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Setting Goals When Dieting

As with most things in life, setting goals is very important when dieting. When you look at things truthfully and objectively you should notice that most of the things you’ve accomplished in life have been accomplished because you not only had a goal but also had a clearly planned and well thought out process for achieving that goal. That being said, why is goal setting so important when it comes to dieting?

First of all, it is difficult to achieve a goal if you do not have a clearly defined goal. There are times in life when it is almost impossible to tell whether you are succeeding or failing because you aren’t certain exactly what the desired outcome should be. Identifying your dieting goals before you begin eliminates this particular possibility.

Second, having dieting goals gives you a measuring stick by which you can judge your process. This is important so that you know when your efforts are failing behind and when you’re moving along schedule or ahead of schedule. In other words, you will know when to celebrate and when to give yourself a swift kick to the rear.

Now that we know why we set weight loss goals, let’s discuss how we should go about setting those goals that are so important for dieting success. You want to set goals that are aggressive without being impossible to achieve. If you set goals that are beyond your reach you will find that frustration will be your dieting partner until you reach the point where you give up all together. In order to avoid this you should take great care to insure that your goals are possible for you to achieve.

When it comes to weight loss be specific when setting your goals. Rather than setting a total goal of 40 or 60 pounds start with a specific goal such as 10 pounds in one month. Then you can extend the goal to the next month until you’ve reached the overall goal of 40 or 60 pounds. It is much easier to lose 10 pounds four times than it is to lose 40 pounds at once. It’s a trick of the mind but it works. Ten pounds sound simple and achievable. Forty pounds sound like an insurmountable obstacle.

Another thing about goals is that you want to hold yourself accountable but you shouldn’t call the whole thing off if you only lose 9 pounds instead of 10. Instead, find out where you dropped the ball for the final pound and set your 10-pound goal for the next month.

You should also take great care that you are working with your personal goals and not the goals that someone else is pushing on you. The truth is that if it’s personal to you, it will be much more rewarding than if you are doing this for someone else. If your heart isn’t in it, there are very few goals that are going to motivate you properly.

Finally, you should establish small (non-food) rewards for accomplishing your dieting goals. Perhaps your reward will be a new accessory for your new (or new old) wardrobe or a pedicure for your new look. Make your reward something fun and frivolous and teach yourself that accomplishing your goals can be accomplished by something other than food. This is a key to dieting successfully.

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Keep Your Closing Costs Low

Closing costs can surprise many homeowners if they aren’t prepared for them and can seriously deplete savings at a time when most people need money the most.  It seems that lenders are constantly finding new and creative ways to tack on a few dollars here, and a few dollars there to the tune of thousands.  However, by taking a few simple steps you can keep your closing costs low and know when to tell your lender that enough is enough!

First, you should always be a savvy consumer when it comes to title work.  You have the right to select any title company you want and not the one that the mortgage company wants to force upon you.  Of course, the mortgage company they want you to use always turns out to be one of the more expensive ones (because they are getting kickback fees).  Shop around for a title work company and you can often save 30% right off the bat, and if you are willing to really work at it, save upwards of 50%.  It’s not chump change either – a title company can easily charge $1,200 for basic title services.

Next, be on the lookout for junk fees.  Lenders love to pile on the document preparation fees, interest locking fees and anything else they can think of.  Often times they throw these fees onto mortgages that have no points attached to them.  Make sure that you ask your lender for a full disclosure of all the fees and then ask them about any that seem out of line.  If you aren’t happy with what they quote you, tell them you are looking around at other lenders.  The last thing a lender wants to do is lose 30 years worth of interest because of a $200 junk fee!

If you aren’t going to be in the house for more than a few years, ask the seller to pay the closing costs.  Sure, you’ll end up paying a higher interest rate, but if you plan on moving in a few years then the cost of the interest won’t match the closing costs you would have to pay up front.  Plus, you pay the extra interest off is small chunks each month rather than being out a lot of money up front. 

Watch out for lenders who try to sell you add-on products with your mortgage.  They love to try to get you to buy credit insurance (a total waste of money) and some lenders even try to sell you services such as “plumbing protection” or “whole house appliance protection”.  Just say no!

Remember, you have the power to say no thanks at any time before you sign on the dotted line.  If you don’t like the figures your lender is talking about for closing costs, shop around – in fact, you should around and get several mortgage offers before you even consider one.  Don’t be afraid to get up and walk away from the table.  After all, it’s your money – don’t let a greedy lender try to squeeze another $1000 out of you when you have enough stress taking place buying a home in the first place!

