5 Realistic Ways To Free Yourself From Debt In 2020

It’s a common fact of life that the vast majority of people end up with some form of debt in their lives.

Some people might owe three-figure sums, while others might owe as much as the national debt of a small country!

You’re likely reading this article today because you want to free yourself from your debt.

But, you’re unsure of your options, or even if you have many choices.

The first thing to note is that everyone has choices in life – even when talking about dealing with debts.

The next thing to bear in mind is everyone – even you – can take practical steps to be free of debt.

Here are five examples of what you can do with your financial burdens:

1. Earn more money

If you’ve ended up in a situation where your salary doesn’t entirely cover your outgoings, one thing that’s within your power is to get a better-paying job.

When you earn more money, you can cover your debts and also pay them off quicker.

You might even find that you can earn more money by getting a second job or doing self-employed work in your spare time.

2. Set up a debt management plan

What should you do if you’re unable to earn more money?

One option is to organize a debt management plan. In a nutshell, this is where you agree to pay lower monthly installments to your creditors.

Debt management plans typically get set up with the help of debt charities and organizations.

But, it’s possible to organize one yourself if you’ve done plenty of research on the subject.

3. Look into a debt discharge program

You might not have heard about it, but there are debt discharge programs run by some companies that could work for you.

For example, some enable you to become a citizen of a different country while remaining in the U.S.

Programs such as DTSS’s Mark of Freedom help you to gain a better debt to income ratio and let you retake control of your finances.

4. Petition for bankruptcy

As you probably know, bankruptcy is a last-resort option for people that end up with unmanageable levels of debt.

The thing is, bankruptcy is a choice that thousands of people opt for each year.

Bankruptcy is a way of stopping debt collector calls and letters, and creditors from harassing you for payment.

Once you’ve completed your bankruptcy, there are no further payments that you need to make.

5. Sell all valuable assets

Last but not least, you could release yourself from the grip of debt by selling items of value that you own.

Doing so isn’t an easy decision as you might expect, but it means you can start a new chapter of your life.

Examples of valuable assets that you could sell include any vehicles, property, electronics, collectible and antique items.

Many people don’t realize they have things of value that can ultimately help them to clear their debt burden.

VA Mortgage: Significance, Eligibility Criteria and Service Requirement

A VA home loan is one of the best ways to fulfill the dream of buying a home for military personnel and veterans in the U.S. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides several facilities to such groups of people to help them get their abode.      

Military persons, veterans, and a certain class of other people can apply for a VA loan easily without the need for mortgage insurance, down payment, and flexible mortgage terms. 

Here are the most significant and important factors of a VA loan:

No Down Payment

A home aspirant has to pay some money as a down payment while applying for a home loan. 

The percentage of such payment can vary according to the cost of a home and financial status of a person. 

However, in the case of a VA loan, a military man or veteran needs not to pay any down payment while applying for the same. 

This becomes possible due to the financial support to the lenders by the U.S government. 

No mortgage insurance

Generally, a person has to pay for mortgage insurance in case he/she makes a down payment below 20% while applying for a house loan. 

This insurance is also known as a mortgage insurance premium that protects a lender from loss in case of an applicant’s default. 

But, a VA loan applicant need not pay for such insurance in any case. This makes VA loans a very affordable option for a home aspirant.      

Financial support by the federal government

After applying for a conventional loan or FHA mortgage, a person needs to pay installments regularly. 

But, in the case of a VA loan, the federal government backs a lender if someone fails to pay a portion of installment. 

Due to this financial support of the government, lenders can offer a VA mortgage with various attractive terms to the suitable candidates. 

Liberty to choose suitable VA loan rates     

VA loans are provided by loan institutions, individual lenders, credit unions, and banks. They all decide their fees and rates for this mortgage. 

A petitioner can check these different rates and can choose one that suits his financial status. 

A person can also go to some reputed authorized website of a VA lender and check the offered rates. 

It is also good to compare their rates with the ongoing other mortgage rates in the market.       

