Wednesday, December 21, 2022

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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Our Medi-Share Review after 10 years


 My Medi-Share review below was originally written in 2009 when I was investigating them but has been continually updated (now for 2020) as I’ve been using them for over 10 years.  Hope it helps!  

If you are in a self-employed situation like myself or just looking for a Christian health insurance alternative, you may want to consider Medi-Share. 

It is the alternative to health insurance that I have been using for many years and for those wondering Medi-Share IS exempt from the Obamacare mandate

While it essentially serves the same purpose as health insurance, they are very clear that it is NOT insurance. They call it, “Christian Healthcare Sharing.” It offers essentially all of the benefits of health insurance, but with lower premiums.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

5 Things to Consider Before Taking Out a Business Loan

 If you are about to launch a business, there are all sorts of issues that can arise when getting your venture off the ground. Whether it’s buying equipment, finding office space, taking on employees, or cash flow issues, many entrepreneurs decide that a business loan is the right option to take.

But, while a business loan can help turn your dreams into a reality, you should never take one out before thoroughly analyzing your situation. To help, here are five things to consider before taking the next step.

Establish the Purpose of the loan

The first thing to consider before taking out a business loan is defining why you need it. If you’re a small startup, you may not have a lot of money in the bank. So, taking out a business loan may saddle you with more debt than you can take on. Once you’ve established the purpose of your loan, you need to be realistic with how much you need. It can be all too tempting to borrow more, but when you factor in the fees on top, you could end up in a mountain of debt.

Know Your Credit Score

To be accepted for a business loan, your credit score will be a primary factor that lenders look at. Understandably, the healthier your credit is, the more chance you have of everything running smoothly. Before you even apply for a business loan, it’s wise to get a copy of your credit report. That way you can check to make sure it’s accurate and take further steps to improve your score.

Determine When You Need the Loan

Once you’ve decided how much you need and have checked your credit score, you need to establish when you need your business loan. The less urgent the need, the better your options will be. If you have lots of time before applying for a business loan, you may be able to boost your credit score, as well as look around at different lenders. If you’re in desperate need of cash, you may make the wrong decision that could come back to bite you later on.

Shop Around

If you are looking for funding for your startup, there are various types of business loans that you should look into. Visiting/ will give you a better idea of the types of options you have available. There are pros and cons to every kind of business loan. So, make sure you examine every option and look into business loan alternatives if need be.

Read the Fine Print

No matter what business loan you take out, there will be terms and conditions attached that you must understand. If you don’t take the time to read the fine print, you may sign something that could haunt you in years to come. Be aware of the payment structure and if there are payment penalties.

Launching a new business can be daunting. With so many factors to address, it’s vital that you have the funds required to get up and running. If you’ve decided that a business loan is right for you, the factors above will make the decision process easier and help you stay in control of your finances.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Advice on Using a Refund Anticipation Loan during a Financial Emergency

Tax refunds help millions of Americans each year financially. Filing an accurate paper tax return, which we do not recommend, should yieldits appearance in six to eight weeks from the date the IRS received your file.   For the recommended way to file a tax return, which is electronically, you will receive the tax refund in typically 3 weeks.  There are additional factors that may effect this amount of time as well, however if you are waiting on a tax refund and have a financial problem that needs to be taken care of using your tax refund, this time can seem like an eternity, and this problem may grow significantly worse if it isn’t taken care of in a timely manner!  That is why a solution has been created for this situation, and it is called a tax refund anticipation loan or tax refund loan.

What exactly is a refund anticipation loan or tax refund loan?

A refund anticipation loan (RAL) is a loan provided by lenders that are backed by the anticipated federal income tax refund you will be receiving in the future.  The process for acquiring these loans is quite straightforward, as the lender loans the amount needed plus any charges and interest rate expenses. The amount borrowed is then paid back later using the tax refund received.

What are the costs associated with tax refund loans?

These costs typically vary from one lender to another, but the one constant with all RAL’s is a high interest rate.  However, is a RAL is used correctly, and paid back on time, it is a tool that can save you significant money, time, and energy!  This is because RAL’s are short-term solutions for financial emergencies!  Finding the exact costs, can be found when you apply for this product.

