Nocomo: Blog Nocomo: Blog https://www.nocomo.org/blog/ Copyright by Nocomo en Nocomo Fri, 19 Apr 2019 22:46:07 -0400 Know The Truth Of The Lending Act Before You Take A Loan The Truth in Lending Act or TILA is a federal law that was formulated way back in 1968 but is still in practice to protect consumers when they deal with different lenders and creditors. In fact, all lenders and creditors must follow this Act implemented by the Federal Reserve Board. This Act contains a series of rules and regulations that defines a lot of things such as:

  • The information to be disclosed mandatorily to the consumers and
  • All such information must be provided irrespective of the type of loan applied for.

As per the TILA, the lender is required to disclose a few specific facts such as:

  • The Annual Percentage Rate or APR
  • The finance charges including all types of fees such as application fee, late fee, and even prepayment penalties
  • The actual amount financed
  • The repayment schedule and
  • The total repayment amount over the entire tenure of the loan.

All these details must be presented to the consumer prior to the signing of the loan agreement. At the same time the lender whether it is a bank or any private money lending sources such as https://www.libertylending.com/ or any other must ensure that all these details appear clearly and plainly on all billing statements as well.

Amendments in the truth

As it is, TILA does not confine the measure of interest that a lender can charge from the customer. It also does not specify anything about whether a creditor must grant a loan to the prospective client. Ideally, the Act is all about the lending policy and the need of the lenders to be upfront, transparent and honest about the quantum of cost credit to a consumer.

However, over the years, there have been a lot of amendments made to the TILA. This is done with intent to protect consumers throughout. For example in 2009, the government made significant changes in the Credit Card Act and now requires all credit card issuers to disclose their pricing information to the consumers regarding all their credit products without which they cannot issue any new credit cards.

There were also a few other amendments made in the Credit Card Act such as:

  • All credit card companies will now have to consider the ability of a consumer to repay any transaction made through it before they issue a new credit card
  • The same is also required when they want to raise the credit limit of any existing credit card
  • They must also give a notice at least 45 days in advance before making any increase in the rate of interest in a particular credit card
  • Credit card companies must send the billing statements at least 21 days before the due date
  • They must disclose the cost of making minimum payments
  • They must also mention the time it may take to repay off the entire balance amount with only minimum payments made each moth
  • They must charge only the over-the-limit fee if a cardholder wishes to have such over-the-limit transactions processed and
  • The card issuing company should never offer any tangible incentives such as T-shirts or gifts so that more customers sign up for a credit card.

The government has also a separate Fair Credit Billing Act in place that protects the consumers from any unfair billing practices by the credit card companies. If there is any such thing noted by the consumer in their billing statements, then the law allows the consumer to dispute it in writing.

The credit card issuing company will have to take immediate actions and start investigating on it. While such investigation is on the law allows the consumer to stop paying the disputed amount. The law prohibits the credit card companies to penalize the consumer for such actions for the amounts in dispute.

Implementation of CROA or The Credit Repair Organizations Act is also another significant change made in the law. This Act is specifically designed for those consumers who are wishing to take money for improving their credit.

Under this Act:

  • The credit repair companies cannot lie to the creditors about your credit history. Apart from that, the credit card companies are also prohibited from making any alterations to your identity so that they can get a new credit history.
  • The Act also wants the credit card companies to be fully honest about their services provided to their customers and not misrepresent or misguide them.
  • They must not ask for any type of payment as well before any particular service is provided.

It is also required that all credit repair companies provide you with a proper disclosure about the details to obtain a credit report or to know about the process to dispute any inaccurate information by your own.

There must be a proper contract signed by the credit repair companies before they perform any services for you. They must also allow a 3-day "cooling off" period when such a contract between you and the credit repair company is signed. You can contact them within this period with no cancellation fee.

According to CROA, no company can ask you to waive your rights and any waiver you may sign so will be taken as void and violation of the law.

Dealing with violators

Any financial company that breaks the law will be dealt strictly if you complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB may impose a penalty or fine against such companies and may also ask for a complete or partial refund.

You can also file your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or your state Attorney General about such companies that break the law.

To wrap it up

As creditors often deny settling debts for a lower amount, it can result in several implications and legal obligations. A few of these obligations are:

  • Harming your credit
  • Possibility of a lawsuit
  • Putting liens
  • Wage garnishment
  • Late fees and high interest rates and
  • Collection calls.

With these laws in place it is ensure that there are no unfair practices that may put your credit as well as your financial situation in jeopardy when you take out any loan.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/know-the-truth-of-the-lending-act-before-you-take-a-loan/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/know-the-truth-of-the-lending-act-before-you-take-a-loan/ Editor Tue, 26 Feb 2019 07:47:16 -0500
Consider Consolidating Law School Loans to Get On Top of Debts and Boost Your Finances Law school education is known to be incredibly expensive and law schools have the reputation of charging phenomenally high tuition fees. The skyrocketing tuition fees compel many students to seek certain law school loans. For several students pursuing history, political science, or any other liberal arts, it always would seem to be the right choice to join law school after college. Often aspiring law school students would assume that being a lawyer would mean earning a decent salary and leading an enjoyable life as depicted in many serials on television.

As per https://www.forbes.com, “However, the reality for many law school graduates is much different. Over the last few years, there has been a deluge of law school graduates, which has pushed down starting wages, increased competition for the few positions available, and left a lot of graduates buried in private student loan debt with not enough income to repay it.”

Examining the Expenses Associated with Acquiring a Law Degree

We know that in recent times, law school graduates seem to be in a financial crunch since tuition rates are going up and the opportunities for earning 6-figures are actually shrinking. Most budding attorneys assumed that they would be graduating with a law school debt on an average of $90,000 up to $120,000 and that they would be earning a minimum of $100,000. This looks very much like a perfect financial decision. However, the fact is that currently, lawyers are known to graduate with much more law school debts as compared to what they had actually anticipated. Gradually, less take-home salary and higher payments for student loans are impacting their financial situation adversely.

The problem with taking out massive loans in the region of more than $100,000 for chasing a degree is the fact that you have no idea if you would like pursuing the profession. When you choose a law school, you would require enjoying the work and earning enough for paying back the humungous loan you had taken out. However, the greater issue with you taking out such a huge loan for pursuing a law degree is actually the fact that most of this amount would be in the form of private student loans that are known to be offering far less student loan forgiveness plans and repayment options. As compared to federal student loans, we know that private student loans would be carrying definitely more risk. This culminates in more and more borrowers falling into financial trouble simply because they attempted to pursue law school education.

Law students are already overburdened with an overwhelming financial burden and are expected to be having an assortment of loans right from a state, federal and even private sources. We know that a majority of the graduate students are compelled by circumstances to take out a number of loans simply for making ends meet while pursuing an education at school. They may be having some leftover debts that they had from their undergraduate days. It is understood that the student loan debt on an average is quite high; however, a Law School student would be incurring a phenomenal amount of debts. They start their career on a challenging note as they are already neck-deep in student loans even though, they are hoping to get an impressive starting salary. You may get in touch with reputed sites such as nationaldebtreliefprograms.com.

The Usual Law School Loans

Law students are faced with a situation when they need to pay incredibly high fees for acquiring the much-aspired law degree from a reputed law school. They would, therefore, need to take out an assortment of loans to finance a law degree. You would be taking out multiple loans from the following list of student loans.

  • Stafford Loans
  • Private Law School Education Loans
  • Private Bar Examination Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans

Law school students are fortunate to come across a host of effective financial tools which may be helpful enough for managing your budget while paying off your law school education. Loan consolidation could be an effective way of tackling with such an overpowering debt in terms of student loans. Consolidation of multiple student loan debts could lead to a debt-free existence later on in your career as a legal professional. Remember to take out private student loans from a lender who is providing an effective private student loan consolidation program. Several student loan lenders would be offering Law School loans that are specialized or cut out exclusively for law school students who would be requiring additional funds for paying off exorbitant law school tuitions. Moreover, ‘Auxiliary Law school loans’ may be including relatively smaller loans that are designed effectively for covering other expenses that are needed for the Bar Exam.

Consolidation of All ‘Private Law School Loans’

‘Private law school loans’ that are from reputed lenders could be consolidated with an effective private consolidation loan. We know that these loans would be varying in repayment plans, interest rates, origination fees, etc. All private consolidation loans would be necessitating good credit for borrowing. If you are not having a good credit score or a good credit history, you could use a creditworthy co-borrower who could be your family or friend who is willing to enter into a financial agreement with you.