No prepayment penalty 

There are circumstances when VA loan candidates do not want to own a home anymore. 

In such a case, if they leave and want to sell their home before a certain period, there is no prepayment penalty or any charges. 

Additionally, a person can also refinance an existing VA mortgage to another VA or non-VA loan anytime.       

Various varieties and benefits

A VA loan is available with various options and benefits. People can choose a fixed rate, adjustable rate, or other sorts of VA mortgages according to their specific needs and goals. 

They can use it to purchase a  manufactured abode, condo, duplex, or any other types of property. 

The finances can also be used to repair a house, refinancing an existing loan or such other purposes. 

Flexible rules and guidelines

Similar to other mortgages, VA loans also have certain conditions such as good credit history, balanced income to debt ratio, and many other rules that a home aspirant needs to follow. 

However, in the case of a VA loan, rules are more flexible and simple. This becomes possible due to the financial guarantee provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.      

Low closing cost

Another good factor of the VA loan is the low closing cost charged by a lender from a VA loan candidate. 

This not only makes the mortgage easily affordable but also helps a borrower avoid facing any financial difficulty in the future. 

Flexibility in the matter of funding fees

In some cases of a VA loan, funding fees or upfront cost is essential to pay. The amount of it depends upon the type of loan, down payment, total mortgage amount, and other factors. 

VA loan aspirants need not pay these fees in cash as VA arranges to finance it with their actual mortgage.      

Assumable Feature

VA loan is also assumable. It means if a person wants to transfer his/her VA mortgage amount to some other home aspirant in the future, he/she can do so. But that person should also be an eligible VA mortgage candidate. 

This feature proves exceptionally useful when the rates of a loan rise high, at that time a borrower can shift the loan to another eligible candidate to avoid financial crises.      

Eligibility for VA mortgage

To acquire a VA loan, an aspirant needs to meet some conditions or eligibility criteria. For this, a candidate should possess one of the following qualifications: 

  1. A Reservist  
  2. Cadet at the Air Force, Military, or Coast Guard Academy of the United States. 
  3. Serviceman at Active-duty 
  4. A midshipman at the Naval Academy of the U.S.  
  5. Survived spouse of a veteran
  6. A National Guard member
  7. An officer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A VA loan aspirant must also meet one of the following minimum service requirements:  

  1. 181 days of active service at the time of peace 
  2. 90 days of active service at the time of war
  3. 6 years service in the Reserves or National Guard 
  4. A spouse (who is not remarried) of military personnel died during duty   

In addition to these qualifications, a VA mortgage aspirant should also possess satisfactory credit scores, stable income, and a good debt-income ratio to qualify for the same. 

The eligibility of a qualified VA loan aspirant does not expire. A person, who has already utilized VA loan benefits can again take advantage of them anytime.       

If you feel you are eligible for this loan, check the number of different available lenders in the market. Compare their rates and other conditions to apply for VA mortgage.

Choose the fees and rates that best suit your mortgage goals. Make sure the lender you select is authorized by the US government to avoid any troubles in the future.     

  

Conveyancing: What It Is And How It Works?

Finding a perfect home for all your needs and desires is nothing less than a blessing. 

After weeks of hunting down the directories and classifieds, somehow, you’ve managed to find that perfect place you can call your home. 

It is close to your kids’ school, within the reach of your office, and has a secure countryside to it, besides the availability of groceries and daily needs. 

However, there’s still one more thing between you and your dreamy abode- all the necessary documentation and paperwork.

It needs no saying that filing the paperwork is a complex and cumbersome process, let aside the boredom it has to itself.


Nonetheless, you can hire someone to act on your behalf and take care of the paperwork and settlement process.

Conveyancing

It is the process of transferring ownership of a realty.

This seems simple to understand…eh? Well, not quite simple, it is. You can very well understand that there are a lot of complications that may come up. 

Although hiring a conveyancer is not legally required, having one on your side can help simplify the process and avoid any future troubles.

