Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Cathford Group Credit Inc.: 5 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

For those who have ever thought of owning a house, you can be sure they were overwhelmed when they first realized they'll have to face taxes and repair that comes with it, among other things. Even for those who have already experienced buying a house before, it can still be a daunting task as it includes not just paying for it but working out all the paperwork.

Due to this perceived difficulty, it is imperative that all prospective home owners, especially the first-timers, be able to get advice from capable professionals.

And since Cathford Group Credit Inc. is feeling extra generous at this time of the year, here are a couple of tips we've rounded up to help you out:

Find a dependable realtor -- arguably the single most important step that home buyers should take. This is because experienced professionals in the real estate industry knows their field like the back of their hand so you can be sure hiring one will save you a lot of trouble  and money.

Secure a loan pre-approval. Consult with your Cathford Group Credit Inc. realtor about working with a loan expert or a bank that can help you in getting a pre-approval letter. They can discuss with you what your options are depending on your credit score, downpayment budget and monthly income. A pre-approved loan will also be an advantage during the negotiations because a seller would obviously tend to approve of prospective buyers who can at least prove that they are capable of paying. On the other hand, if you realized that you can't afford much in your current status, the loan professional can advise you on what steps to take to increase the chances of getting the loan.

Communicate honestly. Your realtor and lender would need complete and accurate information from you especially regarding your financial status so cooperation with them is naturally needed to successfully close a deal. Failure to complete paperwork related to your net worth or credit is certainly going to cause problems in the long run. At best, you could lose the house; at worst, you could be sued for mortgage fraud.

Also, if you feel that you don't totally understand something, don't hesitate to ask your realtor or lender. Keep in mind that they are working for you so you should be on the same page at all times. Besides, if you don't say you're not getting something, there's no way they'll know you're having problems.

Rely on your realtor during the negotiations. The best course to take during the negotiation process is to let your realtor discuss with the seller on your behalf. This is because your emotional state could hamper your ability to objectively discuss the concerned details. Anyway, it's the realtor's main job to get the best price for you and to help you comprehend how much the house is really worth, depending on several factors. Their expertise should help you greatly on how much offer to make, too.

Mind the time. It's alright to take your time in making big decisions like purchasing a new house but you should also consider that it probably won't be in the market forever. As such, it'd be best to make all communications among your loan adviser, your realtor and the seller as quick as possible. Moreover, when it comes to the offer to purchase, there will certainly be a deadline indicated. So if you take too long from making the offer to coming to close the deal, you might lose the chance to own it.

Just keep in mind that all the time and effort which goes in all the said process will be worth it once you step inside your new property.     

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Cathford Group Credit Inc. Financial Power: Knowing How to Control Money

It is a common feeling among many people: The amount of money one has determines the level of happiness, confidence or energy that person has. That is, with enough or so much money, a person generally tends to be upbeat, gregarious and emotionally stable. And the less money one has, the more depressed, aloof and irritable that person becomes. Well, at least, from experience, this seems to hold true 8 out of 10 times, although there are a few “money-less” people we know who remain content with their lot. But they are the rare exceptions.

The National Foundation for Credit Counselling in the US found out that a staggering 79% of people say financial worries make them lose sleep, more than other concerns such as their marriages, kids or job stability. Sleepless people certainly make for unhappy families. That survey just confirmed our previous statistic.

Money, of course, is not the true source of happiness or contentment. Financial confidence or power comes from having understood the dynamics of financial principles and the steps by which they can be harnessed for our own benefit. Simply said: Financially powerful individuals have the cunning ability to see and know what needs to be done to turn money to their advantage.

There are those who may have gotten so much money, like lottery winners, who never had the slightest idea as to how to manage money and simply go about spending or even investing in some deals but do not know exactly how the entire process of maintaining financial power works. And so these people often end up where they were before, penniless and powerless.

But there are a few tips to help the ordinary person to gain a reasonable amount of power over money.

1. Overcome bad habits through the power of self-forgiveness

Habits influence a major part of how we handle money. What we learned from our homes and from early schooling enhanced or diminished our capacity to make money work for us. Many of us often fall into a financial trap, such as overspending or borrowing to buy luxuries, because we inherited the tendency from somewhere in our past or in our immediate environment. The shame or guilt that arises from falling over and over again into the same trap builds up and yet we feel powerless to cut the cycle.

Forgiving ourselves for our inadequacies can lead us to ultimately overcome a bad habit and the guilt that comes with it. Deal with each unproductive habit one at a time. Tell yourself that the shame or guilt it brings Is worse than the actual burden of not having money and feeling powerless. Why carry so much weight emotionally and financially? Solving your financial status will also bring emotional relief.