When you are actually eligible to apply for a debt consolidation loan to consolidate your private law school loans from a reliable private lender, you must take the golden opportunity for lowering your monthly bills. We understand that the incentives for debt consolidation loans seem to be variable; however, a majority of lenders would be generously offering interest rate reductions when you opt for some automatic payment deduction programs.

Consolidation of All ‘Federal Law School Loans’

Federal Grad PLUS and other lender specific FFELP loans can be consolidated by opting for the federal government's FFEL Consolidation loan. Internet savvy users will have the option of consolidating the loans online and further administering or checking in from the comforts of their own home. FFELP consolidation loans are much less widespread now than they used to be which means you must be judicious as you look for a new lender and be extra wary of deals that look too good to be true. Borrowers enjoy much more flexibility with the federal loans than with their privatized counterparts. It is true that they get fewer incentives but the flexibility of choice and some options like extended and income-based repayment can be very empowering indeed.

Conclusion

Whether you have taken out private, federal, or other such loans for pursuing your law school education, you must take maximum advantage of a debt consolidation option which is most suited to your unique requirements as you are entering the job scene and establishing a niche for yourself in the legal profession.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/consider-consolidating-law-school-loans-to-get-on-top-of-debts-and-boost-your-finances/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/consider-consolidating-law-school-loans-to-get-on-top-of-debts-and-boost-your-finances/ Editor Tue, 26 Feb 2019 07:46:26 -0500
The Regulations As Imposed By The Collection And Debt Settlement Services Act Collection And Debt Settlement Services Act or CDSSA regime usually regulates the role and conduct of the third party collection agencies. It also governs the delivery of debt settlement services. The primary essence of the CDSSA is to protect the consumers any sort of unfair collection practices typically followed by these agencies. This Act protects the rights of the debtors who engage with debt settlement services.

According to the Act a collection agency is defined as a person or an entity that performs the following specific duties such as:

  • Obtaining or arranging for payments of money owing to a creditor or a lender
  • Selling or offering to sell letters and forms that represent the collection system or its scheme
  • Providing debt settlement services
  • Purchasing debts from different parties that are due and collecting them and
  • Providing consultation on Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act regulation reform.

Moreover, as per the CDSSA regulation reform the services provided by a debt settlement services are also categorically defined and means the following:

  • Offering or undertaking to act as a negotiator for a debtor and making arrangements for the same with the specific creditors
  • Receiving money from the debtor for distribution to the creditors
  • Any services provided in exchange of a fee, commission or any other forms of remuneration that is charged from the debtor.

However, the CDSSA Act prohibits any person or business entity to carry on such jobs that may be deemed fit as a business of a collection agency without having any proper registration as per the Act and their conduct is regulated by the registrants. It is for this reason you are always recommended to check out the debt settlement reviews of a specific company before you actually hire their service. This will ensure that you are in the safe hands and will get the desired service without being duped and left in the same dire situation as before.

Impact on the lawyers

Just as the CDSSA governs and oversees the conduct and functioning of the debt settlement and collection agencies, the application of the Act also has serious impact and implication to the creditor lawyers as well as the law firms who engage with debt collection, litigation and extrajudicial matters.

The CDSSA regime will significantly reduce the chances of any duplication in the regulatory requirements. In addition to that the application of the CDSSA will also impact materially on the ability of the lawyers to provide their services to their clients.

It is noted that this Act will also have cross-border impact where either a collection agency or a collector and the debtor belongs to different locations. This means that the law firms that are located in other parts and act on behalf of an insolvent debtor who is located somewhere else while dealing with the creditors of that part will be subject to the CDSSA requirements as well.

Requirements and restrictions of the Act

The Act also imposes a few practice restrictions and prohibits registration under the CDSSA if the individual registrant does not have a minimum experience of two years of actually handling a collection agency business in each phase. It also prohibits someone who does not have any experience that is related and equivalent to the actual experience that the Registrar feels is necessary to pass the required written examination.

  • In absence of these qualifications, the Act does not even permit a qualified lawyer to practice and perform such actions pertaining to collection or any other services that are directly or indirectly related to insolvency debtors.
  • There are also specific conditions laid down by the Act for such practice and of the registration by the Registrar. In the absence of the above mentioned qualifications and experiences, a lawyer is exempted from even represent or act on the instructions of their clients.

According to the CDSSA there are also a few disclosure of precedents required that enumerates the following:

  • Every applicant must file their registration for a collection agency with the Registrar
  • They must include all copies of forms and letters that it intends to use while dealing with the debtors
  • They must also include copies of forms of agreement that is required in such dealings.

The license is granted for a collection agency after proper inspection and scrutiny of the documents furnished and forms after its receipt. Anything that is relevant to the inspection such as any retrieval device, data storage disks and others may also be included to provide the Registrar with all due information. However, these may be returned to you once the inspection is completed.

Apart from these there are few provisions in the CDSSA as well that may be required for the issuance of search warrants or for the seizure of any specific documents as deemed fit by the Registrar. However, as far as the files for lawyers’ applications, the Act is not so particular and strict regarding preserving confidentiality of the client as well as the solicitor-client privilege.

Debt settlement services agreement

The CDSSA also requires that the debt settlement service agreement meets the specific criteria and requirement if an agency or registrant wants to provide debt settlement services. In the agreement there must be clear mention of a few specific elements such as:

  • The fees: The CDSSA regulates payment for debt settlement services provided. It regulates the ability of the lawyer or the service provider to obtain security or accept a retainer from the debtor or client as well as the amount as fees for providing such services.
  • The service process: The agreement must also include the working process very clearly. The Regulations prohibits the lawyers from contacting a debtor in any way who denies about the debt. It also restricts the lawyer from providing a statement of claim to the debtor.

Apart from the above onus on client is another aspect that should be clear in the agreement just as it is required to include the typical and probable events of default and breach of a covenant or any material inaccuracy.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/the-regulations-as-imposed-by-the-collection-and-debt-settlement-services-act/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/the-regulations-as-imposed-by-the-collection-and-debt-settlement-services-act/ Editor Tue, 26 Feb 2019 07:45:30 -0500
The Key Acts And ABA Policy Involving Debt Collection And Litigation Management You can either consolidate your debts or go for a negotiation with your creditors for debt settlement and even file for bankruptcy when you find that you current debts are beyond your management abilities. However, irrespective of the road you choose for debt relief, you will need to make sure of the following:

  • You should act according to the set law or face legal consequences
  • Just like you the creditors or the third party debt collectors abide by the law as well
  • Choose an option that is most suitable for your given financial condition
  • Check out both debt settlement and debt consolidation reviews and
  • Not damage your credit in any way.

There are lots of laws and Acts designed by the government to keep you protected from any unfair practices while you are granted a loan or during collection process in case you fall behind your scheduled repayment.

The basic protection for the debtors and creditors however could not be covered by the by the original Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and therefore time and again this along with the other Acts and laws underwent several changes and reforms.

The FDCPA reforms

As per the FDCPA there are a few specific changes noticed in its status and other key points which are aimed at providing more protection to the consumers. However, it was not an easy process and certainly not a smooth ne to bring in these reforms.

  • The original version of the Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act as H.R. 1849 was introduced on April 7, 2017 by Rep. Dave Trott.
  • This was then referred to the House Financial Services Committee. This Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit then held hearing on it and six other different bills on September 7, 2017.
  • It was during this hearing that the former senior Federal Trade Commission official Anne Fortney testified in favor of this bill and on the other hand, Ms. Chi Chi Wu the Staff Attorney of the National Consumer Law Center voiced opposition.
  • On November 16, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to House Financial Services and Judiciary Committees extending support for the legislation. In addition to that the NCBA, the Commercial Law League of America, the Receivables Management Association and other stakeholders also agreed to support H.R. 1849.
  • When Rep. Trott declared that he will not seek reelection it was then that the legislation was reviewed and was reinstated by Reps. Mooney and Gonzalez on December 5, 2017.
  • However, they first changed it to H.R. 4550 and then to H.R. 5082 again on February 23, 2018. Both these changed versions of the bill were then sent to the House Financial Services Committee.
  • On March 19, 2018, the ABA wanted all members of the House Financial Services and Judiciary Committees, RMA, NCBA and other groups to support H.R. 5082 and sent a letter regarding this so that the bill can be passed promptly.
  • Eventually, the House Financial Services Committee approved and marked up the bill by a vote of 35-25 on March 21.

