Author Archives: Jeffrey Turner

Making the Most of a Job Fair

The job fair is one of the best tools available to a jobseeker. If taken advantage of properly, they can lead to big opportunities. Many employers are there offering on-the-spot interviews, so there are a few things to keep in mind when attending a job fair.

Before the job fair, it’s a good idea to find out what businesses will be in attendance. Get on the internet and research the participating companies. What types of jobs do they have open? What kind of people are they looking for? What skills are they looking for? Knowing as much as possible about the companies you’ll potentially be interviewing with will help make the job fair that much more successful for you. Make a list of questions for these companies. And of course, make plenty of copies of your resume. Your resume will ensure that you’re remembered well after you’ve made your first impression with the employer.

Remember that a job fair isn’t a trip to the beach – leave your street clothes at home

You don’t have to wear a suit, but presentation is definitely key. “Business casual” is pretty standard with most job fairs. This means slacks and a collared shirt for men, and slacks or a skirt coupled with a blouse for women. Stay away from too much jewelry or too revealing clothing – you don’t want anything to distract from you as the jobseeker. How you present yourself to a prospective employer at a job fair will demonstrate how serious you are in your job search, and how serious you’re willing to take the position. Not only will it help your physical presentation, but looking good will help you feel as confident as possible when talking to employers. When you’re confident in yourself, you’re better able to show how serious you are about the job fair – remember to be dedicated, conscientious and attentive.

The most important thing to remember about a job fair is that it doesn’t end when you’ve moved on to the next booth. Once the job fair has ended, follow up with the employers your spoke with. Make sure you got a business card, e-mail address, or phone number for each company you met with, and send a thank you note a day or two later. This will help ensure that you’re remembered and reinforce the fact that you’re serious about the position with the company.

Debt Repayment …You Have Two Options

If you find yourself struggling with debt, there is a way out. The battle can be won, but it will take some work on your part.

Below you’ll learn some steps you can take to pay off your debts and start the road to freedom.

The funny thing about debt is that getting a loan seems wonderful at the moment, but from the first payment on it’s dreaded. This is because most decisions to get a loan are made on a whim without thinking it through to the years ahead. If every time you consider getting a loan you could think about every future payment that will come, you might never get another loan.

The Debt Solution

The only way to solve your debt problems is to get yourself out of debt. This can seem impossible, however, people are gaining control and getting out of debt all over America. I think the reality of debt and repayment is settling in on many families, and they’re willing to do just about anything to get out of debt – even if it means eating beans and rice at every meal for a whole year! You can get free from your debt. Are you willing to do what it takes?

The Obvious First Step

Obviously, the first step you’ll need to take in order to get out of debt is to put the brakes on borrowing for your family. Make a rule that states, “From this point forward, we will not use credit cards or take out any other loans!” If you don’t resolve to stop going into debt, your vicious cycle will never end. You can’t pay off debt if you continue to add to it. You’re defeating yourself.

The Two Options to Get Out of Debt

1. Sell, Sell, Sell

The first option you have is a quick way to get out of debt. Sell any assets you own to pay off your current debts (or as many as possible). Perhaps you have a couple of large items you could sell such as the old car you’ve been working on for six years that’s sitting in the back yard, a boat, a storage building, television set, stereo, etc. Look around the house to find things of value that you really don’t need. You can get those things later when you’re on your feet and able to pay cash for them.

The purpose of doing this would be to pay the lump sum off for certain loans, particularly loans with high interest. For example, your loan payoff balance is £3000. You sell a few items for £3000 or more. If you pay the loan off, you’ve just eliminated future interest, so you’ve accomplished two things. You no longer have the debt’s monthly payment, and you saved money on interest. In some cases, you might be able to sell items that are still carrying a debt to break even or find someone willing to take on the payments for NO PROFIT. Another quick way of paying of your debt if you are a home owner is through remortgaging to release equity. If you ave equity in your property it may be beneficial to remortgage and use the equity to pay off high interest debt. This will increase your mortgage payments but if the increase is less that your debt it will prove to be a good move.

