How Not to Blow Your Winnings on a TV Game-Show

Recently our team worked with a client who had at one point won a large sum of money on a very popular game-show. As it turns out, several years ago, our client won a grand total of $85,000 after taxes, after successfully competing as a contestant on a hit game show.

Well, what exactly did the client do with his newfound treasure? How did he end up over his head in debt with his credit card companies?

For one thing, only about $5,000 – $10,000 of his winnings were ultimately put away for actual savings. And, when we say savings, we simply mean the cash was set aside in a checking account with no real interest earned, and with no advice on what to do with it from any kind of Financial Planner.

The rest of his money was allocated to paying back taxes, old debts, and new bills. Everybody needs a brand-spanking new BMW after so-called striking it rich on TV. I say that truly in jest.

Oh, and some of the funds were shall I say invested in poorly timed business ventures.

Why did this happen to a fairly educated, hard working family man? Well it is certainly a complex answer that has to do as much with emotion as it does finance. Truthfully, the two go hand in hand with one another. So here goes…

As a young boy, I was told, his parents never ever educated him about money. They never talked about money at the dinner table, never discussed what it means to invest, and never taught him how to manage it. It all really started there. Never having had a serious conversation with his parents about how to handle and budget money led to a lifetime of earning – spending – earning – spending.

As he grew older that pattern of never saving and never really having respect for a dollar strengthened. By the time he made it past the qualifying rounds and hit the small screen running he was already up to his eyeballs in back payments, harassing phone calls from creditors, and a trail of late payments being reported to all the credit bureaus.

Winning the grand prize on television in front of millions of people was an instant high that only elevated his sense of detachment from the value of a dollar. Couple that with using a chunk of the winnings to pay back old scores and catch up on new debt and its not hard to see how quickly the money went bye bye. It’s sort of the same thing you hear from big lottery jackpot winners. After having paid everything off that needed to be paid a few less than savvy friends suggested a few less than quality business ideas that ended up belly flopping.

Today, he is an enrolled client. Years of financial misfortune have cost him to be up $85,000 a few years ago to in debt nearly twice that much today.

I think the moral of the story here is that having an open honest talk with your children, your spouse, or yourself about the importance of financial planning and money is vital to your financial survival. Don’t be so quick to buy a vowel so to speak until you know all about it, it’s worth, and can afford it in the first place. That was a bit tongue and cheek but hopefully you get the idea.

How To Obtain The Free Credit Report

The majority of the banks report to the Credit Bureau all the information about a certain client, whether we are talking about positive or negative aspects. However, while the positive records don’t affect the capacity of the client to obtain a new credit, the negative records are considered by the banks a major inconvenience for this initiative.

Obtaining the free credit report directly from the Credit Bureau

If you want your free credit report from the Credit Bureau, you will have to file an inquiry to the Bureau. You will also need a copy of your national ID. If you are enquiring for the first time during a year, you won’t have to pay for the service. However, the second inquiry must be paid, and you will also need to attach the prove of payment in this case.

The documents can be sent by mail to the address of the Bureau, or by email. You will need to scan all the documents before sending them. Make sure to attach all the required papers. The answer should arrive on the same e-mail address after one or two working days. You also have the possibility to bring the papers personally to the box office of the Credit Bureau in your city, but you will need to find out the address of the respective mailbox.

The answer has the form of the credit report, and it contains all the needed information about the credits and cards owned by the respective person. All the credits and credit cards are stated there, and the report must also have your name on it.

Obtaining the free credit report from the bank

If you are applying for a credit or a credit card to a bank, you will also have to complete an agreement. This agreement allows the bank to file an enquiry to the Credit Bureau in your name, and this free credit report is also available for you. Just sign the agreement, wait for the bank to obtain the credit report and ask them for a copy. Remember that you are allowed to see it! Because of some unknown reason, some banks would refuse to give this credit report to you. You will just need to remember them about the Private Data Processing Act, and they should give you the report.

What should you do with the free credit report

If you want to apply for a credit to different banks, having the free credit report could save you some time. Just take a copy of the report from the first bank, and bring it with you to the next bank where you are applying for the credit. This way, the second bank could skip this step, so they could tell you from the first visit if you are qualified for a credit or not. However, this document is only available 15 days from the date of issuing, so you would need a second enquiry if this period passes.

Is Las Vegas Facing a Housing Bubble Part 2?

