Archive for July 31, 2014

Democrats file 2 complaints challenging Terri Lynn Land’s transparency on …

Democrats file 2 complaints challenging Terri Lynn Lands transparency on finances, employment history

Credit Cards at College: Making Smart Choices from Day One

With the freedom of being at college and away from parents comes financial independence, at least on the spending side – which is why many students get in trouble by overspending once they have a core card account. “They think of it as a bottomless source of money,” Myhre said.

Some credit cards may lure you with incentives such as a 0 percent introductory rate for a few months, but such features might encourage you to carry a balance, which could cost you dearly once the introductory period expires and the rate shoots up to double digits. Instead, go for a card with fewer bells and whistles – and pay your full balance on time every month. If your payment is late, you’ll be charged a late fee and your account can be considered delinquent.

Here are five things to know if you’re a college student about to get your first credit card:

  • Get to know the jargon. “It’s important to understand the different terms [of your account] and know exactly what you’re getting yourself into,” said Myhre. For example, you need to learn what a billing cycle is (the period between credit card billing statements); what a minimum payment entails (this is the smallest amount of your balance you can pay); what the annual percentage rate, or APR, means (the rate you’re charged to be able to carry balances).  
  • Understand what’s needed to qualify. College students typically have a low credit score, since you haven’t yet started building a credit history – and credit agencies can’t always gauge your ability to pay bills on time. So, if you’re under 21, you’ll have to provide proof of independent income or assets to show that you’ll be able to pay your monthly bill.

    Otherwise, you’ll need a co-signer, or you can be added to your parents’ card to build your history – and there are pros and cons to both of these. For instance, if you’re added to your parents’ account, your folks will be able to see your purchases online – which may help ensure that you use the card appropriately. (Some experts advise having a spending arrangement upfront.)

  • Avoid credit cards with interest rates higher than 24 percent. Many student credit cards offer 0 percent annual percentage rates for a few months – but it’s easy to forget that once the introductory rate expires, the rate then hovers between 12 and 24 percent. “It’s relatively high, but remember it’s geared toward people with no credit history,” said Myhre. Again, the best way to avoid such a high rate is to always pay your account balance in full and on time.
  • Find a credit card with no annual fee. “Most students are living on little to no money,” said Myhre. “A no-fee card will save them $100 or more a year.”
  • Decide what type of reward is most important to you. Rewards can include cash back when you make purchases, or a 0 percent APR for an introductory period. But remember that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Related: 5 Easy Ways to Ruin a Perfect Credit Score

Examples of credit cards available to students include Citi Dividend Card for Students, which offers 0 percent APR for seven months, 5 percent cash back on rotating categories, including movie tickets and groceries, and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. But be sure to note that the APR can go as high as 23.99 percent once the introductory period is over.

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is designed to help students build good credit. This card has no APR and only 1 percent cash back on all purchases; but there’s a cash back bonus for paying bills on time, which is a good incentive for students focused on building their credit history. Either way, research these cards beforehand; go in with eyes wide open; and stay on top of your new credit card agreement so that you have no nasty (or credit-harming) surprises later.

Top Reads from The Fiscal Times:

  • How You Might Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness
  • 4 Mid-Year Tax Tips That Could Save You Big Bucks
  • The New Luxury for the Super Rich: Health-Centric Homes

 

Humane Society finances opponents of right-to-farm

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. The Humane Society of the United States has contributed $375,000 to an effort to defeat a Missouri ballot measure creating a constitutional right to farm.

Online Ethics Commission records show the contribution was made earlier this week to Missouris Food for America. The money could significantly boost the opposition effort, because the committee had just a little over $35,000 in its account at the start of July.

The Aug. 5 ballot measure is backed by many of Missouris agricultural commodity groups and businesses. The supporting group Missouri Farmers Care had $478,000 available at the start of July.

The right-to-farm amendment was put forth partly as a response to a successful 2010 ballot measure backed by the Humane Society that imposed tougher restrictions on Missouri dog breeders.

Alibaba teams up with mainland banks to offer loans to SMEs

Mainland e-commerce giant Alibaba, preparing for a high-profile US public offering, announced yesterday that its online trading subsidiary Alibaba.com will team up with seven mainland banks to offer loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based on their online credit.

The seven banks are Bank of China, China Merchants Bank, China Construction Bank, Ping An Bank, Postal Savings Bank of China, Bank of Shanghai and Industrial Bank. This is the first time traditional banks will offer unsecured loans to SMEs based on big data and credit system accumulated through Alibabas online platform. The maximum credit will be 10 million yuan (HK$12.6 million).

Banks are willing to join internet firms as more loans mean more interest income for them, said Ricky Lai, an analyst at Guotai Junan International. He expected to see more internet finance products launched in the second half of this year.