Here are some of the most important things to consider with getting a RAL

Here are some of the most important things to know and consider when looking to get a RAL.   The top things that need to be considered include:
  1. Interest: the interest expense is likely to form the cost of getting a refund anticipation loan.  Most of these loans carry large interest rates, but are paid back in a quick timeframe, so the cost can be significantly less than letting the financial emergency, that these loans are usually gotten for, grow.
  2. Requirements: There are a few requirements when getting this product which include:
    1. Being a U.S. Citizen
    1. Be at least 18 Years of Age
    1. Have a Bank Checking Account
    1. Be Receiving Future Income i.e. Your Tax Refund
  3. Finding the best place to get a tax refund loan: Looking online or working with your tax preparer when getting a tax refund advance is the best way to go about finding the best option for it.  The most recommended online provider is tax refund loans.

Final thoughts and conclusion about tax refund anticipation loans

All in all, a RAL can be a very helpful tool during a financial emergency as a last resort.  However, there are many other options that you should consider first that can save you money.  For example, asking friends or family for help or a loan, using a credit card, and tapping into an emergency fund are some options you should try before getting a tax refund advance.  So if you have a financial emergency, and there are no other options, a RAL can be a great financial tool!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Dealing with unexpected bills

No matter how diligent you might be when it comes to your finances, the risk of an unexpected bill is ever-present in the background. Perhaps you moved home many years ago and there was an error when settling a cable account but you’ve not received the correspondence. Or maybe you’ve been hit by an unexpected need to replace an essential item, such as a phone or a laptop, following accidental damage that cannot be repaired.
Whatever the root cause of your new-found unexpected bill, it’s vital that you respond to it and make sure it doesn’t morph into a more pressing concern. But how can you do that if you haven’t planned for the expense? This article will share some top tips on how to help tackle a financial curveball as it comes your way.

Reduce your outgoings

The simplest way to open up more cash is to reduce the amount that you’re currently spending. In some cases, this might be simple yet painful. If you now spend a significant amount of cash on eating out or picking up lunch while on the go, for example, you could consider cutting out this luxury and replacing it by taking a meal from home. You could then put the cash you will save towards paying off an unexpected bill.
Depending on your circumstances, however, this could require a more creative approach. If you are already in a situation where your outgoings are extensive, but your income is tight, it may feel like there is no room to deal with an unexpected bill. If you can, it may be worth considering some frugality tips – such as batch cooking meals, splitting dishwasher tablets into two or three to make them last longer, or turning off the heating during colder spells and wearing more clothes instead. Measures like that can seem extreme at first, but often they are what is needed to help tide you over when an unexpected expense occurs.

More time on offer?

Depending on the nature of the bill, it may well be that you can get extra time to pay it off. It’s certainly worth calling up the institution in question if you can and asking them to consider giving you a payment holiday or at least developing a payment plan that can help both parties. After all: it’s in their interests to ensure that customers pay up eventually, and if they have room in their cash flow to allow for this, then they might well permit it. There are no guarantees, but it’s worth trying just in case.

Ask for a raise

In some cases, it makes more sense to look for the money you need to save by working with what you’ve got. And that’s especially true if you’re currently in work and have a paycheck landing in your bank account every week, fortnight or month. Depending on where you work, there might be no obligation for your employer to provide you with a pay rise. But there’s rarely anything to lose by occasionally and politely asking for a raise – and if they say yes, it could well solve your worries about the unexpected new outgoing.

Making money online

Some people also look into making money online, too. It can be a helpful way of raising income if your usual job does not offer much in the way of salary progression, and it can be done flexibly around childcare and other commitments. If you have skills in finance, say, you could look into online trading – although be sure to learn from experienced traders by taking some courses. Alternatively, those with marketing skills could look into flexible work like content creation or copywriting. Whatever you can do, there is likely to be some flexible work that suits you available online – and as a temporary stopgap to deal with that pesky new outgoing, it could make all the difference between financially surviving or going under.
Overall, there are many different options available for somebody who needs to contend with a bill they did not expect. As well as asking your creditor to extend your repayment terms, it’s also possible to focus either on cutting your current spending or increasing your current income. Not all methods work for all people, though – so it’s important to carefully assess your options and ensure that you choose a mode of money management that works for you and for the nature of the unexpected bill you have to pay. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Top 10 things to know before refinancing your mortgage

Refinancing your home mortgage could potentially reduce your interest rate and monthly payments or give you access to some of the equity in your home. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll save you money or it’s a good decision. 
If you’re thinking about refinancing your mortgage loan, here are 10 things to keep in mind before you pull the trigger.

