Thursday, April 28, 2011

A prenuptial agreement can save you agony

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s noble wedding is set for April 29, and rather than the fairy-tale front, consumers promoter Clark Howard is marveling at the undercurrent. There’s a great deal of urging in the United Kingdom media for Prince William to sign a prenuptial agreement before the wedding. While unromantic, such marriage contracts are monetarily sound insurance. Article resource – Prenuptial agreements – Not just for royalty anymore by MoneyBlogNewz.

The facts about prenuptial agreements

There is a contract made before marriage or civil unions called a prenuptial agreement. Sometimes it is also called a premarital agreement, prenupt or prenup. The dividing of property and whatnot is divided in the prenup agreement before a divorce can occur. Provisions for child guardianship and forfeiture of assets in the event of indiscretions like adultery may also be present.

After marriage, a postnuptial agreement can be made too. It is just like a pernup.

The entire divorce taking place

When it comes to divorce, this is the way one in three first marriages end and one in 2 second marriages end. This is why Bankrate suggests everyone get a prenup.

“Marriage is not just an emotional and physical union — it’s also a financial union. A prenup and the discussions that go with it can help ensure the financial well-being of the marriage,” said New York City financial adviser Nancy Dunnan.

Prince William and Kate Middleton are not the only ones a prenup is for. It can be for anyone. Someone with money and assets starting off a marriage might want to protect that. There is nothing wrong with that.

“Those are sometimes the most jealously guarded assets because it has taken a lot of hard work to accumulate a small amount,” said Iowa lawyer Joseph Zwack, author of “Premarital Agreements: When, Why and how to Write Them.”

Knowing when a prenup is essential

According to Bankrate, if any of these things apply and you are about to wed or are already married, consult with an attorney:

  • Your assets consist of retirement, stock, companies or a home
  • Your business venture may lead to a large increase in income
  • The chance of an inheritance is there. It could possibly be coming from any person
  • There are children from another marriage. There could possibly be grandchildren also
  • The balance of prosperity between you and your spouse is not the same
  • One spouse is paying for another to go to college
  • There are elderly parents that need care. They might need care soon too
  • You’ve a medical degree or are trying to pursue one. Any lucrative license counts

Making your way to a prenup

Palm Beach County, Fla., lawyer Michael McDonough says that it is very important to be honest in this. Dunnan says that you have to do it earlier instead of later. It is possible to have fair agreements as long as there are attorneys on both ends of the agreement.

Articles cited

Bankrate

bankrate.com/brm/prenup.asp

Clark Howard

clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/family-lifestyle/should-newlyweds-sign-pre-nuptial-agreement/nCQsJ/

Wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenuptial_agreement

‘He fell in love during the flight’

youtube.com/watch?v=qG9aVr9GY_Q



Monday, April 25, 2011

Most Americans think housing is nevertheless a good investment

The majority of Americans still think real estate is the best long term financial investment to make. Since the housing peak in 2006, home prices have dropped by a third and more than a quarter of all homes are worth less money than what was borrowed to buy them. It will take time, however homes will eventually start to appreciate once again. Article resource – Most Americans still believe in real estate as an investment by MoneyBlogNewz.

More than 80 percent of Americans have confidence in housing

The majority of Americans are confident in housing investments even with the economic downturn, a survey noted. The Pew Research Center, according to Reuters, found that 81 percent of Americans felt real estate was nevertheless the best long term investment. The Social and Demographic Trends project, as part of the Pew Research Center, surveyed over 2,000 adults asking if a home was the best long term investment. 44 percent said that they “somewhat agreed” while 37 percent said they “strongly agreed” with the statement. About 23 percent of people said that if they could go back and do it again, they would not have purchased their home. Still, most people believe homes will recover in three years.

Possible increase

Realtors, according to MSNBC, are hoping that sales pick up during the spring and summer of 2011 and the current trend of slowing sales is reversed. The number of home sales and values may end up staying down though which realtors and real estate industry analysts are worried about considering the amount of underwater mortgages. The National Association of Realtors has high hopes. It thinks that this year alone there will be a 7.4 percent increase in home sales. The tight lending practices are making several in the real estate industry mad. They say there is no way to recuperate without this change.

People unsure over it

The housing industry is in a hard place right now. The American Dream is danger due to this. An article on the USA Today website quoted Robert Shiller, co-founder of the real estate tracking Case-Shiller Index, as saying that individuals buy houses for security or lifestyle reasons. There was another economist that talked about the return on a home. Typically, the return is around 6 percent. With all the fees and depressed prices, it may be even worse. Most people aren’t getting a return at all.

