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How to Get Out of Debt

If you let your debts get out of control, the end result can be a bad credit score, lawsuits and possibly even bankruptcy. Simple strategies can help keep you out …

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The Structured Settlement Option for Plaintiffs and Defendants

The Structured Settlement Option for Plaintiffs and Defendants

When a civil lawsuit reaches a conclusion, there is occasionally an award of damages and/or court costs and attorney’s fees to the plaintiff. Sometimes the defendant also receives compensation for court costs and fees if they prevail. These amounts are paid under what is called a judgment.

Money damages in court cases can often be considerable, running well into the thousands or sometimes millions of dollars. Most defendants are unable to pay such large amounts all at once, so the structured settlement was invented.

How Does It Work?

If a defendant is ordered to pay a judgment of one million dollars, the court might be persuaded to allow the judgment to be “structured” into a legally mandated series of smaller payments, much like an installment loan. The plaintiff would then be granted the entire sum, but would only be able to enforce it one payment at a time.

The reason structured settlements are popular is because they are conducted under the jurisdiction of the court, so if the defendant refuses to pay, the plaintiff has immediate recourse to the court that issued the original judgment.

Why Is It Better?

A plaintiff holding a judgment for a million dollars might find itself in a difficult situation. If a plaintiff is able to seize a portion of the judgment, say one hundred thousand of the million dollars, they must often return to court to file notice only a portion of the judgment remains. Otherwise, it can create a situation where some of the money has been paid, but the plaintiff still holds a court order to collect the entire amount.

This can end up being a process very much like a structured settlement, except the plaintiff ends up doing all the work. If the settlement is structured in advance for some annuity cash payout, then the defendant at least shares some of the effort and helps the court administrate the judgment and collection process in a fair and transparent way.

Structured Settlement as Asset

Some law firms and finance companies will allow a plaintiff to surrender their structured settlement in exchange for a one time payment. The amount paid to the plaintiff is less than the total amount of the settlement, but they are able to acquire the entire amount all at once. This is similar to the process of cashing in an insurance policy or annuity.

This is another reason structured settlements are popular, because they are secure enough to be considered collateral for a fairly large risk on the part of the company that assumes them.

Every defendant’s situation is different, but structured settlements are a good way to avoid the often confusing and frustrating process of trying to pay or collect a large judgment. As always, competent and experienced legal counsel is recommended before making any decisions in civil litigation.

Cars With the Best Gas Mileage

Cars With the Best Gas Mileage

Consumers who are concerned with fuel economy should consider a car that’s at least partially electric. These are the XX 2017 cars with the highest combined city/highway gas mileage as ranked by the Environmental Protection Agency and reported at fueleconomy.gov.

1. Hyundai Ioniq Electric (136 combined MPG)

New to the United States as of spring 2017, this all-electric vehicle earns an incredible 150 city/122 highway miles per gallon. According to Hyundai, the car will be packed with comfort features in addition to the innovative powertrain, including Hillstart assist control, proximity key entry with push-button start, heated front seats, automatic climate control, a 7″ touchscreen display, HD and satellite radio, and much more. In addition to the electric version, the Ioniq is available as both a standard hybrid and plug-in hybrid. According to the EPA, this midsize sedan has a range of about 124 miles on a fully charged battery and will save the average driver $4,250 per year in fuel costs.

2. BMW i3 BEV (124 combined MPG)

This luxurious yet efficient subcompact electric is powered by a 60-Amp-hour battery that provides 81 miles of range. The EPA estimates that drivers of the i3 can save around $4,000 per year in fuel costs. Reviewers from Car and Driver tout the car’s incredible handling, smooth operation, and quiet ride. While the exterior is removed from BMV’s usual sophisticated styling, those who don’t mind the hatchback’s unique look will appreciate its cutting-edge construction and features. Another version of the i3 BEV with a 94-Amp-hour battery has a longer range, but lower fuel economy (118 combined MPG).

3. Chevrolet Bolt EV (119 combined MPG)

Shaped like a small crossover, this all-electric Chevy earns an EPA-estimated 128 city/110 highway miles per gallon. In addition to ranking third by fuel economy alone, the Bolt has earned numerous industry accolades, including the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year award, the 2017 North American Car of the Year, and the 2017 Green Car of the Year by Green Car Journal. With a full charge, you’ll be able to go a whopping 238 miles, making this an ideal car for the eco-conscious road-tripper.

