Easy Ways to Protect Your Personal Finances From Further Economic Contraction

While the economy has already certainly softened, there may be further economic contraction for American consumers to face. Increasing job losses, higher inflation rates, and the growing food and energy costs are making personal finance budgeting difficult for most American families to achieve. The variable interest rate of recent mortgages makes critical, and the prospects for personal finance do not look bright for the next several years.

However, an ounce of personal finance planning is certainly worth more than a pound of monetary cure. It is not too late to start preparing your personal finance budgeting efforts to brace yourself for further economic contraction – ensuring that when America does recover from its economic weakness, your personal finance will be intact and still healthy.

When economic uncertainty is on the horizon, interest rates are the first to react – making debt management critical. Powered by both the Federal Reserve rate and each banking institution’s tolerance, interest rates can either soar or plummet, depending upon several factors. Whereas our interest rates were at historical lows, the Fed Chairman Bernanke made adjustments to the rate in order to curb inflation, while attempting to simultaneously stimulate economic investment. What does this mean for your debt management? In essence, banks will now offer you great interest rates if you have good credit, making your debt management easy. If you have bad credit, then banks will increase your interest rates, as the risk of a default grows greater during an economic contraction.

Do You Need Credit Help? Here is Some Free Credit Advice For You!

In order to have material success, you must have a solid credit score. If you want to lease a car, buy a home or rent an apartment, you must have good credit. There are several ways to build your credit, even it is has been damaged in the past: You can salvage your credit!

Do you know what a beacon score is? Do you know what your beacon score is? A beacon score is your credit number: Ideally, you want a score of 650 or higher: This means you are reliable and have good credit. If your score is between 500-650 this is not too bad, but you still want to increase this. If it is below 500 you will never be approved for anything that verifies your credit, and you need credit help!

The first step to building your credit is to find out what your beacon score is. You can do this very easily online. They are a reliable and confidential credit score company and are the highest used, when it comes to companies verifying your credit. You can also see what has hit your credit and what is holding it back: Companies make errors there could potentially be a “ding” on your credit that should not be there. You can also get your beacon score and know where you currently stand.

The second step is to get a credit card. A lot of department stores will hand you their credit card, without even verifying your credit history. Now don’t go crazy with this credit card and get yourself into debt: Simply make one or two purchases and pay your bill off. Do this consistently over the course of six months, and you will see your credit score increase. The main thing to remember, is to pay this bill ON TIME, preferably in full, and don’t over spend. You want to build your credit, not get into debt.

Another option to consider is your utility bills. Your hydro, gas bills, cell phones etc. also affect your credit score. If you consistently pay them on time, your credit score will increase over time. If you are constantly late and missing payments, they WILL report this and this will affect your beacon score. If you have any outstanding where you owe them money, you need to work out a payment arrangement and pay them back or they will always be on your credit report, bringing down your beacon score.

business-meeting.jpgIn summary, if you need credit help there are solutions for you. First, verify your beacon score. Secondly, get a department store credit card, spend only a little bit and pay it off and over the time of six months, you will see your credit develop and increase. Thirdly, if you have cell phones, gas, hydro etc. pay them on time every month or they will bring down your beacon score. Follow these three steps and you are on your way to excellent credit and you are on your way to material success!

Try Finding Stress Free, Hands Off Positive Cash Flow Properties Without the Right Advisor

Allow me to paint a picture: after finding the right market, one with both stability and potential for appreciation, you get your hands on that ideal property after buying it below market price. You make a few low-cost renovations (or none at all) and next thing you know, potential tenants are knocking on your door, paying off your mortgage and then some. Sound like a perfect world? Sounds terrific, to be sure. But what would really tie all this up in a bow is just one more detail: low to no-cost, reliable property management.

cashAchieving positive cash flow is why we invest in real estate in the first place. We have different reasons for wanting it… to pay for our annual vacations, send the kids to school, upgrade our own homes or perhaps to spend less time at the office and more quality time with family and friends. Whatever the case may be, we didn’t do it to add more hours to our own work week or take more time away from doing the things we love.

That’s why it’s important to find a trustworthy property investment company, group or advisor that only offers projects which contain all these factors, reducing the amount of time and energy you spend on making positive cash flow to a minimum. Simply put, a proven, savvy investment advisor or group is invaluable. If you do your research in finding the right advisor, one that shares your goals, it may be the last stringent due diligence you need to make.

So what criteria should you use when sorting the duds from the winners?

Spotless credibility

Check out their website, thoroughly. Learn what their principles are and their fields of expertise. There should be pictures and bios on the principals of the company, and their background should be extensive. They should offer plenty of testimonials in each stage of the process – acquisition, closing and follow-up. And those testimonials should read like a book of what you want to achieve.

Plan for the future

Your portfolio might only contain local properties at the moment, but eventually you’ll need to diversify across Canada. And how about your holiday and retirement goals? Finding a group that carries the criteria of passive, positive cash flow to an international level is something hard to come by, but priceless.

The team’s mission

Are they only out to make money, or does it mean something more? We all want to make money, of course, but excellent customer service is going to come from those who want to give it. Are they dedicated to your well-being and education? Do they want to inform you as much as possible about each market or do they merely expect you to rely upon their word? What type of educational materials are they offering besides the properties they wish to promote?

Activity

Check out their current and past properties. How often do they offer new property investments to their database? Does it seem like they hand-pick each real estate opportunity, or do they just throw anything up on their website in the hopes someone will bite?

Due diligence

How much due diligence have they completed on each market and project and how much of this information do they make freely available to you? The proof is in the pudding… not only should they only offer you fully turn-key projects with reliable property management, but their market due diligence should be thorough and prove why they’ve chosen to offer that particular property to you.

Customer service

The whole point in finding an international investment property advisor, company or group is to lessen your own load in finding such properties yourself. What’s the point in selecting a company that doesn’t make the grade in due diligence, offers no assistance with creative financing or joint venture opportunities, or that leaves you in the dust after their commission checks are cashed?

What you want is an advisor you can count on during all stages of the process, a group you can trust in the long-run to keep you informed of emerging markets. The only thing you should have to do is sign your reservation contracts, send in your deposits, go through financing and sign your title at closing. After that, you just cash your rental checks and wait for the next great negotiated deal in the next hot market. THAT’S what a truly passive, positive cash flow real estate portfolio looks like. Anything else is an imitation, and a waste of your time.

Don’t back down on your expectations

Ultimately, the group you select must adhere to a high level of criteria before you trust them with your most valuable asset – your peace of mind. In the end, the company you choose should have your best interests at heart, know how and want to conduct thorough due diligence on your behalf, and only offer property investment projects to you that have passed the five-point test:

  • Stable, yet emerging local and international markets
  • Negotiated, below-market value price points
  • Current tenancy on medium to long term leases
  • Positive cash flow after expenses
  • Passive, stress free income with low to no cost property management

If the advisors you’re considering don’t offer you all this, you might as well hang up the phone. Because if you don’t, you could very well end up giving yourself more stress and hardship than if you had never decided to invest in real estate in the first place.