Articles cited

Reuters

reuters.com/article/2011/04/12/us-usa-housing-survey-idUSTRE73B0T220110412

MSNBC

msnbc.msn.com/id/42521765/ns/business-real_estate/

USA Today

usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2011-03-20-home-ownership.htm



Friday, April 22, 2011

Do you pay your children for grades?

It’s going to come up. Moms and dads are going to have to choose whether to pay their kids for good grades. Some look at a little money as an extra incentive to excel, while others believe that it sends the wrong message to children about the value of both money and education. However if various studies of pay-for-grade programs at public schools are any indication, there’s a middle road that comes with educating kids as to the value of money. Article source – Paying kids for grades: Capitalism in action by MoneyBlogNewz.

Sounds like ‘School is your job’

Some say that a kid is going to school which is why it is very important to pay for grades. To be able to prepare for education that life becomes, a kid has to learn as much as possible. It is essential to pay for performance just like an employer pays.

Several parents are against the idea of a payment. They say that students have to learn to work hard in school for personal gain, rather than for rewards. With grade payment, could students be more prepared? Are internships that are unpaid what students are preparing for? Some employees feel abused because of unpaid internships. Is it really worth it?

Pay for good grades programs have been instituted in numerous public school systems to good impact, states the New York Times. Yet controversy has remained. While Urban League President Darwin Davis praised such efforts for mirroring the reward systems of United States capitalist society, Manhattan Institute fellow Sol Stern called it “an insult to every hard-working parent.”

Working for free is not great

Compensating kids for their work educates children how to work well. Moms and dads can do this to help their kids. In short, the lesson is that if you’re good at something, never do it for free. Children must understand the value of money if this is something they can understand. Money Crashers know how to help teach children the value of money:

  1. Money is king. Do not give teenagers gift automobiles or prepaid debit cards. The tangible feeling of handling dollars and cents as they purchase the things they want will help them understand the finite nature of money and help them visualize what it’s like to develop a savings.
  2. Jobs are essential. In addition to earning money for good grades, if children need more money, they should find part-time employment. Younger children might simply do yard work to earn a little bit if they’re younger and do not get an allowance. Teenagers can get a part-time job. They might even consider a paper route. Some children will understand money better after working for it. They will know what it takes to get a dollar.
  3. Charity. By donating time or money, children can learn about doing well. Children will learn how to appreciate money and education when they learn to be selfless.

Articles cited

Money Crashers

moneycrashers.com/should-parents-pay-if-their-kids-get-good-grades/

New York Times

nytimes.com/2007/06/19/nyregion/19schools.html?_r=2

Exxon is paying high school students for grades

youtu.be/tkVcO8M4QVc



Hedge fund industry resumes attracting billions, however for what?

Hedge funds appear to be looked at favorably yet again. In search of high returns, investors are turning yet again to hedge funds and their risky approaches. However there are more losers than winners overall in the hedge fund industry and several funds will most likely tip over before the year is out.

Hedge funds treading water

The hedge fund industry attracted $22 billion from investors in March, the highest rate in over a year, according to Hedgefund.net. The 2008 all-time high is almost being hit with the hedge fund business at $2.5 trillion. This is 83 percent of that high number. A few hedge funds are doing really well. The rest of them are nevertheless struggling to make money though. In fact, Hedgefund.net states that about 35 percent of 2,500 funds that voluntarily report performance have yet to return to their high water marks. While investors are seeing returns, the hedge funds themselves cannot charge performance fees until the assets they manage return to their pre-financial crisis peak. In order to get to the right place, a hedge fund with $100 million that lost 25 percent during the meltdown has to get a 35 percent return at the very least. There might be years before the fund can go back to normal. That normal 20 percent could be hard to get.

The manipulation in the hedge funds

The management fees of about 2 percent of the assets are charged while client expenditures are also charged which is the way hedge funds are able to get money up. Others who lost most of their client’s money simply shut down, reopen under a different name, entice new investors and start collecting performance fees. Then it is business as usual, which contains classic forms of hedge fund industry manipulation. For hedge funds that have returned to performance fee territory, most of them inflate reported returns by purchasing up their own holdings the last few seconds before a quarter concludes. After their fabricated results are recorded, they dump the stock. A study was done on this to show it is true. Toulouse School of Economics, Wharton, Ohio State and Swiss Finance Institute were all a part of this. The last-second rallies are good for stocks with a lot of hedge fund ownership. This was shown in the research to benefit more than normal. After the manipulation,! stocks with high hedge fund ownership also trended toward lower returns on the first day of the month.