5 Ground Rules for Home Buying Success

There are few purchases in life that carry the financial and psychological weight of buying a home.  Whether you are buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing your home and your life after the kids have gone, it is important to understand the ground rules for success in the world of buying a home.

Making the wrong decision in buying a home can have devastating and long-lasting effects, while making a wise decision in home buying can greatly enhance the overall value of the investment.  It is necessary to learn all you can about the world of home buying and mortgages before setting out to purchase the home of your dreams.

While there are plenty of web sites designed to help first time homeowners learn all they can, most financial experts say that there is no substitute for the good old one-on-one learning. Fortunately, most mortgage lenders, home inspectors and real estate agents will be able to provide this kind of one-on-one learning.

When buying a home it is often best to use a systematic approach as this is often the best way to be sure that all decisions are based on information and reason, not on impulse or emotion.  Buying a home can be an emotional process, nevertheless it is imperative to keep your emotions under control and not let them cloud your judgment.

There are five basic ground rules when it comes to buying a home and shopping smart, and they are:

#1 – Get your financing before you get your home.

There are few things in life as disappointing as losing out on the home of your dreams due to not being able to secure funding.  While the desire to get out there is search for that great home is understandable, it is vital to line up the financing you will need before you start shopping for a home.

Getting the financing ahead of time has a number of important advantages, including knowing how much you can buy and gaining more respect from the listing agents.  By knowing how much home you can afford before you shop you will avoid wasting your time looking at unaffordable properties, and the listing agent will be more than willing to show you the homes in your price range.

It is also important to take a good look at the various types of mortgage on the market before getting started in the home buying process.  These days, mortgages come in far more choices than the typical 15 or 30 year. For that reason, potential home buyers need to understand how each type of mortgage works, and to gauge which mortgage is the best choice for their needs.

#2 – Look at the community, not just the home.

It is a good idea to look at the entire community, instead of focusing on a single home. This can be a particularly important thing to consider for those moving to a new metropolitan area, as these buyers will be unfamiliar with the local climate and lifestyle.  It is crucial to determine the areas of town that are most desirable, and to consider things like distance from work and local shopping opportunities.

We have all heard that location is the key consideration when it comes to real estate, and that is certainly the case.  Buying a house in the wrong area can be a big mistake, and it is important to choose the location as well as the home.  Potential buyers can learn a great deal about the nature of the various neighborhoods simply by driving around town, as well as by talking to other residents.

#3 – Be fair with your first offer.

Trying to lowball a seller on the first offer can backfire, as can paying too much. It is important to carefully evaluate the local market, and to compare the asking price of the home with what similar houses in the neighborhood have sold for.

Comparing the sales of comparable homes, what are known as “comps” in the industry, is one of the best ways to determine what is fair, and to make sure that you neither overpay or underbid on the property.

#4 – Always get a home inspection.

Always investigate the home for any possible defects before making an offer.  Compared to the cost of the average home, the price of a quality home inspection is virtually negligible. Hence, get a good home inspection done before you buy.

To find the best home inspector, it is a good idea to seek out word of mouth referrals as many of the best home inspectors rely on word of mouth advertising.

#5 – Do not alienate the sellers of the home.

Many real estate deals have fallen apart due to the personal animosity of the buyer and the seller.  It is important to avoid alienating the seller of the home during the process, and to avoid nitpicking every little detail during the sale.

Keeping the good will of the seller will help the transaction go smoothly, and it will provide the best environment for seller and buyer alike.

Ten Ways to Fight Identity Theft

Recent reports estimate that as many as one in ten of the population have been a victim of identity theft, one of the fastest growing crimes of the last few years. By using a variety of means to usurp your identity and pass themselves off as you, the criminals involved go on to commit fraud and theft in your name – leaving you to pick up the pieces afterwards.

The effects on your credit rating can be devastating and often take years to completely fix, so prevention is obviously better than cure. Here are ten simple ways to help you avoid becoming a victim.

1: Be careful with your old documents such as paid bills, bank statements, and receipts. Either keep them safely stored or destroy them if you don’t need them anymore. Don’t just throw them away, as fraudsters often start stealing an identity by searching for these very kinds of documents in household waste. Shredding or burning unneeded papers will prevent this first step.

2: Store your personal documents securely by keeping them somewhere out of the sight of visitors to your home.

3: If you change your address, make sure that you inform your bank, utility companies, and everyone else who sends you mail. Documents wrongly sent to a previous address are a favourite target of fraudsters.

