so the provider of the loan is able to establish some level of trust that you are capable of repaying.
This is where building a trust relationship comes in handy. Institutions do not approve loans. We go to many places to source loans such as:
"Banks "Credit Unions "Private Lenders "Wealthy Investors
These are just a few of the institutions that we can approach. However it is the people in these institutions that we have to convince that we are capable to handle a refinancing of our loan and repay it efficiently. We also have to convince them that our plan is one that will be profitable. They are in essence putting there security at stake when they approve a loan for us and as such there must be a certain level of trust in your ability to fulfil the obligation of a loan.
Bankruptcy The Last Financial Resort
Bankruptcy - the word itself is enough to send shivers down your financial spine. But in a world where perfection is all, and the visual expression of that perfection comes in the amount of possessions we can amass, bankruptcy is becoming an option for more and more of us. With an estimated one and a half bankruptcy cases taking place in 2005 alone, it seems that we are head for the courts in our droves in some attempt to get our finances back on track. But if you are struggling financially, how can you tell whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you?
So many of us are feeling the pressure to keep up in this modern world by enjoying all the luxuries our paycheck can afford. The problem is that for many of us, we can't afford this way of life at all, and buy now thinking that we'll worry about the cost later. Financial responsibility, it seems, doesn't come easy to us, so much so that we are choosing what should be a last resort all too easily. But beware - bankruptcy might offer the financially troubled a clean slate, but it doesn't mean there's not a price to pay.
There are a number of different types of bankruptcy, which involve either the liquidation of your assets or participating in a repayment scheme. While it is true that a portion of your debts will be written off, you will be held accountable for certain debts, which will be included in your repayment plan. Bankruptcy does allow a certain amount of flexibility in the way that this is done, but it should not be thought of as a get-out-of-jail-free card that comes without consequences.
Bankruptcy also has implications for your credit future. The fact of your bankruptcy is likely to be listed in your credit reports for ten years, during which time you may find acquiring credit to be quite difficult. Renting apartments or leasing other items may become more difficult to those with a bankruptcy behind them. On the other hand, because you are now prohibited from declaring bankruptcy for some years, some creditors may be more keen to take you on, as you have no way of escaping your debt. This can help recreate the cycle of debt that led you to declare bankruptcy in the first place.
Bankruptcy can be a useful tool in regaining financial control, but it is not a decision to be undertaken lightly. Weigh all your other options before you proceed, and avail of financial counselling if you can to help you to be more careful next time around.
Is Re-Financing Always Worthwhile Anyway?
This is a very important question which all homeowners should ask themselves both at the start and towards the end of the process of re-financing. The answer to this question can spur the homeowner to investigate re-financing further or convince the homeowner to table the thoughts of re-financing for the moment and concentrate on other aspect of owning a home.
Establish Financial Goals
This should be the first step in the process of determining whether or not re-financing is worthwhile. Without this step, a homeowner cannot accurate answer the question of the worth of re-financing because the homeowner may not fully understand his own financial goals. While financial goals may run the gamut from one extreme to another the most basic question to ask is whether the more significant goal is long term savings or increased monthly cash flow. This is important because re-financing can usually achieve these two goals.
Do You Want to Save Money in the Long Run?
Homeowners who establish a goal of saving money in the long run should consider re-financing options such as lower interest rates or shorter loan terms. Both of these options can considerably lower the amount of interest the homeowner is paying on the loan. This is significant because paying less interest will result in a greater cost savings.
Consider an example where a homeowner has an existing debt of $100,000, an interest rate of 6.25% and a loan term of 30 years. Just by reducing the loan term to 15 years the homeowner can significantly decrease the amount which is paid in interest during the course of the loan. However, this option will also result in an increase in the monthly payments made by the homeowner. Therefore this type of re-financing option may only be available to those who have enough cash flow to compensate for the increase in monthly payments.
Do You Want to Increase Your Monthly Cash Flow?
Some homeowners may have a chosen goal of increasing their monthly cash flow. For these homeowners the overall cost savings may not be as important as having more money available to them each month. These homeowners might consider a re-financing option in which they are able to extend their loan terms. This means they will be repaying the existing debt over a longer period of time. The homeowner will pay more in interest in the long run but will achieve their goal of lower monthly payments and an increased cash flow.
How Will Re-Financing Affect Tax Deductions?
This is another serious consideration for homeowners who are interested in investigating the possibility of re-financing. The interest paid on a home loan is often tax deductible. A homeowner who re-finances in a manner which results in less interest being paid annually may adversely affect their tax strategy. The implications of this type of chance can be amplified for homeowners who were previously just below a significant tax break line. A significant decrease in the amount of interest paid will mean a significant decrease in the deduction the homeowner is allowed to take. This reduced deduction can put the homeowner in an entirely different tax bracket and could end up costing the homeowner money in the long run. For this reason, homeowners who are considering re-financing should have a tax preparation professional determine the ramifications re-financing will have on their tax return before a decision is made.
New Generation Of Financial Information Systems Makes Crunching Numbers Faster And Easier
In what seems like only a few short years, fiscal selective information systems (FIS) have evolved from simple, back-office support systems into fully integrated solutions that can handle everything from payroll to accounts receivable and gross cycle management. But such increased functionality would not be possible without the ability to combine disparate databases into a single source of entropy that can be mined at multiple levels.
