Travel & Leisure – Oxymoron?

For me, travel and leisure, like sweet and sour, is an oxymoron. I don’t find travel relaxing. On the contrary, I find it stressful, frustrating, and too much like work. My worst nightmare is the thought of packing a suitcase. It’s on par with The Exorcist and the Night of the Living Dead, in terms of sheer terror. I feel as if I have been assigned the task of pounding round pegs into square holes or playing tennis with an unstrung racquet. It just can’t be done (by me anyway)!

Then, there is the planning and worse yet, re-planning, because this date isn’t available, that hotel is booked up, and this flight is full! It’s enough to challenge your patience, if not your sanity.

When all these obstacles have been conquered, you must then attend the post 911security theatre playing now at an airport near you!

Honestly, if some entrepreneurial genius would just launch a new airline (they could call it “Air Naked”) for nudists or anyone, for that matter, willing to fly sans apparel, the security lines would move faster than Roadrunner dodging Wile E. Coyote’s falling anvil because even nuns would shed their habit to get past TSA (Totalitarian State of Airport) with some alacrity.

Are we over-reacting, or what! I really don’t understand the mentality. One nutcase tries to set his shoe on fire and now we all have to shuffle barefoot through airport security. I’m half expecting to be forced to fly “commando” after the underwear bomber incident. What next? Some nerd uses his laptop battery to convert his Dasani to hydrogen and oxygen (ala the Hindenberg) and we all have to give up water on the plane! Where does it end? Who among us will draw a line in the sand and say, ‘I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!’ It has reached the point that being protected from terrorism is more terrifying than terrorism! What happened to the United States of America, whose president defiantly quipped, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Did that United States of America crumble into same dismal pile of rubble as the twin towers? If so, then the terrorists have chalked up a victory and we are a defeated nation that simply has not acknowledged it.

If I’ve offended anyone with this expression of my views on current travel issues, I do not apologize. I am entitled to my opinion. If you find yourself in disagreement, write your own article. Yes, we still have the right of free speech, although anti-terrorist legislation allows it to be “bugged” sans warrant.

Until these aforementioned problems are resolved, I am determined to become the quintessential “staycationer”. A leisure pursuit designed just for people like me. No stressful preparation, planning or packing. Just come home from work one evening, settle into the recliner with a six-pack and turn on ESPN. A week or two later, shower, shave and head back to the office. Perfection!

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Fun And Cost Effective Travel Tips

Travelling within your financial limits can be a little bit frustrating. Nowadays, plane tickets are constantly increasing its price. You will really break your account spending hundreds of dollars for your trip. Driving is very time-consuming and tiring followed by the fees in food and lodging. However, it is not necessary to spend too much during your travel. There are options that you can make in order to have a cost efficient journey.

The very first thing to consider in travelling is the budget. Budget sets your limitation of what you should and shouldn’t do along the trip. Day trips are more advisable for a cost-effective travel since it requires lesser expenses. Try checking for local travel tours first before planning to travel outside of the country. There might be places near your hometown that you will find interesting and exciting to visit. A faraway journey needs bigger budget too. Once your budget has been identified, proceed to your planning. You should not go to a trip without knowing what to do. It is best to research the place first so that you will be familiar to the tourist spots and culture of the people who lives there.

Travelling outside the country will be less expensive if you plan and prepared for it earlier to your travel date. If you want to go by plane, start booking your ticket in advance. You will really save a lot if you will buy your plane ticket, hotel accommodation or events because the earlier you will book; chances of getting discount are highly possible. Getting all of these a day before your trip or even on the spot purchase will be a big shock to your pocket. Next to consider is the food preparation for the days that you will stay in a trip. There are different kinds of food recipe in every country and prices might have a big difference too. You can ask for referrals to your friends or relatives who already been there so that they can direct you to restaurant with delicious foods in reasonable prices. Do not eat so much when you are in a trip. It will help you save money. Avoid ordering food from your hotel restaurant if they offer expensive menus. Look outside for restaurants that offer variety of foods which can be cheaper compared to the hotel restaurant.

Try looking into travel packages for the destination of your trip. There are times that companies offer travelling services with great discounts when you are going to avail the package. These travel packages will surely fit to your budget since you will be travelling in groups. Aside from that, there is a possibility that you will be travelling with a tour guide as part of the services that a company offers. Always be flexible with your travel plan. If there are unexpected changes that occurs against your plan, try some means that will somehow fix it so that you will not be wasting the money you’ve already spent in the early preparation of your trip. Do not change the whole course of your plan if you already started the preparation. There is always a remedy for some changes so keep it up and make the best out of it.