4. Volkswagen e-Golf (119 combined MPG)

This electric version of Volkswagen’s perennial favorite earns 126/111 city/highway miles per gallon. Each charge will get you 124 miles, and the EPA estimates that the average e-Golf driver can save up to $4,000 per year. According to Volkswagen, the operation of the e-Golf is indistinguishable from that of the gas-powered classic, and it’s packed with features like a convenient smartphone app to manage your battery life and easy streaming for all your favorite media.

The Best Private Student Loans

The Best Private Student Loans

The cost of higher education seems to be skyrocketing. Therefore, many people need to take out student loans to pay for college. Federal student loans are available. However, there are private student loans that will give you the money you need to pay for college. Some private student loan options include:

  1. Sallie Mae: This company is a leader in the student loan industry. Both graduate and undergraduate students can apply. There is no cap on the amount you can borrow while you are in school. You have a fixed rate or a variable rate option. You also will have flexible repayment terms. The website offers an online calculator in which you can determine the cost of your college expenses. You normally need at least a 640 credit score.
  1. iHelp: This company offers one of the longest terms of all student loans. They will connect you will a local bank that could offer you a private student loan. There is no prepayment penalty, and you will not be required to make payments until 6 months after you graduate. You must be a United States citizen, and you must have some credit history.
  1. College Ave: This is a fairly new company that offers student loans. You can receive a fixed or variable rate loan. Rates are competitive, and the company offers flexible repayment terms. Your term can be up to 15 years. Approval is based on your credit. Students will usually need a cosigner. You must be a US citizen or permanent resident to qualify for this private loan.
  1. SunTrust: This company offers student loans for both graduate and undergraduate students. You can complete an application on the website, and they offer both fixed and variable rates. You could receive a discount if you apply early. You can use a co-signer if needed. For 12-24 months, you will only pay interest. You normally need at least a 640 credit score to qualify. It will also look at your current debts and payment history.
  1. Citizens Bank: With this student loan company, you can receive a discount if you are a bank customer. Your term will be up to 15 years, and you have numerous options for repayment. To qualify, you need a 620 credit score, and you need to make at least 12,000.

Money should not prevent you from attending college. You can obtain a private loan and achieve your dream occupation. You should not be limited by money; student loans are available, so research your options and find the best choice for you.

The Best Debt Consolidation Loans

The Best Debt Consolidation Loans

Having a tremendous amount of debt can be very overwhelming. You have so many credit card bills and loans each month, and they are hard to keep track of. Therefore, you need a solution to help you manage all of your debts. One solution that can help is an unsecured personal debt consolidation loan for people with bad credit. This involves combining all of your debt into one loan with a lower interest rate. Many companies offer debt consolidation loans. Some of these include:

  1. Lending Club: This loan provider is a peer to peer lending company. You can obtain a loan between $1000-$40,000, and the APR ranges from 5.99%-35.89%. To be eligible for Lending Club, you must have a fairly good credit score. The company like to have at least a 640 credit score. You also need a decent credit history and an acceptable debt to income ratio. Terms are either 35 months or 60 months.
  1. Avant: This is probably the best personal loan debt consolidation companies for lower credit. The interest rates might be a little higher than with other companies, but the qualifications are less stringent. After being approved, you can have your cash within the next day. The term for this personal loan is between 24 to 60 months, and you can borrow up to $35,000.
  1. Prosper: With this company, you usually can get lower rates than you have with a credit card. The APR ranges from 5.99% to 36.00%. You can get a loan anywhere from 36-60 months. It is peer to peer lending, so real people fund your loan. You normally need at least a 640 credit score. Other things Prosper considers is your debt to income ratio and the number of delinquent accounts you have.
  1. Lightstream: You can obtain a loan from $5000 to $100000. This company offers loan rates for these loans. Terms range from 24 to 84 months. The disadvantage of this loan is that you need very good credit to qualify.
  1. SoFi: The minimum credit score for a loan is 660, but most people have above 700. You also need a pretty high income amount. These loans are an excellent option to consolidate student loans. You do not have to have established credit to qualify. Loans range from $5000 to $100000. They range from 3-7 years.
  1. Discover Personal Loans: To qualify with this lender, you need at least a 660 credit score, but most people who qualify have above 700. Loan terms range from 3-7 years, and you can receive up to $35000. This company provides lower interest rates. The rates range from 6.99%-24.99%.

