Monday, September 17, 2007

How to Start a Debt Reduction Plan

Whether you simply want to pay off your mortgage or car loan sooner, or youve run up a huge pile of credit card debt, starting a debt reduction plan is always a good idea. Follow these five steps to setting up your own debt reduction plan:

1. Find out where your money is really going. You cant cut your expenses if you dont understand where youre spending your money in the first place. Pull out all of your receipts, credit card bills, and bank statements for the last 3 6 months. Make a list of everything you spend money on, by breaking things down into categories (food, entertainment, clothing, travel, bills, interest, taxes, etc.). Then figure out what percentage of your income is going towards each group of expenses. While you cant change certain expenses, you can change most of them. Decide what general areas you can cut expenses in, and which areas you should be spending more money on.

2. Trim unnecessary expenses. Now that youve decided what general areas you want to cut expenses in, start looking at specific bills and receipts. Some expenses will be justifiable, and others wont. Just because something was inexpensive, doesnt mean you can justify spending money on it rather than putting more towards reducing your debt. For example, perhaps you spent $80 on a pair of jeans, and $10 on a clearance top you found. At first glance, you might think the $80 expense could have been cut by finding a less expensive pair of jeans, while the $10 expense is easily justified, but thats not necessarily so. If you truly love that pair of jeans, theyre of high quality and will last a long time, and youll wear them regularly, then the $80 expense is justifiable. But if you purchased the clearance top simply because it was cheap, and youll likely wear it only on rare occasions, then that expense is the unjustified one that could have been cut. You need to evaluate the benefit of what you spent the money on versus the benefit you would have realized if you had spent that money paying down your debts.

3. Set a timeline and goals for yourself. Youve already decided where you can cut your expenses. So what should you do with that extra money in your pocket? Each debt reduction plan will revolve around different goals and timelines. Set your own now. For instance, if you have a 30 year mortgage, your goal might be to pay it off in 20 years instead, to save thousands of dollars in interest payments. If you want to pay off your credit card debt, your goal might be to pay off one card completely (and get rid of it) by the end of the current year. Your goals and timeline will be highly personal, so spend some time deciding whats most important to you.

4. Pay the small, high interest debts first. When youve decided on a timeline and general goals for yourself, its time to pick the specific debt to deal with first. The general rule is to start with the smallest debt with the highest interest rate. That usually means a credit card. By eliminating a small high-interest debt, youll cut down on the total interest youd pay over time, and by choosing a small debt first to eliminate completely, youll free up those regular payments to go towards a larger debt later. Once that small debt is paid off completely, keep paying those monthly payments, but pay them towards your mortgage, car payments, or other large expenses.

5. Reward yourself with savings. As you reduce your debt, make sure theres something in it for you (although for some, the peace of mind may be enough). One of the best ways to reward yourself is to set up a savings account, money market account, or some other kind of interest-bearing account with the money you used to put towards your debts. For once, let interest rates work in your favor, and when a large expense comes up youll have funds to draw from (whether it be an emergency or a pleasant vacation). You wont need to rely on creditors when you can rely on your accumulated wealth.

Copyright 2006 Stephen Ashton

Find out more tips and advice about how to clear your credit card debt at You can find debt consolidation loans at

Property in Cyprus Nicosia

Property in Cyprus has seen price rises in Cyprus which have led to steady capital gains for Cyprus property owners. Recent announcement by low cost airlines that they have new routes to the island are set to make property in Cyprus even more desirable. One city that overseas investors love is Nicosia. The city has been a firm favourite for overseas property buyers and offers some attractions that you simply cannot ignore these include:

The sun shines for approximately 330 days of the year.

Crime rate is 1/6th of the EU Average.

The cost of living is much lower than in many parts of Europe.

Ninety percent of Cypriots speak English.

The legal and banking systems are based on the British.

The telecommunication systems are very advanced.

Advanced medical care.

Cyprus net rental returns vary between 4.5% to 11% and capital appreciation is still in double figures, expecting to show 10 to 17.5%. The average rental net return in Britain today is around the 3% to 4% mark, and capital appreciation generally matches this.

The Land Registry Department in Cyprus is one of the most advanced and reliable system in the world.

Steady Cyprus house price increases have been putting a smile on the faces of the islands home owners and with the recent announcement by low cost airlines the news cannot get better One city that overseas investors love is Nicosia.

About Nicosia

Nicosia is the capital and largest city in Cyprus. The city is located on the Pedieos River and the population of the city is 206,200. The city is modern with several shops, restaurants and entertainment. The main industries include textiles, leather, pottery, and plastics. There are also several copper mines near the city.

Nicosia is located in the center of the island and has a historic feel with a Royal Palace and several Byzantine churches. The streets and old houses are very ornate. The Cyprus Museum is home to a large collection of Cypriot treasures and antiques. The heart of Nicosia is Eleftheria Square, also known as Freedom Square. The city hall, post office and library is located here.