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Digital Marketing Trends for 2013

Digital marketing is ever-evolving, and as we move into the year 2013, it is evident that the technology to deliver the enterprise with digital at its core is here now. The challenge is to lead and marshal the talent and innovative culture needed to make it a reality. Given below are a few trends to watch out.

Increase in the number of Digital Marketing Agencies or Consultants

The digital revolution has forever changed the balance of power between the customer and the organization, putting customers in charge of the relationship. The pace of decisions and deployments for marketing automation software and services is booming. However most marketing teams are not yet ready to deal with the complexity of marketing automation nor are they capable of fully leveraging the digital transformation that is required. Due this and the unprecedented demand is contributing towards the increase in the number of Digital Marketing agencies or consultants.

Small and medium businesses are also realizing the power of content marketing and need consulting services to help with the proliferation of the marketing tools and technology available, so more and more organizations are turning to digital marketing agencies to preside over these efforts.

CMO and CIO Departments to strengthen their partnership

Technology is rapidly remaking marketing departments; marketing campaigns are morphing into enterprise digital media projects that encompass. Marketing budgets are growing to meet IT demand, it is critically important for Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to collaborate in new ways and transform their organizations to drive business growth.

The Year of Mobile

Consumers are spending more time and money on their mobile devices than ever before; there are encouraging evidences which support consumer engagement via mobile. Brands are keen to leverage location technology, social media and other behavioral data to orchestrate their mobile marketing as it is generation lot of attention.

Integrated Marketing Campaigns

As marketers aspire to leverage cross-channel digital campaigns to deliver real-time results at a lower cost, integrated channel campaigns will take dominance. An integrated tool set that can convert unknown traffic to known traffic will leverage competitive advantage to most companies.

Data Driven Marketing

Data driven marketing will take prominence in the year ahead. An average B2B company uses, on average 6 different Marketing automation tools to manage a single marketing campaign, and all these tools provide the bulk of actionable data. Moreover, a company’s social network can now range into millions of potential unique contacts. The sheer number of people, accounts, and permutations in the data make engaging with that audience very daunting. At the same time, companies are under intense pressure to drive revenue, and tight budgets are forcing marketers to make informed data-driven decisions. Tools that will enable marketers to extract the insights from the detailed bulk data will actually serve modern marketing needs.

Optimized Cross Channel Customer Experience

This is what all marketers’ are focused on delivering. The customer journey should be seamless across channels and each should play to its strengths. To achieve this all your digital platforms must talk to each other and in sync with the overall marketing strategy.

Content marketing

The trend in Content Marketing is to focus less on preparing content that will sell and more on content that will educate. Instead of pitching products or services, delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent will work. Content writers and bloggers will be distinguished by the content they create and their influence reaches, not by their titles. There are a host of new decision engines, social curation platforms, content provisioning and production technologies and services emerging (e.g. Story stream, Smartology, iTrigga etc). The demand for content curation rapidly increasing, there is an interesting new set of platforms and services appearing that will enable new content models enhance content delivery by enhancing existing CMSs.

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Improve Your Poor Credit Score and Secure Yourself a Loan

So you are thinking of getting some extra money to make some urgent home repairs, the porch door needs replacing, along with a new hot water system. Unfortunately you do not have the money in the bank, but neither do you have a secure porch door or any constant hot water.

Have you considered personal loans? A lot of people take out personal loans for this type of repair. Car repairs and even holidays are used by people with their newly acquired finances. Most people have heard that a poor credit score is not a good thing (However even those that have a poor financial history can still get loans). But how do you make a good rating?

One of thing major pieces of advice from experts, before you apply for finance it is best to get a credit report completed from a reputable source. This will give you an idea of the chance of getting your application approved. In the United States of America there are three levels of credit rating, basically the higher it is the better it is.

An excellent rating is above 760, a good rating would be between 700 and 759 and a poor rating would be between 640 to 699. if you are at the top end, 760 and above then there is no point in making your rating any better. However with other ratings it is worth trying to improve as it will help your chances of succeeding in the application.