However, before the voting took place, Rep. Alex Mooney made a statement to explain the need for such legislation and touted the strong support of ABA for the bill. In addition to that, Reps. Gonzalez and Trott as well as Chairman Jeb Hensarling also expressed their favor for the bill but Rep. Stephen Lynch raised opposition.

It is only when the Committee approved the bill, the ABA sent all state and local bar leaders a Legislative Action Alert on April 3, 2018. It also sent out another Action Alert on October 24 wherein they urged all of them to contact the Members of Congress so that they can show their support to the legislation.

The current scenario of H.R. 5082 as of now is that it is pending before the full House. There is a fair possibility of a floor vote before the 115th Congress adjourns. Therefore, the ABA sent a new letter to every Member of the House on September 19 to show their support to pass the bill soon.

Apart from that, the ABA has also sent Grassroots Action Alert and a Toolkit to several of its members on November 8 urging them to communicate with their Members of Congress to show support for the legislation.

The ABA policy

It may seem to you why The ABA is so keen on gaining everyone’s support for H.R. 5082 so that Congress may enact the legislation as soon as possible. This is because of the ABA policy.  

The ABA believes in many significant points that it wants to uphold such as:

  • The principal regulation and oversight of the legal business should remain with the state court of highest appellate authority
  • The attorney must be licensed from this court
  • The responsibility must not be vested on the federal agencies or Congress
  • Courts are the best machinery that can fulfill this important function.

The ABA also believes that when others support this legislation it will help in preserving the regulation and oversight of the traditional state court for legal profession and will not need further clarification from the FDCPA or the CFPB’s regulatory authority that are under the Dodd-Frank Act. This will help in better governing and control on the litigation activities of the creditor attorneys.

They also believe that this legislation will help in judicial regulation of admission requirements, disciplinary rules and ethical codes and that may also include disbarment and potential suspension. This will eliminate the chances of any conflict regarding the regulation between CFPB, Congress or other agencies of the judicial branch of government.

To sum up

Though FDCPA is supposed to be very helpful in debt collection and litigation management the scope of it seems to be marginally narrowed. This is because it will only exempt the creditor attorneys from engaging in litigation activities and will not create a broad exemption for all those attorneys who are engaged in non-litigation debt collection activities.

With H.R. 5082 in place it will apply to all involved in extrajudicial collection activities such as phoning the debtors or demand letters.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/the-key-acts-and-aba-policy-involving-debt-collection-and-litigation-management/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/the-key-acts-and-aba-policy-involving-debt-collection-and-litigation-management/ Editor Tue, 26 Feb 2019 07:44:37 -0500
Significance Of A Creditor Lawyer According To FDCPA As you may know taking on a loan is easy now as everything happens online. Approvals and disbursals of pre-approved loans can happen almost instantly. However, there are lots of technicalities and legalities involved in the loaning process that you should know right from the very beginning.

This will help you to manage your debts more easily and proficiently. An attorney can help you with the law regarding debt management and relief and also help you to go about the process successfully and easily.

When you take on a loan you automatically and by law become indebted to the person or the company lending you the money. You are obligated to repay the money borrowed within the agreed time limit along with an extra amount as interest. The law prohibits you as well as the lender to act according to your whims and fancies. Ideally, both of you will have to abide by the set rules and regulations to the last word or face legal consequences.

Well, you may think this is where the significance of the attorney comes in. However, there is more into it and to know about it all you will need to start right from the very beginning.

Overview of FDCPA

Primarily, all attorneys for centuries have been regulated, disciplined and overseen by the state supreme courts from where they are licensed and not by the federal agencies or the Congress. Unfailing this age old principle, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA was designed. It had a few significant features that were reviewed and revised in the following years.

  • Originally FDCPA exempted the attorneys completely from collecting debts on behalf of the creditors. However, in 1986, Congress wanted to eliminate such exemption of the attorneys and voted based on their belief that this revised Act will only permit regulating the non-litigation collection activities of the attorneys.
  • Notwithstanding the intent of the Congress, the courts however applied FDCPA to creditor attorneys even if they are involved with litigation activities on behalf of their clients.

As a result of this difference, several creditor attorneys are now being unfairly sued for filing lawsuits to collect genuine debts and are alleged for technical violations of the FDCPA. This is irrespective of the fact that the consumers did not suffer any actual harm in the process.

The reform proposed

In 2010, the Congress passed a new Act called the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, more commonly known as DFA or Dodd-Frank Act.

  • This Act permitted the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate the debt collectors.
  • It also provided CFPB with an authority to enforce the FDCPA.
  • According to the Section 1027(e) of the DFA, it exempted most of the consumer attorneys who are engaged in any sort of practice of law from the authority of CFPB.
  • Apart from that, it does not seem to apply to creditor attorneys that file a lawsuit to collect debts legally owed to their clients.

This exemption has created a lot of problems and to address these, the ABA or American Bar Association and all its allies in the National Creditors Bar Association or NCBA are commending the Congress to pass the corrective legislation. This legislation is called the H.R. 5082 which is the Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act of 2018.

  • Apart from the above, there is also a bipartisan bill that is cosponsored by Reps. Alex Mooney, R-WV and Vicente Gonzalez, D-TX. This bill is supposed to preserve the regulations of a traditional state court.
  • The bipartisan bill will also oversee the legal profession of the creditor attorneys and will also clarify that the FDCPA and CFPB’s regulatory authority under the DFA does not apply to the creditor attorneys.

However, this is possible only when these attorneys are involved in any debt collection litigation practice. That means, these creditor attorneys will be under the direct command of the trial judge.

Importance to the creditors

When you take out a loan from a traditional bank there is a lot of risks that these banks and other lenders take. They allow you to borrow their money and use it for your personal reason in exchange of an interest. This is done entirely on the basis of trust that you have the eligibility to take on a loan and ability to repay it as well as it is evident from your credit score and other documents.

They offer secured as well as unsecured loans to you. For unsecured loans they have nothing but their belief and trust on you to expect they will be paid back but for the secured loans their risks are somewhat reduced as they have your property as collateral security for the money lent out.

However, you may face financial difficulty down the road and want to find alternative ways to get rid of your debts. You may even try to avail different debt management plans and relief programs offered by nationaldebtrelief.com or others.

In such situations the creditors have a new risk of losing a considerable chunk of their money lent out. However, this amount of loss will largely depend on the type of relief you want. It will be almost zero if you go for debt consolidation but for debt settlement it may be quite a substantial amount.  On the other hand, if you opt for Chapter 7 bankruptcy the amount of loss will be much more just as in case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The creditor lawyer will help the creditors in a huge way in such situations by keeping them informed about the consequences, the possibilities, and the process to go about. They will let them know when and why you may file for bankruptcy or accept a settlement. They will help the creditors to know about the costs involved in each process and advice accordingly. They will also keep the creditors informed about the delays that are inherent in each process and the total amount of loss as well as the tax implications. 

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/significance-of-a-creditor-lawyer-according-to-fdcpa/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/significance-of-a-creditor-lawyer-according-to-fdcpa/ Editor Tue, 26 Feb 2019 07:44:12 -0500
5 Ways MLS is Changing the Way Real Estate Online Works Many modern markets are looking to technology and online-based solutions to help them better serve their clients, and the real estate market is no exception. One of the main transitions in the real estate industry, specifically, has been the transition of the MLS or Multiple Listing Service to the internet for use and analysis.

This has changed the way the real estate works, online and offline, but specifically online. The MLS at this point is pretty much exclusively used online, and because of this, access to the MLS has drastically changed, although it is still a pay-to-play model.

Below are 5 ways the online MLS is changing the way real estate works today and how you can use them to help you find or sell a home.

Listing a home? You have options.

If you are listing your home for sale by owner or looking to rent or buy, you have tons of options now for both where to list and where to find property because of the online MLS. Even if you are using a realtor or agent, they will still be utilizing the online MLS to help you find what you’re looking for or to list your property.

So many different websites are available that link up and reflect what the MLS lists. You do, however, need to list on the MLS to have yourself listed on many of these (not all, but the majority, and the reputable ones).

Listing a home has never been this easy

That being said, you have options because of the way real estate has moved online to actually have access to the MLS. You don’t have to have a realtor or agent list for you, nor do you need to pay their outrageous fees to have them list for you (which, admittedly, was the backbone of the old real estate model).

Now you can list a home for sale by owner on sites like beycome, where there’s only a $79 flat-fee for listing on the MLS (and having your listing reflected on all the reputable sites, as mentioned above). You can also receive a significant refund on commission as well from beycome when you buy or sell a home.

This changes the game significantly because the typical, outdated commission model in real estate does not offer any money back to a buyer and especially not a seller or renter.

