Feb 242015
 

The following is a guest post.

If you have been injured in an accident and have filed a civil lawsuit, you might consider pre-settlement funding. People who have been injured in an accident often cannot work but still have living expenses. A pre-settlement company provides the victim of an accident with money prior to the resolution of a civil lawsuit. The median length of a civil lawsuit is nine months, which has remained constant in recent years, according to a Princeton University study. But many cases take longer, because insurance companies want to drag out the process. According to the study, on 1.8% of cases went to trial. That was down from 11% in 1962.

“Pre-settlement funding is beneficial to people who are injured, especially those who cannot work,” said Sara Murphy, administrator at Cash in Your Case, a pre-settlement funding company in New York.

Here are the answers to several questions you might have about using a pre-settlement funding company:

What types of pre-settlement funding are there?

In general, pre-settlement takes two different approaches. The first is a lawsuit loan. The other is pre-settlement financing. While they sound similar, they are very different. A loan lawsuit, like the name implies, is a loan. A company loans you a certain amount of money based on the expected outcome of a lawsuit. You are required to pay the money back. On the other hand, pre-settlement financing is an advance. You pay the money back once the lawsuit is resolved. If you lose the case, you’re not required to pay the money back. Both a lawsuit loan and pre-settlement financing will charge you interest for the money, so make sure you read the contract before signing.

How does the process work?

If you are considering pre-settlement funding, you start with an application. That means you provide the particulars of your case and a little about your background. You will also give the pre-settlement company your attorney’s name. The pre-settlement company will research the lawsuit and evaluate the potential for a financial resolution in the case. Based on that information, you will be presented with terms for pre-settlement funding. You must decide if you want to accept the terms. It’s usually best to talk with your attorney. He or she has a good understanding of your case and the chances of winning a significant sum in a lawsuit. The process can take as little as 24 to 48 hours.

What can I use the money for?

You’re allowed to use the money for anything. It’s your money. Most people will pay a mortgage or living expenses. Others pay off medical expenses or outstanding credit card bills.  You should talk with your family and decide the best avenue to spend the money.

Conclusion

There are several companies that offer either pre-settlement financing or lawsuit loans. Most have a websites. Some of the larger companies are reviewed and rated online. Also, ask questions.

Feb 092015
 

The following is a guest post by job search company, Trud.

Becoming A Financial Stakeholder in a Recovering Economy

You may not be feeling the sting of last decade’s financial meltdown anymore. At least not in full force. But there are plenty of places on the globe that haven’t recovered one iota. I’m talking mostly about cities. Municipalities are only as strong as their design, industry, and infrastructure. If one of these fails, you’ll see your best chunk of tax base fleeing for security elsewhere. This has been seen nowhere more clearly than in vulnerable American cities wherein, some neighborhoods have the conditions of third world countries. I’m speaking here of Detroit, Baltimore, Buffalo, and St. Louis.

Of course, not every part of each of these cities is dilapidated. But get too far off the main drag and you’ll find block after block of uninhabited houses, decaying. In a recent trip to Baltimore, I saw this first hand. In a truly surreal scene, I drove past probably 15 continuous rows of 3 story Victorian homes, all apparently empty. While homes like this can be had for as little as $5000 – $15,000 in some cases, repair and renovation is an enormous cost for any homeowner and investor. So many of Baltimore’s formerly wealthy districts now look like rotting palaces. But the same can not be said for many former slums.

Being a part of a recovering economy is also about providing jobs. In many locations around the world, it’s not as easy as going on Trud.co.uk to find employment. If the jobs aren’t there, and the people haven’t the experience and skills to get them, distressed communities can easily sink into further economic depression. A healthy economic structure within a city or a smaller community has rungs going up from unskilled working positions all the way up to semi-professional and professional positions. This is built right into the physical structure of many of these older cities. Main streets have 3 and 4 story homes, with 1 and 2 story homes on side streets and alleys beside them. When these were constructed it was with the intention that multiple economic levels of citizens would live on the same block. Restoring this economic character to municipal neighborhoods is inherent to the problem of making these cities new again. Jobs for all, at all levels of employment, is a key part of this process.