Huge increases for hedge funds

Business experts believe that in 2011, a hedge fund shake out will happen making it so some of them disappear while many are attempting to make a recovery. This isn’t new. It occurs often. According to Hedgefund.net, the median return of 1,400 hedge funds tracked over the past five years is 41 percent. Several hedge funds lost then. There were 3,000 totally dropped. According to Brett Arends at MarketWatch, the great numbers reported by the hedge fund industry only include a few of the survivors. His own “vanilla portfolio” was in contrast to 2,229 hedge funds. All of these started in 2001. The vanilla portfolio gained 94 percent. If the industry were to match the vanilla portfolio, it would need all the hedge funds that did not do better. They would have all needed to get 60 percent. This didn’t happen. A fifth of the 535 survivors didn’t come close to matching this.

Articles cited

Market Watch

marketwatch.com/story/the-truth-about-hedge-funds-1302121763886?pagenumber=2

New York Times

dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/04/06/many-hedge-funds-still-smarting-from-the-financial-crisis/?src=dlbksb

All About Alpha

allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/03/02/hedge-funds-and-stock-manipulation-perpetrators-accomplices-or-just-in-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time-again/



14 banks ordered to pay homeowners back for foreclosures

The banks that wrongfully foreclosed on people in the robosigning scandal have been ordered to pay those people back by the federal government. Though the individuals who have had to endure this injustice can be repaid, the exact number of people who were foreclosed on without having done anything wrong isn’t known yet.

How banks lose with fees

Federal regulators recently reached a settlement with the financial institutions involved in the robosigning scandal, in which foreclosure proceedings were improperly started against homeowners because bank officers could not be bothered to do their due diligence on the paperwork concerning the state of the homeowners’ personel loans. Part of the settlement agreement, according to Reuters, is that any property owners who were wrongly foreclosed on have to be repaid by the financial institution that did it. Total, there were 14 businesses. USA Today reports that they’re Ally Financial, Aurora Bank, EverBank, HSBC, Sovereign Bank, SunTrust Banks, MetLife Bank, OneWest Bank, PNC, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Citibank. There will even have to be payments made by loan service businesses MERSCORP and Len! der Processing Services. The institutions will contact impacted homeowners soon.

Total fallout to be determined

The numbers of people that have to get paid or the fines that can be placed have not been added together yet. The banks might end up with $20 billion in fines. This has been recommended by government officials. To further add to the headaches of these institutions, this is only from the settlement with the Federal Reserve, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Every state lawyer general still has settlements pending along with federal agencies.

Mortgage costs to go up

Banking and real estate insiders are insisting the new legislation and increased regulatory scrutiny will increase the costs of lending a mortgage to a prospective homeowner. There were new rules added on mortgage officer compensation by the Federal Reserve. This means that loan officers will lose commission, reports MarketWatch. Most institutions are no longer giving out commission depending on interest rates on the mortgages. That means a lot of profit will be lost. The customer advocacy group, the Center for Responsible Lending, said that this will eventually be passed on to the customer instead of the banks.

Articles cited

Reuters

reuters.com/article/2011/04/13/us-financial-regulation-foreclosures-idUSTRE73C3DV20110413?pageNumber=1

USA Today

usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2011-04-13-wrong-foreclosures-repay.htm

MarketWatch

marketwatch.com/story/home-loan-brokers-face-new-limits-on-pay-2011-04-11



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ad-supported Kindle to ship at $114

Amazon is in a position to ride the wave of revolution in the print industry, thanks to its Kindle system. Industry studies indicate that the Kindle currently holds a 60 percent share in the e-reader market, a figure that will no doubt improve as the company introduces the $114 Amazon Kindle with Special Offers. However there’s a caveat for people, states the Christian Science Monitor. The latest Kindle offering will be ad-supported. Post resource – Amazon to release ad-supported Kindle for $114 by MoneyBlogNewz.

Putting ads on a kindle; pay less

The first generation Amazon kindle in 2007 cost $399. The price deduction never included ads before this. Doing this, the e-reader market could be breached making the iPad competition. May 3 is when the kindle will start with Special Offers. Target and Best Purchase will sell the ad-supported version of the Kindle 3 in stores at that time.

