Home » 2017 » April

Monthly Archives: April 2017

Categories

The Stigma of Credit Card Debt

Millions of people have some form of credit card debt, with most individuals owing $5,000 or more in past and present credit card dues. Credit cards are essential when you need quick cash to make purchases, but they can quickly lead you to debt if you aren’t careful. The reason credit card debt is so problematic is because of the interest rates attached to these cards. Even a supposedly good card can have a 10 percent interest rate or higher, making it almost impossible to pay off your bills in a timely manner.

 

Because of the huge issue with credit card debt, it’s important that when you do take out a card, you’re careful with its usage and interest rate. For instance, if a new card offers a zero percent interest rate for the first few months, remember that this number will skyrocket once the new member introductory period has ended. Also, you might want to look at cards with a fixed rate as opposed to a variable one. Variable rates are great when they’re low, but they can go up significantly over the course of having the credit card open.

 

To avoid credit card debt, you need to pay off your bills before they’re due. Many have found that letting their credit cards become delinquent, even by just one month, automatically puts them in a precarious situation which makes it easier to spiral into a whirlwind of debt. It might help to put yourself on an automatic payment plan with your credit card company so that you don’t forget to pay. Once you forget one bill, the amount you owe doubles and it’s difficult to pay off in full, especially because of the accumulative interest charges. This isn’t to say that you should avoid credit cards altogether or close out the ones you already have, but you need to be more responsible with how they’re used. By using your credit cards only for emergency situations and then paying off any bill you owe each month, you’ll find that it’s actually enjoyable and helpful to have your very own credit card.

 

Why Savings Accounts Are So Important

It’s not uncommon nowadays for families to be living paycheck to paycheck. With our cost of living to income ratio, it’s difficult to make ends meet and see the light at the end of the tunnel. In many cases, families don’t have enough money in a savings account in case of an emergency. This emergency could be as expensive as needing a new septic system for the home or having mounting medical bills because of an injury. This is why it is crucial that you begin putting money into a savings account as soon as you possibly can.

 

It is never too early or too late to start putting some cash into a savings account. Savings accounts are often free to open and have no minimum balance, as long as you’re going with a good bank. You will then be able to put money into the account at virtually any time and withdraw on it when needed. The beauty about savings accounts when compared to checking accounts is that you gain interest on them. This may only be a few cents each month, but it’ll add up and increase the amount you already have in the account.

 

You need to make it a habit to put money into the savings account. It’s easy to open an account with a local bank, but it’s a whole other story to actually grow the account into something substantial. You could try putting a small percentage of your income into the account with each paycheck or you can make it a habit to put a certain amount in at the end of the month. Once you start building your savings account, you’ll find that you finally have the money you need for emergency situations. It will allow you to breathe easier knowing that you won’t need to take out a loan or credit card if you have a large expense that comes up out of nowhere. Savings accounts are also great for retired folks who will have a little bit of extra money to utilize each month when their Social Security and 401K plans aren’t cutting it.

 

Sticking to a Budget You Can Afford

We all want to be able to live within our means and have money leftover after each paycheck. Unfortunately, a lot of families spend all of what they earn, making it difficult to ever save any money for future expenses. This is where a budget comes into play and why it’s essential that you stick to one that’s easy for you and your loved ones.

 

The best way to create a budget is by knowing what bills you have each month and what you’re left with after paying everything. Once you know how much you have in your bank after paying your electric, cable, rent or mortgage, you’ll be able to see how much you can play around with. It’s important to only spend what you can afford and to stop overspending because of frivolous shopping or unnecessary purchases. You should also make it a habit to start putting money into a savings account each month so that you have cash to fall back on in times of need.

 

The importance of a budget isn’t because it teaches you to curb your spending, but instead it helps with future expenses. In a time when most families live paycheck to paycheck, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel and know you’ll have cash for future events. Many people nowadays don’t even have enough money to retire on, causing them to have to work full-time well into retirement age. Budgeting yourself just means that you need to be more responsible with your spending. Set yourself a budget each month and do your best to avoid going over this amount. Don’t buy things on a whim and assume that you’ll still be on budget because this is often why people have issues with money. If you’re still having problems with budgeting, you might need to talk with a financial expert who can help set up an amount for you to live on comfortably. These individuals will not only create a budget plan for you, but they’ll be able to maintain it for you to ensure that you always stay on track.