Listing a home has never been this affordable

As mentioned above, listing a home has never been this affordable because using the online MLS also bypasses a lot of manual labor that used to be implemented during a real estate transaction, gives you the opportunity to list for a price way below what agents have normally charged, plus gives you the opportunity to receive the commission that would normally go to an agent and instead have it for yourself as a refund. That’s a whole lot of change in a market that, prior to going online, would have never imagined those options for buyers and sellers.

Now, a lot of the data needed for someone looking for a specific property or listing a specific property can be searched within seconds or inputted into one system, once, and syndicated from there to every other necessary listing.

The advent of the online MLS has brought a lot of tech companies the opportunity to “disrupt” the real estate market by being able to bypass agents in order to get access to the MLS, and many of them are succeeding. Disrupting the market includes providing value that was otherwise not available to customers. The online MLS is at the basis of these disruptions.

By offering a listing price significantly lower than any agency, websites are able to offer customers something a bit more valuable and user-friendly - especially the ones who offer customer service online, 24/7.

Previously, agents were only available to help you during work hours. Being online has changed the customer service and money saving factor of the real estate market immensely.

Listing a home has never been this fast

The MLS going online has cut the time it takes to list or finding a new home more than half and puts more pressure than on anyone selling to get on and off the market fast. The real estate market was already a game of time, but with the way things are able to move online with both going live and methods of fast communication, it’s even more now.

Many sites promise, and deliver, a 24-hour or less than turnaround for a live MLS listing.

Being notified of listings has reached a whole new level

Having your listing on the online MLS helps you, or you and your agent, with the opportunity to link up with whatever is going on listing-wise on the MLS in real time based on your location and criteria.

This means, while both you or you and your agent are cooking dinner or watching TV off hours, you still will be able to receive email or text notifications about any homes that perfectly match your criteria, or your home being listed during these hours (if they match a buyers’ criteria) will be immediately sent to them as a notification.

This is a game changer when it comes to real estate because it values the entire market a bit higher. When everything moves faster in real estate, the value of the property goes up - the longer a property sits on the market, the faster its value goes down. When everyone is being notified in real time, there’s way more of a chance that things close within hours, even days, and there’s less time spent combing through listings looking for the perfect one when instead, you can put in your necessary criteria and have those listings delivered right to you.

This also changes the real estate game because it is sent not only to you but to anyone else with similar criteria. The knowledge that within the moments you received the notification, a large number of other house hunters received the same notification and are simultaneously aware of the same listing heats up the timeline a bit and makes for faster negotiations. Prior to being so online-based, a home being noticed by a potential buyer did not have the same context.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/5-ways-mls-is-changing-the-way-real-estate-online-works/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/5-ways-mls-is-changing-the-way-real-estate-online-works/ Editor Tue, 05 Feb 2019 11:15:59 -0500
7 Facts That Make Instagram the Perfect Marketing Tool for Graphic Designers According to forbes.com, with over 500 million daily active users sharing more than eighty millions posts every day, Instagram is now home to a massive 1 billion monthly active users and counting. The platform has come a long way since its origination in 2010, and businesses and emerging brands have taken note of this success. Being a visually appealing platform, it is very obvious that Instagram delivers a unique artistic accent, making it a perfect stage for budding and established graphic designers to showcase their work on the platform and increase their follower rate.

As per reports, graphic designers have started to promote their works and glimpses of their upcoming projects to this immensely growing channel and if you follow the top designing houses or professionals, you will find that most of them now have an Instagram account. With so many small businesses and brands already showing their presence on the platform, you might think of how to break into the success and make the most of the marketing channel. Besides, Instagram is relatively a new marketing platform and new apps are always on the roll to make the user experience seamless. If you are wondering where to begin with, check out some of the top benefits of Instagram marketing and how to avail them for your graphic design business:

Around One-third of Instagram Users Avail the App for Online Purchase

Regardless of the type of industry, you are operating in or the kind of business you are running, if you are promoting your brand heavily, the end result is sales, which is something every marketer strives for. As an aspiring or professional graphic designer, the medium of sales through a marketing channel starts from how many interactions you are able to engage in. Nevertheless, the sales of your work guide the bottom line of your entire marketing campaign and you will be glad to know that over one-third of Instagram users avail the channel to buy an online product. As mentioned above, the platform is growing heavily and already provides a home to more than one billion users, making it more likely to boost your sales than any other existing online advertising tool.

Instagram is Equipped with Extensive Retargeting Capabilities

Assuming the fact that you have done your calculations and know how many Instagram users are there and their possibility to make a purchase, it is time to understand how to put this data into motion for your profit. Ever since Facebook occupied Instagram, the capabilities of the platform were never the same. It is currently the most advanced social media marketing platform that allows you to target audiences on the basis of age, behavior, interests, and location, just like it is on Facebook. Such a phenomenon in the marketing world is known as “cold targeting”, which demonstrates the people who are unaware of your designing work and need to be warmed up for being your client in the coming time. Also, Instagram offers great retargeting capabilities by creating retargeting communities entirely based on customer email lists, post engagement, video views and so on. For more information, you can connect with Instagram marketing experts such as Gramblast and boost your follower rate.

Allows You to Easily Track Sales and Leads

The benefits of Instagram are easily visible, but there are many marketers who invest in channels without even understanding the effectiveness of it. As Instagram utilizes similar Ads Manager platform like Facebook, it is also equipped with similar tracking abilities and allows you to see everything from link clicks to lead generation and conversions. This basically provides you the liberty to analyze the cost per result in any marketing campaign you run for your graphic design work. Tracking metrics make Instagram one of the ideal platforms for beginners and offers them a clear view of the ROI.

Distinguishing Business Profiles and Personal Profiles

When you switch your personal account to the business account on Instagram, you unlock a whole new level of tools and outstanding features to promote your work exceptionally. Some of the amazing features include the ability to advertise your content with ad dollars, having a profound call to action for your profile visitors and access to performance insights. Apart from that, it provides Instagram users and your followers with reliable information that the account they are engaging with is a professional one.

Helps You in Building a Trustworthy Audience Base

Instagram is perfect for paid advertisements and it also comes with organic functionality that distinguishes the platform from any other marketing channel. The platform lets you build your follower base organically which helps in forming a very natural relationship with your followers that can also become your potential client in the future. In addition, Instagram is known for the effects of the grassroots movement that means the more followers you have, the more it will keep adding to the list every day. Gaining word-of-mouth following can be great for your business especially when you are new to the designing industry.

Fortifies the Relationship with Users

Adding to the benefits of Instagram benefits, the channel also offers a lot of user engagement without even paying for it, thanks to the organic nature of the platform. Compared to all other social media marketing channels, Instagram witnesses ten times higher user engagement with brands and professionals. Such data makes it more likely for strengthening your relationship with your followers and prospective customers. Moreover, Instagram manages to create transparency and responsiveness, bracing the feeling of trust in between followers and your work.

The Visual-Only Nature

Finally, the reason why Instagram serves the need of graphic designers better than any other platform is that of its immersive photo-centric nature. The channel is solely composed of visual content and can be accompanied by text in the form of a caption, although it is not always mandatory. Additionally, videos and images outperform text when it comes to social media engagement and results.

Conclusion

Instagram enables to fuel your various marketing efforts on a consistent basis that is required for the success of your graphic design services. Keep these benefits in mind and ensure a long-term marketing success on the channel.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/7-facts-that-make-instagram-the-perfect-marketing-tool-for-graphic-designers/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/7-facts-that-make-instagram-the-perfect-marketing-tool-for-graphic-designers/ Editor Sun, 06 Jan 2019 09:47:41 -0500
How To Survive A Financial Emergency You were in a severe car accident and suffered a spinal cord injury. You are now paralyzed and can no longer work. The bills from her injury are starting to pile up. You've already depleted your emergency savings. Without an income, it has become tough to pay necessary household expenses let alone thousands of dollars in medical bills. So, how do you survive a personal financial crisis such as this example?

Examine the Situation

The first step in any financial crisis is to evaluate the situation. Panicking about the situation won't solve any problems and will only make things worse. It is essential to try to remain calm as you evaluate the problem. This will help you make the right choices and formulate a plan of action to get out of the mess.

Evaluate Your Options

What has caused the crisis? Is there anything that you can do to remedy the situation? In the above example, the financial problems were caused by a personal injury that was related to a car accident. Nashville Personal Injury Attorney Keith Williams says “the person above could be entitled to compensation from the other driver’s insurance company if the accident was the other person’s fault.”  