4: Make sure that when you stop using a credit card or bank account, you actually formally close the account rather than letting it go dormant. Having an unused, forgotten about account resurrected by a fraudster might not even be noticed until serious damage has been done.

5: Watch your plastic – make sure you know where your credit, debit and ATM cards are, and tell the issuing banks immediately if you lose them or they’re stolen.

6: If possible change your PIN numbers and passwords to something easily memorable, and NEVER write them down, especially not on scraps of paper kept in your purse or wallet.

7: Don’t respond to phishing. Banks will never ask you for personal details via email, and won’t ask you for the password to your account. You don’t need to ‘reconfirmed’ your details following an email request either – just delete the email. If in any doubt at all, call your bank to make sure the request is genuine.

8: Use anti-virus software and firewall on your computer, especially if you use online banking of any kind. Keep the software up to date as well to guard against attempts by hackers to discover personal information on your computer.

9: Check your bank account and credit card statements carefully when you receive them, and query with your bank anything that you can’t identify. Spotting a fraud in progress early on will vastly help in minimising the damage it causes.

10: Finally, monitor your credit reports regularly to see if anything appears that seems odd, such as applications for credit cards that you didn’t make, or missed payments on finance that you haven’t taken out. Services are widely available online which can help you do this by automatically informing you when something on your file changes.

None of us can be 100% sure that we won’t fall victim to the crime of ID Theft, but by taking the measures listed above you’ll be making the job of any potential fraudster very difficult indeed, and they’re likely to move on to an easier target!

The ABCs Of Refinancing

Since the advent of information technology, more and more people are enticed to engage in some activities that will make their lives easier and better. This is especially true whenever people get into trouble such as debts.

What they know is that they should find some ways on how to alleviate their problems, even if it means changing from one aspect to another with the risk of getting into another trouble.

Take for example the concept of refinancing. Some people instantly opt for refinancing thinking that this is the best way to eliminate those debts. What they do not know is that refinancing could be a better alternative. However, in reality, changes may take place if the process is employed with the wrong directions.

The Concept

Refinancing, basically, refers to the way people are given the chance to request for a “secured loan” with the purpose of paying off the existing primary loan.

The main reason why many people are opting to refinance their debts is base on the fact that these people can no longer afford to pay more interests. They want to lessen, if not eliminate, the amount of interest charges.

In most cases, the most widely known kinds of refinancing are those that involve home mortgages. This is because home mortgages are usually the ones that are hard to pay off. Hence, what happens is that they continue to accumulate debts because of the growing interest charges.

So for those who have some problems on their debts and wish to reduce or eradicate interest charges, it is best to use refinancing. But you should be aware of the pitfalls behind it so as to avoid further trouble.

Here is a list of some tips that will help you construct good refinancing plans.

1. Be wary of the money involve

There are instances wherein the people are not fully aware of the amount and the classification of finances involved in refinancing.

It is extremely important to take note of this because if not, the refinancing of some amount is limited to what they can afford.

2. Do your homework

There are no better ways in learning than to learn through experience. Hence, in order to foretell the future, it would be best to conduct some researches or information regarding the interest rates to be given by the company to the people.

3. Compare charges

Before deciding on a particular refinancing scheme, it is best to analyze the situation first. And the best way to do this is to shop around and compare their features and offers.

The point here is that through comparison, the consumer can tell the edge of refinancing plan over the other.

4. Clear things out before walking out of the room.

If there is one thing that is not clear to you, try not to dismiss the fact by asking questions instantly. This is the primary step in breaking the ice and solving the problems.

5. Require pertinent documents

These documents are generally used to provide enough proof for the mortgage maker whenever they are trying to close a deal with a client. These documents are your key to success, without it, you can never access any endeavors for that matter.

The best thing about having these is that people may have the chance to live a life out of debts. As long as the proper measures are made, refinancing may be a good solution to life’sfinancial problems.

Understanding Mortgage

A mortgage is defined as a way in which property or jewelry is used as a security against the debt. The loan that is taken against mortgage is termed as ‘mortgage loan’. This loan is taken in many countries mainly for the purpose of purchasing home or for wedding in the family.

Mortgage can be taken from banks or money lenders in many countries. People involved in mortgage include-creditor, debtor and at times a legal representative. The term creditor can also be used synonymously with lender. Money lenders, insurers, banks or financial institutions are creditors who provide the money to the person in exchange of property or jewelry.      

