Living Within Your Means What Do You Own Or Does Debt Own You Part 1 7 Ways To Ensure You Re Paying The Right Creditor Choosing Credit Card Rewards The Stock Market And Forex Trading

Pay what you owe, and you’ll know what is your own. ~Benjamin Franklin. What a great quote to remember in a time when credit is at its highest.

Credit is so easy to get, that many, especially young, people have gotten themselves into deep water with serious debt. There was a time in my life that I thought it was great to have anything that I wanted.

My father used to tell me that during the depression, people would only buy things that they could pay for because so many people were going bankrupt. He said that people were losing their houses because they couldn’t even afford to pay the mortgages. His generation was raised in a time of extreme desolation and held onto the knowledge and values that if you really needed something, you saved for it.

He used to tell me, every time that I purchased something on credit, that I was paying for a “dead horse”. I was enjoying something that I did not own but I was still making payments long after it’d become “OLD” and worthless. Some people today buy merchandise, for example furniture, with no money down, no interest and no payments until later. The problem with that is the furniture is getting worn out before the first payment is due, so it’s like you’re “riding a horse until it dies and then you have to begin to pay for it”, thus PAYING FOR A DEAD HORSE.

I finally understood what my father meant when my wife and I were filling out a bank statement to buy a house. It asked us to list our total worth. When I added up what we owed, to banks and credit card companies, our debt was in black and white for me to see. However, when I added up what we actually owned and added our income, our financial situation was in the red. When you calculate your net worth, you can see that all the stuff that you are buying on credit doesn’t count toward your financial worth, because you must take every creditor’s amount of payment from your financial total.

It became very obvious and upsetting to realize we had so much debt. The boat, camper, new clothes and cars took all our income and we had nothing left to save for our future. It’s because of this that we I decided to quit buying things we WANTED and focused on saving for things we NEEDED. We began paying off debts and consolidating loans. It took a few years to actually get our debt down to a manageable amount that we could handle without carrying credit card balances.

Then we started looking toward the future, saving our money, rather than looking back at all the things we bought and gone into debt to own. We had begun to learn to live within our means. It is so important for parents to explain this to their children as my father did with the analogy of credit card debt to “paying for a dead horse”.

Many people today are in such great debt that bankruptcy is at its highest. Because many adult children want to immediately own what it took years for their parents to get, banks are making a fortune on the interest they make from loaning money. If bills can’t be paid on time, then additional charges are added and the debt starts to spiral out of control.

If more people would invest their money in their futures rather than throwing it away on intangibles today, there would be less debt. If people would buy the things they need and not just anything they want, they would be able to actually know what they own. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Pay what you owe, and you’ll know what is your own”. People would buy what they could afford and needed and would know what they actually OWN.

Many consumers do not know that once a delinquent account is reported to a collection agency a consumer has a short amount of time to pay the bill. This is because collection accounts are put on a nationwide registry and each collection agency in the country gets notified of a collection account. However, only one collection agency has a legal right to collect money on a delinquent account.

It can be very difficult trying to make payments on a collection account because a collection agency holds a collection account for a few months, it they are unsuccessful in collecting on the debt owed the account is forwarded to another collection agency. This process continues until the account is paid or legal action is taken against the consumer.

Collection agencies don’t want you to know that as a consumer you have a legal right to question the validity of a collection agency which is called debt validation. Many consumers have paid money on delinquent accounts to a particular company only to find out that the company did not legally have a right to collect money on that account. As a result the consumer still owed the money on the delinquent account. To prevent this from happening to you, here are 7 ways to validate a debt and ensure you are paying the right creditor or collection agency:

1. Request the creditor, collection agency or attorney to provide documentation that the company is authorized to collect on the debt. Ensure the name and address of the collection agency appears on the documentation which should be on company letterhead.

2. Ask for proof of the total amount of the debt including payment history from with the original creditor and status of the account. Verify the documentation against your own records.

3. Request the collection agency to provide the original contract or other documentation showing the agreement you made with the original creditor including the name and address of the original creditor.

4. Ask the creditor to provide a copy of their business license to prove they are licensed in their state to collect money on delinquent accounts. However this varies from state to state.

5. If the creditor use profanity, harasses you, is rude or threatens you inform the collection agency that they are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), they might argue and say they are not but they are considered debt collectors and are covered under the act.

6. If the creditor cannot verify the debt they cannot collect any money owed on your account and is not allowed to contact you about the debt. They also cannot report the account on your credit report.