 

Why More People Aren’t Retiring

Retirement used to be something that every American would do. Once your parents reached the age of 62, they were able to start collecting Social Security and get money from their 401K and savings funds without question. Nowadays, you’ll notice a growing trend of people who simply aren’t retiring. One of the main reasons for this is because people aren’t saving up for retirement the way they used to, and this is directly linked to our income to cost of living ratio.

 

The cost of living has gone up substantially over the past few decades, but minimum wage has only gone up a little bit. This has caused people to live paycheck to paycheck and not have much leftover to put into a savings account. Many people now also feel that they’d rather use all of their income towards living expenses as opposed to putting some of it towards a future account they can’t even touch. After all, if you begin to put money into a 401K plan and want to withdraw on it before retirement age, you’ll pay a pretty hefty tax penalty on the money you take out.

 

Retiring is an important part of any person’s working career. It allows you to take a breather in your golden years and finally have the time to focus on yourself. In some cases, it can be downright unhealthy to work a full-time job when you’re a senior citizen. It is important that you begin saving up for retirement well in advance to your 62nd birthday. The sooner you start putting money away for retirement, the better off you’re going to be. It never hurts to talk to your employer about opening a 401K plan through your company since many bosses will match what you put into the account so that it grows quickly. Social Security may not be enough for individuals who didn’t earn a lot of money working throughout their lives, so having an extra fund that you can fall back on in times of need is almost a necessity and can save you from working for the rest of your life.

 

Nine9 Ideamensch Recap

Anthony Toma, CEO of Nine9 called The Unagency has changed the way models and actors are marketed in the industry. He has owned and operated businesses in the retail industry, and entertainment industry. The idea came when he found a franchise that focused on modeling and acting. He purchased the franchise located in Orlando Florida.Eventually he owned 26 franchises across the US for modeling and acting. The franchise went under and he developed his own business through Coral Reef Productions. It now does business as Nine9.He brings his ideas to life by first writing them down than presenting them to his team.

They discuss their ideas and often put them online to test on the public. Anthony thinks one trait that helps him succeed in his ability to listen to other people.Nine9 strives to treat all their talent with respect and kindness. Their staff works to develop relationships and offer them every tool or opportunity to succeed in a very competitive business. The provide clients with nationwide access to casting calls, and auditions. They can meet with industry leaders at monthly meetings and workshops. They also provide a database of talent for the industry to search through.The staff has over 10 years experience and uses the latest technology to help models and actor find work. It is a commission free environment and models and actors are placed due to the staff working together. Their casting recognition software matches actors and models with casting calls suited to their talents.

Anthony Tomasays that failure that taught him how to succeed. When you fail he says you learn from your mistakes and when you quit than you are a failure. He claims that what helped Nine9 become a success was installing and EOS system. This is a Entrepreurial Operating System.This system helped their staff to focus on the strengths of our models, actors, and staff. It helps us avoid putting anyone in a comprising or bad situation. We don’t send out anyone on a casting call that is a bad fit. Nine9 agency on Facebook and Instagram good marketing tools to use. It helps them with networking and keeping appointments.Anthony Toma summarized his success with Nine9 with this statement. The major reason for his success is because he is surrounded by a great team that he can rely on every day.

 

The Federal Reserve Grapples with Interest Rates and Image

The Federal Reserve finds itself mentioned in the news quite a lot. Rarely are the mentions flattering. The clandestine nature of the entity spawns more than a few conspiracy theories about how “The Fed” chooses to stabilize monetary policy. A bit of good news emerged from discussions about the Federal Reserve in the press. The entity has decided that raising interest rates is fine now. For several years, The Fed did not raise interest rates. In addition to making a single raise, two more raises are planned for the next year.

 

All of this is really good news. The reason the Federal Reserve feels that raising interest rates is a good move is because a strong sense about an improving economy has emerged. So far, the increase in the DOW from the 19,000 range to the 21,000 range would support beliefs that the economy is improving dramatically.