1. Your reason for refinancing

Refinancing a home loan can be expensive, so it’s crucial to know why you want to do it. For example, maybe you want a lower interest rate or monthly payment, or you want to do a cash-out refinance to pay off high-interest debt or make some home improvements. 
Whatever your reason, make sure it’s worth the costs and work associated with refinancing your existing mortgage. Online marketplace Credible allows you to find out what rates you qualify for right now. Check it out.

2. The current mortgage rates

It generally doesn’t make sense to refinance your home loan unless they’re lower than what you’re currently paying. Before you start submitting applications, check the current mortgage rates to see how they compare with your existing mortgage. 
Also, keep in mind that just because mortgage rates are lower now, that doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way. If reducing your interest rate and monthly payment are your top priorities, start applying sooner rather than later.
You can visit Credible to compare mortgage rates from multiple lenders in one place.

3. The type of rates advertised

As you compare your current loan with market rates, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. For example, adjustable-rate mortgages typically start with lower interest rates than fixed-rate mortgages. However, after their initial fixed period, they can fluctuate based on the current market rates. 
So if you have a loan with a fixed rate, make sure you’re comparing it with new fixed-rate loans, unless switching to an adjustable rate is your goal. In general, though, it’s more common to switch from an adjustable-rate to a fixed rate for more certainty.

4. Your credit score

While average mortgage rates can give you an idea of whether or not you can save, your actual rate on a refinance loan will depend largely on your credit history, existing debt, and income. 
Check your credit score to see where you stand. If it’s lower than it was when you first bought the home, you may need to take steps to improve your score before you apply. Credible's online tools can help you compare lenders without any impact on your credit score.

5. Your debt-to-income ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio—how much of your monthly gross income goes toward debt payments—is a major factor in determining your eligibility for a mortgage loan. If you’ve taken on more debt since you obtained your existing mortgage loan, it could make it difficult to refinance. 

6. Your home’s equity

If you’re hoping to tap some of your home equity with a cash-out refinance, the home value is an important indicator of whether you’ll qualify and how much you can take out. 
In general, lenders will allow you to borrow up to 80 percent of your home value. So if the home is worth $300,000, the maximum new loan is $240,000. If your current loan is for $200,000, you could potentially get up to $40,000 in cash with a cash-out refinance. But if your loan is at $240,000 or above, you likely won’t qualify.

7. Closing costs

Closing costs on a mortgage refinance can range from 2 percent to 6 percent of the loan amount, which can run in the thousands of dollars. If you don’t have enough cash to pay those closing costs out-of-pocket, you may be able to roll them into the new loan—assuming the loan still meets the requirement of being 80 percent or less of the home value. 
However, rolling them into the refinance means you’ll be paying interest on them over the life of your new loan.

8. Break-even point

If you’re refinancing to save on your monthly payments, you’ll need to divide the monthly savings by the amount of the closing costs to determine how long it’ll take you to break even on those upfront expenses. If you’re planning to move before that time, it may not make sense. 
For example, let’s say a refinance could save you $100 per month, but the closing costs are $5,000. In this scenario, it would take you 50 months to break even. If you’re planning to stay in the house longer than that, it makes sense. But if not, you may want to stick with your existing mortgage.
Consider using an online refinance calculator to help you determine whether refinancing makes financial sense.

9. Mortgage insurance

If you put down less than 20 percent when you first bought your home, you may be paying private mortgage insurance (PMI). With some government-backed loans, you may be paying some other form of mortgage insurance.
Depending on how much your home value has increased and how much of your current loan you’ve paid down, though, refinancing could help you eliminate mortgage insurance from your monthly payments, increasing your savings.

10. Your new mortgage term

Refinancing not only allows you to get a new interest rate but also a new repayment term. You can generally choose between a 10-year, 15-year or 30-year mortgage. While a shorter term will ensure you’ll be debt-free sooner, you’ll want to make sure you have enough room in your budget for a higher monthly payment.
And while resetting to a 30-year mortgage again can reduce your monthly payment, it will also result in more interest over the life of the new loan. 
Visit an online marketplace like Credible to view refinance rates and loan options. You can get prequalified without impacting your credit score.

The bottom line

Refinancing your mortgage isn’t always a good idea. Take your time to understand your situation, research your options and run the numbers to make sure it’s the right time and the best path forward.