A Real Time Way To Avoid Identity Theft Experts Lend A Hand With Tips On Lending Money Not To Late To Make 2005 Ira Contribution What If You Lose Your Job Good Investment Advice Only For The Rich Energy Conservation Begins At Home
As identity thieves become more of a threat to individuals and businesses, many people wish they had someone-or something-to watch over and guard their valuable financial information.
While most consumers can’t afford a financial bodyguard, many are taking advantage of a real-time identity management service that can potentially avert identity crimes.
I consider one service, Identity Sweep, developed with MyPublic Info (MyPublicInfo.com) and Affinion Group (www.affiniongroup .com), a leader in credit monitoring and identity theft, to be more proactive than any other. It may be the consumer’s best chance at avoiding identity-related criminal abuse. Identity Sweep protects consumer identities in three ways:
1. It includes a leading-edge identity fraud detection technology that scans billions of public records for suspicious activity associated with identity fraud, including attempts to create a synthetic identity. The service analyzes the suspicious activity to provide a risk score.
2. It searches Internet newsgroups, search engines, blogs and hundreds of thousands of chat rooms and Web sites looking for personal and financial information. It instantly notifies consumers by e-mail of any suspicious activity related to their personal information before the customer is victimized. This technology works faster than credit card and credit bureau monitoring services.
3. It scans online directories that list a consumer’s information and requests removal of that information to prevent abuse by telemarketers and identity thieves.
The smallest bills can cause the biggest stress, especially at the end of the month when due dates seem to come faster than paydays. When the financial outlook is uncertain, many choose to reach out to friends and family for short-term help.
Lending money to friends is a common practice and although people often have the best of intentions, it can sometimes result in sticky situations. According to a recent study by IPSOS and PayPal, 71 percent of Americans have loaned money to family members and friends.
It may seem harmless to help a friend make a car payment or assist a co-worker going through a divorce who just needs “a little help.” But a temporary crisis isn’t always so temporary-and can quickly become an uncomfortable situation if the lender has to ask for the money to be repaid. As easy as it is to lend to someone you know well, it can be just as hard to pester them to pay you back.
According to etiquette experts Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh, co-authors of “The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum”and “The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Grace under Pressure,” money issues between friends and family members are difficult because money is inherently an emotional situation for both parties.
In fact, according to the survey, 57 percent of Americans have seen a relationship end because one person owed the other money. Everyone wants to be a good friend, but no one enjoys feeling like someone is taking advantage of their generosity, say Izzo and Marsh.
“But money lending can be done right,” continues Izzo. “We recommend setting some simple ground rules when considering the possibility of lending money. These ground rules can take some of the stress out of lending to friends and family, and even make it into a positive experience.”
Marsh and Izzo offer several tips for conducting successful financial transactions with friends and family:
• If you’re loaning money to someone close to you and if you’re financially able, consider making it a gift rather than a loan. If not, make it clear you expect to be paid back.
• To make collecting a debt easier and more comfortable, consider using a service called PayPal. This makes it possible to send and receive payments online. With PayPal, you can send e-mail reminders to the borrower. The lender can then get the money back instantly via email.
• Never co-sign a loan or credit card application for someone else without clear, written parameters, and always maintain a business-like environment.
• Don’t lend beyond your means. Only lend money that you don’t need back immediately so as not to ruin your credit or your relationship with the borrower.
“It’s possible to help out a friend or relative in a way that won’t compromise a relationship, while still making sure you’re not left empty-handed,” says Marsh. “Be fair with both the borrower and your own bank account, and hold to your agreements. This will help keep both the relationship and your wallet intact.”
Many Americans make annual contributions to individual retirement accounts. If you haven’t done so for the 2005 tax year, you still can.
Not To Late To Make 2005 IRA Contribution
Contributing to individual retirement accounts just makes sense. Most don’t believe social security is going to survive for long. Even if it does, one has to wonder how small the distributions are going to be. With the baby boomer generation about to put significant strain on the system, distributions in ten or twenty years are going to be paltry.
If you failed to contribute to your individual retirement account in 2005, you have until April 15, 2006 to do so. This is also true if you contributed during 2005, but failed to deposit the maximum amount allowed under law.
The contribution limits for individual retirement accounts went up in 2005. You can generally contribute up to $4,000. If you are older than 50 years of age, the limit bumps up another $500 to $4,500. When making contributions, just make sure you note on the deposit slip that it is for the 2005 year, not 2006.
Although there are variations, individual retirement accounts come in two general forms. The traditional independent retirement account is a pre-tax contribution vehicle. If you meet salary and filing requirements, the money you contribute from your earning is excluded from your adjusted gross tax calculations. If you are looking for extra deductions for 2005, catching up on your individual retirement account contribution can create a healthy reduction of your reported earnings. The downside, of course, is distributions from traditional IRAs are taxable when you hit the relevant age limit.
The Roth IRA represents a different approach to the individual retirement savings conundrum. Essentially, the Roth IRA shifts the tax burden to the beginning of the savings cycle. In human terms, this means you get no deduction for contributing to a Roth IRA. If you don’t get a deduction, why would you use a Roth? The huge advantage to the Roth is found in the distributions. Simply put, distributions are tax-free when you reach the appropriate retirement age. If you are young, say under 40, Roth IRAs typically present a better return than traditional IRAs. This is because the money invested has more time to compound and grow.