Even you are at fault in an accident; you might still be eligible for compensation if the injury was due to a design defect of the motor vehicle you are driving. A real-life example of this occurred back in 2014. A jury ordered Toyota to pay more than $12 million to reality television star Chelsie Hill after she was paralyzed in an accident. Even though the accident occurred because the driver of the vehicle in which Hill was riding was drunk, the jury still found Toyota partially to blame for Hill's injuries. The design of the seat belt in the vehicle was defective, which caused Hill's paralysis. Therefore, the jury awarded her 12 million dollars for her injuries. This example illustrates why it is so important to look at the cause of the financial problems to see if there is any way to remedy it.

Determine Your Plan of Action

After examining why you are in a tight financial situation, you'll need to come up with a plan of action. Is there anything that you can do to remedy the situation? Your plan of action will be based on your situation. If you were injured and you believe that you might be eligible for compensation, then the first step in your plan of action should be to consult with an attorney. Maybe you were fired for being a whistleblower at work. In that case, your plan of action would include speaking to a lawyer to determine if you have a wrongful termination lawsuit. Maybe you are buried in debt because of a business failure. You see no way to get out from the crushing debt. Portland Business Lawyer says in cases like these, “you might want to consult with a business attorney to come up with a plan of action.”

Prioritize and Cut Spending

During a financial crisis, you must make sure you are prioritizing spending. Pay the important things first:

  • Food and shelter

  • Utilities

  • Vehicle or transportation expenses for work

  • Attorney fees

Having a written budget can be beneficial. If you are really in dire financial straits, don't worry about prioritizing non-secured debt, such as credit cards. Those can be discharged in bankruptcy. Food, shelter and having a vehicle to get to work are far more critical.

The next step is to cut spending as much as possible. Cut out any non-essential items. Don’t waste money on things that are not necessary until you get back on your feet.

Don’ts for Dealing With Financial Emergencies

You can unknowingly make your financial situation worse by making the wrong decisions. Below are some don’ts for dealing with financial emergencies.

Panic

When a severe financial emergency occurs, your instinct might be to panic. However, severe anxiety and stress will only make it difficult for you to make rational decisions. Plus, it could cause long-term damage to your health. If you are having a hard time coping with a financial problem, talk to a therapist.

A therapist can help you develop coping skills to manage the stress. Plus, they can also treat any anxiety or depression that you might have related to the crisis that triggered the financial problem. For instance, if you were paralyzed in an accident, it is common to experience depression as a result of the significant life change. A therapist can help you cope with your new reality.

Borrow money

If you are in a financial crisis, then you might be tempted to take out a loan to help you stay afloat. However, you should reconsider that idea. Taking out a loan or credit card could make matters worse. San Francisco bankruptcy attorney JLG Lawyers say "if you are having serious problems repaying debt, you are facing judgments or wage garnishments, you should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer instead of getting deeper in debt."

Commit A Crime

People who are facing serious financial problems sometimes do commit crimes to try to deal with the situation. You might be tempted to falsify overtime records or to take cash out of the register at work and put it back later or lie on a food stamp application to get benefits. These actions are all no-nos. According to Alaska Criminal Attorney D. Scott Dattan, these actions can lead to jail time and fines.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/how-to-survive-a-financial-emergency/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/how-to-survive-a-financial-emergency/ Editor Fri, 21 Dec 2018 23:40:00 -0500
5 Of The Easiest Ways To Get Into Real Estate Investing Knowing what to do with your money can be stressful. For many of us, we are so focused on paying our bills and saving a little we don’t put much thought into retirement and what we will do after we stop working.

The easiest and most understood way to invest for retirement is with stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

But not everyone likes to have their money controlled by the stock market. Some investors don’t trust major corporations to take care of their profits, employees, and the environment. If that is you, where do you turn to invest your hard earned money?

Since the beginning of time investors have used real estate as a way to diversify their exposure to risk in the stock market and make passive income after they stop working. Getting into real estate can seem really confusing and difficult.

Today I want to show you a natural progression that an investor can take to get into the real estate industry and some practical tips for each step in your real estate investing career.

Invest in yourself first

As with any investment it’s important to be well educated. You should set aside a couple of bucks and buy some used books on Amazon to learn what it takes to be in real estate. There are a lot of real estate books out there and not all of them having boring titles.

Spend a couple of months learning about the mindset, the financials, and some of strategies that real estate investors use to capture wealth from rental properties.

Learn from others

One of my favorite parts of my real estate journey has been listening to others who have gone before me. I enjoy hearing their stories, where they struggled, and where they have seen success.

There is no better way than a podcast. Find a list of real estate investing podcasts and try listening to them when you are doing chores around the house or commuting.

Take notes on what works and what doesn’t. Often you will have more questions than answers when you first start listening. That is okay. Keep going and write down your questions so you can research them later.

Crowdsource your first deal

When you are ready to tip your toes in the water, consider investing in a real estate deal with a bunch of other real estate investors.

The benefits of doing it this way is you don’t have to spend a bunch of time and money sourcing the deal, closing on the transaction, and analyzing if it will cashflow.

There are a TON of crowdsourced real estate platforms out there. Spend some time this weekend Googling some of them and reading reviews.

It’s important to do your research and invest your money with a company you trust and in a fund you understand.

Another great way to get started is with a REIT. A REIT is a Real Estate Investment Trust and is set up to allow investors to pool their money together to fund transactions. After the transaction is complete you can share in the profits based on the shares you have in the deal. This type of investment is very much like a stock but has real estate backing it.

Buy a property from a turnkey company

If you have extra capital laying around that you don’t want to put into the stock market you can consider buying a property from a turnkey company and renting it out to tenants.

We could write a book on all the thought and processes that would need to go into buying a property this way.

A turnkey property means that an investor bought a house, fixed it up, and put tenants in there. All you need to do is fund the deal and then manage the property going forward.

This saves you time from finding the deal, analyzing if it will cash flow, fixing it up, and screening your first tenants.

This might seem like a huge jump from buying REITs and it is. But, we wanted to mention that buying a house to supplement your income later in life is a natural activity most investors take in their investing journey.

If you want to consider this route an excellent resource is BiggerPockets.com it is by far the most useful and active forum on the internet for real estate investors.

Help other investors and agents buy/sell houses

This option gets overlooked quite often. If you don’t have a lot of time to be in the real estate industry you can help others who do.

Agents and investors need leads to run their business. You could create a simple website or business that helps sellers and buyers connect. You can write blog posts, create videos, or create pages of information to attract home buyers and sellers. You can take those leads and give them to agents or investors you have networked with.

They are generally willing to give you a small commission for providing such a valuable service.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/5-of-the-easiest-ways-to-get-into-real-estate-investing/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/5-of-the-easiest-ways-to-get-into-real-estate-investing/ Editor Fri, 21 Dec 2018 08:54:26 -0500
Credit Counseling: The Advantages and Pitfalls

Credit counseling services receive a lot of mixed reviews. There are many reputable services, but there are also credit-counseling companies with horrible reputations. Credit counseling is now required before filing for bankruptcy.

If you’d like help with your debt, be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of using a credit counseling company.

Positive Features of Credit Counseling

  1. They tend to have more clout with creditors. Some creditors are more willing to negotiate pay-offs and payment plans with credit counselors. You might get a better deal and more breathing room with a credit counseling service.
  2. It’s possible to consolidate your payments. Many firms will consolidate your payments into one payment each month. You’ll be making a payment to the counseling company. Understand that the credit counseling firm must then make all the individual payments for you.
  3. It can be easier to get new credit. As part of your credit counseling, it’s common for new credit to be secured for you. They’ll go out and work to have your credit applications approved.
  4. An end to the harassment. When you’re put on a repayment plan, the debt collectors will leave you alone. Remember that you can do this yourself by simply making a request in writing.

A reputable and honest credit counseling service can be helpful. There are many potential advantages to utilizing the expert assistance they can provide. But there are also several possible negative consequences.

Pitfalls of Credit Counseling

  1. They might not actually pay your bills. There are many complaints every year of credit counseling companies taking your money and then failing to make the agreed-upon payments to your creditors.
  2. They often over-promise. Just like any other company vying for your dollars, sometimes the marketing is a little too good to be true. After the counseling company takes their cut, you might not be any better off.
  3. It can possibly make your credit worse. There is one tactic commonly employed that can have a negative impact on your credit score. The credit counselor may advise you to stop paying on your debt and instead put the payments into an account.
  • Once a large enough lump sum has been accumulated, the counselor would then approach your creditors with offers to pay off the debt at a reduced amount.
  • During this process your credit will suffer due to the non-payment.