Grab the power by controlling money like it were a slave or tool that it is. If it means getting a menial job so you can pay debts, so be it.

2. Know yourself in relation to money

As we said, our past determines how we deal with money. There is a pattern in everything that we do: whether in cooking a favourite recipe, going on a vacation or even reading a book. Some prefer to read a real book and not an ebook. Others enjoy doing it in a hammock or on an easy chair. And some read a chapter a day; others finish a book in one sitting. So with how we use money. Some get enough joy gambling a small amount of money regularly. Others gamble away their fortunes.

Keep a journal on how you spend money and learn more about yourself than you ever did before. You might find yourself behaving as if you were your mother or father who had certain peculair habits with regard to money. Or, you may have your own unique patterns hard to decipher where you got it but may have arisen during an extremely stressful time in your life. Just as some people started drinking or smoking during a traumatic moment in their past, you could have developed the habit of buying on credit during a time when you felt emotionally down or powerless. Or simply envious of your friend or neighbor.

Those “emotional money triggers” are, in general, within your power to eradicate or change to benefit you financially.

3. Get expert advice

When everything else fails, you might get some relief from a professional financial adviser. Since we already noticed that our financial habits are closely tied to our emotional conditions, it should convince you to get a financial counsellor, particularly one who understands the psychological motivations that push us to do what we do with our money.

Positive money habits do not come by accidents. Children of Chinese businesspeople have to work during summer vacation and derive precious training not just in business management, in general, but in essentially appreciating the real value of money through how it is earned and how it is invested back into a profitable venture.

Business people are also good sources of advice, especially if you plan to go into business. The simple joy of being debt-free and having control over your budget can be gained from those who have had the discipline of making money grow or, in other words, building wealth.
Creating wealth starts from developing the right money habits. It is never too late to start gaining power over your own life through proper money control.

About Us

Our Mission Is Simple: “Provide easy and convenient ways for consumers to obtain access to the credit they need.”

Who We Are

The Cathford Group Credit Inc. is an online personal loan lender centrally located in downtown Chicago. We are a subsidiary of Cash America International, Inc., a NYSE-listed firm (CSH), which allows us the facility, ability and resources to achieve our vision and improve our product offerings. But within The Cathford Group Credit Inc. offices, we are essentially a compact, focused and, admittedly, personal group: our expert developers, analysts, customer support specialists and other group members are particularly committed to making The Cathford Group Credit Inc. the best option for our customers’ needs.

Friday, 29 August 2014

The Cathford Group Credit Inc. Financing and Loan: Doing it now

With the global financial crunch still wagging its massive tail in many parts of the world, it is essential to know the fundamental principles in monetary management, whether for business purposes or for personal reasons. Taking out a loan nowadays is an open and viable option for anyone who has the basic skills to utilize such funds for whatever reason it may be.

What if the purpose is to invest funds in a money-making venture? What are the risks involved? What steps must one take to ensure that one does not end up losing one’s pants?

Here are some general tips to consider when considering taking out a loan for a business venture:

1. Interest rates are at an all-time low; so, take out a loan now

Now is the best time to go get that capital for your business expansion or to start up a small business you have always wanted to put up. Considering that even government housing loans are only about 11%, down from the previous 16% level it was a year back, things point toward lower rates in other sectors. No question about the value of borrowing at much lower rates and today is the right time to do it.

2. Small loans are a-plenty; so, start at your level

Most microcredit facilities today allow individuals with no steady source of income, have no collateral to put up and no credit history to get small financing to alleviate poverty and for small business capital. Repayments schedules are not as stringent as commercial loans since a borrower individual can pay according to how much he or she can afford on a daily or weekly basis from the proceeds of the small business.

3. Borrowing to put up a savings account

People are often encouraged by banks and government officials to save up. However, in many countries, the percentage of people who have savings is very low as their income is generally used for prime needs such as food, shelter and transportation. After all those items are paid for, nothing is left and many even borrow to cover the deficit they inevitably experience, leading them to pile up their debt.

So, why not borrow in order to put up a savings account? If you can borrow at a low rate and put it in a bank even at a lower interest rate, that might end up being better than the loan shark’s rate or having to borrow constantly. With a buffer in your bank you can turn to for a couple of months or more, the stress and the inconvenience might end up being much less for the entire family or the individual.

4. Borrowing to augment a necessary expense

If one rents a home or plans to put up a new one, borrowing can take a big chunk off your regular monthly budget. Or if one plans to purchase an appliance, say a washing machine or a ref, and one does not have the cash to buy one, borrowing even a portion of the cost for a down-payment or to augment whatever savings one has, will answer the need. One does not need to borrow all the money needed for an expense. Saving part of the money then borrowing the rest will do the trick. The same thing goes with renovating a house or fixing a car or even expanding a small business.