A borrower is also known as debtor, obligor or mortgagor. A debtor gets the amount equal to the value of the mortgaged article. A mortgagor is required to abide by all the obligations or conditions of creditors. Or, else there are chances that as a way of recovering debt, the property may be taken away by the creditors. There are various properties as a result of foreclosure. These properties are available for reasonable costs for the other buyers.  

It is always that the legalities of mortgage are done under the supervision of a lawyer. All the conditions and the amount of money involved should be stated in written and signed by the creditors, debtors and lawyer present. It adds authenticity and removes any confusion if any.

Currently many Certified Financial Planners work in combination with Certified Mortgage Planners so as to provide mortgage loans to financially sound people.

In addition to creditors, debtors, legal representatives and government agencies, there is involvement of pension funds and life insurers. Terms involved in the legal process of mortgage loan are Disbursements, Mortgage Deed, Conveyance, Land Registration, Sealing Fee, Freehold, Leasehold, Seasoned mortgage and Legal Charge.

Freehold is defined as the land and property ownership. Disbursements include all the money involved as search fees, stamp duty and land registry. Legal Charge is a document that has all the minute details of the land or property owner. Conveyance is the document that transmits the possession of unregistered property. Sealing Fee is paid when the creditor discharges the charge over the land. Land Registration is also referred as title. This document contains the details of the ownership of land and property. Seasoned mortgage is linked with secondary market. In seasoned mortgage payment is made on regular basis. Mortgage Deed is a document that gives detail of possession of ownership.

Legal mortgage are of two kinds Mortgage by legal charge and Mortgage by demise. There are essentially two types of legal mortgage. A lender becomes the legal owner of the mortgaged land till the money is paid in full. A lender is free to auction or sell the mortgaged property. While under Mortgage by legal charge, a lender can not sell the mortgaged land. He may possess the land legally but the right of selling and buying of the land lies with the debtor. Also, to provide safety to the lender, the details of mortgage are recorded in a register.

What You Should Know About Interest Rates

For all people shop around for the best rate, there are few who have taken the time to sit down and add it all up. After all, why would you bother? The answer is that understanding just how interest rates work can help you see how important small differences in rates and payment amounts can be.

Interest Rates are Compound.

It is important to remember that what you owe is compounded – that means you pay interest on the interest you owe from the month before. That means that if you’re paying 2% per month in interest, you’re not paying 24% per year – you’re actually paying 26.82%. Charging interest monthly instead of yearly is a trick to make it feel like you are paying a very low price for your borrowing.

A Thought Experiment.

Here’s a question: would you rather have $1 million, or $10,000 in a savings account earning 20% per year in compound interest?

Well, let’s see how that $10,000 would grow. After 10 years: $61,917. 20 years: $383,375. 30 years: $2,373,763. 40 years: $91,004,381. 50 years: $563,475,143.

So after fifty years, you’d have over $500 million?! Well, not so fast. Of course, you have to take inflation into account – if we say inflation is 5%, then that money would have the buying power that $10,732,859 does today. Still, that’s not a bad return on your investment of $10,000, is it?

That’s the power of compound interest, and the way the credit card companies make their money (it’s also the way pensions work, and the reason the prices of things seem to rise massively as you get older). Be very, very afraid of compound interest. Or, of course, you could start saving, and be very glad of it…

Compound Interest Adds Up.

Let’s work through an example on a more real kind of scale. Let’s say you have an average unpaid balance of $1,000 on a card at 15% APR.

You will owe $150 in interest for the first year you borrow. However, this amount is then added onto the balance, and interest is charged on that. The second year, you’d owe another $172.50, for a total of $1322.50. It goes on, with totals like this: $1,520.88, $1,749, $2,011.35.

After just five years at 15%, you’d owe double what you borrowed. And after 10 years, you’d owe four times what you borrowed! Bet you weren’t expecting that. If you let something like that carry on for long enough, you’ll end up paying back that credit card for years afterwards, paying back what you borrowed many times over and still not clearing the debt. Most people don’t work this out, and feel that the payments must simply be their fault for spending too much money to begin with.

One Percent of Difference.

One more thing. You might think there’s not that much difference between a card that charges 15% APR and one that charges 12% APR. Let’s see the difference the lower rate would make to that $1,000 borrowed for five years. Remember, after five years at 15%, you owed $2,011.35.

At 12%: $1120, $1254.40, $1404.93, $1573.52… $1762.34 after five years. So you’ve saved $249.01 from that 3% difference in APR – in other words, you’ve paid almost 25% less interest.