  • The account used to store the money is under the control of the counseling firm. Do you trust them?

The potential pitfalls are serious. It’s very important to do the necessary legwork to locate a reputable credit counseling service.

Many consumers believe that a service with non-profit status must be reputable. Understand that being non-profit is primarily about not showing a profit at the end of the year. Paying bonuses and higher salaries can accomplish this feat.

Ideally, you’ll be able to find a counseling service in your state that you can visit in person. Checking with your state Attorney General is an effective way to see if any complaints or legal action have taken place. Doing an online search is also likely to turn up any negative reviews or complaints.

Inquire about the services offered and the fees. Ask how the employees are paid. Are they compensated more for signing you up for certain services? Get everything in writing. Verbal promises are likely to be conveniently forgotten.

Credit counseling can be beneficial or counterproductive to your goals of reducing and eliminating your debt. Find a reputable credit-counseling firm by doing the necessary research. Be sure your financial situation will move in a positive direction.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/credit-counseling-the-advantages-and-pitfalls/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/credit-counseling-the-advantages-and-pitfalls/ Editor Sat, 15 Dec 2018 03:49:52 -0500
Rent or Own? In This Economy, Which Housing Option is Best for My Family?

There are both advantages and disadvantages to owning a home when you consider the economy. The best way to determine whether you should rent or buy is to consider the pros and cons of both positions, then see how they relate to your current home situation.

Although it may seem preferable to buy a home because of the security that it offers, there are costs associated with home ownership that may not be ideal for you at this time. You must consider all aspects of both renting and buying before you arrive at a decision, and know that these pros and cons may change over time as well.

Here are some considerations to make when deciding to buy or rent:

1. Owning a home isn't always a good investment. Avoid buying a home as an investment vehicle to turn a quick profit. While some real estate investors make a lot of money, many do not, particularly in a down economy. It's generally better to buy a home if you want to stay in it for a while.

Buy a home as part of your family's plans for settling into a place of your own.

2. Homeownership requires a down payment. A substantial down payment is typically required for most borrowers looking to secure a mortgage loan. If squirreling this much money away is difficult, you may be better off keeping an emergency fund or investing the money, rather than buying a home.

3. Mortgages include interest payments. Although mortgage interest is deductible in some situations, this is not always the case. If your interest payments, along with your other deductions, aren't higher than the standard deduction on your tax return, there's no tax benefit to paying mortgage interest.

4. Homeowners are responsible for repairs. As a homeowner, you must make repairs yourself or turn to a professional serviceman. There's no landlord to contact for repairs. You'll also be responsible for the day-to-day upkeep and maintenance costs as well.

5. Homeowners have additional insurance requirements. While you're making payments on your mortgage, you must pay for homeowner's insurance. Even if you've already paid for your home, you should still obtain this valuable insurance to protect your most important asset.

Renter's insurance is less expensive than homeowner's insurance.

6. Renting doesn't earn equity. By paying rent monthly, you're not building up any worth in the property, but the owner of the property is. Renting has no investment value at all, unless you're saving money by renting that you can invest in other investment vehicles like IRAs and mutual funds.

7. Homeownership does offer benefits. Home ownership provides your family with a sense of community, pride, and family security. You can design, decorate, and improve upon your home however you like without worrying about landlords, lease agreements and the potential for lease termination.

8. Renters can save money. As a renter, you don't have to pay homeowner's association fees, property taxes, homeowner's insurance fees, and maintenance charges. Renters can save significant money in comparison to buying, which can be put toward other investments and purposes like keeping an emergency fund.

There are definitely benefits and drawbacks to both of these positions, renting or buying. It's important to weigh all of these pros and cons before making a decision. Your best housing solution depends on your individual family and financial situation.

Choosing wisely based on your own needs will enable you to live more comfortably, secure in the knowledge that you're doing what's best for you and your family.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/rent-or-own-in-this-economy-which-housing-option-is-best-for-my-family/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/rent-or-own-in-this-economy-which-housing-option-is-best-for-my-family/ Editor Sat, 15 Dec 2018 02:01:01 -0500
Learn to Plan For Unexpected Expenses

It’s just a matter of time before it happens. The transmission blows on your car right around the time your daughter needs braces and your washing machine decides to call it quits. All of these are unexpected expenses and something we need to deal with throughout life.

Being prepared as much as you can is your best bet when live throws you a financial curve ball.

Do your best to anticipate upcoming expenses. If you’re driving an older car, or your dishwasher has seen its better days, start saving up to replace the item. You may also want to start keeping an eye out for good deals on the replacement.

An even better strategy is to have an emergency savings fund. Set up a savings account and add to it monthly. Use it only for completely unexpected expenses. Make sure you know what’s in the account. And once you have to take money out of it replace it as quickly as possible.

This brings us to a good point. Here’s how to recover quickly after that purchase. Go over your budget (you have one of those, right?) and look if you can temporarily cut back on some things. Stop ordering Pizza every Friday night and make your own at home. Skip a night out on the town and watch a couple of movies on Netflix instead of going to the theatre.

Use the money you’re not spending for the next few months to refill your emergency fund. For an extra boost, work a few hours of overtime, do a few freelance projects or temporarily pick up a part time job to get back on track fast.

But what do you do when the expense comes up before you had a chance to set up the emergency fund? Take a deep breath and assess the situation. Can you make do without the item for a little while? Just long enough to scrape together the funds to repair or replace it. If it’s the dishwasher, that’s easy. You can wash dishes by hand for a little while. If it’s the fridge or the car you rely on to get you to work each day, that’s a different story.

If you need the item that broke, evaluate if it would be less expensive to repair than replace. Even if it isn’t the perfect solution, it may get you to work until you can safe up for a different car. Shuffle your money around and if there is no other option charge it to the credit card and get to work. Your one and only goal right now is to pay off that expense. If you stick every penny of discretional income in, it won’t take you long.

One your bills and credit cards are paid off, do what you can to get that emergency fund set up. Because you know something else will break down the road.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/learn-to-plan-for-unexpected-expenses/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/learn-to-plan-for-unexpected-expenses/ Editor Mon, 19 Nov 2018 11:17:43 -0500
It's Time to Keep Your Grocery Spending Under Control Aside from your mortgage, your biggest monthly expense is likely groceries. And unlike your mortgage, your car payment and most of the rest of your bills you actually have some control over how much you spend at the grocery store.

Make A Grocery Budget

Start by tracking how much you’re spending on groceries for a few weeks. From there, come up with a weekly or monthly budget. Allot that money for groceries and whatever you do don’t go over.

Next, try cutting back your budget by $20 per month. Keep going and see how low you can go. The remaining tips will help you do that without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.

Keep A Price Book

Who doesn’t love a bargain or a good deal? They are all over the store, but do you know if what they advertise as a good deal is actually saving you money?

Keep a little notebook in your purse or keep a text document on your phone with the regular prices of the items you buy most often. Not only can you see if that “deal” really is a deal, you can also determine what kitchen staple is cheapest where and adjust your shopping accordingly. Your price book will also come in handy when you browse through weekly grocery flyers. You can decide if a loss leader deal is worth driving to the store long before you ever set a foot out the door.

Come Up With A Few Frugal Dishes

You don’t have to make drastic changes and eat nothing but rice and beans all week. Instead think of a few inexpensive dishes your family enjoys. They may be rice and beans. Or how about a big pot of soup or chili. Often meatless dishes will be your best frugal bet, or use meat in small portions on frugal dish days.

Enjoying frugal meals even just a handful of days during the month combined with using up any and all leftovers will make a big difference in your grocery budget.

Cut Out The Extras

Make a list before you head to the store and stick to it. All those little extras like the fancy bread from the bakery or the candy you grabbed at checkout start to add up. Get in the habit of skipping those extras unless there’s a good reason to buy them. Stick to your list and you’ll cut your grocery bill by quite a bit each week. It’s amazing how all those little extras add up.  

Give these tips a try and see if you don’t start to see big savings on a weekly basis. What you do with all the extra money each month is up to you. Save up for a fun summer vacation, pay off those credit cards or start building your financial safety net.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/its-time-to-keep-your-grocery-spending-under-control/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/its-time-to-keep-your-grocery-spending-under-control/ Editor Sun, 11 Nov 2018 11:13:12 -0500
Litigation Funding: What You Need to Know

Pursuing a lawsuit can put a strain on your finances. But litigation funding can provide a feasible financial lifeline to support your case and living expenses. 

