Money - Structured Settlements | What To Avoid When You Get One

Accidents happen. Medical malpractice, while difficult to accept, happens. These are just a couple of instances where forces beyond your control can turn your life upside down and change it forever. Unfortunately, it happens every day. Now, it may be that you can't control these occurrences, but there is a legal system in place that can help you lessen the burden of these events in the coming years. If you are the victim of someone else's negligence get a qualified attorney and go to court. The result should be a a "Structured Settlement" that will pay you on a defined schedule over the course of the agreement.


This structured settlement comes in the form of an annuity that a defendant purchases to make the payments due to you. You may ask, "Why can't I get the amount I am awarded in court in one lump sum?". Depending on where you live that may be an option, though more and more states are requiring that structured settlements be used.


The reason for this is to protect you as the person getting the money from spending the money in a careless manner that jeopardizes you future financial well being.


Let's look at a real life example.


In 1973, Tiffany Adams was born in Memphis with severe brain damage that her parents blamed on her doctor. They sued for malpractice and received a cash settlement of $250,000 in one lump sum.


The family's attorney recommended investing the money to create an income that would help take care of Tiffany over the course of her life.


Well, as this is not a success story, you can see where this is going.


Tiffany's parents wastefully put the money in to the father's business. In a little over 10 years the money to care for Tiffany's was gone.


A few years later the parents divorced and Tiffany receives no child support. If that wasn't bad enough, in 1987 Tiffany was in an accident with her wheelchair that caused severe facial injuries. The family won a new settlement from the wheelchair company.


This time, however, Tiffany's mother insisted on a structured settlement for the payments. This allows Tiffany's mother to take care of her daughter without the fear of having someone take advantage of her settlement.


Accidents and malpractice are things you can not control. What you do, however, with the settlement money you receive is something you can.


Be prepared and be informed.


Protect you and your family by finding out more about structured settlements and structured settlement annuities.


Money - Structured Settlement Annuity

 Protection and incoming cash flow over the long haul are what structured settlement annuities provide. However, not every person faced with a lump sum payment necessarily will be tempted to spend the money rashly. Obviously, there are people who are savvy investors and think that given the opportunity with a lump sum payment over a structured settlement annuity, they will be able to make more money investing on their own.


With that in mind, let's take a look how a structured settlement annuity compares with one of the most popular investment vehicles, the equity income mutual fund. First, let's look at who issues the annuity and the mutual fund.


A structured settlement annuity is issued by a life insurance company. An equity mutual fund is issued by and investment company that pools the assets of multiple investors in equity securities.


Next, let's look at the long term capabilities of each to provide a lifetime income.

An annuity payment plan is created up front and is a predictable and dependable source of income that can not be outlived. A mutual fund can be a high paying investment. However it can also be highly volatile and unpredictable based on market conditions and can actually lose money and stop your earnings if the fund performs poorly.


What about guaranteeing the payouts?

An annuity is guaranteed by the issuer of the annuity based on the terms of the structured settlement. A mutual fund is solely dependent on market activity and thus can not be guaranteed.


What about costs?

The annuity has no cost associated with it. A mutual fund can be subject to a number of fees, like a sales load, yearly management fee, and marketing expenses. Even the lowest cost index funds have some costs associated with them.


What about keeping up with inflation?

A structured settlement annuity can have a cost of living adjustment incorporated into the annuity at the time it is designed. An equity mutual fund can outperform inflation based on how the underlying securities perform. However it is difficult to predict what the return will be and remember "past performance is not and indicator of future results."


But what about the dreaded T-word....Taxes??

A structured settlement annuity is tax free as long as the money received is the result of personal physical injury or physical illness. As income is earned from an equity mutual fund taxes, capital gains, income etc, must be paid.


What about flexibility?

A structured settlement annuity payment amount and schedule may not be altered at any time. Conversely, money can be moved in and out of mutual funds. However, taxes, sales loads etc may be applicable with each transaction.


Money - A Debt Consolidation Program To Help You Relieve Debt

 Debt consolidation programs are good if you are paying on several different loans. They can make your life easier by giving you one monthly payment. Your monthly debt decreases if the program you use for debt consolidation stretches your payments over a long period of time. Paying less every month will free up some extra cash.