7. A creditor may respond to your debt validation letter by sending you a summons to appear in court. This is a scare tactic and is illegal. A creditor has to validate the debt before they can file suit against you.

Article originally published at EzineArticles.

As major credit card issuers compete for customers, credit card rewards are ever plentiful. Today’s card holders can enjoy free sky miles, hotel and travel points, cash back for purchases, even money contributed to an IRA or transferred to a interest accruing savings account.

But which credit card reward is better? Points or cash back? Main contributors are the interest rate offered to card applicants based upon their credit scores, as well as the fine print regarding how to earn; and redeem, points and cash back.

When choosing a credit card rewards offer, decide what you desire most and which you can generate the most rewards. Since computing points is often confusing, many consumers choose a cash back credit card instead of a points card. With a cash back card, they know exactly how much money they will earn, and redemption is far easier. Even consumers who travel frequently will often prefer a cash back credit card instead of a points card for that very reason, plus because they have more flexibility on how; and where, to use the cash back. They don’t have to worry about point blackout dates, nor restrictions to a specific airline or hotel.

Another problem consumers face when choosing a rewards card, are card fees and whether or not they will payoff balances in full each month. Otherwise, fees and interest could be more costly than the cash back and points accrued.

For consumers who do not frequently travel, and those who do not patronize a particular airline or hotel, Credit Federal suggests a cash back credit card versus a points card. Some airline miles cards are limited to a particular airline, and may have restricted travel dates. With cash back rewards, not only do you know exactly what amount your earnings will be per purchase, getting and spending your cash rewards is much easier and more flexible. You can view various credit card rewards offered by major issuers; including American Express, Chase, Citi, Discover, Visa and MasterCard at Credit Federal.

Consumers desiring reward credit cards also face the scrutiny of a credit check. Typically the greater the rewards offered, the higher the credit qualification. Bad credit people are considered a high risk and generally do not qualify.

Before you submit an application for a rewards credit card, consider these tips:

To maximize your rewards, payoff balances in full each month. If you cannot payoff balances in full monthly, select a card with the lowest possible interest rate.

Check for rewards caps to see if there are restrictions on the amount of points, etc, you can earn.

Find a rewards card with no annual fee. Otherwise, the fee you pay may be greater than the rewards if you do not use the card frequently enough, or not effectively.

Avoid cards with reward expiration dates.

Avoid short-term, introductory only card rewards.

Browse for perks. Some rewards cards offer free perks such as travel insurance.

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More books and articles have been written on the stock market than on perhaps any other business subject in the world.

Most of these have as their purpose instructing the reader on exactly how he can invest to make a sizable amount of money, and if he really applies himself, how he can become rich in either three or five years.

One of the most useful books written appeared in 1961. It did not tell you how to get rich. It emphasized the difficulties of investing in the stock market and it performed a tremendous service in this way, plus isolating the significant factors which record and explain the ups and downs of the market.

To invest in the market by following the procedures outlined in that book is anything but easy.

It requires a considerable amount of work every day the stock market is in operation. The book is written more for the professional investor to tell him how to make maximum profits out of both the rises and falls of the market.

The average investor will not take the time or perform the work necessary to maximize his profits, and he is satisfied with something less than maximum profits over a period of time. It is this type of person that we are writing for, not the professional investor who often spends 100% of his time on investments. We are, furthermore, writing for the smaller investor, not for the larger, professional one.

When we talk about the stock market we are not trying to write one more treatise on how to get wealthy in the stock market.

We do not present it as the only outlet for funds, although it certainly is for many people who know only the stock market on the one hand and the savings bank on the other. We treat the stock market as one outlet for funds, an outlet that can be almost the only good outlet at certain times, and a terrible outlet at other times one that offers too much risk.

In 1960 the stock market for the non-professional investor was, in my opinion, a substandard investment. Other investments in my portfolio yielded 12% and 14% and sent checks monthly, and the underlying businesses grew stronger while a number of the major firms listed on the Stock Exchanges showed declining profits and the trend of the market was down until late in the year. An inexpert investor in the stock market during most of the year 1960 would have had the cards stacked against him.

If we consider investments primarily of the loan type, those in which a person or organization is obligated to return a given number of dollars, plus a profit, over a period of months or years. Above everything, the proper investigation of these risks and safeguards against losses have been stressed.

The stock market is good for long term investing especially through investment trusts

Forex is more risky but greater profits can be made. Good software will help you to reduce the risks if you trade the Forex.

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