Many people fear borrowing is tying one’s neck to someone or something that will end up having total control over one’s life and future. That is basically a mental trap that most people cannot avoid because of certain experiences they have had. But we can turn around that attitude into one where we will have more control over one’s finances and expenses. A sufficient amount of knowledge and monetary discipline will go a long way toward gaining good experience in financing and acquiring loan.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Cathford Group Credit Inc: 5 Tips For Getting Your Bank Loan Approved

Getting a bank loan approved is not the easiest process. In light of recent economic troubles across the nation, lenders are looking for a lot more in a loan applicant and are more strict. While there are several key areas lenders will be focusing on, it is important that you are ready to present the perfect, complete package for review if you hope to get approved.

Here are 5 important steps you need to follow to ensure you bank loan can be processed without problems:

1. Understand your preferences

Before heading to your bank, check out loan packages online and see what competitors are offering. You need to be aware of what kind of loan you are looking for, the terms you can reasonably afford, and your goal for paying off the loan as fast as possible. If you are looking for a specific type of loan (auto, mortgage, personal) make sure you find the best deal for you. There may be many loan offers arriving in your mailbox, but check out the fine print before going further.

2. Ask questions

When you find the loan package you are most interested in, contact the bank directly to find out upfront what the requirements are for loan eligibility. You may need to make an appointment in person to discuss the necessary materials, documents, and timelines you will need to get started on the approval process. Banks have different requirements and it will be important to know what they are upfront so you can be prepared.

3. Know your limitations

If you are pursuing a loan, you should already be aware of your credit history and current score. The bank should tell you the range of credit scores required for loan approval. Plan ahead and request a copy of your history and score several weeks prior to your application. Review your credit history for accuracy and give yourself time to correct any errors in your history report. Lenders today will rely heavily on your past usage of credit. If there are mistakes on your report, you may end up with a lower score which can hurt your chances of loan approval. Consider your financial limitations when planning for a loan. Apply for the loan based on your financial ability to make repayments you can afford.

4. Create a checklist

Based on the information from the bank, it’s wise to create a checklist of the appropriate documentation needed for the loan application. It can take some time to secure the documents you need from creditors, your employer, and other financial resources. Incomplete applications can be cause for loan denial.

5. Have the right expectations

Again, applying for a loan when you’re in a hurry is never a good idea. Loan officers have a certain protocol for approving a loan and getting you the money. During the process, make sure to discuss the sequence of events so you’ll have an idea of when to expect an answer. While some loans can be pre-approved upfront, the specifics may not be known until a few weeks have passed. Ask the loan officers for advice on following up. Your goal will be to secure a loan you have the means to repay. You may also need to outline the reasoning behind the loan. If it’s a personal loan, the lender might want to know how you plan to use the cash, for example, you may need it for home improvements or debt reduction. The loan process can be a frustrating one and if the loan you applied for is not approved, the lender may provide the specific reasoning behind the denial. It can be dangerous to your credit to continually apply for just any loan you think you may be able to get. Too many loan applications can ruin your credit and obliterate your chances of securing one in the near future.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Cathford Group Credit Inc Personal Loans Guide

Why make it personal? There are times in your life when despite your best efforts you fall short of the funds you need to achieve what you desire. Personal loans can provide a way of achieving what you need in the present by allowing you to pay it off in the future.

Whether you are trying to consolidate your debts, booking an overseas trip or need the money to set up a nursery, we will show you what type of personal loans are available so you can feel comfortable choosing the right one, at the right price.

What to consider when choosing a personal loan

1. The benefits of a personal loan
2. Types of personal loans
3. How to get the best deal on your personal loan
4. Personal loan application Checklist
5. Star Ratings

1. The benefits of a personal loan

What’s the difference between a credit card and a personal loan, which both give you access to money you don’t have? The main benefit of a personal loan and what attracts many people to this option compared to a credit card, is that their interest rates are usually lower and you have an allocated time frame in which to pay the loan back. This means that it’s often easier to pay off and you could save you a lot of money in interest.

2. Types of personal loans

Secured, unsecured, variable, fixed? With lots of options can sometimes come confusion but it’s important to do your research and pick a loan type that is going to suit your personal needs. A few minutes of reading here could save you a few bucks too.

We have broken it down for you so that you can quickly, and hopefully easily, identify which person loan type is going to meet all your requirements.

- Secured
- Unsecured
- Variable
- Fixed
- Overdraft
- Line of credit

3. How to get the best deal on your personal loan

Identifying the need, doing your research and shopping around will ultimately pay in dividends and lead you to uncovering the best personal loan for you.

