Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Know your options

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Fannie Mae for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you are falling behind on your mortgage payments it is a good idea to find out what alternatives you have available. is a good resource for you or someone you know who is having financial trouble.

There are several areas that may be of interest:

Options to stay in your home - These options include refinance, forbearance, modification and deed-for-lease. 

Options to leave your home - These options include short sale [which is when you sell your home for less than the balance remaining on your mortgage] and deed-in-lieu [which is when you voluntarily transfer the ownership of your property to your mortgage in exchange for a release from your mortgage loan and payments.

The "Beware of scams" section lists both resources [such as phone numbers to HUD approved counseling agencies] as well as scams to look out for.

There is even a pretty cool video simulation called WaysHome that puts you in the role of a homeowner who is in financial distress.  You make decisions and the simulation provides the outcomes both good and bad based on your decisions.  It is a pretty effective learning tool.

Know Your Options by Fannie Mae is a great website to inform yourself about the options that are available.  It is very important to gather information for yourself and maybe turn to an expert to help you make a decision as to what to do when your finances make it difficult to stay in your home. 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thinking about buying a small business

I would love to own my own business.  Be my own boss.  But starting a business from scratch has been difficult for me.  Trying to figure out what kind of business will do well, creating a business plan, diving into it without much of a safety net.

So I got thinking maybe buying an existing business would work.  The biggest problem with this idea is coming up with the funding.  I've found a couple of businesses that look good but the price tag is over $500,000. 

So I thought perhaps the seller would finance the deal.  Sadly the broker shot me down.  The broker was quite rude which surprised me.

So I'm back to looking for another opportunity.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Good bye to free checking accounts?

Last year Congress added an amendment to the financial reform bill that would reduce the amount of interchange fees merchants have to pay financial institutions to process debit card transactions.  What this amounts to is a transfer of wealth from the financial institutions [banks, ect] to the merchants [Wal-mart, Target, ect].

Even though the reasoning behind the amendment to have the merchants reduce prices on the merchandise they sell because their interchange expense would be reduced the likelyhood that this will actually occur will be minimal, at best.

The financial institutions will be collecting less in fees from these merchants making checking accounts less profitable.  So how are financial institutions going to make up this income shortfall?  Easy...start adding fees and restrictions to checking accounts.  So the transfer of wealth will ultimately be from us, the consumer, to the merchants. 

Yes, you might be able to find free checking accounts if you look hard enough.  So a total extinction of free checking accounts, like the total extinction of the fabulous hooked billed Dodo bird is probably not going to happen.  But I'd bet that in a lot of cases your bank will no longer offer a truely free checking account, an account without fees or restrictions.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beach Bum Apparel additions

New t-shirts and mugs added to my online apparel store.  Check them out.  I hope to have some more by the end of the year.  I don't make a bunch on them but I have no overhead.  So it is a quick and easy way to set up an online t-shirt store.