A successful strategy sometimes is to use a debt consolidation program. With these programs you can manage various high-rate revolving debts with one payment. Let's say you have several high credit card balances with high interest rates. With the debt consolidation program, you will be able to lower the interest rate you are paying and manage the debt better.


Debt Consolidation Programs Reminders


A debt consolidation program doesn't eliminate your debt. All these programs do is move your debt to make it easier to make the payments. You will have to pay the money back sooner or later since you do owe it.


One problem with a debt consolidation program is you will feel like you owe less. Your credit cards will again have large amounts of available credit for you to use. Beware of digging yourself into a deeper hole by continuing to add to these balances.


With a debt consolidation loan you may end up paying more in total interest. By stretching your payments over a longer period of time, your total interest cost could possibly be higher. Of course, it may help you more easily manage your current cash flow.


There are risks by using debt consolidation programs. If youíre using a home equity loan or line of credit to consolidate your debt, the consequences of falling behind on the payments can be disastrous. You could lose your home if it is pledged as collateral against your loan.


How to Choose the Best Debt Consolidation Programs


You should shop around to find a program that fits your needs. Local credit unions and banks you already deal with are a good place to start. They are a reliable source and will most likely give you a fair deal. You might also try a bank you arenít currently working with. Be careful of scams though, when searching the Internet for debt consolidation.


When searching for a debt management company, look for experience, how professional the company is, their assistance and budgeting services. Try to find a local company you can communicate with without having to drive for hours to talk to your counselor.


The debt management industry is unregulated. Scam artist are out there waiting to charge your outrageous fees without informing you of the best solution for your situation. Try to find out some of their customers and talk to them. Get recommendations and research online if possible.

When you team up with a debt management company who is less than above board, you may be left feeling insecure. You should relate well with your counselor and understand what they suggest. That peace of mind should help you pursue your goals and your financial future more comfortably.


Also the debt management company your choose should be a be advise you on how to deal with angry creditors, whether bankruptcy is an option or how to consolidate debt or simply reorganize your bill payment schedule.


Remember, your main goal is to work towards a better understanding of your financial debts. You will want to learn how to take care of your own debts, assets, and financial goals through your counselorís advice. The debt management and debt consolidation is only stepping stone towards your own financial self-reliance.


Money - 9 Amazing Places You Can Save Money For You And Your Family

 Most families are spending more and more money every year (and not just because the cost of living rose) while also saving less and less. One reason is that few household managers spend much time reviewing expenses and expenditures to find ways they can save money. However almost every family has places where costs can be cut and pennies can be pinched -- and if those freed up funds are then used to pay down debt and save for the future it could have a dramatic impact on their quality of life.


Food is one big area where many families could be more thrifty. Families spend an average of $2,434 on food away from home, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you (and your spouse and your children) eat lunch out every day of the week then try brown-bagging at least one of those days. If just one of you does it you may save up to $400 a year and if you can double or triple that savings you could finance a family vacation with it.


Another major expense is your home. When was the last time you looked at refinancing? Can you find a lower interest rate? Can you renegotiate to a shorter time frame? Even if you can't change your mortgage payment you may be able to pay a bit extra each month which over time will help pay down your mortgage faster. Also, don't overlook your utilities. There are ways to save in this area as well including updating your insulation and weather stripping, keeping up-to-date with maintenance and cleaning of your furnace and air conditioner or using a programmable thermostat to take advantage of those times when your house is empty or the family is asleep.


Transportation is another major expense for many families. Not only are vehicles expensive to buy but also to maintain and operate especially with gasoline prices at such high levels. Is carpooling an option for any members of the family on at least a part-time basis? Make sure to combine errands and trips to cut down on your travel and save money when buying gasoline by taking advantage of special programs and discounts and remaining vigilant about gas prices. In addition, following a regular maintenance schedule and proper tire inflation can also help you achieve maximum gas mileage for your vehicle.