The importance of data mining quickly became apparent to corporate executives at James Edmund Scripps Wellness in San Diego, who had been working with six separate databases before upgrading to a newer variant of Dawn Approach Coach/Affected role Fiscal Handler from Boca Raton, Fla.-founded Eclipsys Corp.
Edward Wyllis Scripps currently operates five acute care facilities totaling nearly 1,400 beds, two medical groups with 14 outpatient clinics, a home health agency and a health plan. Today, yearly revenues average $1.35 billion, which is a big turnaround from a few years ago when posted operating losses in 2000 and 2001 totaling approximately $26 1000000 and $22 one thousand thousand and respectively. In an effort to bolster their bottom line, devised a number of key strategies, not the least of which was drastically changing their methods of charge and reimbursement.
"A couple of years ago we moved away from capitated risk to fee-for-service risk," says David Ferdinand Julius Cohn, vice president of patient services. Additionally, since each infirmary had been running its own Eclipsys FIS, the organization made the decision to rise these 13-old systems by installing an enterprisewide FIS.
Realized similar gains in efficiencies, although not all were directly related to the adoption of a new software solution. admits that a significant portion of gain was due to process improvements in recovering underpayments from third-party payers.
"We look at trends by types of underpayments and develop strategies to work together with our payer partners," he says, adding that collection of underpayments in financial 2003 was 9 percent above 2002, amounting to More than $15.4 meg. The auditing of Thomas More than 100,000 accounts during outpatient tax income charge-capture audits yielded Sir Thomas More than $10 a million in additional charges.
Furthermore, monthly cash collections for 2004 exceeded those for 2003 by $10.4 , while net taxation between 2001 and 2003 increased by $44 as a result of improvements in charge capture, coding, reduced bad debt and incremental tax revenue recovery. In addition, operating profitability, during that same period, improved by $40 . A focus on reversing the losses incurred during 2000 and 2001 also led to establish a systemwide cycle steering committee, as well as multidisciplinary teams on the level so that "everybody would be on the same page,".
Drake adds that coordinating the steering committee and teams helped define how the centralized business office could best support the needs of each facility. Those weekly meetings covered a wide range of topics, she says, including coverage, interim and obstacles to discharge. But went even further in overhauling its strategies.
It developed a -dedicated claims processing team within Kaiser's regional claims center in Pasadena, Calif., which reduced the claims backlog by $6. It outsourced unpaid commercial and PPO outpatient claims to QuadraMed. "We wanted our people to stay focused on higher-dollar claims," explains . Drake also says, "We did an awful lot of work on appeals by working with our payers and improving our contracts."
There's no question that upgrading to Dawning Memory access Director/Patient role Managing director variation 11.3 improved the organization's efficiency in accessing and analyzing data. A major driver in that rising slope was the EDI transaction set requirements mandated by HIPAA, says.
Also, needed to streamline its Medicare process, since Medicare accounts for about 35 percent to 40 percent of its business. Due to time constraints resulting from the HIPAA deadline, was unable to install a Web- edition of the Eclipsys software, choosing instead the character- interpretation that could ruin on a UNIX platform using a cache system, says Drake. However, plans are already in the works to ascent to reading 11.4.
How To Safeguard Your Financial Life
How to Safeguard Your Financial Life
Several financial planners would agree that one of the
foremost and important steps that you should take to
protect your financial stability is to set aside funds
as emergency reserve. The concept that you have the
fund for emergency and unexpected events is enough to
help you stay away from using your credit card and
drown yourself in debt.
How to Get Started
Everyone must stash a little extra cash in case of
emergencies. However, how much money should you keep?
Although the topic of exactly how much money is needed
for your emergency fund is open to debate, the minimum
amount should be enough to cover your expenses for
daily living for at least three months. It is also
wiser to save for six months though most financial
planners agree on a full year worth of cash.
Your personal circumstances and what it takes to
provide you with a peace of mind are the elements to
help you determine just how cautious you want to be.
If for instance, you have well-off parents who have
always been supportive and willing to help you in a
financial crisis, an emergency fund for three months
will be sufficient. On the other hand, if you had
reach for you credit card for help and end up paying
15% in interest on the debt, you would be better off
saving enough money for your expenses that would last
for at least six months.
If by any chance you are thinking about where to place
your money, emergency fund, paying off the credit card
debt or funding your 401(k), you can always start with
your credit card debt. Next, you can contribute to
your 401(k). This step is especially useful since you
can later borrow money from your 401(k). However, as
soon as all those are finished, return to your project
of setting up your emergency fund.
If you do not feel like you are required to make your
entire funds this week, you can start like everyone
else. Begin by setting aside a monthly amount, like
for instance, 5% of your paycheck or other amount that
allows you to build one month's worth of living
expenses over the course of a full year. It is also
advisable and helpful to make this automatic. You can
do this by asking your bank to do an automatic program
for deduction from your checking account to your
Additionally, monitor you spending habit each month
and always search for areas that you can develop. If
by any chance you receive a promotion, bonuses, or
other unexpected windfalls, always think about
including them to your emergency fund.
Where to Keep the Cash
Keep your emergency fund somewhere that is both easily
accessible and safe because you might be required to
get the cash in a hurry during emergencies. Remember
not to put your cash in the freezer but do not tie
them up together in stocks whose worth may have
declined by the time you need them.
The best option you have is to open a savings account
or money market account. However, always examine their
offer with regards to the minimum balance, interest
rate and other terms.
By time you think you have saved enough, learn how to
stop. You can now sleep easier and try to start
placing your additional saving into higher-interest
and usually less accessible investments or accounts.
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