Northern Cyprus has a large property market of apartments and villas. The town of Karsiyaka is projected to be the next number one area for overseas property investment. The town is only half an hour from Nicosia is expected to become a luxury development area with hotels, vacation homes and luxury villas. The area is simple with coffee shops and markets, but the area is very beautiful and nestled into the mountainside. The majority of the property in this area has been allocated by the government for development for the tourism industry and several superior resorts are expected to begin construction. The area features stunning beaches that have been relatively untouched as well as numerous mountain trails. Shops, supermarkets and leisure facilities are also expected to begin growing in this region, making the area prime investment property.

The climate of Cyprus is very Mediterranean. The area is still very natural except for the major city districts. The outskirts have attracted numerous people because of their beautiful beaches and mountain scenery. Seaside homes are very popular with vacationers, tourists and retirees.

Nicholas Marr is a lifetime property investor and CEO of Marr International Ltd a UK based property marketing company that is responsible for one of the worlds leading overseas property web sites at More information re Property in Cyprus is at

Strategies for Life Settlement Investment

Life insurance settlements go hand in hand with death. But, individuals investing in life settlements need to know some strategies before investing in any life insurance settlement simply because death may be imminent, but if its not immediate and you have money invested in a life insurance settlement you may find yourself wishing someone would just roll over and die. Life settlements are interesting investments because you know the face value you will receive from the life insurance policy but you have no absolute answer as to when that will be and how much money you will make/lose in the process. Its a gamble, just like any other investment, but there are ways to make the gamble pay off in your favor more often.

First of all, a life insurance settlement is when an individual sells their life insurance policy for less than face value before they die. Individuals investing in this will want to consider the following tips to ensure they only buy policies that have the best possibility of a good return. Remember as well that the longer a person is expected to live the cheaper the policy will cost. The when aspect of death is what has many investors wondering about life insurance settlements and whether or not they are good options. Illness, life expectancy, and new technologies that could extend life should all be considered when looking into life settlements.

The first strategy is to make sure you only work with a broker who represents the buyer. There will be less risk of a conflict of interest occurring in this situation. The next step is to talk to your agent and tell them what you feel comfortable investing in and what you dont. If you only want to invest in terminal cancer patients that is your decision and your agent will help you find those kinds of life settlements. Be sure your agent is aware that you only want to invest in life settlements from A+ rated insurance companies. You dont want to invest and the person die and then you cant get the payoff. Finally, make sure the policies you buy are at least two years old. New policies may be part of a scam not to mention insurance companies may not pay the face amount of the policy upon death if the policy is less than two years old.

Natalie Aranda is a freelance writer. Life insurance settlements go hand in hand with death. But, individuals investing in life settlements need to know some strategies before investing in any life insurance settlement simply because death may be imminent, but if its not immediate and you have money invested in a life insurance settlement you may find yourself wishing someone would just roll over and die.

Mini Forex Trading - Profiting From Forex Trading Without A Lot of Cash

Mini forex trading is a way for people without a lot of money to trade the forex. It's also ideal for fthose brand new to forex trading.

Mini forex trading allows those new to forex trading to get a feel for it wihtout risking the amount of capital you would normally use when trading the forex.

So how can mini forex trading help you to make trading profits?

The reason for the 'mini' is obvious. The forex trading contracts are much smaller than the typical forex trading contracts. Mini contracts are about one tenth the size of a typical forex trading contract.

Mini forex trading is an advisable way to start trading the forex if you are staring with a small sum of money. You can test various forex trading systems without a lot o risk, keep good records on your trades and the result, and refine your trading techniques.

Then, as your trading improves and you build your portfolio, you can graduate from mini forex trading to larger, more typical forex trading contracts with confidence that you have a profitable trading system in place.

You can open a mini forex trading account with a lot less money, usually around $300 instead of the thousands required for a typical forex account. The high leverage available to forex traders still applies but you are obviously risking a lot less money in a mini forex account.

Keep in mind, your money is just as much at risk in a mini forex trading account as it is in a regular account. You just don't have as much at risk to lose. But you can still lose it all, and then some, due to the leverage options available.

This means that you need a trading system in place and you must adhere to that system with iron fisted discipline and not let emotion get in the way and cause you more problems and headaches.

Even in a mini forex account, you still need to know what you are doing and be familiar with various forex trading ideas and systems such as trade signals, proper chart points, targets, stop-loss and more.

With the right strategies in place, mini forex trading can be quite profitable but you need to do your homework before risking your money.

Learn more about forex trading tips and tactics for more profitable currency trades at where Richard Pfaeltzer, an investor and freelance investing and success writer, contributes articles on forex and currency trading