Because of their size and affordability, a new generation of homeowner have moved into some of the smallest rowhouses in the city. The same can be said of all the other cities mentioned above. Millennials with careers that never really began suddenly find that they can afford $10,000 for a home in these areas, and are developing bright new communities in disused spaces. This isn’t the same old gentrification. In many areas, like the Remington neighborhood of Baltimore, had roughly ½ occupancy. In a city with a population at 60% of it’s peak fifty years ago, any new and committed residents is a godsend.

Because situations like this are available around North America, it’s an opportunity for the young and the poor to invest in homeownership, something they may never have dreamed for themselves before. Home ownership is one of the most efficient forms of investment available for primary wealth building, but it has been out of reach for a certain subset of the population for a generation. Because interest and home taxes are tax deductible, and home prices grow on average 4-5% per annum (much more in many of these formerly blighted communities), many new homeowners will find themselves with a 25% return or more after just 5 years in their new home.

The added benefit of equity – monthly payments that get stored as wealth in the ownership of your home – makes this arrangement a no-brainer for many. Lots of these individuals have been able to open businesses in their communities, having become very active and committed to the shared life with their neighbors, as homeowners often do. It will be interesting to see how communities like these develop, but in the meantime it’s enough to know that it’s a tremendous investment opportunity for those without a lot of money, looking for a way to start amassing wealth.

 Posted by at 5:00 am
Jan 232015
 

Today’s post is about something of interest to a lot of people. :D Earlier this week the Bank of Canada surprised just about everyone with an interest rate cut from 1.00% to 0.75%. The Canadian dollar dropped to the lowest it’s been in years. Over 20 economists were surveyed prior to the Bank’s bomb shell reveal and not a single one of them expected the news, lol. Maybe economists are just there to make weather forecasters look good. :P

Even our country’s most prolific real estate blogger, Garth Turner, was taken by surprise. Just last week a commentator on his site named BlackDog pointed to a report which predicted this week’s interest rate cut, and Mr. Turner promptly replied to dismiss the report. Not even a best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends saw this announcement coming. It just goes to show how difficult it is to read the minds of central bankers. :?

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The Rate Cut is good for:

  • Debtors who have variable rate mortgages, lines of credits, car loans, student loans, or other types of floating rate debts. Every $100,000 of debt one has will translate to about $20 a month of LESS interest one has to pay. :)
  • Investors in the stock market. Lower cost of borrowing is a type of monetary stimulus that has the same effect of printing money. The U.S. stock market has gained 100% over the last 6 years since it began it’s Q.E. programs.
  • Existing bond holders. Lower coupons on new bonds mean existing bonds are worth more.
  • Industries like manufacturing, exports, hospitality, tourism, companies with primarily $USD revenue, or any other businesses that benefits from a lower Canadian Loonie.
  • People who have debt in general. Lowering interest rates is inflationary which diminishes the value of one’s debt.
  • Home owners. Rate cuts drive real estate prices higher.

The Rate Cut is bad for:

  • Savers. High interest savings accounts are looking less attractive with the threat of inflation.
  • Consumers. Canadians import a lot of food and staple items from the U.S., which will cost more for us with a lower $CAD.
  • Cross border shoppers. Trips to the U.S. will become more expensive.
  • People living on a fixed income, like pensioners.
  • Retailers who’s suppliers are from outside of Canada

Thank you Stephen Poloz for this rate cut. :) I appreciate your continuing support to prop up the already inflated housing market in Vancouver and increasing my home’s value. You’ve successfully penalized all the savers and risk adverse members of the investing community by lowering the returns on their GICs and term deposits. You have instead rewarded the speculators and heavily leveraged investors, such as myself, by leaving more money in our pockets, :D and encouraging even more borrowing activity! :) Hurray for cheaper financing and more incentive to use debt because that’s exactly what Canadians need more of right now. I applaud your push for higher inflation with this rate cut. The 2% CPI in 2014 just wasn’t high enough. I’m sure making it even more expensive to live in this country is exactly what consumers want, especially when more people are out of work now than a month ago. :P