There are many ways to accomplish this if you have assets. Before doing this, think it through. Be sure it makes sense to sell certain items. For instance, if you own an item of great value that will appreciate over the years, like an antique or something similar, you might not want to sell it. Figure the possible future value of the item, and whether saving the interest will be worth it.

2. Repayment of Debt the Old Fashioned Way

If you don’t have assets to sell and pay off your debts or not quite enough, the only other option you have is to make monthly payments until the debt is depleted. This takes a while, of course, but at least you’ll know you’re making an effort toward getting out of debt.

The schedule below gives an example of how you can set up your debt repayment..

Create a chart which includes the following columns and rows. Of course, you’ll customize this to fit your own personal debts. You might not own a credit card or a personal loan, so adjust accordingly.

Column Across: Balance Due/Interest Rate/Pmt. Per Month/Pmt. Until When

Row Down:


1. Charge Card 2. Personal Loan 3. Life Insurance 4. Auto Loan 5. Parents Have Loaned You Money 6. Furniture Loan 7. Department Store Loan 8. Medical Debt 9. etc, etc

On your chart, for each debt you will include the balance due, interest rate amount for that debt, monthly payment amount and date of payoff.

Some loans might not have a set monthly payment, like the one from your parents. However, you can set an amount to pay them each month, even if it’s only $20 per month until you get other debts paid down, this will help both you and them. The commitment is what counts.

If possible, try paying extra each month on your high interest loans to get them paid off quicker. This will save interest in the long run. If not possible now, keep an eye on your debt schedule for payoffs, and use the additional money to double up on another loan payment anytime you come to the end of a loan.

Once you have all of this written down, create a total at the bottom for balance due and monthly payments. This will give you an idea of exactly how much total debt you owe and what it will take each month to pay it off. You can include this in your monthly budget. Stick to it. You will see your debt melt away month after month, and this is a great feeling!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Debt and Retirement

Think it is time to retire? Perhaps you are being prevented from retiring by debt problems. We are going to look into what you can do by:-

  • Managing Your Debt
  • Accessing money tied up in your home
  • Using your pension plans

Managing Your Debt

Begining your retirement should allow you to relax and unwind after years of working and contributing to society. However, retirement for many people is a time when income drops as your full-time wage disappears and is replaced with your old age pension plus any financial provision you have made for yourself. Debt payments can become harder to meet and good debt management is needed.

If you have a pension scheme in place, you could use the 25% tax-free cash that is usually available to clear some or all of your debts. This is available from age 55, usually. The downside particularly if you take the money before you intend to retire is the impact it will have on the regular income portion of your pension. It is import to rank the debts by there level of importance so you can allocate your cash appropriately.

Debts fall into two groups, secured and unsecured. Secured debts are secured against your property, mortgages, second charges secured loans etc. These debts are usually the priority as failing to maintain payments can lead to your property being repossessed by the lender. Unsecured debts are debts from credit cards, unpaid utilities unsecured loans etc. Failing to pay these debts won’t result in you losing your property, the action is usually through the county court to get a county court judgement some times bailiffs are brought in to recover the property.

State debts, e.g. unpaid council tax, income tax etc. can result in criminal proceedings so should also be a priority

If in serious debt it is best to approach a debt advice service. There are plenty of charities about who can help. A couple of useful links are give below.

Help Full Links

Release Equity in Your Home

Equity release is a way of “releasing” some of the value tied up in your house. Plans are available from age 55 but when take this young can be poor value for money.

There arehundreds of schemes available they fall into two categories:-

Lifetime Mortgage

These plans are life long mortgages that run until the last mortgage holder has died. The Mortgage debt plus accumulated compound interest is paid from the proceeds of the sale of the house. There are no monthly payments. The amount you can borrow is dependent of the house value, and your age the younger the less you can borrow. Interest can build usp quickly, however many plans will cap the total interest so that more is not owed than can be recovered.