Typically, a conveyancing transaction consists of three stages- pre-contract, pre-completion, and post-completion. And only a licensed conveyancer can help you with these three stages.

A conveyancer is a professional expert specializing in solicitations and advisory related to property dealings.

What Does A Conveyancer Do?

According to a recent survey, many of the home buyers do not know the complete details of documents and legal obligations necessary for successful transactions. 

This could lead to future conflicts and may also forfeit any deposits that a homebuyer has made towards the possession of the property.

A conveyancer would charge a nominal fee and draw out the details of all the necessary documentation for transferring the property ownership in your name. 

Not only that, but a good conveyancer would also undertake the tasks upon himself and would ensure that they are fulfilled, while you can focus on moving into your new house. 

According to this post, http://waymanandlong.co.uk/new-services/property-law/conveyancing-prices/ you should consider a conveyancer’s professional help whenever you are buying, selling, dividing, or modifying any of the real estate entities. 

Particularly, when you are not aware or are doubtful about the legal implications of any mistake, it is all the more important to have a conveyancing agent by your side.

Keep reading for more information about how these professionals can help you.

When you’re buying a property

A conveyancing agent or company would perform a multitude of tasks on your behalf, as a buyer of the property. Some of these tasks include:

  1. Preparing and lodging legal documents like agreements and contracts.
  2. Checking the types of property and naming titles followed by assessing the easements and other information.
  3. Depositing the money in the account of the trust for safety reasons.
  4. Adjusting the rates and taxes and subsequently saving you some money.
  5. Settling the property, handling the payments from your bank, or the trust account.
  6. Representing and negotiating your interests with the seller’s agent or advisor.

When you’re selling a property

A conveyancer not only can help you with buying a new property but also if you are looking forward to selling your old house.

  1. Completing the legal documents.
  2. Negotiating with the buyers.
  3. Representing your deals to the buyers on your behalf.
  4. Requesting any dates that need to be extended.

By now, you must have a really good understanding of what a conveyancer does and how they can help you. 

But, at the same time, you may also be worried about finding the appropriate professional for your needs and that too within your budget.

How do you find and hire the right conveyancer?

Finding a conveyancer is quite similar to finding a real estate agent or a lawyer. Nonetheless, here are a few tips to help you.

  • Ask your friends, relatives, and even search online for references within your desired area.
  • Interview the prospective agents whom you deem fit within your criteria.
  • Run a background check on your prospective agent to ensure their quality of service and customer satisfaction.
  • Make sure to check their licensing.
  • Reconfirm the budget and their reputation before hiring them.

Although you can DIY the conveyancing process, it is, however, not recommended, for the reason buying or selling a property is not like shopping for daily needs. 

Any mistake can result in massive financial losses, apart from the emotional and mental stress that you’ll be going through. 

So, make sure that you hire only the best conveyancing agent for your needs for a peaceful future at your dream home.

5 Top Tips For Driving on a Budget

As modes of transport go, driving is far from the most cost-effective.

Firstly you have to fork out a great deal of money for your car, and then you need to insure it and pay tax.

Once it’s up and running, you have the continual fuel costs to contend with, as well as the inevitable services and repairs.

If you’re looking to save money, you might be better off with a bike and a public transport pass.

However, driving is unavoidable for some people. Particularly if you regularly travel across the country or you live in a rural area.

And the costs rack up over time. But there’s good news.

If you want to stretch your finances a little bit further, there are several ways to reduce your driving expenses.

Through careful planning, sensible driving, and acquiring a few skills, you can learn how to drive on a budget.

Be more fuel-efficient

Fuel is the highest running cost of owning a car. If you have to drive to and from work each day, you could be looking at expenses in the thousands.

But by being smart about the way you drive, you can reduce the amount of fuel you use on any journey.

By driving more fuel-efficiently, you’ll lower your costs, improve road safety, and reduce wear and tear on your car.

Here are a few ways to be more fuel-efficient.