The loan size a company will receive will be related to the size of its business on Alibaba.com The lowest interest rate for the loan is 8 per cent, Alibaba said. For every US dollar a firm exports, it can apply for a one yuan loan.

Exporters not operating on Alibabas online platforms can also apply for a loan but the amount will be different. One dollar exported by the firm would translate into a 80 fen loan. The banks will approve the loan, and Alibaba will provide export records of the companies over the last six months through customs and logistics channels.

Alibaba, led by its founder and chairman Jack Ma Yun, has reshaped the retail and logistics sectors in China. It was the first internet company to launch an online wealth management product for mainland consumers last June. By the end of last month, the Yu E Bao money market fund had raised 574.1 billion yuan and signed up more than 100 million investors.

State-owned banks dominating the countrys banking sector felt the pinch and quickly updated their wealth management products, lowered the entrance level of investments and enhanced returns to compete.

Despite competition, the banks are now collaborating with internet firms to launch new online finance products.

The best secured credit cards in America

1st runner-up: Wells Fargo Secured Card

Why its 1st runner-up:#160;With low fees and impressive benefits, Wells Fargo allows customers to rebuild their credit quickly and easily.

The benefits:#160;This card offers a complete range of Visa benefits including an auto rental collision damage waiver policy, roadside dispatch, as well as travel and emergency assistance services. In fact, cardholders are even covered by a mobile phone protection policy that covers against theft or damage up to $600, with a $25 deductible.

The costs:#160;There is a $25 annual fee for this card. The 18.99% APR interest rate is very competitive for a secured card. This rate applies to balance transfers (with a 5% balance transfer fee), and the cash advance rate is 23.99%.

2nd runner-up: Capital One Secured MasterCard

Why its 2nd runner-up:#160;This card has the lowest minimum deposit and is the rare secured card with no foreign transaction fees.

The benefits:#160;Cardholders place a minimum deposit of $49 but then receive a credit line of at least $200.

The costs:#160;There is an annual fee of $29 for this card, and an interest rate of 22.9% that applies to new purchases, cash advances#160;and balance transfers plus a balance transfer fee of 3%.

Note: Its important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms#160;for credit cards, loans and other financial products#160;cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

More from Credit.com:

  • How to get a secured credit card
  • What to expect when you apply for a credit card
  • Everything you need to know about secured credit cards

Column: Take the stress out of your finances

Taking care of our health often involves reducing the stress in our lives.

One of the more common sources of stress in our lives can be worrying about finances. Everyone worries about money from time to time, but with a plan you can significantly reduce that worry.

Having a written monthly spending plan is an important tool to reduce finance-related stress. But what gets in the way of making your plan work? Here are some budget busters most of us can have probably been guilty of. See how many of these budget busters you can avoid.

Failing to pay bills by their due date can up your stress quotient. Getting a late charge or trying to make a last-minute payment to your credit card always feels stressful.

Not keeping track of how much money is in your checking account is another way to increase your blood pressure.

Did you forget to make the car payment this month? Failing to make financial plans that include your spouse or significant other is another way to raise the stress level in your home.

In my early working years, I learned the hard way that going out for dinner and shopping on payday, before I had a plan to pay bills, would leave me short for the rest of my obligations that week. There’s nothing worse than realizing you don’t have enough gas to get yourself to work in the coming days.

Do you know how much you spend on the extras in your life each week? If your biggest spending category is “darned if I know,” tracking these expenditures will get you thinking more proactively about how you want to spend your money. Buying the first item you see without shopping around or using coupons are some additional shopping budget busters.

Most of us know that the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. Not saving for future needs — and wants– is a guaranteed recipe for stress. Emergencies, birthdays, holidays, vacations, home and car repairs are bound to come our way.

It’s stressful when we haven’t figured out how to save for these sometimes fun and sometimes not so fun events. Is winning the lottery the closest thing you have to a retirement plan? No matter when you start, saving for retirement will help you sleep a lot better both now and when you finally get to retire.

Using credit instead of saving up for a purchase is another way to add stress to your life.

Avoid these budget busters and you’ll make your life a little easier.

Sara Gilbert is the Colorado group manager for the local GreenPath (formerly Consumer Credit Counseling Service), 3500 John F. Kennedy Pkwy., 210, Fort Collins. Reach her at (970) 229-0695 or sgilbert@greenpath.com.