Home Reversion

With a home reversion plan, you sell the provider a share of the equity of your house in exchange for a lump sum, the lump sum maybe 50% of the actual value of the share being sold. There is no build-up of interest but you have a partner in your property that you may not be comfortable with. The older you are the better the deal you are likely to get.

Releasing equity is a significant decision you are probably best taking professional advice before committing. Either type can give you a substantial influx of cash that can help with your retirement as additional income or a way to clear debt.

Using Existing Pensions

Do you have existing pension provision? If you do, it is available form age 55 now. Most pensions allow for a lump sum to be taken tax-free of 25% for a defined contribution scheme or a multiple of regular benefits for a defined benefits scheme

Other Help

There are some state benefits that could be available, these include pension credit and help with council tax or rent.

How to solve ‘I spent more money’ syndrome

Have you ever gone into Debenhams or Asda thinking you will buy a few items, get great prices and go home feeling satisfied with your purchases, only to have the reverse happen? Read on and see if you relate to this scenario – You drop the kids off at preschool and have a few precious hours to get some shopping done with no distractions. You know you really only need nappies (£10.95), wipes (£3.95) and some fruit (£2.00), but are open to looking around the store since you are by yourself. You pull into Debenhams and treat yourself to a Costa coffee and muffin since it is right there at the entrance (£5.95) and you didn’t eat breakfast. You get a shopping trolly and in the back of your mind, you only need a few items, but you begin to wander up and down the aisles until items start to seem like you need them. Snacks (£2.99), beverages (£4.95), placemats (£5.00), a kitchen rug (£7.99), toys (£12.95), kids clothes (£15.00), a new blouse (£16.00), greeting cards (£3.95), sunglasses (£9.95), hair accessories (£3.95), new make-up (£6.95) and a kitchen gadget (£9.95) all wind up in the cart along with the nappies (£10.95) and wipes (£3.95) and bananas (£2.00)you proceed to checkout. Total bill = £101.72 before taxes.

You ended up buying 12 more items than you intended, it was all there at your fingertips and most everything you think you really need and when you checkout, you discover you owe 6 times what you originally planned to spend. You pay it and try to justify the necessity and cost of everything. You know eventually you will share with your husband the events of the day and you wonder if you should mention this.

Has this happened to you? You are not alone, this is a classic example of impulse purchasing at its best. Impulse purchasing is not bad every now and then, but if this is the way you shop, and you are experiencing remorse over your final bill at checkout, then you might want to rethink your spending strategy.

To effectively save money and stay on budget, you must learn to effectively spend money as well. Spending is a skill, not a pastime! A spending strategy is a plan that enables you to spend less and save more money through making smart spending decisions.

You can develop an effective spending strategy for you and your family by utilizing these five basic principles:

1. Make saving money a family priority

Whether you’re buying a car or a gallon of milk, getting the best deal to save you money needs to be a priority for you and your family. If you strive to get good prices across all products and services you purchase—large and small—then you are making saving money a priority and you will reap financial benefit from it. For some items it makes sense to spend a little more to ensure you are receiving a quality and reputable product or service, particularly if it is a large long-term purchase. In these cases it very much pays to ensure the price you are paying, whether it is the lowest or not, is reasonable and fair. But overall, if you start thinking about how to find a better price, whether it’s for groceries, clothes, entertainment, or anything you buy, than you are making saving money a priority.

2. Set boundaries for spending

Simply put, when you know how much money you have to spend each week or month for necessities, you are probably more diligent in how you spend that money than if you didn’t know your limit. Just giving yourself a boundary for spending will make you much more motivated to make those dollars go as far as they can. A great way to set your spending boundaries is to utilize online budget calculators. These tools enable you to play around with the numbers until you find what works for you.

3. Organize your spending around products and services you buy normally

Be careful to evaluate if a sale product or service is something you need or regularly use. Coupons are a great value and these days can be doubles to represent significant savings. Keep in mind that they also can tempt you to make purchases you may not normally make, so watch those carefully so you are not spending money unnecessarily. A sale or special offer can be a great time to stock up, try something you’ve been curious about or may need only one time. Just keep in mind doing this regularly can cause you to actually spend more even though it may look like you are saving money. Remember to think before you buy!

