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ten dollar bull shit

In the last five years Credit Card have literally exposed in the Caribbean. Not long ago, the only people who had credit cards were professionals like lawyers, doctor, accountants, etc – now anyone can own a secured debt or credit card. Yep, once you’ve a steady income and you can meet the month payments you can own some plastic. In fact banks now are literally cramming these cards down people’s throat – on the other hand they’re trying to convince as much merchants to hook-up a credit card machine in their business.

In all the hype of trying to get as much merchants hooked up many of these bank forget to educate merchants on how to protect themselves against credit card fraud. Over at CONSUMERIST.COM published a very information post on the 10 Thing You Might Not know About Your Credit Card.

If you’re a merchant or someone who owns a Credit Card (s), I urge to take some time out to read this article. I’m positive you’re going to learn something new card, and merchants will learn ways to protect their business. Some highlight points are:

  • Merchants Cannot Charge A Surcharge For Using A Credit Card, However, They Can Offer A “Cash Discount”
  • Merchants Cannot Require A Minimum Transaction Amount
  • If Merchants Suspect You Of Fraud They Are Supposed To Call With A “Code 10” (in USA only)
  • Unsigned Cards Are Not Valid And Merchants Can And Will Refuse Them

By the way things are going, soon we will being to see a high in credit card – knowing what to do to protect yourself from being a victim of credit card fraud in your best line of defense.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Your Credit Card [CONSUMERIST.COM]

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If you’ve ever been in a long-term relationship, especially if you’re married or living together, I can almost be sure that you’ve had a money fight. If you’re one of the lucky few couples who never had a money fight, my advice to you – keep talking to each other and taking into consideration each others financial goals.

When it comes to money, one of the biggest causes of problems in relationship is differences in values, goals and habits, especially when it comes to talking about money issues.

There is a saying – Money can’t buy love, but it sure can tear it apart.

While I can’t say that my fiancée and I are perfect when it comes to money matters and relationships, I can say that we’ve come a long way when it come it handling our money matters, and now we rarely ever have money disagreements. We are in a much more solid relationship these days – we learned how to talk about money, and how to align our financial goals.

Learning how to talk about money and how to align your financial goals is the core of this post. If you can do those two things, there is a stronger chance that your relationship is on solid ground and you’ve accomplish more than most couples.

Sit and talk about each others financial goals and values. It seems obvious and sensical, but many couples often neglect this step, because talking about finances can be uncomfortable – especially in the early stages of a relationship. Many times these important things are left unsaid and often don’t even think about it individually. That’s a mistake, as one person might want to be penny-wise in order to save for future goals, while the other might like to spend and enjoy things now, while the getting is good. The differences often come from different upbringings. But it doesn’t have to be difficult, just tell you partner you would like to sit down and talk about the future – what your goals are and how you can work together, as a team, to achieve them. In the beginning Liuda (my fiancée) and I just started spitting out different things each of us wanted – a house next to the beach, kids, going back to school, traveling around the Caribbean, tech gadgets, and etc.

Then start to prioritize, and see if you can come up with things in common. If you want different things, it is important that you talk about why, and consider the other person’s desires. If that’s what makes the other person happy, you should want to make them happy — that’s the basis of a good relationship, where both individuals are happy within the relationship.

Remove emotions from financial talk. It’s important that the two of you stay calm, from the first meetings about financial goals to your subsequent monthly talks. Try looking at these issues objectively without getting hurt or angry over any of the issues. Often financial issues are tied up in all kinds of emotional issues, from a previous relationship, from childhood or maybe if your way of spending is criticized in any way by your partner. With financial issues these emotional issues most times are tangled together. It’s important that you untangle them and just deal with financial goals and habits.

Don’t go blaming the other person or even be negatively critical. Simply talk about your financial goals, developing a plan for getting to those goals, developing a system for dealing with finances, and so forth. Again, think of this as a team effort, not as a you-vs-me effort.
Come up with a plan to meet your goals. You need a plan to get there. Once you’re able to come up with some common financial goals that already is a huge step (celebrate!). I’m talking about thinks like your joint income, your debt, your savings, how much you can put towards debt and/or saving each month, whether you want to cut back on certain things in order to meet your savings goals, how long you want to give yourself to meet financial goals, and so forth. Having a definite time-frame for each goal is a good start, and figure out how much you will need to pay towards debt and save each month to get to your goals. Don’t be upset that you might need to cut back on some things, or need to earn some extra income-or both.

This plan to meet your goals is how you will align your daily and monthly spending with your long-term goals. It’s also a great way to resolve minor short-term dispute — you should definitely buy fewer shoes, and I should buy fewer video games, so we can buy that house in three years. 🙂

Above all, stay positive and be honest. Remember: you’re a team and you want each other to be happy while working towards common goals. Team members can help each other out and encourage each other, or they can rip the team apart by being negative, by blaming, by working against common goals. Try staying positive and you’ll succeed as a team. Lastly, make sure love is the foundation of everything of you do.

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Recently, I had a lengthy conservation with a good friend of mine who had a ton of basic personal finance questions contained within. I thought it might be interesting to start an irregular “Your Money 101″ series to answer and explain some of his questions.

The majority of people out there make broad statements like debt is bad period. Over the last couple of years, I’ve come to learn that not all debt is bad and that’s the truth. There are many cases where debt can actually be a good thing. Yes you heard me. 🙂

Here are some examples of situation where debt is actually good:

Debt with very low interest rate or no interest. Any time you can get debt with an interest rate below 4%, it’s a good deal. If nothing else, you can literally take that money, put it in a high-interest savings account, and turn a profit.

Debt that allows you to acquire an asset that won’t immediately start depreciating. This means that when you go into debt, you’re acquiring something that will hold its value. This usually means buying a home; even real estate at times doesn’t fall in this category, as it can be quite unstable.

The reason people claim that debt is bad is because in the vast majority of situations, it is bad. Why? For starters, you are a huge risk. Think about it for a moment: how often does “something” come up and you “have” to spend more money? Ever had an unexpected life event occur and drain all your funds? Ever wished you could change jobs – or even taken the leap and done it? These are all examples of risk that you introduce into life little mixes.

In a nutshell, the only debt that’s worthwhile is debt to own a home and debt which you can directly use to earn more. Otherwise, it simply isn’t worth the risk.

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