Regardless of your choice, socking away money for retirement makes sense. Fortunately, you can still do so for 2005.
Recently I almost lose my job. It is cause by some misunderstanding. Luckily the misunderstanding got resolved and I manage to retain my job now. I am not here to talk about what is causing that misunderstanding. But I wanted to talk about what is my backup plan if I were to really lose my job.
When I got the news that I will lose my job, the first thing that I can think of is, how am I going to pay my bills, daily expenses, house loan, insurans etc. Luckily from time to time, I had save some money for emergency purpose. I calculated that I can live without a job for at least 6 months. That made me feel relief a bit. Other than some money in my saving account, I have some money in the stock market and unit trust.
I also have some money in my house loan account. For you information my house loan account is the kind of flexible loan payment account. Whenever I pay more, the extra money will be used to reduce my loan principal outstanding. This will reduce the loan interest. But I can still withdraw that extra money out anytime if I need it. I thought this is a very good feature. Every months I will pay extra money to the loan account. I aim to settle the house in less than 5 years. So up to now, I have some decent amount of money in the account. It can be used as my backup emergency funds. At the same time it helps to reduce the interest on my housing loan.
Back to the main topic, I seriously think that we should have some backup funds for emergency purpose. Nowadays Most of people’s financial situation doesn’t even allow them to live for 1 single month if they lose their job. You may think this is not necessary, but wait till you get hit. Then you will know how tough it is. I would say we should have some emergency fund that allow us to live for at least 6 months if we lose our main income.
If you think good investment advice is only for the rich, you’re not alone. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of investing Americans believe that those with more money are able to get better financial advice than those with less money. Further, more than a quarter (26 percent) state that it takes at least $100,000 to get top-quality financial advice.
This is according to a new survey by the Retirement Corporation of America, which also finds that more than half (56 percent) of investors believe that financial advisors lose credibility when they accept fees or commissions.
Given the above perceptions, it is not surprising that 53 percent rely on themselves or turn to family and friends when it is time to make investment decisions rather than seek professional advice. However, changing investment funds is easier said than done for investors. The survey finds that nearly a third (31 percent) are willing to wait from one to five years before they move their money from a poorly performing option to a better one. The factor that makes it most difficult for investors when contemplating change is the scarcity of time to conduct adequate research, as cited by a third of respondents. This is followed by 20 percent who state that they are confused by all the available options and 16 percent who are afraid of making the wrong decisions.
The Retirement Corporation of America conducted this survey to better understand why consumers stay invested in poor-performing mutual funds. Their newly launched investment opportunity-Money Masters Investment Portfolio-is the first to offer unbiased advice and access to top-performing investment funds for every American.
Taking The Guesswork Out
The good news for confused American investors is the new registered investment advisory account (the “R” Account), offered through the Retirement Corporation of America, with no minimum account balance, commissions, transaction fees or exit penalties. It allows investors to access a fully managed Money Masters Investment Portfolio containing 15 of the world’s top-performing mutual fund managers-the “Money Masters.” The Money Masters are the top 10 stock fund and top five bond fund managers chosen from more than 8,000 fund managers who meet very strict selection criteria.
When an investor opens an “R” Account, Retirement Corporation of America advisors determine the individual’s objectives and risk tolerance. Based on that profile, a Money Masters Investment Portfolio is created to best suit the individual investor’s needs.
As Americans face rising fuel prices, many are looking for ways to save money and energy in their homes.
The pressure to reduce energy consumption and costs is inspiring homeowners to challenge the relevance of old heating and hot water solutions and consider other cost-effective options, such as wall-hung boiler technology.
Wall-hung boilers have been common in homes throughout Europe for the past three decades and are now emerging as a popular alternative for heating homes and businesses in North America.
Baxi Luna wall-hung boilers, for instance, are helping homeowners throughout the U.S. cut their home heating and hot water fuel consumption in half. These boilers are fully modulating, meaning they start at a preset, high-fire position and gradually reduce fuel output until the heating demand is met. At this point, the boiler automatically shuts off.
Billed as one of the quietest boilers on the market, Baxi Luna boilers are fired by propane or natural gas. No bigger than a kitchen cabinet, a Baxi Luna boiler can be installed in the closet – saving valuable living space in homes of up to 6,000 square feet.
The boiler also is making commercial buildings more efficient. For example, this year a heating specialist in Biddeford, Maine, installed eight Baxi Luna high-efficiency condensing boilers in the City Hall and City Theatre. People living in the city expect the new heating system to reduce fuel use by at least 50 percent and save taxpayers money even in the face of rising fuel costs.
Baxi Luna wall-hung boilers are approved by the American Gas Association and Canadian Standards Association. Consumers can take comfort from the boilers’ Energy Star certification (for energy efficiency) and H-Stamp rating (for operating effectiveness).
These environmentally friendly products are quiet enough to install in the back of a large closet, even in the master bedroom. They are ideal for in-floor radiant heating systems and are compatible with any type of air handler, wall or baseboard radiators and custom radiant applications, such as heated towel racks or snow melt..
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