If you have a loan amount in mind and have identified what type of loan you require then it’s time to get serious and start comparing. Comparing home loans doesn’t mean hours of leg work, instead kick your feet up and start comparing some of Australia’s best personal loans online. To use the RateCity personal loans comparison tool just visit our personal loans page, select which option you would like to search for, whether it's just compare, low interest, or debt consolidation, then simply enter in the required information so that we can filter the search results to you.

The results will show a list of products that best suit your criteria. You can then further filter your search by comparing the interest rates and fees, and once you find one that best meets your criteria, you can apply online. Your chosen lender will then be in touch with you to notify you of the status of your application.

Easy! Hasn’t the internet changed our lives?

4. Personal loan application Checklist

- Work out the amount you want to borrow.
- Calculate how much you can afford to make in repayments.
- Work out how long it will take to pay off, and how often you want to make the repayments (weekly, fortnightly or monthly.)
- Decide whether you will require a secured (if buying an asset such as a car) or unsecured loan.
- Will a fixed or variable rate personal loan suit you?
- Compare personal loans online, look for one with a lower interest rate and lower fees.
- Organise any documentation and paperwork that is required to support you application and have this ready.
- That’s it! You are now ready to apply online.

5. Star Ratings

CANSTAR star ratings are a consumer-friendly benchmark that help you compare financial products based on their rates and features. We evaluate literally thousands of products from hundreds of finance institutions. Products offering superior value are awarded five stars.

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Cathford Group Credit Inc: Should You Get a Personal Loan? Tips to Find a Cheap Unsecured Loan

If you need money to meet basic expenses, fund your wedding or take a vacation, you’ve probably considered getting a personal loan – a loan where you don’t put up any collateral, such as your house or your car, that the lender can repossess if you default. Because the lender has no guarantee for the loan other than your own reputation, you’ll have a higher interest rate than you would with a collateralized loan.

Personal loans are rife with pitfalls. Used correctly, they can save a significant amount compared to payday loans, overdrafts and pawnshops. However, there are many unscrupulous lenders who may try to bleed you with fees and high interest rates. Here’s how to find the best personal loans without paying too much.

What’s my credit score?

Since you aren’t putting up any collateral, the loan terms will be based on your creditworthiness – your credit history, your income and what other debts you have. Be sure to check your credit history and score for any inaccuracies before applying.

Pro tip: If you don’t know your credit score, check it for free by signing up for a credit monitoring service and cancelling during the grace period.

If you have good credit, you can probably get a personal loan at a decent rate with your current bank. If you have less-than-perfect credit, don’t be tempted by “no credit check” offers. Payday lenders often charge exorbitant rates and can often be avoided.

Where should I get a personal loan?

You can get personal loans from any number of institutions:

•           Banks
•           Credit unions
•           Payday lenders
•           Peer-to-peer lenders
•           Credit building groups

Your best bet is probably your local credit union. Because they’re not-for-profit, they can charge lower rates than for-profit banks; federally chartered credit unions have limits on the rates they’re allowed to charge. Even if you have less-than-perfect credit, credit unions can help: many have payday loan alternative programs that provide loans at the lowest price to people who’d otherwise be denied.

Another good option is peer-to-peer lending groups like LendingClub and Prosper. While the rates might be a bit higher than those at credit unions, you may find it easier to qualify. Remember that these companies are for-profit, compared to not-for-profit credit unions. If you’re really in dire straights, consider a credit building nonprofit that will get your finances back on track. The Credit Builders Alliance can help you find a program in your state.

Pretty much all personal loans require income verification (such as a W2 or pay stub) and identification (such as a passport or driver’s license); some ask for bank statements or tax returns.

Finding the lowest rates

Here are a few tips to finding the best loan.

Compare your options. Is a personal loan cheaper than a low-interest credit card? If you have good credit and can pay off the loan in 12-18 months, you can probably get a credit card that has 0% interest on purchases for a year or longer. Take a look at credit unions, too, before going with banks.

If you have bad credit, find a co-signer. Having a co-signer with good credit allows you to piggyback off of their creditworthiness and potentially get better rates. However, use this option only if you trust the co-signer completely, as any mismanagement goes on your record as well as his.

Consider a secured loan instead. If you have a house, consider using it as collateral in order to get lower rates. A home equity loan or home equity line of credit can often be cheaper than a straight-up, unsecured personal loan. Keep in mind that using your home as collateral means that if you default, you could lose your home.

Pay off as much of your credit card balance as you can before you apply. The outstanding balance on your credit card – even if you pay it off at the end of the month and never pay interest – counts against you when a lender runs a credit check.

