Fraud Prevention : Credit Card Do’s and Don’ts

What is better than cash? Stolen credit card is the answer. The situation worsen since the introduction of online shopping. As such, it’s wise to be proactive in preventing such thing from happening to you. Furthermore, the responsibility always lies with credit card holders to safeguard their credit cards. Here is a list of important … Continue reading Fraud Prevention : Credit Card Do’s and Don’ts

What is better than cash? Stolen credit card is the answer. The situation worsen since the introduction of online shopping.

As such, it’s wise to be proactive in preventing such thing from happening to you. Furthermore, the responsibility always lies with credit card holders to safeguard their credit cards.

Here is a list of important Do’s and Don’ts to safeguard your credit card.

-Always treat your cards like cash.

-Keep your card number confidential.

-Sign up your new cards as soon as they arrive and cut up the old cards when they expire.

-Sign your credit card in permanent ink as soon as you receive it.

-When making a purchase, ensure that the salesperson processes your transaction in your presence.

-Check your card when it is returned to you by the cashier to ensure that it is yours and that it has not been tampered with any way.

-Total your charge slip before signing in, as blank spaces serve as an invitation for unscrupulous individuals to ass additional amounts.

-Always retain your receipts so that you can check them against your statement.

-If unfamiliar transactions are posted on your statement, inform your card issuer straight away.

-Keep your statements in a safe place – they contain sensitive information.

-Before discarding old statements, even of closed accounts, shred them into small pieces.

-Inform the card issuer when you are travelling overseas.

-Notify card issuer of any change of address, so new cards/statements are not sent to the old mailing address.

-Should your card be stolen or is lost, inform card issuer immediately. Always keep card issuer contact number at hand.

-Only provide your SSN(Social Security Number) and credit card information to parties with whom you have initiated the call.

-Never allow anyone else to use your card. It is yours and yours alone.

-Never write your personal identification number(PIN) on your credit card.

-That way you can avoid any unauthorized cash withdrawals from the automated teller machine(ATM)

-Do not give any credit card information to individuals soliciting sales over the phone.

-If you receive calls from a party claiming to be your card issuer and the caller requests for your account number, do not give it. If the call is from your card issuer, the caller would know your account number.

-Do not sign a blank charge slip, draw a line through the lines above the total amount and destroy any carbon and cancelled receipts immediately.

-Do not leave expired card lying around.

Realized Vs Unrealized Returns

Traders deal with two different kinds of returns when they speak of profits and losses made in the markets. Realized returns, often referred to as “booked”, are those which come about as the result of a position which has been closed out. Unrealized, or “paper”, gains and losses are those which involve open positions. An example of a paper return would be when one buys a stock at $100 and it rises to $110, but the trade remains open. In this case the trader has an unrealized gain of $10. Were the trade to be closed out at that price, that $10 gain would become a realized, or booked, profit.

While it may seem a fairly trivial point, the concept of paper vs. booked returns is an important one in the realm of trading and money management. Debates are often had as to whether paper losses are real, or whether they only become real when actualized. This is a key distinction which can play a major role in how one trades, depending on the market in question.

Where one is trading primarily in cash terms in a market like stocks, the differentiation between paper and booked returns is not very important. No matter how much the market moves either in favor or against a trader’s open position, it does not impact her/his ability to enter further trades. Imagine, for example, a trader has a $10,000 account, and buys 100 shares of XYZ at $50. That leaves $5000 remaining in the account ($10,000 – $50 x 100, not accounting for transaction fees). It matters not at all whether XYZ rises or falls. The trader will still have $5000 available to enter new positions. This only changes when the XYZ shares are sold and the profit or loss booked.

When one trades a market such as futures and spot foreign exchange, however, there really is no such thing as paper returns because these markets are based on margin. As such, all profits and losses are realized because they directly impact one’s available margin. Let us again imagine a trader with a $10,000 starting account value, this time in the futures market. If the margin requirement for a 10-year note futures contract is $2500, and the trader buys two contracts, then the account is left with $5000 in available margin. If that 10-year note contract rises by a point, the trader would have a profit of $2000 on the position (1 point on a 10-year futures contract is equivalent to a 1% move in the value of a $100,000 position, or $1000). Unlike in stocks, this $2000 gain is very real in that the trader now has $7000 in available margin to put to use on other trades. Were the 10-year note to instead fall by a point, however, the trader would only have $3000 free to use as margin on new positions.

Understanding the impact of realized and unrealized returns is something key in the development of both money management schemes and trading systems. Failure to recognize how these differences play-out in one’s account can lead to major errors in the assumptions underlying position sizing, and exposure. It can mean the difference between a worthwhile system and a useless one, or between a safe risk profile and a reckless one.

Living Wills Decide Who Will Make Decisions When You Can’t

Living Wills Decide Who Will Make Decisions When You Can’t

Many people are wondering what they need in the way of legal documents to make certain that, in the event of incapacity, their wishes are known and followed regarding potential end-of-life decisions. Advance directives are a set of documents that are used to lay out a clear chain of command to give decisions makers guidance as to the individual’s wishes as they relate to the type of care desired in a crisis . It is a way to direct the decision maker about what an individual wants and does not want, should they be unable to make their wishes clear.


Unlike Wills, which deal with matters after the death of a person, advance directives are usually put to use before a person dies, and they are critical part of the estate planning process. The three most common advance directives that are typically drafted are a power of attorney for financial decisions, a power of attorney for health care and a Living Will.

A power of attorney for financial decisions names a person to handle financial matters on behalf of another individual. A financial power of attorney can be very broad in the power that it confers on an individual to make serious decisions regarding a principal’s assets.