Choosing your bank wisely can be another way to save money. Make sure the bank you use offers free (or at least low cost) checking as well as electronic bill-paying. Electronic bill-paying and a debit card can cut down on your need to use checks and postage which will save you in the long run as well as help you better manage payments so you will avoid fees, penalties, and higher interest rates.


Cutting your credit card costs can be another major savings. This means making sure you are using the best possible credit card with a low interest rate and low or no annual fee. Shop around until you find your perfect match and don't forget to cancel and cut up those rejected suitors.


Health care is not really an area where you can cut expenses but you can save money by taking advantage of special offers and programs. For example, many employers offer a Flexible Spending Account where you can save money before taxes for out-of-pocket medical expenses for prescription and nonprescription drugs, dental expenses, and eye care.


Tuning up your insurance policies can also help you save money. When did you last compare rates for your home, your vehicles, and yourself? Some other ways to cut costs are to raise your deductible level or using the same company for multiple coverage (your home and vehicles). When you are shopping around make sure to give your current company a shot at keeping you. Sometimes they can offer a better rate too.


Another major expense for many families is the cost of communication including local and long distance phone service, cell phones, cable or satellite television, and Internet access. Review your expenditures and cut out the services you don't need. Can some of these expenses be bundled to save money? Are there better plans for your needs?


When looking to save money it is important to become an aggressive shopper. The Internet makes it possible today to compare prices and product reviews while not spending a lot of time and money driving from store to store. Any big ticket item (and that includes your weekly groceries, cleaning products and health and beauty aids) deserves a closer study.


Over the next, month take time to review your family expenses and expenditures in each of these nine areas. Making a few alterations in your family's spending habits will soon make a difference in the overall household budget. You can raise your family's quality of life by making just a few changes in your monthly budget.


Money - 7 Amazing Tips For Better Online Banking

Banking has never been easier than it is today. Online banking allows you to access your bank at any time of day or night. You can even do this dressed in your underwear if you like. And if you choose to do it that way, it's just as well there are no lines to wait in for online banks.


1. Probably the first thing to consider with online banking is the convenience. You can access your bank via the Internet at any time of day or night, even while lying in bed if you like.


2. Transaction performed online are generally much cheaper than those done over the counter at a bank branch. You can pay bills, transfer cash, check balances, and much more for much less.


3. Online savings accounts is something worth considering. The interest rates are usually higher and the fees are lower than traditional bricks and mortar bank branches.


4. Your computer has convenient ways to help you remember your login details. But don't use the remember my pass-word option if your computer suggests it. Keep your bank login details very safe and very secret.


5. Most online banks will allow you change your password. This is a very good idea and something you should do regularly. Of course, you must also remember your new password each time it is changed.


6. Logging on to your online bank is easy and very convenient. But after you have completed your business, remember to log out of your online bank again. This is especially important if you access your bank from a library, at work, or in a cyber cafe.


7. Enjoy your online banking, but beware of any email you receive asking you to verify your bank details by clicking a link. The site may look authentic, but it will probably be a fake. Respectable banks don't ask anyone to verify details by email.

Money - Budgeting Tips - Quick Cash Fixes To Recover From A Money Shortage Emergency

Money - Budgeting Tips - Quick Cash Fixes To Recover From A Money Shortage Emergency


When you are desperate to raise emergency funds, it usually doesn't take very long for you to realize who really cares about you, who is truly a friend ... be they family or not. Here are a few emergency budgeting tips:

Budgeting Tip #1



The first thing you want to do is prioritize to get back on track very quickly. If that means letting your credit card bill go for a bit, so be it.

As soon as you realize that you have a money emergency, contact your credit card issuers and request reduced interest rates and payments. Not only one, both!


Budgeting Tip #2



For your car payment, call the creditor and request a payment extension. Perhaps you hate payment extensions, because they require a fee and you still have to make the payment at the end of the contract.

In this case, a payment extension can allow a little breathing room to help you recover during your money emergency. Expect that you will likely have to pay a fee (usually about º - 1/3 the car payment amount) for the extension. Freeing up the money you need today is your first and only goal at this point.