4. Success is in the planning and be consistent

Impulse purchasing whether it is at the grocery store or the Mall can kill any attempts to build up savings. Impulse shopping is not a well thought out spending plan. When you take time to create, carry out and reap the rewards of a plan, you are more motivated to continue doing it and get better results as time goes by. Continually shopping for the best prices and using coupons consistently will help you be successful at saving money, so invest in tools that will help you plan and organize your spending. When you do this, you can become more disciplined in your approach to spending, more consistent with saving and regain a sense of control.

Shopping to keep the household stocked with food and supplies is an ongoing challenge that has to be done. It is an added challenge to stay on budget and this is a continual process that requires a commitment to skilled spending. However, occasional indulgences are healthy when you plan for them!

Annual Percentage Rate

Annual Percentage Rate or APR Explained

The annual percentage rate or APR is required by the Government in an effort to present borrowers with an accurate depiction of the cost of a loan. It is designed to aid consumers in their selection of a loan when comparing the various types and terms that are offered by lenders.

In essence, the annual percentage rate should reflect the actual cost of obtaining a loan on an annual or yearly basis. It expresses the relationship between the amount of money that is borrowed and the cost of obtaining this sum of money as a loan. The APR includes many of the fees associated with the loan.

Most financial lenders have similar formulas for calculating the APR or annual percentage rate. Therefore, while the comparison of loans has been made easier, it is still not perfect. Some companies use a software program to determine the APRs of the loans that they offer. Perhaps their agents do not even know what fees are included in the calculation of the APR.

In general, if one APR is higher than another, the loan is going to cost the consumer more money on an annual basis. For example, a mortgage lender might offer a 30-year fixed rate loan with an interest rate of 7.5%. A different mortgage lender might offer a 30-year fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 6 %. On first glance, the second loan looks like it is the better choice.

However, let’s say that the second mortgage lender is also charging points or a percentage of the loan amount for the privilege of acquiring the lower interest rate. Typically, this equates to an additional cost. Since points are reflected in the annual percentage rate or APR, the APR will be slightly higher for the second loan than the APR for the first loan. This should tip off the borrower that extra fees are included with the second loan and it actually might not be the best option after all.

how to cope with debt

Are You in Debt? Here’s How to Cope

Credit card debt causes more problems in marriage than any other issue

I know; I’ve been there and fought my way out of the abyss. It wasn’t easy but I did it and so can you.

Three years ago, after checking my direct deposit and seeing the amount that was in my checking account, I began to pay bills. Money was put into savings, and I took out for groceries and other household bills. So far, so good. Then I came to my credit cards. When I was done paying all my bills, I was left with a whopping twenty-three dollars and fifty-two cents for two weeks until my next pay check! How did this happen?

Here’s how: a few years previously my husband’s position as a senior analyst was done away with due to company downsizing. He made a decision to go into teaching and I supported him; emotionally and figuratively. But, living on one paycheck was hard and I charged a few things; too many things.

I was worried about my credit limit when, like a fairy godmother, another credit card offer arrived in the mail. Yay! I was saved! But was I?

That began the great credit card balancing act. I transferred one balance after another to no interest cards but still kept the original cards “just in case.” At the end of three years, I ended up with three cards totally eleven thousand dollars in all! I was in a financial mess.

The time limit for the cards with the no interest rates was running out. The other “just in case card” with a higher rate was killing me in interest. My paycheck was going to pay off past debt.

I told my husband who had a surprise of his own. The one card he kept had gotten out of hand too. We took drastic action.

The first thing I did was to cancel all my cards except one, which I locked in my desk. Secondly, I committed to making massive payments to the cards which had a no interest time limit and transferred my high interest account to a much lower one. My husband doubled up on payments to his low interest card.

It took us two struggling, no frills years to become credit card debt free. The money we once paid to card companies now goes into a savings account.

Was it hard living without credit cards? Yes, but living with constant debt was much worse.