Mortgage Expert Kevin Leonard Releases New FHA Home Loans Marketing …

PR Web

(PRWEB) July 17, 2014

The marketing efforts of

Kevin Leonard and his team of mortgage consultants have been flooding the Southern California real estate market. Their newest efforts are focusing on FHA home loans in San Diego, Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange County. Since its creation, FHA has provided mortgage insurance on millions of properties throughout the United States and US territories. This has allowed for many individuals to achieve the American Dream of owning their own home, by getting approved through and FHA-approved lender. The team of mortgage consultants is providing FHA loan information to their Realtor partners to help them identify those that may qualify. The mortgage professionals are also sending out advertising pieces by mail to individuals that may qualify for an FHA loan to purchase a home. To find out how to get a FHA home loan in Riverside contact the mortgage consultants by calling them directly at, 877-889-7474

The approval on a FHA home loan depends 100% on the documentation provided at the time of application. The individual applying will need to give accurate information on employment, credit, and other personal information. A FHA loan can be used to purchase a new home as well as a FHA streamline refinance for those that have a FHA loan to lower their existing rate. The FHA streamline refinance makes it easier to qualify with no appraisal and no income verification. Another FHA product is the FHA 203(k) streamline loan; this loan offers a low cash investment of only 3.5% of total loan amount based on FHA 1st, MIP, and 203(k) improvements. To learn more about a FHA streamline refinance or a FHA 203(k) loan visit the webpage located here, http://www.kevinleonardmortgageexpert.com/fha-loans/

FHA loans have been helping individuals become homeowners since 1934. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) – which is part of HUD – insures the loan, so the lender can offer the applying individual a better deal. These types of loans offer low down payments, low closing costs, and easier credit qualifying than other loan products. FHA loans are great product for first time home buyers because of low down payments of the purchase price, and most of the closing costs and fees can be included in the loan. The mortgage professionals will be posting this type of information on real estate related forums and mortgage websites. They also plan to promote this information on various social media websites with videos and links to government sites on the subject.

About:

Kevin Leonard entered into the mortgage business in 1997 and quickly rose to become the top producing loan officer in the country and earned national acclaim for his efforts.

Mr. Leonard prides himself in offering constant communication with his clients so that they have a full understanding of the loan process from start to finish. He is personally responsible for thousands of fundings, and along with his team, he has over 5 billion in residential loans funded to his credit.

Mr. Leonard has a full understating of the loan process from start to finish and also consults with mortgage bankers in the secondary market. There are few, if any, that have the experience that

Kevin Leonard has in the mortgage profession. He was one of the first to register with NMLS in 2008 when it was first instituted, and currently is licensed in the state of California as a loan originator. He is partnered with the top real estate agents in San Diego for a good reason, he offers fast pre-approvals with the ability to fund purchase loans quickly. To discover how to get pre-approved for a FHA home loan in San Diego contact the number below.
Contact:

Kevin Leonard
Phone: (858) 999-3737
NMLS #6279

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/FHA-home-loans-expert/Kevin-Leonard-mortgage/prweb12025556.htm

I just paid off my credit cards – Is it tacky to announce this to my friends?

I just paid off my credit cards – Is it tacky to announce this to my friends?

Achieving a big goal is usually something to shout from the rooftops. After all, if you ran a marathon or finished a PhD program, youd likely gather a group of your closest friends to celebrate. But some

E-House Launches China’s First Real Estate Financial Services Platform

E-House Launches China’s First Real Estate Financial Services Platform

July 15, 2014: 09:03 AM ET

SHANGHAI, July 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — E-House (China) Holdings Limited (“E-House” or the “Company”) (NYSE: EJ), a leading real estate services company in China, today announced the launch of China’s first real estate financial services platform, “Fang Jin Suo,” and its associated website, www.fangjs.com, along with the platform’s first two real estate financial products, “E-House e-Loan” and “Leju e-Loan,” which are being offered by E-House’s real estate brokerage services business unit and its real estate online services subsidiary Leju Holdings Limited (NYSE: LEJU), respectively.

Fang Jin Suo, which translates to “Source of Real Estate Funds” and was co-founded by E-House and SINA Corporation (NASDAQ: SINA) (“SINA”), is a platform that links qualified home buyers with borrowing needs to potential investors. E-House e-Loan and Leju e-Loan are the first two financial products offered to home buyers and individual investors via the platform, and are backed by SINA, E-House, Zhong An Insurance, China’s first online insurance firm, and Beijing Sina Payment Technology Co., Ltd. (“SINA Payment”), an online and mobile payment system owned by SINA. Fang Jin Suo is designed to offer investors low-risk products with attractive returns while providing qualified home buyers with additional liquidity to facilitate real estate transactions.

E-House also announced that it has reached an exclusive strategic cooperation agreement with Zhong An Insurance, a company jointly founded by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd. (HKG: 0700), and Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China Ltd. (HKG: 2318 and SSE: 601318), among others. Under the agreement, Zhong An Insurance will work with E-House to exclusively provide insurance for real estate loan products through Fang Jin Suo, including principal and interest payment insurance for investors who purchase the E-House e-Loan and Leju e-Loan products.