A power of attorney for health care is similar in some ways to the power of attorney for financial decisions in that it also names a person to make decisions on behalf of someone else.

When executing a power of attorney for health care, an individual answers several questions in an attempt to make clearly exactly what kind of treatment they want, based on their medical condition.


A Living Will, in some ways duplicates the information in the power of attorney for health care, but unlike the power of attorney, which can also cover situations in which a person may recover but needs someone to make their medical decisions for a time, a Living Will is simply a directive stating that an individual does not want “heroic measures” to keep them alive when there is no realistic prospect of any meaningful recovery.

It is more important to give your loved ones the tools they need to deal with your incapacity (and even your passing) with the confidence that they are fulfilling your wishes.

Second Mortgages or a Further Advance

If you are a homeowner and in need of some extra cash, one possibility you could consider is taking out a second mortgage. If the present value of your house exceeds the amount you paid for it (your mortgage total), then you have equity that can be used to borrow more money. This is basically a loan that is secured on your house and is sometimes termed a further advance.

Finding Another Lender?

You can approach your existing lender for a second mortgage, or shop around for a lower interest rate. Its likely your second mortgage will be for a lesser amount of capital, but will nevertheless be subject to higher interest rates and possible charges. This is because it represents more of a risk to the lender the lender takes a second charge over your property, which means that if the debt was recalled and your house repossessed, they would be second in line after your main lender to receive their debt.

For What Purpose?

Secured loans and second mortgages are popular with people who want to raise extra funds for example if you want to carry out home improvements or set up in business and need capital to get going. Although it can be a good way to find a cash lump sum fast, be aware that you are eating into the investment that your property should be. You should make sure that you have planned for the extra cost of repayments beyond what you initially were bound to. If the mortgage term will last into your retirement, will you be in a position to keep up the repayments?

Understanding The Small Print

While there are any number of lenders offering second mortgages, before you commit yourself to one you should be totally clear about the terms offered. Although there may be a special offer or discounted period of low interest, often these will revert to a higher rate after the set period once again, you need to take the long term view rather than the short term. Also, your equity can provide a security cushion so that if market prices fall, you will avoid the negative equity gap taking out a second mortgage means you will lose that safety feature. (This is where the phrase mortgaged up to the eyeballs is particularly apposite.)

You should also take into account any other costs that you may incur arrangement fees, a re-valuation survey, additional payment protection etc.

30 Year vs. 15 Year Mortgages

Discussions of mortgages often focus on interest rates, but there is a much more basic decision to make. Should you go with a 30 year mortgage term or a 15 year mortgage term?

30 Year vs. 15 Year Mortgages

Any discussion of mortgages tends to turn on two points. How can you qualify for the most money with the lowest payment? How can you get the lowest interest rate for the mortgage? While these are two important issues, there is an addition one that people fail to consider, resulting in significant wasted money.

The term of a mortgage is extremely critical for a couple of reason. First, it sets the length of the obligation you are undertaking. Second, it defines the amount of interest you are going to pay over the life of the loan. These are huge issues when it comes to building equity.

The longer the loan, the more total interest you are going to pay. The trade off, of course, is you are going to have smaller monthly payments the farther you stretch out the obligation. While this may sound like a good goal when you first get the mortgage, it can backfire on you in the long run.

Most people focus on interest rates as a way to save money on mortgages. This is a valid approach, but playing with the length of the loan is a better way to save money. If you can cut the payments in half by going with a shorter loan, you can save huge amounts on the total interest repaid to a lender.

The decision on the term of the loan is relatively simple, but entirely dependent upon your personal situation. There is no absolutely correct choice. First, you need to determine if you can comfortably afford the higher payments that come with a shorter term loan. In general, a 15 year mortgage will have payments 20 to 25 percent higher than a 30 year loan. Of course, you will pay the loan off faster, to wit, be building equity in the home quicker.

The modern mortgage industry has a variety of different term length products. When applying for a loan, take the time to evaluate the different terms to see if you can find a loan that is perfect for your situation.

Is An Index Mutual Fund The Best Choice For Long-Term

Is An Index Mutual Fund The Best Choice For Long-Term Investing?

Do you believe that the world economy will grow? Do you believe that US economy will grow? I do. The major stock indexes are indicators of economy grow. You can make money use this opportunity buying index funds. Investing into index mutual funds is easy, interesting, and profitable. It takes 5 minutes every month! If you are long-term investor, index funds is for you!

It doesnt matter what index you choose. This index will grow due to economy sector grow rate. There are many indexes in the world. But how to get money from indexes grow?

There are many indexes mutual funds. Fund share price change accordance index performance. There are thousands of mutual funds have S&P 500 as a base of their portfolio. The differences from one fund to other are operating company and expenses. Choose fund with fell known operating company and smallest expenses.

Small expenses are very important. If fund have big expenses, the managers steal investors money. Index fund manager dont buy expensive stock market researches, dont arrive at a difficult decision witch stock to buy. Index fund manager buy stock included into index only. It isnt expensive!

The best investment strategy for indexes mutual funds is to invest some dollar amount monthly. And be the long-term investor invest for 10 years or more. Our computer modeling of this strategy shows that you will receive profit, if you invest on monthly base during 10 years. I cant give you guaranties that you will get profit but the probability of this is close to 100%.

And the last, if you can, diversify you portfolio. Divide you portfolio into three parts. Buy large capitalization company index fund (S&P 500, DJA), small capitalization index fund (S&P 600) and developed market index fund or international index fund. It makes you portfolio more profitable and more stable.