Founder and CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos state it is a “chicken in every pot” move. Every person will want the Special Offers $114 kindle:

“We’re working hard to make sure that anyone who wants a Kindle can afford one,” he said via a statement.

An ad-based kindle might bright out typical concerns. These concerns were displayed as responders on a Christian Science Monitor article on price cuts. The price of books was brought up by one reader that claims kindles for free with advertisements would be okay with $0.99 books. Another reader concurs that a $25 discount isn’t enough to make up for the presence of ads, however one thing experts believe Amazon has done right is to isolate the ads to the Kindle’s screensaver and the bottom of the home screen.

“It’s very important that we didn’t interfere with the reading experience,” Kindle director Jay Marine told the Associated Press.

The price is needed

Getting to the $99 Kindle for Christmas 2011 is essential, TechCrunch believes. That is what the $114 Amazon Kindle is leading up to with its Special Features. 99 is a magical number. Most marketing would suggest this.

However, new research from New York’s Columbia Business School indicates that the advantage is more imagined than it is real anymore. A dollar plus approach, adding a penny, was more effective than the dollar minus approach, taking a penny away. The Columbia study showed this clearly. Sales of products that used the dollar-plus method increased by 3 percent, and consumers felt greater trust for dollar-plus brands as the costs were perceived as being less manipulative.

Citations

Christian Science Monitor

csmonitor.com/Books/chapter-and-verse/2011/0413/Will-readers-accept-ads-in-exchange-for-a-cheaper-Kindle

Columbia Business School

gsb.columbia.edu/ideasatwork/researchbriefs/7314376?&top.region=main

Knowing and Making

knowingandmaking.com/2011/04/new-research-99-no-longer-optimal-for.html

TechCrunch

techcrunch.com/2011/04/11/amazon-kindle-99/

Kindle sales tripled after last price drop

youtu.be/PaAFm_fZQ2A



Twitter bribed by payroll tax break to stay by the Bay

In an 8-to-3 vote, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has decided in support of an ordinance that will give local business Twitter among others a tax break from the city’s corporate payroll tax on brand new hires, states the Los Angeles Times. The 1.5 percent tax shelter will be good for the next six years, so long as corporations like Twitter maintain their physical San Francisco offices. San Francisco Mayor Lee lauded the vote as an economic boon for the city, however critics on the city board see a negative precedent set by such a large city having to stoop to court a business with tax shelters. Article source – City of San Francisco grants Twitter a payroll tax break by MoneyBlogNewz.

It is ‘rejuvenation’ for Twitter to be there

Lee says that keeping Twitter in San Francisco could only have happened with the payroll tax break.

“This moment represents a real step forward in the effort to revitalize and transform the Central Market area,” he said. “Central Market and the Tenderloin have been burdened with high vacancies and blight for decades.”

While Twitter officials would not comment on the payroll tax exclusion Wednesday, Lee told the San Francisco Chronicle that he appreciated Twitter’s enthusiasm for helping revitalize those key business districts. Those areas need some job creation. It would help out San Francisco a lot.

“There is great synergy between Twitter and the arts organizations and small retail businesses who are looking to expand in the area," said Lee. "The city can work collaboratively with businesses, community-based organizations, property owners and area residents to catalyze meaningful change.”

Tax holiday may not be such a fantastic thing

The Chronicle states that the tax break can be saving Twitter a lot of money. About $22 million can be saved in taxes in just six years. The $22 million isn't something every person is thrilled about. City supervisor John Avalos explained that San Francisco really needs the money.

“I don’t believe giving an exception to our payroll tax is the way to go,” he said. “I believe that businesses in San Francisco and around the country should be socially responsible. … If we allow a company to threaten to leave, then give them a tax break so they don’t, we’re setting a bad precedent."

Information from

Los Angeles Times

latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/04/twitter-gets-6-year-payroll-tax-break-from-san-francisco-board-of-supervisors.html

San Francisco Chronicles

sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/05/BA7R1IQM9D.DTL

San Francisco Mayor's Office

sfmayor.org/index.aspx?page=330

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on corporate tax holidays and offshoring

youtube.com/watch?v=MIRncAiu9Vw



Sunday, April 3, 2011

Additional banks ending debit card advantages

Debit card rewards have become endangered species at large banks, which are cutting the programs because of a possible cap on interchange fees. The laws which were passed in order to perfor4m financial reform the good of consumers are starting to have ripple effects. The cost of protection for customers may be a loss of convenience and some tighter conditions from financial institutions. Legislators are starting to debate whether financial reform is too costly to keep on the books. Resource for this article – More banks ending debit card rewards by MoneyBlogNewz.

