Tuesday, February 19, 2013

5 Ways to Cut Your Credit Card Interest Payments

By guest contributor, David Silverstone from Credit Card Insider

Credit cards interest rates are wreaking havoc on many Americans’ lives. The minute you leave a balance on these accounts, you’ll notice that debts continue to increase because of the interest payments, even if you aren’t adding to the debt. Over the years, you will end up paying so much in interest that you are paying much more for purchases than they originally cost. There are several ways of reducing debt, including at least five ways to lower the amount of interest you are paying.

Pay the Bills Early
The first thing you can do is make payments early. If you wait until you receive statements, you are giving their credit card issuers extra days to charge more interest.

Make Smaller Payments on a Frequent Basis
Rather than wait until you have a large sum of money to pay toward your balances, you would be better off making smaller payments on a more frequent basis when you have the money available. A good time to employ this strategy is right after you receive your paycheck. This has the result of reducing the time that interest payments can be compounded daily.

Make Electronic Payments
The best way to make payments is electronically, so the transaction can be completed the same day or within a few days. Consumers who mail a check will not have their accounts credited for days because the check must first arrive, then the creditors still have to process the payment. Lowering interest payments requires that people take as little time as possible to pay their creditors.

Obtain a Second Credit Card
A great plan is to refrain from making additional purchases with a credit card that has an outstanding balance. Sometimes, people can’t make financial transactions without using their credit cards. If this is the case, you can obtain a separate card and only charge as much as you can afford to repay every month. If the new card has a zero percent introductory rate, you will be able to maintain a credit account that is not adding to your debt while you are working to pay down existing debts. However, the only way to make this option work is to never make a late payment, as that can void the zero percent introductory rate.

Ask the Creditor to Lower the Interest Rate
Some people lower their interest payments simply by asking for a lower interest rate. One strategy to have better chances is to say that you may cancel the account.

David Silverstone is a veteran financial writer and credit enthusiast. He is a contributing columnist at Credit Card Insider, the leading provider of unbiased consumer and business credit card selection and discovery resources. You can find more of his work on The Insider Blog.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Stock Investments 2013

A Happy & Prosperous Chinese New Year to all bloggers and readers! I would like to thank all my readers for visiting my blog. SG Web Reviews has reached 200,000 pageviews so far. Hope to share more of my views and investment journey in the coming year.

Creating CPF Buffer
So far, 2013 has been good for me. I have sold off all my stocks, except for my CPF Investment Acount, which has risen by 15%. I opened this account and invested a portion of my CPF Ordinary Account before buying my first HDB flat. For the uninitiated, it is HDB's policy to use up all your CPF monies in Ordinary Account if you intended to purchase a HDB flat. So if you intend to set aside a portion of monies in your Ordinary Account for emergency purposes, the only way is to open a CPF Investment Account and then liquidated your investments after the HDB purchase is completed.

Bull or Bear?
I have always advocated to invest during crises. But the way I see it, 2013 could be the start of the economic recovery for most developed countries. Since 2010, the market has weathered U.S' fiscal cliff, Europe's debt issues and China's slowing economy. So far, the market's performance has been pretty resilient against all these negative developments and investors' confidence remain high on equities. I don't think any further bad news with regards to these issues will have further impact on the stock market. After all, investors would have factored these developments already. So I would say it's going to be a bull cycle for the stock market this year, and probably we would not witness the kind of volatility of yesteryears. Of course I am not an economist, and the above predictions are just my personal views. Investors should exercise due diligence before making any form of investments.

I do not plan to invest in any SGX stocks or REITS this year. Simply because I don't see value in any of these counters. Instead, I plan to do index investing (ETF) and is in the midst of educating myself on it. I hope to share with my readers on what I have learnt in the coming months.

Huat Ah!

Magically yours

Friday, February 1, 2013

Job-hopping to career success

In my previous article, I wrote that 7 in 10 Singapore workers planned to change jobs in 2013. I suppose many of us harboured thoughts of leaving our present job in search of greener pastures at some point of time. But more often than not, we may not know what we are getting into. In fact, I have many friends who keep job hopping for various reasons. Many of them cited company cultures, prospect, bosses and salaries as push factors.

Job-hopping is okay
Job-hopping is okay, provided it is managed properly. This is because the more you hop, the harder it is to convince your next employer to hire you. After all, the whole hiring process can be costly and time consuming. No employers relish the prospect of hiring a candidate who would resign within a year. Not to mention the amount of resources spent on training the candidate. So how long should we stay before moving on to the next company? My take is a minimum stay of two years. One of my ex-bosses told me that typically it takes about one year to train a worker up to speed and another year for the person to contribute meaningful to the organization. So probably you need to stay for at least two years in order to reflect some credible achievements in your resume.

Knowing what you want
I think no one enjoys job-hopping. After all, it can be quite a pain in the ass to learn everything all over again. So my advice is even if you have to switch job, make sure the next one is still within the same industry. Then at least you would still retain the basic foundational knowledge and skills and need not start from scratch in your new company again. It is important to know what you want before you make the next leap. This would certainly help to reduce the incidence of job-hopping. For example, one of my friends switched to another company because it pays good bonuses every year. He totally hates the job because of the heavy workload but stays on three years already, for the sake of money. Do research and ask friends who might know people working in the company you are interested in. Find out about the company's culture, expectations and role of the position you are interested in before you made the jump.

Magically yours