If your personal funds are running out, and your case still hasn’t made it to court, consider litigation funding. It bridges the gap from your accident date to the settlement date. Litigation funding can provide you with cash advances for the duration of your case. 

Lawsuit financing is not a loan. The funding company buys a piece of the future settlement proceeds of your lawsuit, contingent upon the future outcome of the case. Essentially, you receive cash today in exchange for a specific amount of any settlement or judgment received from the litigation. Most often, lawsuit funding is used to cover medical and immediate living expenses.

Litigation funding is available for all types of cases, including personal injury, medical malpractice, employment discrimination and wrongful death cases. 

Understanding Lawsuit Financing

Technically, llitigation funding is a practice in which individuals who are plaintiffs in lawsuits receive money from a lawsuit loan company who takes a lien on the proceeds of the suit in return for cash now. Funding is provided on a non-recourse basis. This means any money you receive is yours to keep even if the results of the case have a negative outcome. 

Companies generally will provide litigation funding to individuals who have a strong case. For them, the cash advance is an investment. If you win, they receive a portion of the monetary award granted to you by the court. If you lose, they get nothing. 

In essence, litigation funding poses no risk on your part. You never have to repay the funding company if your case is unsuccessful in court. But if your case wins, you’ll probably end up with significantly more money than you would have if you settled early. That’s even after you present the funding company with its portion of the settlement. 

The Need for Litigation Funding

Litigation is an expensive process. For most people with personal injury claims, a lawyer is hired on a contingent fee basis, meaning there is no attorney fee unless the case is successful. Then, any attorney fee that’s required is a percentage of the money recovered. The law firm advances money for the cost of litigation until the case is resolved. (For ethical reasons, lawyers cannot lend money to their clients.)

However, for individuals paying legal fees “out of pocket”, the need for litigation funding can be critical. Here’s why: People who have been severely injured in accidents due to the negligence of others can be financially devastated during the process. Many are put out of work for weeks or months, leaving them with no income to provide for their dependents while they recover. Unfortunately, these victims often lack the proper income or credit history to qualify for a traditional loan. Even if they could, conventional loans require monthly payments which can be a further burden to their situation. 

Litigation funding is a viable option for cash-poor plaintiffs. It can help them meet their living expenses, pay for medical care and cover other personal costs. This can keep plaintiffs from having to sell their valuables or borrow money from family and friends to keep their lives on track.

Lawsuit financing enables individuals to pursue justice without having to put their life on hold by sacrificing other necessary financial responsibilities. Instead of worrying about finances, they can focus on recovering from their injuries while they await a trial verdict or settlement.

Working with a Funding Firm

There are a growing number of companies offering litigation financing. Pursuing funding from these sources is fairly straightforward. You simply contact the provider for a free consultation. The company will follow up with your attorney, evaluate your case material and let you know

 
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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/litigation-funding-what-you-need-to-know/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/litigation-funding-what-you-need-to-know/ Editor Sun, 28 Oct 2018 23:31:04 -0400
How to Build A Financial Safe Net Do you have a financial safety net? It’s something worth thinking about and setting up. What will happen to you and your loved ones if you lose your job for a few months? What if you get into an accident that may prevent you from earning a living? Or what if some unexpected expenses come up. Do you have anything in place to make sure the bills continue to get paid and your family is taken care of?

If not, now is the time to get started. But where do you actually start? Having three to six months’ worth of living expenses tucked away in an interests-bearing account is a good beginning. Figure out what your family needs to comfortably live on if all income stops. Then start saving as much money as you can until you have built up this safety net.

Put the money you usually spend on going out to eat, going to the movies, buying the newest TV and Tech gadget and the likes into your savings account until you’ve saved enough to have a comfortable cushion. Take make this step go even faster, add any bonuses, tax refunds etc. as well.

Don’t just stop there. Make it a goal to add to your safety cushion as you can and come back and revise your numbers from time to time. Your living expenses may go up or down over time and you can adjust how much you need to set aside in quickly accessible money accordingly.

Life and disability insurance are another important part of your financial safety net, as is your retirement money. Do you have a plan in place to continue to cover your living expenses (or those of your family) when you can no longer work? Call up your insurance agent and go over your current coverage. Make sure the insurance you’re paying for will pay out what you need and if not, make adjustments.

Once you have those two parts of your safety net firmly in place, consider investing any additional savings into higher interest bearing accounts. While you may not be able to access any money invested here right away, it will come in handy when you’re dealing with a long term financial emergency or are ready to retire. The plus side is that there are plenty of investment vehicles out there that will get you a much better return than your plain savings account at the bank. Talk to your financial adviser and come up with a plan that’s right for you, your family and whatever the future may hold.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/how-to-build-a-financial-safe-net/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/how-to-build-a-financial-safe-net/ Editor Fri, 17 Aug 2018 11:15:00 -0400
5 Benefits of Financial Technology

Financial technology (also referred to as FinTech) is the use of innovative technology to deliver a wide range of financial products and services. It is intended to facilitate the multi-channel, convenient and fast payment experience for the consumer. This type of technology is effective in many different business segments, such as mobile payments, investment management, money transfer, fund-raising and lending.

The rapid growth of financial technology has been very beneficial for consumers worldwide, such as the ability to serve customers that were not previously attended to, a reduction in costs, and an increase in competition.

Let's take a look at a few of the benefits related to financial technology:

Better payment systems - this type of technology can make a business more accurate and efficient at issuing invoices and collecting payment. Also, the more professional service will help to improve customer relations which can increase the likelihood of them returning as a repeat buyer.

Rate of approval - many small business ventures are starting to use the alternative lenders like those involved in financial technology because it has the potential to increase accessibility and speed up the rate of approval for finance. In many situations the application process and time to receive the capital can be completed within a period of 24 hours.

Greater convenience - the companies involved in financial technology make full use of mobile connectivity. This can significantly increase the number of people who can access this type of service and also increase the efficiency and convenience of transactions. With consumers given the option to use smartphones and tablets to manage their finances, it is possible for a business to streamline its service and provide a better all-round customer experience.

Efficient advice - many of the latest systems rely on robo-advice to give people guidance on their finances. This can be a very quick and low-cost option to get useful information on investments, as well as to limit a person's exposure to risk. However, this type of service won't be able to give the most in-depth advice that would come from a professional adviser.

Advanced security - Using the latest security methods is necessary to ensure more people are confident in using this type of financial service. The need to harness the latest mobile technologies has resulted in a major investment in security to ensure customer data is kept safe. A few of the latest security options used by those in this sector include biometric data, tokenization and encryption.

Learn more by visiting this new financial technology website.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/5-benefits-of-financial-technology/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/5-benefits-of-financial-technology/ Editor Mon, 06 Aug 2018 10:54:42 -0400
Why You Need To Keep A Household Budget We work hard to earn a living. We should make sure we spend the money we bring home wisely. That’s where a household budget comes in. It’s a good tool to see at a glance what we have coming in, what’s going out (and what that money is paying for) and if there’s anything left at the end of the month to put into savings.

Before we dive into exactly what a budget can do for us, let’s consider for a minute what will happen if we’re not tracking income and expenses. We may end up spending more than we’re making in a given month (or two, or three). Over time that can put us into some pretty hot water financially. We may also spend a lot more than we’d like to believe on things like eating out, going to the movies or new clothes.

Having a budget gives us more control over where we want to really spend our hard earned cash. Maybe that’s dinner and a movie, but maybe it isn’t. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an actual choice?

It Tracks Where Your Money Is Going

A budget simply tracks your money. You record where the money comes from each month (your income) and then write out everything you spend it on, starting with your regular monthly bills like mortgage or rent, car payments, utility bills etc. What’s left after all the bills are paid is your discretional income.

Helps You Identify Things You Waste Money On

Having it all in front of you in black and white helps you identify things you’re wasting your money on.

It makes you reconsider if you really want to spend well over $200 a month on Cable TV or $150 on your large cell phone plan. Or how about that yearly magazine subscription to something you no longer read? Go through your expenses and reevaluate if this is REALLY how you want to spend your pay check.

Allows You To Be Proactive About Savings

Saving money without a budget is hard. We go in with the best of intentions at the beginning of the month, but somehow there isn’t anything left at the end of the month.

A budget gives you a chance to be a bit more proactive. Set aside some money for savings at the beginning of the month, even if it’s just $20. Put it in the budget as a regular expense, just like you do with your other urgent bills. If you need to, open a separate savings account so you’re not tempted to spend it.