Continue reading »

Jan 202015
 
Choosing where to invest our money can be a big decision. Before investing in anything, we should examine the pros and cons as well as consider the possibility of losing money. There is a risk with every investment but there are also many different rewards that can be enjoyed. As the saying goes, you must spend money in order to make money. :)
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Choosing Where to Invest Your Money
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Once we have decided that it is time for you to start investing, we have the big decision of where to actually invest. The great thing about this decision is that we do not have to stick to one type of investment. We can build a portfolio of stocks, bonds, small companies, farmland, or real estate. These are just a few examples. There are many more options available than we can list here. Typically for beginning investors I recommend a diversified portfolio of index funds with low management fees.
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After we figure out where we want to start, we should do research on those types of investments. We will want to be sure that there is a good chance that we’ll make a profit on our money. For example, if we are looking into purchasing stocks, we can look at the history of the stock prices of a specific company and it’s financial statements.
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Choosing How to Manage Your Wealth
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It can be a lot of work to manage our investments. That is why many people turn to portfolio management companies such as U.S. company J.P. Morgan wealth management, which conducts business all over the world, including Europe. I’ve also blogged about TD and Wealthsimple in the past for Canadians. When choosing a company, we will want to make sure that they offer all of the services we are looking for and be sure to pay attention to the various rates charged. :)
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Random Useless Fact:
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Nov 212014
 
When cutting expenses and finding ways to save money for retirement, a great vacation, college tuition or anything else, one of the first things to look at is insurance coverage. Below are some examples of common insurance types to consider.
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Life Insurance
Life insurance can come in different forms. The least expensive is term insurance. It provides coverage a specified amount of time. Cait, a fellow blogger also from Vancouver, recently wrote that she was able to buy a term life insurance policy for just $24/month. Usually the younger someone signs up for life insurance, the cheaper the premiums. However, there are other life insurance products such as permanent life insurance which will cover someone’s entire life and create a savings account that can be eventually used.
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Many insurance companies have an online presence these days. To research more about insurance in general, I think searching on Google for insurance agents is a good place to start for finding brokers near you. Then make an appointment with them to ask further questions. They can provide suggestions for how to reduce car insurance premiums or have a built-in savings account within a life insurance policy. Cait spoke with 3 different brokers before making her final decisions, so it’s okay to take your time. I’m really lucky to have group life insurance through my job. But if I wanted to have additional insurance I can buy private coverage as well.
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Car Insurance
For those who qualify, there are several ways car insurance can be inexpensive. There are discounts for people who have good driving records, and in some parts of the world, for students who have good grades in school. This is very useful for families with teenagers because their age group has the highest insurance rates. All policies have a deductible that you must pay before the insurance company starts to pay, but this deductible can be reduced every year if the driver maintains a good driving record.
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Home Insurance
A home is a large investment and proper home insurance coverage in important. However, there are ways to reduce the cost and still have excellent coverage. Bundling home and auto insurance with the same company can reduce the total premium by 10% or more. That’s why it’s a good idea to buy home and auto insurance from the same agency. :)  Installing fire and burglar alarms and other safety devices such as outdoor lighting could also help lower insurance costs. Personally I don’t have to worry about this one because my strata (HOA) corporation that runs the building takes care of it all. This is one benefit of living in a condo. :) My neighbours and I simply pay a monthly maintenance fees, and a small part of that is allocated to earthquake and fire insurance for the entire building. But as Jim mentions in the comments below we still need personal contents and flooding insurance.
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Business Insurance
This can prevent a company from bankruptcy. For example, having liability insurance is critical if customers enter the business premises or if employees go into the customer’s homes. If there is an accident, and the business is not adequately covered, the owner could have to pay from his or her own personal finances. It’s best to speak with a financial advisor specializing in business development to help select the right kind of coverage for a business.
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Random Useless Fact:
In the country of Denmark, the population of pigs is bigger than the population of people.