 

Of course, economies do experience swings in positive and negative directions. An economy that is seemingly stable can take a proverbial dive. The 2008 stock market collapse was a perfect example of how economic fortunes could change overnight. The harsh recession did recede as the current strength of the stock market clearly indicates.

 

Not everyone cheers the moves made by the Federal Reserve. If the entity chooses to keep interest rates low, people become suspicious. When a decision is made to raise interest rates, suspicions are also raised. While few would consider the Federal Reserve a rogue and dangerous entity, many simply do not understand the role it plays. After all, things are done in a secretive manner.

 

The word “secretive” comes with ominous overtones, but it shouldn’t. No government agency can operate without some level of internal operations privacy. The Federal Reserve is no different from any government agency or private corporation in the sense privacy helps ensure the smooth performance of tasks.

 

That said, the Federal Reserve should rethink its public relations processes. The cloud of secrecy surrounding the entity does not exactly help its image with the public. A better image would promote better trust. Better trust would support more faith in the decisions the Federal Reserve makes.

 

 

 

Food Network New Shows

Foodies, you’re in for a surprise this season as amateurs and experts from young to old face off in some of Food Network’s most engaging competitions ever. Amateurs, seasoned chefs, and culinary experts alike will explore new flavors, discover new techniques, and create cuisines that “wow” the palette. As passions unfold in the kitchen, these culinary enthusiasts will tell their story through their food.

 

If you are a Food Network fan, then you know Kaniyah Cary of Portsmouth, Virginia, the outgoing, feisty 11 year-old pastry chef who competed on the Kid’s Baking Championship earlier this year. From carnival cupcakes to pastry specialties, Kaniayah (aka KC) designed a sweet line of fine masterpieces that blew the judges away!

 

Well, from the mouth of babes, little Kaniyah (aka KC) will again be featured on the FN this season on Kid Chef Nation, where she will face off and showcase her savory culinary talents at various outdoor festivities. Kid Chef Nation premieres Monday, April 3rd.

 

When it comes to competition, no one knows more than UFC’s tiny little strawweight, Paige “12-Gauge” VanZant. This competitive twenty-three year-old (who “Danced With the Stars” in season 22) is a U.S. mixed martial artist who will compete on the FN’s Chopped Star Power Tournament which premieres on Tuesday, April 4th. She will face off with fencer Mariel Zangunis, NFL’s lineback LaMarr Woodley, and retired figure skater Dorothy Hamil. http://mmajunkie.com/2017/03/ufcs-paige-vanzant-to-compete-on-food-network-show-chopped#slideIdslide-7

 

This series of Chopped will feature judges Scott Conant, author and restauranteur, Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, and guest judge Eddie Jackson to decide the fates of this 16 celebrity tournament. Chopped is known for choosing unusual culinary items that challenge contenders to showcase their talents.

 

Finally, Iron Chef host Alton Brown will present 7 brand new Iron Chef contenders in the upcoming competition Iron Chef Guantlet premiering on Sunday, April 16th in Kitchen Stadium. As usual, the aim is to create amazing dishes that excel in taste, presentation, and creativity. Iron Chef Guantlet will feature 7 seasoned Chairmen, with one contender left to face off with Iron Chefs Morimoto, Flay, and Simon.

 

US Economy Grows at Slower Pace

Ensuring stable and gradual growth the overall economy in the United States is very important. While the economy has continued to grow a little bit recently, recent news reports (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-gdp-idUSKBN1711MX) have pointed out that the growth is a little bit slower than initially expected.

 

According to the US Commerce Department, the overall economy in the United States only grew by 1.6% in 2016. This overall level of growth does show progression in the growth of the United States, but was lower than the 2.5% growth in 2015 and was the lowest level of growth overall since 2011. Overall job growth also remained positive as jobless claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 258,000. This was then the 108th straight week where such claims were below 300,000, a level that has been a milestone marker for jobless claims.

 

While the overall rate for 2016 seems to be stagnant, it does appear that the growth was slower in the first half of the year than the second. In the fourth quarter of the year, the economy grew 2.1% compared to the prior year and the third quarter grew 3.5% compared to the prior year. The overall growth rate was affected by a number of different factors. On the positive side, the amount of consumer spending in the fourth quarter was higher, but the country also had its highest level of imports in several years, which offset some of the national growth.