  • Accelerate gently
  • Maintain a steady speed
  • Anticipate traffic
  • Don’t speed
  • Coast to decelerate rather than braking (if safe to do so)
  • Turn your engine off rather than idling in traffic
  • Keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure
  • Don’t carry unnecessary weight

Find the cheapest fuel

The cost of gas can vary from place to place, so it’s not a good idea to always fuel up at the same spot.

Check out the prices at gas stations in your area while driving and note any significant drops in cost. This would be a good time to refill your tank.

Drive safely

The better you drive, the less you will end up paying.

Getting into an accident will not only endanger yourself and other road users, but it will probably raise your insurance premiums.

Poor driving and inconsiderate parking are also likely to lead to a traffic ticket and a hefty fine.

Drive safely and carefully, and everyone on the road will benefit.

If you receive a traffic ticket for an offense you didn’t commit, you can always contest it using a site such as GetDismissed.

Clean your car yourself

When you can draw pictures in the dust on your car, it’s probably time for a clean. But you can save yourself a few dollars by doing it yourself.

All you need is some water, soap and a sponge. Over time, these savings will add up.

Learn to do repairs

When your car starts to malfunction, your instinct is generally to take it into a mechanic.

But in some cases, you may be able to fix the problem yourself. Don’t be too hasty to spend a lot of money on an easy repair.

Search the issue online, and you might find a YouTube video telling you how to solve it.

How to Rid Yourself of Debt Faster

The challenge of getting yourself out of debt is a really difficult one. And it might be one that you’re not sure how to approach. 

Ridding yourself of debt and creating a situation in which you’re able to feel more financially free should be a top aim of yours if it’s something you’re struggling with. 

But that doesn’t make the challenge any easier. The tips below will help you to fix the problem faster though, so read on to learn more.

Stop Relying on Credit Cards

If you want to get yourself out of debt, one of the first changes you should make is to stop relying on credit cards. 

It’s so easy to do this and many of us fall into this trap. It’s one that we should try to avoid however because when we rely on credit cards, we push ourselves further and deeper into debt. 

Instead, focus on spending the money you have and not the money you don’t.

Make Cuts to Your Spending

Making cuts to your spending is something that you might want to do if you’re trying to overpay on your debt repayments. 

And this is something that definitely makes sense for you. The sooner you make cuts to your spending, the sooner you’ll be able to put extra money aside that can be used to pay off your existing debts faster each month. It makes sense.

Clear Your Smaller Debts Firsts

When it comes to clearing your debts, it makes sense to first clear the debts that are going to be easier for you to deal with. 

By clearing the smaller debts, you can minimize the overall number of your debts and then focus on the bigger debts later. 

Having lots of debts can be overwhelming so it makes sense to clear those small ones first and then tackle the bigger ones later.

Learn More About the Nature of Debt

It’s always a good idea to be fully informed when it comes to your debts and the nature of debt in general. 

You’ll be better equipped to get rid of your debts if you first understand the situation you find yourself in. 

There are all kinds of charities and resources that can help you with debts, and you can read additional information on debt at DTSS.us as well.

Find Ways to Earn Extra Money on the Side

Making a little extra money on the side will make it easier for you to start clearing your debts and putting yourself in a much better situation in terms of your personal finances. 

There are all kinds of side hustles that can bring in some extra money alongside your regular day job.

Getting yourself out of debt as fast as possible should be one of your number one aims. 

It might seem like an endless and daunting task right now, but if you approach it in a logical and careful way, you’ll get there eventually. 

There’s no silver bullet answer but through discipline, you’ll eventually clear your debts.

Debt And The Pandemic: Expert Advice For People In Crisis

Dealing with debts is the toughest thing to do, particularly when there seems to be no way you can clear them.

The pandemic situation has made it even more stressful because almost everyone is facing the financial impact.

Right now, you may actually need to borrow more rather than clear what you already owe!

If you are struggling with the crisis, having a proper plan to manage your debts during the pandemic can save you from a lot of stress and trouble.

