Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pay Off Debts And Avoid Bankruptcy

With interest rates on mortgage, credit card, and auto loans rising, we have two choices. Hasten to pay off our debts or walk away, get sued and declare bankruptcy.

I’ve seen commercials on television trying to convince you that bankruptcy is the way to go. They try to give you the benefits of bankruptcy, for example, you just got to wait for a few years for the bad record to be washed out and you can improve your credit over time.

This is true, but it takes a very long time... about 7-10 years.

Loan consolidation is another way, but honestly, there is only one time-tested way which I recommend to get rid of your debt, minimize the interest you owe, and improve your credit score.

Pay off all your debts as soon as possible, especially outstanding balances on credit cards which can snowball very quickly.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Are Your Personal Financial Goals?

What Are Your Personal Financial Goals?
Being an avid student of personal finance, I set out to create a list of my personal financial goals from the outset, so that I can measure my success or failure yearly.

1. Providing for daily living expenses.

2. Eliminating debt.

3. Supporting our children till they are self-sufficient.

4. Giving a children a good education - a basic college or university degree.

5. Supporting our parents as they age.

6. Buying a house and/or car.

7. Building our retirement savings.

8. Vacations.
Do you find anything familiar in that list? If you are also interested in personal finance, do share your goals here and your progress in achieving them so far.

Friday, October 24, 2008

California Law Offers Repreive On Mortgage Defaults

According to DataQuick, 79,511 homes were lost to foreclosure in California for the three months that ended Sept. 30, a 228% increase over the same period a year earlier and the highest number since the company began tracking foreclosures in 1988.


Fortunately, a new state law appears to be dramatically slowing the foreclosure process -- at least for now. The law effectively blocks lenders from initiating foreclosure proceedings until 30 days after contacting the borrower or making "due diligence" efforts to do so.

However, all is not well. Although there is now a delay in foreclosure actions, it is not expected to prevent widespread mortgage workouts later on.

The first wave of foreclosures, mostly from people who took out adjustable-rate mortgages in 2005 and 2006 that later reset at a higher rate that they could not afford, is probably ending. But with the economy slowing down and expectations of rising unemployment, a new wave of foreclosures could hit early next year.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Possible Criminal Charges In Financial Crisis

Investors and taxpayers angry about the government bailout of seemingly mismanaged financial firms can probably count on a wave of criminal indictments in the coming months, say white- collar crime experts.

Prosecutors will comb through email records, looking for inconsistencies between private and public statements, to show that people acted willfully.

The government recently issued subpoenas to a dozen executives at Lehman Brothers, which included CEO Richard Fuld, two CFOS and a COO.

Since September, multiple federal investigations at Lehman and at least 25 other firms are focusing primarily on asset values.

Source: CNBC

Monday, October 20, 2008

What Is Personal Financial Planning?

personal financial planning
Personal financial planning is a huge topic on the internet and the concepts are not difficult to grasp, though implementation may be difficult as you have to kick some bad habits.

A lot of people prefer to leave their personal finance in a mess or in the hands of others. I do not know if it is out of laziness, indifference or a fear of managing their own money affairs. If it is the latter, then I assure you that being an accountant is not a prerequisite to successful personal financial planning.

I was never particularly bright in college math but thankfully, personal financial planning is mainly common sense and simple arithmetic. The finance professionals may have an edge over us because they have paper qualifications and are accredited with a professional board.

However, their advice on personal financial planning is not always gospel or beneficial since they are likely to take care of their own interests first in the form of commissions.

So what does personal financial planning entails? In a nutshell, it involves organizing and growing our money as well as creating and implementing long term financial goals.

Our assets include the money we take in, also known as cash inflows, and the money we spend known (expenses) are called cash outflows. To be debt-free, you simply plan your expenses on how how much you make.

Any money that is left over every month is your net cash flows and you can save or invest it to meet your financial goals.

To have spare cash left over each month, you need to learn budgeting, which is an important part of personal financial planning. And today, it is so easy by using budget software like Quicken. You can try out the FREE online version Quicken Online - Web-based Money Management.

Or, you can find many personal financial planning books to help you along the way. And of course, reading many personal finance blogs around the internet as as we share valuable and practical life experiences in managing our money.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

About Me

I come from a poor family and life was very tough during my childhood. We scrimped every penny and on some days, there was so little food on the table, I went to bed hungry. Eating out was a luxury and we never buy anything that was not a necessity.

When I was in pre-school, my dad was posted overseas and given considerable expatriate benefits. His higher pay made a difference to our standards of living. My mom also found job as a sales assistant and with a dual income, we were able to enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.

But I am constantly reminded about money woes as my dad wanted me to be independent and not depend on the family for pocket money. When I entered college, I have to work part time to supplement my school fees and daily expenditure.

Without much skills on hand, I could only find a job at a fish and chips store as apprentice cook. I have to endure the physical labor and heat to earn a few miserable dollars but it was a good experience and I appreciate the fact that making money is not easy.

When I finally finished college, I found a job as a marine engineer after trying my luck at a few companies. Over the years, I strive to do my best and had worked my way up as a manager. While there is a sense of accomplishment, I am still caught in the rat race and far from being financially secure.

My motto in life is that money cannot buy happiness and should not be the most important item in our life, but money is still a necessary evil. I don't aspire for a million dollars though.

I write this personal finance blog just to learn and discuss money saving tips. Not to forget, making friends around the blogosphere too.