Budgeting Tip #3



Check to see if your mortgage holder will allow an extension for a nominal fee. Do this today!


Budgeting Tip #4



Another quick fix, is to host an on the spot yard sale. You don't have too much time for planning, so do a quick survey of your personal belongings. Come up with clothes that no longer fit, but that are in good condition, knick-knacks, dishes, and books as well as stuff you bought but no longer use.

Throw it all together, quickly. Put some notices up the same day at laundry mats and grocery stores around town, and remember to place a sign at the end of your driveway. You can make a quick $300 this way with very little time and effort.


Budgeting Tip #5



If you have a larger item to sell, call into the local radio stations to see if they have a call in swap show on the weekends. This is a very popular way to quickly convert gently used and more expensive items to fast cash.


Budgeting Tip #6



Another quick option is with utility and telephone bills. If you are already on a budget plan, ask that the current bill (plus any previous balance you owe) be set up for a budget plan. Expect to pay a down payment (usually º of the bill) and that all future bills (while on the back payment budget plan) must be kept current.

The nice thing about it is usually interest free, and can give you some much-needed breathing space for a month. You must be sure though that you maintain the regular utility payments AND the budget payments in the coming month.


Budgeting Tip #7



Check with your family church regarding emergency help. Local churches can be one of the best places to find out what is available in the community to help those in need, or in times of emergency. Check with your local church, first.


Getting Fast Cash through Borrowing
If you are absolutely, positively, in a bind, a real cash emergency, and you have exhausted all of the above, then consider borrowing. First, ask your family, then your local bank.

As a last resort, you may want to consider what is known as a Payday Loan. These types of borrowing stores can be useful when all else fails.

Money - Get Your Finances Back On Track - A Debt Consolidation Loan Help

Money - Get Your Finances Back On Track - A Debt Consolidation Loan Help


Recent studies have shown that an average individual in a developed country spends almost forty per cent of his or her monthly salary before earning it. Today' s society runs on credit and with loans being easily available for the fulfillment of each and every desire, be it owning a new car or going on a holiday, we can easily be labeled a credit dependent society.

However, a major downside to this credit trend that we are living with is that more and more people are finding it difficult to manage their numerous loans and landing themselves into bad credit situations.

While some people actually end up in bad credit situations because of over spending and mismanagement, the majority of people who are finding it difficult to pay back their loans on time are those who have been faced with sudden job losses, illnesses, transfers or accidents.

If you are also on the verge of getting into a bad credit situation or are already knee deep in loans that you are finding hard to pay back, then you should avail the help of a debt consolidation service as soon as possible.
Many financial institutions offer debt consolidation services to people who want to make their debts more manageable.

A debt consolidation firm can be of great help to people who cannot pay back their numerous debts on time and are being forced to pay back even higher amounts as a result of increasing APRs and late fees. A debt consolidation service will pay off all your outstanding debts and consolidate the amount into a single loan which you will be required to pay back. So a debt consolidation loan will be the sum of all your debts put together.


However, taking a debt consolidation loan is a better option than paying many separate loans with different terms of payments and different rates of interest. This is because companies offering debt consolidation loans will provide you with better rates of interest (much cheaper than what you were paying earlier) and more flexible terms of repayment.

Apart from having to pay lesser amounts, a debt consolidation loan is easier to manage than your previous outstanding balances since you only have to make a single payment per month at a constant rate of interest.


Based upon your needs and requirements, you can avail different types of debt consolidation loans. The cheapest and the most easy to get debt consolidation loan is the home equity loan where you get the loan after putting your house as collateral. This is also known as a secured debt consolidation loan.

The major disadvantage associated with such loans is that you might end up losing your house if you default on paying back the loan.

You can also get an unsecured debt consolidation loan where you do not provide any collateral, but these loans carry a much higher rate of interest than secured loans and also have stricter repayment terms.

Many credit card companies also offer balance transfer cards where you can transfer all your outstanding balances to a single credit card which has a very low APR for the first few months.

Money - Structured Settlements | What To Avoid When You Get One

Accidents happen. Medical malpractice, while difficult to accept, happens. These are just a couple of instances where forces beyond your c...