Borrower beware: What to watch out for with personal loans

Unsecured lending can attract unsavory players, but even with the squeaky-cleanest of lenders, it pays to keep an eye out for gotchas.

Prepayment penalties. When a lender tries to estimate how much money they’ll make off your loan, they usually assume that you’ll pay interest until a certain date. Paying off the loan too soon – and therefore limiting the interest you pay – screws up their calculations. In order to keep their numbers straight and pockets lined, some charge a fee for paying off the loan before a certain date. Such fees are called prepayment penalties or exit fees. Be sure to look for the words “no prepayment penalty” on your loan term when you apply.

 “Optional assistance” and other fees. If you grant the lender permission to withdraw from your checking account, they might take out so-called “optional” fees that you never heard of. The lender can automatically deduct them from your account, potentially causing your checking account balance to go negative.

Accidental overdrafts. Again, if you link your loan to your checking account for automatic payments, you might be in danger of an overdraft. Overdraft fees can run $35 a pop, and they can quickly add up. It’s harder to know that you have a low balance in your checking account if the lender deducts your payment behind the scenes. To avoid this, consider:

•           Opting out of automatic payments
•           Setting up a low balance alert with your bank
•           Signing up for a third-party service like Mint that offers low balance alerts

Scam artists. Though many lenders are honest and goodhearted, a look through literature will show that usury has been around since man walked upright. Payday loans, in particular, tend to attract the bottom of the humanity barrel. Before you sign up for any loan, particularly online, check out the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission to make sure the organization is legit.

Friday, 18 July 2014

The Cathford Group Credit Inc : Lending Money to Family Members - Is it Ever a Good Idea?

It’s harder than ever for young adults to save and get ahead in our current economy. Modest incomes and college loans make it tough to assemble enough cash to purchase a car or make a down payment on a house. It doesn’t help that credit standards have tightened, putting bank loans out of reach for those without a strong credit history.

It’s no wonder people are looking to family members for some financial help, and while you may want to help, lending to a family member isn’t always the best idea. I am not saying it can’t work, I actually borrowed from my dad when I was right out of college. Here are a few reasons why you may want to think long and hard before you make that loan to a family member:

Tricky to negotiate
When family is involved, people tend to think with their hearts rather than their brains. Settling on terms that are agreeable to both people involved is easier said than done. One person may view the loan as more of a favor or obligation than a business transaction, setting the stage for misunderstanding. And when opinions differ about the size of a loan and the terms of repayment, it can be difficult to find common ground.

Lack of enforcement
A conventional loan has built-in rules that help keep borrowers on track. In contrast, there’s often a nebulous framework surrounding a family loan. If there’s no consequence for a late payment, there’s little incentive to make payments on-time. As a result, a loan to a family member can stretch from months to years to decades, simply because it can.

Altered relationship
Money has a way of driving a wedge between the best of relationships. A family loan changes the dynamics between even the most well-intentioned family members. A loan tips the balance of power, and one or both parties may find themselves feeling resentful once money has changed hands. Suddenly the lender has the upper hand, and the borrower may feel angry at the lender’s scrutiny of spending habits. Similarly, the lender may feel entitled to be more involved in the borrower’s personal life, creating unpleasant friction.

Ripple effect
A loan within the family can cause problems beyond the borrower and lender. Other family members may frown on the loan. Siblings or cousins may be jealous. Grandparents may feel protective; parents may want to intervene. Aunts and uncles may take sides. As more people and emotions are dragged into the fray, the stickier it can be.

High potential for default
Individuals who borrow money from family members often do so because their credit is shaky, which likely means the risk of default under these circumstances will be higher than average. The takeaway? Make sure you can live without the money before you part with it.

Poor rate of return
Lending money to a family member is rarely a good investment if you’re weighing your return in hard dollars. You may never see a dime of principal, let alone interest. If you’re satisfied knowing your money helped someone you care about, then you may be okay with a low rate of return.

No going back
Once you’ve extended a family loan, it’s hard to undo. The money is out there, with uncertain promise of return. Feelings can be easily hurt and difficult to repair. If you can’t afford the risks that come with loaning money to a family member, you’re well within your rights to say no. But if you do decide to provide a financial loan to a family member, do yourself a favor and consult an expert. Meet with your financial advisor to determine how a loan will impact your overall net worth and what steps you can take to make up the deficit. It’s also a good idea to draw up an agreement with terms of the loan, including clear expectations for repayment.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Cathford Group Credit Inc: Personal Finance Tips for Car Loans

Three top pieces of financial advice — from how pay impacts credit to new rules for inherited IRAs

How pay impacts credit

A pay cut may hurt twice, says Christine DiGangi at While "income isn't reported to credit bureaus," the size of your paycheck "can still have an impact on your credit standing." For starters, your income will affect your ability to make loan payments and determine how much total debt you actually have. And while your salary isn't factored into your credit score, "it's often part of a credit application," with some lenders setting standards for debt-to-income ratios before taking on a customer. If your cash flow does change, the first thing you need to adjust is your budget. And be sure to pay "extra attention to your bank accounts," and limit your credit card purchases to correct your spending habits and protect your credit.