 

The growth of the economy will be a major focus in the coming year. With the change in the administration, it remains to be seen how it will impact the level of consumer spending, job growth, and reliance on imports. The current administration has stated that they will focus on bringing a significant amount of jobs and manufacturing back to the United States, which could lead to an overall increase in the amount of consumer spending, reduction in imports, both of which would have a positive impact on overall growth.

 

Bitcoin in Crisis

Bitcoin has always had a controversy between those who say it’s the future and others who say it’s a pipe dream. But now Bitcoin supporters are fighting with each other and going for what looks like a power grab. The price of Bitcoin plummeted by 25% because of this infighting.

 

Opposing Factions:

Digital gold or electronic cash neither is wrong or right, just different strategies.

Those on the side of digital gold would rather have Bitcoins capped with no further mining and have other networks that act more like cash and linked to Bitcoin. Similar to how US dollars are backed by gold. This ideology being supported by Bitcoin Developers.

 

While the supporters of electronic cash would prefer Bitcoin to act more like the federal reserve and simply print more money. This being supported by Bitcoin Unlimited.

 

The developers and the miners both need each other but have opposing incentives, so they don’t fully trust each other. “Bitcoin is one of those things where nobody wants to be seen as controlling it,” says Bitcoin developer Andrew DeSantis.

 

The Current Situation:

The plummet in price was caused by a fear that a small group of people from one of the factions would gain too much control rather than the balance of competing interests.

 

Roger Ver and Jihan Wu are supporters of Bitcoin Unlimited which has been accused of trying to acquire enough control of Bitcoin that they would then make previous versions of Bitcoin incompatible. Both have denied this and called it a conspiracy.

The Ideological disagreement has become an all-out power struggle

 

Future Outlook:

DeSantis and other bitcoin developers have brought up the possibility of a nuclear option. They can change the Bitcoin software so that it no longer works on the hardware currently running it. It would be a catastrophe for companies that operate within the world of Bitcoin.

 

Peter Todd, a bitcoin protocol researcher who is aligned with DeSantis and Core. “I think the most likely scenario is that nothing will happen. I really mean nothing.”

 

But Eric Lombrozo, a Bitcoin Core developer, says, “I’d rather that not happen. I think it’d be dangerous for the network to go down that route. It’s basically a warpath.

 

Wells Fargo Bank Agrees to Pay $3.6 Million in Penalties to Settle Claims by CFPB

Wells Fargo Bank, one of the largest U.S. private student loan lenders was accused by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) of illegal loan servicing practices. The company claimed in a New York Times news article on August 27th, 2018 that they were aware of the issues and had started to correct the problem before CFPB began their examination. The examination was a result of thousands of borrowers’ claims accusing the banking institution of providing misinformation concerning payment options. Borrowers also claimed Wells Fargo Bank allocated their payments to maximize late fees.

 

 

If they had more than one loan, the loans weren’t consolidated but remained as separate loans. Wells Fargo would split their payments without allowing borrowers to specify how they wanted to allocate their payments. The consent order stated after a thorough examination that Wells Fargo failed to inform customers of their right to allocate payments. The order also stated the student loan servicing institution made it very difficult for borrowers to control costs. CFPB found Wells Fargo Bank used illegal loan servicing practices which cost borrowers higher costs and fees.

 

 

Americans owe trillions of dollars in student loan debts. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is doing everything possible to ensure loan servicing institutions, whether private or federal practice fairly with all borrowers. CFPB regulator, Seth Fortman said he noted in a mid-2016 report that borrowers complained often about federal loan servicers. They were accused of making it difficulty for them to enroll in special programs that lower their federal loan payments. Monthly payments are normally based on the borrower’s net earnings and monthly household expenses, including food, housing and etc.

 

 

According to New York Times, Wells Fargo didn’t deny nor admit to the findings of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Wells Fargo was also ordered to pay some borrowers $410,000 after finding the bank charged them higher costs and fees for serving their student loans. When consumers file complaints involving private and federal student loan servicers, CFPB has authority to investigate and examine their claims. Wells Fargo didn’t defend their actions, but stated they had already started the process of correcting their student loan servicing practices.