Here are some useful pieces of advice from experts to help people in financial crises right now.

Contact Lenders If You Think You Will Miss Payments

In the current situation, it is quite possible to fall behind on payments for your credit card, mortgage, auto loan, student loan, or other debts.

A proactive approach would help you handle the situation better. Consider calling your lender and explaining the situation.

Some may even offer hardship programs to help you by allowing you to adjust some payments or temporarily delay them.

They may even decide not to charge the interest charges. You may even get the option of a longer-term program that allows you to pay back over an extended period at a reduced interest rate.

While you get relaxation with payments with this approach, you will also end up avoiding negative credit reporting.

Consider Bankruptcy If Things Seem Out of Hand

For someone whose debt is spiraling out of control at this point, bankruptcy would be the best option.

This is the best decision if you cannot pay back your debts and have no hopes of negotiating terms with your lenders.

It is advisable to see a bankruptcy lawyer sooner rather than later if you are facing a lawsuit by a creditor or have assets that you want to protect.

They can also help you save your Social Security or other income from debt collection.

Remember that bankruptcy is the only option if you want to get your finances back on track after having a clean slate.

Look for an attorney who has ample experience and reputation so that they can help you get the best possible outcome.

paying debt

Seek Advice From An Expert Credit Counselor

When you are in deep debt, you may not really be sure about the aforementioned options.

Still, making the right decision in time can save you a lot of trouble. Seeking guidance from a credit counseling agency is a good idea to get advice on your debts and the option of bankruptcy.

They would want to know everything about your current employment status, financial situation, and long term financial goals.

You must share everything with them clearly so that they can give you the best recommendations according to your needs and circumstances.

They can help you find the best hardship program, enroll for the debt management plan that works, and guide you about bankruptcy.

It is easy to fall for scams when you are facing a debt crisis. But taking the right approach and consulting trustworthy experts can save you from financial and legal hassles. 

How To Create An Investment Portfolio To Set You Up For Life

For those who have yet to dip their toes into that particular pond, the concept of investment can be pretty intimidating.

Many of us imagine Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wolf Street – lots of men shouting down the telephone and looking at screens full of numbers, or complicated graphs.

Not only that, but the risk involved can also be scary. Who knows if the money that you are going to put in will make you money, or is even legitimate to begin with?

However, if done right, investments can be pretty straightforward and can help to set you up for life.

Perhaps you are hoping to make a passive income alongside your regular job, or maybe you are looking for something to fund you through your retirement years.

Perhaps you want to leave your children with something to help them in their lives after you have gone.

Whatever reason you have for wanting to set up an investment portfolio, here we share some tips and tricks to help you get started with building a portfolio that will set you and your family up for life.

Have a clear goal to work towards

Before you do anything else, you need to think about what it is you want to get out of your investment portfolio.

Are you hoping for capital growth, an income, or a combination of the two?

What it is you are looking for as an end result will have a bearing on the type of investment that you go for. 

What level of risk can you tolerate?

One of the main principles of investment is the risk versus reward payoff.

There is never any guarantee with any form of investment, so the risk will always be a factor, but as with anything, some types come with more risk than others, and this is something you need to take into consideration.

Generally, higher-risk investments will give you a higher return – otherwise, why would anyone ever bother taking the risk in the first place?

However, that is never a guarantee and is something that you need to be prepared for. Can you afford to take the hit if it does not quite go to plan?

What you need to consider is the volatility, which is how much your investments will potentially fluctuate in value.

When it comes to volatility, the length of your investment can make a difference.

If you are investing the money in something, for say, ten or more years, you can tolerate higher volatility.

This is because there is more time for the investment to recover from any short-term fluctuations. 

Have you thought about asset allocation

We will cover why diversification is crucial and the different ways of building a diversified portfolio below, but the allocation of assets is one of the key points of portfolio creation.

You might opt for stocks and shares and bonds, property, or something tangible such as fine wine, art or precious metals.

You can check out some of the Noble Gold Investments reviews here if gold is something you would be considering.