Keeping car loans in check

Quit extending that car loan, says Kerri Anne Renzulli at Time. According to a new report by Experian, the average length of new car loans is at a record high of five and a half years. But longer loans are "costing us, big time." Car loans of five years or more may require lower monthly payments, but that only means you are paying more interest over time. And since cars are depreciating assets, longer loans work against you by limiting your equity in the car even as it loses value. The best way to save on monthly costs is to put more money down and reduce the amount you need to finance. When negotiating, try to be armed with rate quotes from outside lenders, which may encourage car dealers to improve their financing offers.

New rules for inherited IRAs

Beware of bequeathing your IRA, says Dan Caplinger at Daily Finance. The Supreme Court issued a new ruling last week that changes the game for inherited IRAs. The decision "drew distinctions between one's own retirement accounts and those inherited," making the latter fair game for creditors seeking to collect on the deceased's debts. Surviving spouses can still roll inherited IRAs into their own accounts, but for other heirs, the impact could be huge. Individuals who plan to bequeath "substantial amounts in IRAs" should consider making serious changes to their estate planning, "establishing trusts to receive inherited IRA money rather than leaving it outright to your heirs." But be careful here, too, since the wrong terms can "reduce or eliminate the ability to stretch out IRA distributions and preserve tax benefits."

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Monday, 14 July 2014

The Cathford Group Credit Inc 10 tips for buying your next car for less

After a house, a vehicle is probably the biggest purchase you'll make. Unfortunately, while your house might appreciate -- that is, gain value over time -- your car will eventually turn into a nearly worthless hunk of metal, plastic and upholstery.

Rather than pour oodles of cash into something whose value is going to drop like a rock, use these 10 tips to spend as little as possible on a vehicle that will safely serve you for years.

1. Buy used … usually

You knew this would be the first bit of advice, right?

Of course it is. How could it not be when Edmunds reports that the average new car loses 11 percent of its value as soon as it's driven off the lot? That means your $20,000 car is suddenly worth less than $18,000. Then, after five years, it will likely be worth only slightly more than $12,500.

2. Do your homework

Regardless of whether you're buying new or used, you need to do your homework first. That means researching the going price and available options for the cars you're eyeing.
Of course, KBB and Edmunds are good places to start, but don't stop there. These sites tell you what cars should be selling for, but, in the end, capitalism rules. Supply and demand where you are will dictate actual prices.

3. Get your trim right

OK, this one might seem silly to the gearheads in the audience, but for everyone else, make sure you're doing an apples-to-apples comparison when shopping around.

I'll go ahead, risk looking the fool and confess to this mistake. I recently bought a Toyota Sienna with an LE trim but was comparing it with vehicles with an XLE trim when doing online research. It wasn't until after I got the vehicle home that I realized my mistake.

4. Embrace high miles

I don't think I even owned a car yet, but I still remember that old Kia commercial with the car driving until the odometer on the roof rolled over to 100,000. Wow! The car was so cheap and yet you could still get 100,000 miles on it. It was downright amazing!

5. Time your purchase right

There are two facets to this piece of advice.

The first is to buy on the right day. As you might guess, the end of the month is often a good time to buy a car, particularly if salespeople are trying to meet their quotas or qualify for a monthly bonus.

6. Forget the monthly payment

We drive by a car lot on our street nearly every day. Right on the corner is a shiny new SUV with "$198" plastered to the side. My obviously not-yet-money-savvy teens and tween have all on separate occasions oohed and aahed over the car and its low, low price.

7. Don't mention your trade-in

Along the same lines, don't mention your trade-in unless it absolutely has to be part of the transaction because you still owe on it and can't afford two payments. However, in that case, I would gently suggest you consider whether it would be better to wait until you've paid off your current car before buying a new one.

8. Think twice about trade-in promos

Another trick dealers use is luring in shoppers with promises of huge trade-in values. If you can push, pull or drag in your old vehicle, you'll be guaranteed thousands of dollars for your trade-in.

9. Offer to pay with green

Buying with cash is a strategy that may or may not get you a discount.

New-car dealers make more then 20 percent of their income (.pdf file) on financing and insurance sales, which means they have little incentive to accept cash. On the used lot, you might get a little more negotiating power, especially if there is a smaller financial incentive for the dealer and the salesperson is eager to avoid the hassle of completing financing paperwork. In my case, paying with cash dropped the price about $500.