Safeguarding customers take away rights

banks are desperately attempting to discover new ways to make money and save money. This is because of the proposed cap on interchange fees, also called "swipe fees," where merchants are required to pay banks anytime a card is swiped. Free checking programs and debit card rewards have landed on the chopping block. The debit card rewards program is being ended by JP Morgan Chase while others are following, CNN reports. Debit rewards are no longer offered to customers of Wells Fargo subsidiary Wachovia while April 15, Wells Fargo will follow. Right now, Citibank is "in the process of evaluating potential changes." More than likely, its advantages programs will also end.

Paying even additional for a financial reform to work

USA Today reports that the Government Accountability Office estimated a $1 billion per year price tag on the financial reform bill or Dodd Frank Act. The creation of a totally new agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has already brought on controversy and infighting among lawmakers. Over 2,000 new employees would be needed to enforce laws, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in accordance with Government Accountability Office estimates. Congressional Republicans have been openly critical of the agency, which some assert has too much authority. The special adviser to the president in charge of setting up the agency, Elizabeth Warren, has defended the agency, saying the "Wall Street behemoths" that created the need for the agency should be targets, not the CFPB, in accordance with Bloomberg. All customer financial products will be reviewed by the agency that will be in charge of them, including personal loans and charge cards.

Credit could be lost

The financial reform laws are ones that are designed to protect consumers. Financial institutions won’t be able to trick customers into anything anymore. It might be a good idea. Still, financial institutions are already trying to make up for losses. Debit card advantages and free checking are falling by the wayside, but banks cannot impose fees with impunity. Loan credit is likely to get tighter, though that also means banks and loan companies cannot gouge consumers out of the blue. However, the debate is going to be whether the loss of convenience is worth it.

Citations

CNN

money.cnn.com/2011/03/25/pf/debit_rewards/index.htm

USA Today

usatoday.com/money/economy/2011-03-28-financial-overhaul.htm

Bloomberg

bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-25/warren-says-consumer-bureau-foes-should-look-at-bank-behemoths-.html



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Comprehending the problem of staying away from credit

It is a catch-22: To be able to build credit, one must have some credit to go by. However, several creditors won’t lend to customers with thin or non-existent credit histories. If your credit score is exceptional but you’ve been denied for a mortgage, for instance, it’s probably because you don’t have enough active credit irons in the fire. Article source – Understanding the down side of avoiding credit by MoneyBlogNewz.

The super-responsible person never has fun

Anybody who is super responsible with credit may not do as well off as they think. Paying off student loans right out of the gate, staying away from excessive use of credit and generally living debt-free will save money in the long term, however some creditors do not view the credit-phobic kindly. There are a lot of people that use credit, but have many choices to select from. It can look bad to have credit inquiries too often though.

Having little credit history and being a serial charge card applicant can impact credit negatively, says Rod Griffin, public education director for the credit bureau Experian. Showing an ability to handle a reasonable number of open, active credit sources over time is paramount in illustrating credit-worthiness to creditors, including mortgage loan companies.

Pay off loans, however keep some credit active

The argument Griffin has is that it is not bad to pay off loans early. This is regardless of what credit experts say. You’ll have good marks stay for about 10 years on a FICO report. At the exact same time, only seven years are needed to get rid of negative marks. Some consumers will pay off loans quickly. This makes some creditors less likely to lend. Some creditors will say no to a credit application just because there are not three accounts open and active for about 24 months.

Only some charge cards should be used

Do not take on a lot of charge cards if you’re a college student that is just beginning to build credit. You will find some students that are responsible enough to handle the card. The one or two cards might help the students in these cases.

Change is taking place though. Griffin explains that this could change everything. The ability a young person has to building credit is overlooked due to the new Charge card Act the Obama administration started. By restricting credit card company access to college students, some experts see more limited opportunities for building credit history.

Using just money can hurt credit

You will not be building credit with a money only lifestyle, even though you also won't have debt. When in an emergency, use an installment loan and no credit check loan while also having credit accounts that you pay on each month. You can avoid building up too much debt on a charge card with these goods even though they won't make a difference on a credit history without reporting.

Information from

MSN

money.msn.com/credit-rating/raise-your-credit-score-to-740-weston.aspx

Yahoo

finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/112152/dangers-of-avoiding-credit?mod=series-m-article-c

Understanding the Credit card Act

youtube.com/watch?v=UbIDOZz6CPw