The advantages of a personal debt consolidation loans include lower monthly payments, lower interest rates, and easier to manage payments. Debt does not need to control your life. You can visit https://www.usa.gov/debt for more debt options. If you have a lot of debt, research the companies to decide which one is right for you. You can then get your life back on track financially.

Small Business Loan Online Options

Small Business Loan Online Options

With the spark of new technology has come the invention of online lending. This is spectacular news for small business owners as they no longer have to go through the grueling process of applying for a loan at a traditional bank.

With online lenders, small business owners are able to submit quick applications 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Decisions are usually made in seconds and those who are approved receive their funding the next day. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular online lenders who will fund small business loans.

 Accion

This microfinance lender is one of the oldest, as it was established back in the 1990s. Owners typically find lower interest rates around 8.99 percent with a borrowing limit set at a high $1,000,000. Accion typically only lends to businesses that are at least 12 months old and have an on-time payment record.

Balboa Capital

This company is a traditional offline lender that has expanded into the online lending world. Their maximum loan amount is $150,000 and they require all business applicants to have a good track record for at least one year.

Bond Street

This is one of the harder lenders to get approved by due to their strict standards. Borrowers are required to have a credit score of at least 660, a business that is at least two years old and has an annual revenue of at least $200,000, as well as give a personal guarantee for the loan. Loan amounts range from $50,000 to $500,000 with interest rates falling in between 8 and 25 percent.

Blue Vine

This lender specializes in invoice factoring. Loans are given in amounts up to $100,000. All applicants must have outstanding invoices to apply for this type of funding.

 CanCapital

This lender is your best option if your business is fairly new and you don’t have the best individual credit history. CanCapital only requires that borrowers have a minimum credit score of 550, a business that has been operating for at least 4 months, and a minimum monthly revenue in the amount of $4,500. Loans range from a small $2,500 to a large $150,000.

Credit Junction

This lender specializes in big loans ranging from a minimum of $200,000 to a maximum of $2,000,000. To apply you will need to enter a great amount of financial information. This loan also requires a phone interview to be accepted.

Fundation

This online lender is more geared towards established businesses that are looking to expand or increase their cash flow. They offer loan amounts up to $500,000 for business expansion and up to $150,000 for working capital. Interest rates range from 7.99 to 25 percent.

Paypal

This one may come as a bit of a shock. Paypal has noticed how many business owners are using their online platform to conduct their sales. Paypal will offer loans in the amount of up to 15 percent of a business’s past year revenue that was conducted through the Paypal platform.

Should I Consolidate My Credit Cards?

Should I Consolidate My Credit Cards?

How to Determine if Debt Consolidation is Right for You

Many people struggle with high balances on credit cards, and you may be looking for some relief if you are included in this group. Credit card consolidation offers many benefits under the right circumstances. For example, it can result in lower monthly payments and reduced interest charges. It also may set the debt up on a fixed term and help you to pay it off more quickly. However, debt consolidation is not ideal for everyone, and it is important to review a few factors before you make this important determination for your financial situation.

When You Qualify for a Lower Rate

One of the most important factors to consider when determining if credit card debt consolidation is right for you relates to the interest rate available to you through other sources. Some of the most common types of loans that are used to consolidate credit card debt are unsecured personal loans and home equity loans. Both of these options typically have a lower interest rate than credit cards, but you should ensure that you can qualify for the loan based on your financial situation and your credit rating. There are instances when a person’s struggle with debt has become so significant that they no longer can qualify for these types of loans.

When You Receive Some Financial Benefit

If you can qualify for a new loan that can be used for consolidation and if that loan has a lower rate, you may consider reviewing the financial benefit associated with consolidation. Compare the new monthly debt payment against the total monthly payments for all of the debt that you are consolidating. Pay attention to when the debt would be fully repaid based on the current and new scenarios. These are among the two most common financial benefits that individuals enjoy through debt consolidation, and in many cases, these benefits can be substantial.

When You Intend to Change Your Spending Habits

A final and critical factor to consider before you consolidate debts relates to your spending habits. Once you have rolled your credit card balances over to a new loan, you will have credit cards with zero balances and with hundreds or thousands of dollars of available credit. Some people have unfortunately charged their credit cards back up after consolidating debts, and this has created an even more burdensome debt issue. If you do this with a home equity loan, you put your home at stake as a result. Either way, you also face the risk of having to file for bankruptcy. It is wise to close most or all credit card accounts after consolidating to ensure that you cannot fall back into the same debt trap.