10. Buy from private sellers

Speaking of private sellers, you're likely to get a better deal from them even if you don't do any wheeling and dealing. That's one way Money Talks News finance expert Stacy Johnson found a near mint condition $5,000 car.

The Cathford Group Credit Inc: 'TSB allowed £35,000 to be taken from my account - then blamed me'

A guarded message on your phone asks you to visit a branch of your bank. When you get there, it’s bad news. Multiple fraudulent transactions have been made on your account, payments that the bank has permitted to go through. Then everything gets even worse: the bank says you are to blame for allowing your password, Pin or other information to find its way into criminals’ possession.

This is the nightmarish – and increasingly common – scenario in which Trevor Smith found himself in February. A fraudster posing as Mr Smith contacted TSB and told the bank he was moving from his home in Wimborne, Dorset, to Portsmouth. A new card and other details were requested and the bank, satisfied that the request was genuine, sent them.

Unknown to Mr Smith, 53, who works for a transport business, the fraudster swiftly set about logging into the account online where he or she applied for a loan of £9,800 and moved £7,400 cash Isa savings, also with TSB, into the current account. The loan was granted and savings moved.

Just days later, around the weekend of February 15-16, the account was drained in a blizzard of spending and cash withdrawals. Most transactions were in south-east London, including two purchases totalling £2,500 at a jewellery store in Lewisham and, astonishingly, a transaction for £3,985 at a “cafĂ©” in Elephant & Castle. There were six further payments for £200, two more for £1,500, and many other withdrawals, some linked to addresses in Greenwich, Woolwich and in the Thames Estuary area.

At the time, Mr Smith and his wife, who have had the same joint account for 26 years, were entirely unaware of the crime. Their account statement later showed that while the fraudster was on a spree in London, the Smiths were making their own modest purchases at everyday outlets such as Boots and Sainsbury’s, back in Dorset. It was early the next week, as the rogue payments started to hit the account, that TSB contacted Mr Smith. By then it was too late and £35,000 had gone.

Initially the bank was sympathetic. Then its stance hardened. It took the view there was no way the fraud could have occurred without Mr Smith having compromised the security of his account, and made clear it would not help find or return the money.

What followed was a “nightmare which has brought me close to tears of frustration and desperation”, said Mr Smith, who contacted the police and also wasted no time in taking matters to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Because of the loan fraudulently taken out in his name, TSB started to demand repayments, including making numerous calls to Mr Smith in the evenings and at weekends. At the end of last week it issued two final letters threatening legal action unless the money was repaid within a fortnight.

Mr Smith then contacted Telegraph Money. Within two days of our inquiries, TSB changed tack. It repaid the money and unwound the loan arrangement. But it maintained that he was to blame, saying: “The fraudster managed to change the address on Mr Smith’s account through telephone banking after correctly being verified, which suggests he had managed to obtain key information about your reader.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

15 Career Experts Share The Best Interview Tips For College Graduates: The Cathford Group Credit Inc

With thousands of graduates around the country entering the workforce, job hunting is at its peak right now.  But job hunting can be a daunting experience for a lot of college graduates – how should you market yourself?  How do you talk about internships and unpaid experiences?  What if you focused only on class and didn’t work in college?

All of these concerns are valid, and job interviews after graduation can be tough.  That’s why we’ve compiled tips for 15 career experts who’ve spent their professional careers interviewing new graduates.  Read their tips and ace your next job interview.

Alyson Jamison, Stalwart Communications

Alyson has been integrally involved in the hiring process of employees and interns at Stalwart Communications.  Here are her two top tips:

1. Create a short video. We had a candidate recently submit a video that introduced themselves, their experience and passions. As a result, we brought them in and they stood out compared to other applicants who only submitted a resume, cover letter and writing samples. It not only backs up the fact that they had videography experience that they included in their resume, but it allowed us to see a different side of the individual. Now days, a lot of people can look great on paper, but providing another medium to showcase your skills and show a bit of your personality loan makes a difference.

2. Create case studies. On resumes, candidates often include accomplishments from various positions. However, individuals who can pick out a few successes that correlate to the position they’re looking to land and create case study will stand out. Discuss what the problem was, the solutions and results achieved.

Steve Deckert, Sweet Tooth

Steve Deckert is the co-founder of Sweet Tooth, a tech firm where he hires marketing and software undergraduates.  To get an interview, he’s already gone through the candidate’s resume and has accepted their credentials.  At the interview stage, he is looking for two things:

1. Validate the candidate’s credentials.

2. See if the candidate’s personality is the right fit for the organization.

His tip to graduates is simple: Don’t focus so much on the credentials. 