Xin Zhou, E-House’s co-chairman and CEO, said, “Combining E-House’s vast home buyer base, SINA’s high-end internet users, SINA Payment’s secure payment system, and Zhong An’s insurance services, Fang Jin Suo aims to become China’s leading online real estate financial services platform. We aim to provide investors with safe and transparent fixed-income wealth management products with attractive returns, while at the same time offering qualified borrowers home-purchase related loans and credit services. E-House e-Loan and Leju e-Loan are the first products available through our new platform, which will offer a variety of real estate-related financial products over time.”

About E-House

E-House (China) Holdings Limited (“E-House”) (NYSE: EJ) is China’s leading real estate services company with a nationwide network covering more than 250 cities. E-House offers a wide range of services to the real estate industry, including online advertising, primary sales agency, secondary brokerage, information and consulting, offline advertising and promotion and real estate investment management services. E-House has received numerous awards for its innovative and high-quality services, including “China’s Best Company” from the National Association of Real Estate Brokerage and Appraisal Companies and “China Enterprises with the Best Potential” from Forbes. For more information about E-House, please visit http://www.ehousechina.com.

For investor and media inquiries please contact:

In China:

Investor Relations
E-House (China) Holdings Limited
Phone: +86 (21) 6133-3937
E-mail: ir@ehousechina.com

Mr. Derek Mitchell
Ogilvy Financial, Beijing
Phone: +86 (10) 8520-3073
E-mail: ej@ogilvy.com

In the United States:

Mr. Justin Knapp
Ogilvy Financial, U.S.
Phone: +1 (616) 551-9714
E-mail: ej@ogilvy.com

SOURCE E-House (China) Holdings Limited

 

Relation between capital structure and cashflows

In the previous article of this series, we had taken a look at one of the components of cash flow statement — cash flow from investing activities. In this article, we shall discuss the last component of the cash flow statement — cash flow from financing activities.

Cash flow from financing activities

Under Account Standard 3 (or AS3), Financing activities are activities that result in changes in the size and composition of the owners’ capital (including preference share capital in the case of a company) and borrowings of the enterprise.

As you must be aware, a balance sheet is broadly made up of two components. One side shows what a company owns or controls (assets) and the other, what it owes (liabilities plus equity). In accounting terminology, it is termed as ‘Application of funds’ and ‘Sources of funds’. ‘Sources of funds’ indicate the total value of financing that a company has done. ‘Application of funds’ displays how a company has utilised these funds.

As such, one can say that ‘cash from financing activities’ is related to the ‘Sources of funds’ aspect of the balance sheet. This is where a company reports whether it took in money or paid out money to finance its activities.

Whenever a company changes the size or the structure of its ‘Sources of funds’, it is recorded under this cash flow head. As such, any increase in debt, be it long-term or short-term is recorded here. Similarly, transactions relating to repayments are also shown under this head. Interest costs relating to loans taken form a part of ‘cash flow from financing activities’ as well. This is because it is considered as the cost of obtaining financial resources or returns on investments.

Moving on, details relating to funds raised by issuance of more shares are recorded here. This may include proceeds from issuance of shares though preferential allotments and QIPs, amongst others.

It would also include increase in share capital through issuance of ESOPs. Cash transactions relating to repurchase or buyback of shares are shown under this head as well. The cash flow from financing activities also includes outflow of cash in the form of dividends. As dividend can be considered as a cost for obtaining financial services, it is required to be shown here.

Unlike the ‘cash flow from operations’, a positive cash flow from financing activities would not necessarily be a good thing. A positive cash flow from financing activities indicates that a company has taken on more debt or is diluting equity by issuing more shares. This is not necessarily something that would make an investor happy. Similarly, a negative cash flow would not also be harmful as it could mean that a company is paying out dividend (cash outflow).

Let us take up an example to understand this well. Shown in the accompanying table is the cash flow from financing activities portion of Britannias FY09 cash flow statement.

As you can see, there are some figures which are in brackets. This indicates that the money is going out of the company. On the other hand, the amounts which are not in brackets indicate the inflow of money. It must be noted that the figures in the above image are in Rs 000 (thousand).

During FY09, Britannias cash outflow from financing activities stood at Rs 1.1 billion. This negative cash flow from financing activities is largely due to repayment of unsecured loans (Rs 3.1 billion). However, the company has also received certain funds from borrowings. The net figure, however, stands at a negative figure of Rs 396 m (Rs 3,063 m – 2,337 m – 330 m), indicating that the amount that was repaid was higher. In addition, due to interest payment and dividend payment (including the dividend tax), the overall net cash flow from financing activities increased to Rs 1.1 billion.

In the next article of this series, we shall look at some of the key ratios relating to cash flow statements.

(This article is authored by Equitymaster.com, India’s leading independent equity research initiative.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Equitymaster are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of The Hindu Business Line or any employee thereof. The Hindu Business Line is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the article.