Credit cards can be difficult to pay off, but consolidation can often facilitate this effort. If you do not qualify for a consolidation loan, you may need to seek other forms of debt relief. Take time to explore the options so that you make the best decision regarding your personal finances.

Renting vs Buying a House?

Renting vs Buying a House?

When it comes to buying and owning homes versus renting one, the differences are startling.

If you choose to buy and own your own home, you will have tons of upfront costs, many of which will need to be paid out of pocket. Other costs are paid at closing. Some of these costs include the following:

  • The down payment.
  • Home inspection costs.
  • Home appraisal costs.
  • Earnest money.
  • Your first year’s homeowners insurance.
  • Property taxes.
  • Miscellaneous closing costs.

While you should be prepared to take care of these costs, before you go to close talk to your agent and find out whether the seller is willing to cover or share the closing costs.

There are many recurring costs associated with homeownership, as well. These include:

  • Property taxes, which are subject to change each year.
  • Loan payments.
  • The cost of your homeowner’s insurance.
  • Utility payments.
  • Maintenance costs.
  • Private mortgage insurance.

Homeownership also comes with some rather unique, more unpredictable costs. These are either rare or one-time costs that you should consider:

  • Furniture and fixtures.
  • The cost of moving.
  • Home renovations and improvement projects.
  • The fact that you will have to pay for all repairs not necessarily covered by insurance.

Upfront costs for home rentals are a bit different. It doesn’t have nearly as many or as expensive costs, but here are the upfront costs you will likely be facing:

  • The cost of moving from your old place to your new place.
  • A nonrefundable deposit, such as a pet deposit. These deposits can fluctuate based on many factors.
  • Your first month’s rent. (If you move mid-month, your landlord may give you a prorated amount. Check with them first!)
  • A security deposit.

Recurring costs for rental homes can include:

  • Your monthly rent payment.
  • A potential pet rent, rather than a pet deposit.
  • The cost of utilities.
  • The cost of getting your laundry done.
  • Renters insurance.

Pros and Cons of Buying:

Pros:

  • You build up equity over the course of time.
  • You can receive special tax benefits, including federal tax deductions and homestead exemptions.
  • You can be more creative with your home.
  • You can build up a sense of community. If you move into a home with a large community, you can build a network of friends.
  • You can turn it into an investment property. From turning it into a duplex to listing it on short-term renter sites like VRBO and Airbnb, you can help offset your costs by renting out your property.

Cons:

  • You may face financial losses if the area you live in decreases in value.
  • You are solely responsible for all repairs and maintenance costs.
  • You face high costs upfront, and usually higher long-term costs, as well.
  • You can’t expect a furnished home, as most homes are sold unfurnished.

Pros and Cons of Renting:

Pros:

  • You don’t have to worry about any repair or maintenance fees.
  • You won’t have to deal with as strict credit requirements.
  • You can move much more easily.
  • You don’t have to worry about the value of the home you’re living in decreasing.
  • You may find that you save money on utilities, as some utilities are included in many rental properties.

Cons:

  • Unless you live in an area with rent control laws, you may find that the cost of your rent goes up.
  • You won’t have any federal tax exemptions.
  • Renting does not build equity.
  • You have no guarantees that you will be able to stay in your rental property forever, or at all..

Only you can decide what the right choice for yourself and your family is. With this guide, you can weight the options more carefully and decide which will work out best for you.

Best Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Best Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Having debt problems can affect your way of life. Your credit card bills have added up, and you do not know where to turn. Unfortunately, your credit has taken a turn for the worse. You need a way to get back on your feet, so you consider a personal loan. However, with your bad credit, it is hard to find a personal loan. There are companies that specialize in bad credit personal loans. Some of the best bad credit personal loans include:

  1. Lending Point: You can apply for a personal loan up to $20000. The payment length is from 24-36 months, and the interest rate can be from 17% to 35%. You can be approved within 24 hours, and it takes into account more than just your credit score, but you usually need 600. There will be an origination fee. You can check your rate without affecting your credit score. When applying, you will need to state your annual income and employer information.
  1. Mariner Finance: The minimum score to apply with this company is 600, and the beginning APR stands at 24%. You need an annual income of above $35000, and you need an established credit history. It is not available in all states. You will be approved or denied by a loan officer, not a computer. Therefore, you can explain your bad credit score. You can also have a co-signer that will increase your chances of approval.
  1. OneMain: This is a popular loan for people with bad credit. You can get a loan anywhere from $1500-$10000. The APR could be from 25%-36%. You can apply online or in person. You could get approved for this loan even if you have a credit score below 600.
  1. OppLoans: Opp loans offers loans wo people with very low credit, and applying does not affect your credit score. The application process is strictly done online. The interest rate can be pretty high with this company. You could pay up to 199% APR. The term ranges from 6 to 36 months. Loans are up to $10000.
  1. Net Credit: Borrowers will credit scores below 550 could qualify for this loan. The downside to this lender is that the interest rates are very high. However, with bad credit, the rates are going to be higher. It is a good idea to pay off the loan as quickly as possible.

With personal loans for bad credit, you will have the opportunity to improve your credit and get back on track. Research your options online to see what bad credit loans are available. You might consider a government loan t https://www.govloans.gov/. You can then choose the right loan for you, and you can look to a brighter financial future.

Have a Bad Credit Score? How to Repair It

Have a Bad Credit Score? How to Repair It

The first thing you need to do is check your credit score to make sure that there isn’t any errors. Check to make sure that there are no late payments listed incorrectly on your report. You also need to make sure that the amounts you owe on your accounts is correct. If you find any errors on your credit report, file a dispute with the credit bureau. You can request a copy of your credit report for free.

If you happen to forget when your payment is due, you need to set up a payment reminder or a recurring payment schedule. Most companies have the option of signing up for an email or text message when your payment is due.

One of the biggest things you can do to repair your credit is reducing the amount of debt you have. 30 percent of the debt you owe is calculated for your credit score. The more debt you owe means that your credit score will be lower but you can improve that. You should have a goal to keep your credit utilization under 30 percent.

Payment history counts for 35 percent of your credit score. You need to make your payments when they’re due. Even if your payment is a few days late, it’ll have a negative effect on your credit score. If you need to adjust the amount you pay, contact your creditors. They may be able to work with lowering your monthly payments if you’re having trouble paying your bills.

Try to pay down your debt as much as possible if you’re able. The lower amount of debt you use means that you’ll have a higher credit score. Try to keep balances low on all of your credit cards.

It’s best to keep your unused credit cards open. If you close these accounts, you’ll be hurting your credit score. Don’t open too many new credit cards in a short time period. Opening too many credit cards in a short amount of time will lower your credit score, and it won’t look good on your credit report. Creditors may start to wonder why you need so much available credit. You may be considered risky to a creditor.

If you have bad credit, you’ll want to try opening new accounts. Be sure to pay the payments when they’re due to raise your credit score. Just because you have a bad credit score doesn’t mean that you can’t fix it.

It’s not wise to open new credit accounts just to adjust your credit utilization. This may end up backfiring. Only apply for credit accounts that you need such as emergency situations. Always use credit cards responsibility. Having credit cards and installment loans will raise your credit score overtime if you make your payments when they’re due.

It can sometimes take years to restore your credit score to a high number. Here’s how long activity stays on your credit report:

  • Late Payments: Seven years
  • Repossessions: Seven years
  • Bankruptcies: Seven to 10 years
  • Short Sales: Seven years
  • Judgments: Seven years or longer

Sources:

http://www.myfico.com/credit-education/improve-your-credit-score/
https://www.credit.com/credit-repair/how-to-fix-your-credit/

The Risk of Investing in IPOs

The Risk of Investing in IPOs

There was a time back in the 90s when investing in IPOs was a great way to make money quickly. But that was during the dot-com boom, and things have changed quite a bit since then. An IPO can still be a great investment, or it can be a very bad investment. When you invest in IPOs, you should be aware of a few specific risks that go along with it.

Lack of Information

When you’re thinking about investing in a publicly traded company, you have all kinds of information available at your fingertips. Financial analysts heavily scrutinize these companies, and you can benefit from what they discover.

With an IPO, you don’t have nearly as much information. The company will provide information about itself in its prospectus, but as that’s written by someone at the company, you can’t exactly expect it to be unbiased. Look around online for whatever information you can dig up yourself before investing in an IPO. You may not be able to find much, but it’s important to research as much as you can.

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