Instead, figure out what type of personality fits well within an organization.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Cathford Group Credit Inc - New Homeowner Asks for PMI Escape Plan

Dear Dr. Don,

I purchased my house for $345,000 in February 2013 with a down payment of $15,000. My loan is for $305,000 and the house is worth $400,000.

Do you think it would be smart to take out a home equity line of credit to pay down my loan in order to qualify to cancel my private mortgage insurance policy? I'd like to get rid of my PMI payments. What's the best way to accomplish this goal?

Thank you,

- Addie Amortize

Dear Addie,

Homeowners often dislike private mortgage insurance, which is seen as an added expense. The policy protects the lender, not the homeowner. In truth, PMI allowed you to buy a home with a smaller down payment. You gained any appreciation in the home's value over that time and obtained a better interest rate. That describes your situation and you've only been in the home for a year.

Assuming your appraisal of the home's value is accurate, refinancing is an option to be relieved of PMI, but the interest rate could be higher. You'll need to pay closing costs, another added expense, on the new mortgage.

So, let's talk about the notion of getting a home equity line or loan to pay down your first mortgage so the PMI can be canceled.

If your loan was sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, they allow you to count the home's appreciation while determining when you may cancel the PMI policy. There are, however, so-called loan seasoning requirements. These require an outstanding loan balance of 75 percent if you've lived in the home for at least two years. Otherwise, you must have an outstanding loan balance of 80 percent if you've been in the home for at least five years.

My suggestion is that you wait it out. You've had the current mortgage for over a year. If you wait until the two-year mark, and if your loan was sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, then you'll meet their standard for requesting PMI cancellation. That will help you avoid a new HELOC or a home equity loan to accomplish the goal.

You will need to initiate the request to terminate the PMI policy and are responsible for the cost of an appraisal acceptable to the agency and the lender. Talk to your lender to get further details as you approach your second anniversary in the home.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Cathford Group Credit Inc: Read contracts carefully before signing

If you always stop to read the fine print before signing anything, congratulations – your parents trained you well. If you don't, beware: Your signature could commit you to a long-term gym membership you don't really want, an apartment you can't afford or worst of all, paying off someone else's loan you cosigned.

Broadly defined, contracts are mutually binding agreements between two or more parties to do – or not do – something. It could be as simple as buying coffee (you pay $3 and the restaurant agrees to serve you a drinkable beverage), or as complex as signing a 30-year mortgage.

Once a contract is in force it generally cannot be altered unless all parties agree. And, with very few exceptions (e.g., if deception or fraud took place), contracts cannot easily be broken.

Before you enter a contractual agreement, try to anticipate everything that might possibly go wrong. For example:

After you've leased an apartment you decide you can't afford the rent or don't like the neighborhood. Your roommate moves out, leaving you responsible for the rest of the lease. You finance a car you can't afford, but when you try to sell, it's worth less than your outstanding loan balance. You buy a car and only later notice that the sales agreement includes an extended warranty or other features you didn't verbally authorize. You sign a payday loan without fully understanding the terms and end up owing many times the original loan amount. You buy something on sale and don't notice the store's "No returns on sale items" policy. You click "I agree" to a website's privacy policy and later realize you've given permission to share your personal information. You buy a two-year cellphone plan, but after the grace period ends, discover that you have spotty reception and it will costs hundreds of dollars to buy your way out.

Cosigning a loan can be particularly risky. If the other person stops making payments, you're responsible for the full amount, including late fees or collection costs. Not only will your credit rating suffer, but the creditor can use the same collection methods against you as against the primary borrower, including suing you or garnishing your wages.

Still, there may be times you want to cosign a loan to help out a relative or friend. The Federal Trade Commission's handy guide, "Co-signing a Loan," shows precautions to take before entering such agreements (

A few additional reminders:

Ensure that everything you were promised verbally appears in writing. Make sure all blank spaces are filled in or crossed out before signing any documents –including the tip line on restaurant and hotel bills. Don't be afraid to ask to take a contract home for more careful analysis or to get a second opinion. A lawyer or financial advisor can help.

Don't be pressured into signing anything. If salespeople try that tactic, walk away. (Be particularly wary at timeshare rental meetings.) Keep copies of every document you sign. This will be especially important for contested rental deposits, damaged merchandise, insurance claims, extended warranties, etc.

Take along a "wingman" if you're making an important decision like renting an apartment or buying a car to help ask questions and protect your interests. Be wary of "free trial" offers. Read all terms and conditions and pay particular attention to pre-checked boxes in online offers.

Bottom line: Contracts protect both parties. Just make sure you fully understand all details before signing on the dotted line.