When the Great Recession hit, there were a few regions that took a particularly powerful blow-and Sin City was one of them. Las Vegas’ economy was nearly destroyed along with people’s credit, and the housing bubble burst was one for the record books. Flipping houses in one of the biggest vacations destinations in the country was extremely lucrative in the early aughts, but it came with a nasty lesson for those in the thick of it just a few years ago. However, nobody was more greatly affected than average home owners, workers, families and residents who call Las Vegas home year-round, and not just for a long weekend.

As 2013 comes to a close, housing prices are spiking again, but some people are understandably (and wisely) gun-shy. In fact, Las Vegas is being hailed by some as having one of the hottest housing markets in America with the sale price of homes spiking around 35 percent this year. Home values in general are up 29 percent, and there are some parts of the valley where land prices have doubled in value since last Christmas-is this too good to be true, and what does it mean for residents?

It’s a Gamble

Those who live in or around Las Vegas, Nevada are all too aware of the commonalities between the economy and casinos: The house always wins, don’t gamble what you can’t lose and if there’s a chance to stack the odds, do it. Elsewhere in the country, home values have risen about three percent in the past year-that should be a red flag. Thus far, analysts aren’t declaring the city in “Housing Bubble 2.0,” but then again the Great Recession wasn’t widely predicted until it was too late, either.

Once again, investors are flocking to the city, houses are being turned over quickly and those homeowners who aren’t underwater on their mortgage are turning a tidy profit. However, it’s still possible that this is the emergence of yet another bubble-which is exactly what’s happening according to Robert Schiller, a Yale University economist. So what should homeowners do if they’re looking to sell? The answer is simple: Take the highest offer you can get right now.

“If I Could Do It All Over… “

When America was in the thick of the Great Recession, people had all kinds of regrets-especially those in Las Vegas. They wish they would have protected their credit score, saved up a bigger emergency fund, not paid so much for that dream house or had a backup plan in terms of job security. People rarely get second chances, but in Las Vegas this just might be the bonus round.

If this really is a second housing bubble, your best move depends on your situation. Are you looking to buy or sell property? Or are you simply trying to stay afloat financially? If you’re a buyer, tread with extreme caution. But if you’re a seller or trying to straighten out your finances and repair your credit, this is your market. Remember, a few professionals in your corner couldn’t hurt.

Merchant Processing An Overview and Significance

Merchant processing is an important service for businesses, enabling them to process card payments from customers. The scope of merchants encompasses credit cards as well as debit cards.

Whether you have an online business or a regular brick and mortar store, offering your customers the option to pay by card is crucial. In fact, according to one study, 80% of customers may reverse their decision to buy if they find that the merchant does not accept credit or debit card payments. That’s a huge chunk of business to lose!

Hence you need merchant services and choosing the right service provider for the same is crucial.

How Exactly Does Merchant Processing Work

When a customer hits the ‘pay now’ or ‘buy’ button on your website (or when you swipe the credit card in a physical store), an authorization request is sent to your service provider. The provider then forwards the authorization request to the issuing bank or the credit card association for approval, including in the request, relevant data such as credit card number, expiry date, and CVV number. The concerned authority then sends back the approval or rejection (decline) to the merchant processor. According the response received, the service agent conveys the message to your customer whether the transaction has been approved (order confirmation) or declined (directed to try another payment method).

The payment for the transaction is deposited in your merchant account, less the service charges of the credit card processing company.

All of this is automated, secure and occurs within minutes (probably in less the time you have taken to read this).

Points to Consider While Choosing a Merchant Processing Service Provider

The credit card processing industry is complex and several merchants don’t have a clear idea as to how exactly it works. Add to it the plethora of operators in the market, each claiming to be the best, the choice become even more difficult.

Use the following pointers while selecting a merchants processing firm to partner with.

Does the Provider offer all the Services you Need?

Not all merchant processing service providers are equal. And your needs also differ. For instance, if you have an online business, you need a provider with a payment gateway, virtual terminal and risk and fraud management. Also, if they are using proprietary software, it has to be compatible with your shopping cart. In case of offline stores, your requirements are different. So choose a company that meets all your needs.

What are the Service Charges

Though it is not recommended to always opt for the ‘cheapest’ service provider, cost is an important factor while considering merchant processing firms. More than focusing on how much you are being charged, focus on what exactly you are being charged for. Some companies do offer certain value added services at an extra cost. If your service provider is upfront about all charges and can satisfactorily answer all your queries, it may still be worth paying the (slightly) elevated service fees.