Ensures You’re Not Spending More Than You’re Making

Most importantly, your budget will keep you on track and help you make sure you’re not spending more than you’re making. And I don’t have to tell you that that’s pretty important for your financial wellbeing.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/why-you-need-to-keep-a-household-budget/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/why-you-need-to-keep-a-household-budget/ Editor Mon, 09 Jul 2018 11:00:54 -0400
How to Control Your Spending Habits

When it comes to personal finance, money managing, budgeting are probably the most difficult things. Control your own money is not an easy task and many people find it's very difficult to be good at it. I'd like to share some of my personal experiences on this topic. Hopefully this will help other people as well!

Wisely managing my spending requires the same self-control I have in other aspects of my life.

I anticipate days when making ends meet may be harder than usual. It is these days that give me the drive to maintain control of my spending habits and I make it a point to save for rainy days.

How I spend is a reflection of my character. I am honest with myself, so I am honest about what I can afford. I live a worry-free life, so I ensure that my spending habits keep me from having to worry about putting meals on my table.

I commit to spending wisely and thoughtfully.

Sometimes, impulse purchasing is a real challenge as I feel the urge to give in to my desire to spend. But I take a moment to look at the bigger picture.

I consider what the outcome could be if I make the purchase and refrain from buying the item if there is any possible sign of hardship to come from doing so.

Today, I vow to work hard to control my spending habits. I know that financial situations sometimes arise which alter my plans, but I commit to handling them as best as I can.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. How do I feel when a loved one asks me to purchase something for their pleasure that I know I cannot afford?
  2. Do I spend the time to teach my kids how to save?
  3. How do I recover after allowing myself to make an impulse purchase?
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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/how-to-control-your-spending-habits/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/how-to-control-your-spending-habits/ Editor Tue, 12 Jun 2018 10:57:09 -0400
Three Ideas for Spring Cleaning Your Finances Your taxes have just been filed and now it's time for spring cleaning - clearing out the dirt and clutter in your homes and work space to allow for a chore-free summer. Why not also use this opportunity to "clean" up your finances? With a little annual clean-up and our three ideas, you can keep your current financial situation well-organized, streamlined and up-to-date.

Clear the document clutter

We are all human and sometimes accumulate piles of important documents and statements. Now is the time to look through your financial documents and consider which to keep and which to discard. Keep recurring documents, such as investment and bank statements, property and casualty insurance renewals or social security and retirement statements, for one year. You need only keep household bills and credit card statements until you have a record that the bill was paid (unless you need these statements as evidence for tax filing or proof of purchase). Shred all outdated and unnecessary statements.

Try organizing your saved documents into a folder with the newest date on top. This way, if you go looking for a specific document, you won't shuffle through a year's worth of back up. Maybe, you prefer storing everything digitally. If so, consider naming folders starting with the year, followed by the two-digit month and ending with the name of the institution or document. This keeps the files sorted in an easy, chronological order. Remember, all electronic files should be backed up regularly, whether stored locally or in the cloud. These days, there are plenty of that will sync your devices and securely back up your storage.

When you pare down and keep only what is necessary - for tax purposes and tracking financial records - you'll have less clutter and a better understanding of what is in your possession.

Consolidate retirement accounts

How many retirement accounts have you accumulated? Throughout your career, you may have switched employers and acquired multiple retirement accounts. You're not alone: Many people have aging 401(k)s, IRAs and other retirement accounts of convenience. Talk about financial clutter! Now is a great time to consolidate these. IRAs, SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs can all be consolidated into a single IRA. (Roth IRAs can only combine with other Roth IRAs.) Old 401(k)s can also be rolled into your IRA. When distributing an old 401(k) into your IRA, be sure to review the investment options and expenses in the 401(k) as compared to what is available in your IRA. Combining multiple accounts, may save you fees and most certainly will save you paperwork. Most importantly, you and your advisor can more easily and strategically invest your retirement account for today and the future. When it comes time to take withdrawals, calculations and taxes will be much easier as well.

Update your critical information

Finally, as you begin to clear the financial clutter, you may have various accounts and people who have changed since the last time you organized. That's why this is a great time to record all your critical information in one central location. We like to call this your critical records organizer. If you already have your information in one organizer, maybe your information is outdated or professionals have changed. Use this spring cleaning time to review the information and make updates. If you have never organized your important information, you should include all your current account numbers, access information and professional contacts. You might like to keep this information in hard copy or choose a mobile app (such as 1Password) or cloud-based document service (such as Dropbox). Creating a central location of this information is not only useful for you each year, it might become critical for your family. You might have account information and professionals in your life that you interact with, but the rest of your family may not know how to contact. Once you update and organize your critical information, remember to let the important people in your family know where they can find this information for the future.

Spring cleaning your finances doesn't have to be an exhausting process. By keeping important account statements in one place, tossing recurring documents, and shredding unnecessary or outdated personal paperwork, you can clear the document clutter in your life. Consolidating multiple accounts that have lingered over time, will bring you fresh confidence and control over your nest egg, and updating your information in a central location keeps you protected for the future.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/three-ideas-for-spring-cleaning-your-finances/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/three-ideas-for-spring-cleaning-your-finances/ Editor Fri, 04 May 2018 10:52:38 -0400
Guiding New Graduates to Financial Success New college graduates are on the loose and out building their new work wardrobes for their first job. Are you a proud parent and grandparent? In addition to celebrating with them over parties and gifts, now is the time to give them the gift of financial independence too. As they start their first jobs, you might ask yourself, "Is my child prepared for the financial responsibility that comes with a full-time job and living on their own?" Right from the start, you want them to develop savings priorities and healthy spending habits. Here are some tips to help you point them in the right direction:

Explain the importance of saving

As young adults start receiving a paycheck, they may find it tempting to spend their funds a lot more on "wants" rather than "needs." You can help by reminding them of the difference between the two and sharing the importance of saving. Whether it's saving for unexpected expenses and emergencies or to eventually buy a car or home, encourage your young adult to put a set amount aside from every paycheck. You may also tell them to check with their employer and see if they can direct the savings portion of their paycheck directly into a savings account with only the remainder going to their checking account for spending.

Emphasize retirement contributions

New graduates hardly think about retirement. They've just entered the workforce - why would they need to think about an event that will impact them 40+ years from now? With rent, bills and other responsibilities, your young adult may choose not to contribute to their retirement right out of school. We all know that this is a mistake! This is your chance to emphasize how a long retirement time horizon can benefit them financially. Educate them about compounding growth in savings and encourage them to speak to their employer about any professional guidance offered. Emphasize to them that they have one of the greatest assets working for them at this age: time.

Teach them to follow a budget

Budgeting allows young adults to create a spending plan with their money. It's a great way for them to track their expenses and see if they have enough to spend on the things they really enjoy. Budgeting can keep your young adult focused on their money goals and avoid any unnecessary financial hassle. If they become overwhelmed, share how you learned to live within your paycheck and show them that there are apps and online tools today that they can use - here are just a few examples.

Show them how to pay bills on time

As an independent adult, your child will need to take on lots of responsibility quickly. Perhaps this includes regularly paying a variety of bills (rent, cell phone, etc.). Keeping track of when bills are due can become cumbersome for those just starting out. Show your child that it's crucial to stay on top of bills and pay them on time. Late payments and fees - and any outstanding interest on balances - will deplete their disposable income, leaving them less money to spend on entertainment and fun. Many apps and computer programs exist to help set reminders and automatic payments. Help your young adult look at the options and share any systems you use to manage monthly payments.

Help them build credit

Many college grads have not yet had a chance to establish a credit history. Educate them about how a credit score can impact their future. A good credit score can influence their ability to get car loans and mortgages approved. Their credit score can also impact the interest rates on these loans: A good credit score may lead to lower interest rates. Some employers use a credit check in their hiring process. Some insurance companies also use credit scores as part of their underwriting process as a person's credit can be a predictor of insurance claims. To help your young adult build their credit score, encourage them to pay bills on time, avoid acquiring too much debt on any open credit cards, limit the number of credit cards used, and keep their oldest credit card open.

Now that your graduate is officially launched, use some of your time together to pass on good financial habits. Whether it's dedicating a portion of every paycheck to savings or using an app to track spending, these tips may help your young adult to stay on top of their finances and develop good money habits that can last a lifetime.

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Uncategorized https://www.nocomo.org/blog/guiding-new-graduates-to-financial-success/ https://www.nocomo.org/blog/guiding-new-graduates-to-financial-success/ Editor Tue, 20 Mar 2018 10:53:41 -0400