What is investment diversification, and why is it important?

Ploughing all of your allocated funds into one form of investment can be incredibly risky.

If you put it all into property, for example, and the property market collapses, your money might as well go down the drain.

However, if you have a bit of money invested in property, some in stocks, others in cryptocurrency, you are not risking all of your money disappearing at the same time.

You have heard of the saying ‘don’t put all of your eggs in one basket’? Well, that is precisely what we are talking about here.

Once you have chosen how to allocate your funds – say, for example, in shares, you can then diversify by sector.

You may want to buy shares in banks, which is fine. However, if you pour all of your share allocations into the banking sector, and there is a financial crisis like the one in 2008, the value of your shares will dramatically tumble.

In this case, you may want to buy shares in various sectors – healthcare, precious metals, technology and so on. Then, if one industry collapses, it is not going to affect all of your shares.

You also should consider spreading out your investments globally. By investing in different regions, you are not limited by the stock market of one country or the economic policies of a particular government.

However, this can also add an extra dimension of risk to the process.

What are some of the things you could consider investing in?

What to invest in

Property

People have been investing in property for as long as they have been building houses because it is a generally low risk and high return form of investment.
There are several ways in which you can invest in property, from buying and selling, renting out for either residential lettings, commercial or vacation lets, or flipping.

The advantages of this form of investment are that it is relatively stable when compared to other types.

The sale of property takes time and is always in demand, making it much less volatile. You also have the opportunity to leverage your investment, meaning you can buy more with less.

Generally, with a property, you put a deposit down, and your bank lends you the rest.

The downside is that it is not very liquid – you cannot access your money at the drop of a hat if it is tied up in property.

It can take weeks or even months. It also has high entry costs, as to get a foot in the property market can cost you thousands.

Cryptocurrency

In the investment world, cryptocurrency is the next big thing. Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency, the most popular one being Bitcoin, which you may well have heard of.

It is relatively new, having only been around for a little over ten years, but so far, it seems to be a pretty solid investment.

Those who took the plunge early on are seeing huge returns on their money. In July 2015, the price of Bitcoin was just over $280. In December 2017, it was $17k. 

The disadvantage with cryptocurrency is that being so new, it is difficult to make any long-term projections about how it will do, so the element of risk is high.

It can also be volatile – there have been periods where the value has shot through the roof and then dropped quite dramatically before jumping back up. Being an intangible asset, this can make many potential investors nervous.

Stocks

Stocks are one of the most popular and common forms of investment. They are easy to buy and accessible to the vast majority of people.

You can purchase them through a stockbroker, a financial planner, or you can buy and manage them yourself online.

You can make money in two ways – as a day trader or a buy and hold investor. Both buy low and sell high, investing in fast-growing companies whose value is appreciating.

Day traders hope to take advantage of short term trends while buy and hold investors expect to see their return grow over a more extended period of time.

One of the good things about stocks is that they are incredibly liquid – they can be sold quickly and easily so you can access and use your money.

However, investing in stocks does come with risks. If you have invested significant amounts of money in one company and they don’t do well, the value of their shares will plummet and with that your money.

There is also the risk that, if the company goes into administration, as a stockholder, you will be at the bottom of the list to receive your money. 

Precious Metals

As with property, precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum have been used as a form of investment for many years due to their inherent value.

Platinum can be quite a volatile investment, so most people tend to spend their money on either gold or silver, both in bullion form, which can be measured in weight, or fine jewellery.

Coins also hold their value and can be a collectible asset. Gold tends to keep its value even in periods of economic uncertainty and can be traded in quickly if the money is needed.

Knowing what form of investment to go for depends on a whole range of factors: your appetite for risk, the liquidity of the asset, the entry fee and it’s volatility in the short and long term.

You also need to consider how hands-on you want to be – do you want to buy it and leave it to do its thing and make money, or do you want to be involved?

Before making any significant investment, talk to a financial advisor and weigh up the pros and cons.