There does seem to be a bit of a chicken and egg situation sometimes, you need finance but have a poor score,but to improve you need a lender to give you a chance. Well, luckily there are things that you and your family if you have one, can do to improve your rating.

Having a poor rating does not mean you have to be stuck with it, starting to pay the bills on time instead of late or not at all will start to get you on the right path. Some lenders will still give applicants loans even with a low score, but the total given will be lower than usually and the percentage rate will be considerably higher. So you will pay more over the period of the finance.

Families can help too. If a member of your family has a good rating then some credit card companies can add you to that family members credit card as an authorized user, this will help with any poor credit score. Also having a family member with a good rating co-sign the loan could help you get what you need.

Finding the correct lender for your score is a good way to make sure that you are getting what you deserve, if you have a high score you deserve some of the best deals on the market. Instead of going to your bank or card company you can go online and search for a matching company. Companies like this are a good place go to make sure you achieve the best deal.

What are a matching company and what do they do? You enter your details on their online program and your information will be fed to several of their approved lenders, in turn the lenders will then return to the matching company with a list of loans that they are able to offer.

Once the offers come back it is then up to the applicant to choose one and complete all the necessary paperwork. A check will then be received within a matter of days and your new boiler and door fitted soon after.

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Payment Options for Shopping All the Way

Everyone is busy. Busy in shopping online and in the malls. Popular online portals are breaking and making new sale records! All thanks to the convenience and the availability of easy payment options and funds!

Here are few of the factors that are making online businesses a success

Credit Cards: A credit card is plastic money. It is one of the easiest form in which a person gets a personal loan.

All online portals as well as retailers in malls accept credit cards issued by various banks.
Online payment becomes very simple and safe, thanks to the one time passwords generated for such transactions.
A PIN is sufficient for shopping using a credit card at any retail store.

Personal loans for shopping: When we apply for a personal loan, we don’t have to provide the financier with the details of what we want the loan for.

Thus these days’ personal loans are being used to finance shopping.
They can also be used as wedding loans, vacation loans and educational loans.

Payment Processing: As far as payment processing is concerned, the following factors matter to both the consumer and the online retailer.

Uncomplicated manoeuvring on website: It is important for the payment process to be step-by-step and easy to understand. Most websites work on this section very carefully and thus the online shopping experience is satisfactory.

Processing Costs: Processing costs matter to the retailers. More the processing fees they have to pay to providers of payment gateways like Visa, the lesser are their margins. So to have an effective business the processing costs need to be low.
Number of payment options: Multiple payment options should be available for the customer to make payment. This makes the shopping a convenient proposition.
Time taken to process transactions: Processing time not only tests your patience but sometimes also the strength of your internet connection!

Cash on Delivery: This is also known as “collection on delivery.” This is a very popular mode of making payments for shopping in the developing world.

It enhances impulse purchases.
A credit card is not an essential possession for the buyer.
The buyer can check the quality of the product and then pay

So this festive season, do not hesitate to shop and to gift! The availability of funds for shopping is not difficult anymore. Also the convenience of online shopping has brought various retailers to our doorstep. So let us shop all the way!

An easy way of shopping is using a credit card. It forms an integral part of most people’s financial planning. When used in the right manner, it helps reduce financial liability and optimizes financial resources.

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Are Online Personal Loans Good For People With Bad Credit?

While the rise of online lending in itself makes it more convenient for people to apply for finance, is this development a good thing for those who are already struggling? There are companies out there who charge expensive annual percentage rates (APRs), leaving many people in more trouble than when they first started.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Over the last few years, online lending has earned itself a bad reputation. The internet leaves many people vulnerable to fraud, so you should always exercise caution when inputting your financial details. The best way to make sure your information remains safe is to find a secure, reliable lending platform.

There is an unfair irony attached to lending today. Those with bad credit are often led to believe they have no financial options if they have made mistakes in the past, often making their situations seem more desperate than they actually are. This can result in people making bad decisions and can lead to borrowing through unstable sources.

Meanwhile, any lenders that do accept you with bad credit will charge extortionate interest rates because of your history, making it more difficult for you to meet your monthly repayment obligations – thus worsening your situation. This is a trap that many people fall into, and it gives online installment lenders a bad name.

However, this doesn’t need to be the case. If you can find yourself a reliable lending platform, you will be connected to a secure network of trustworthy lenders who can offer sensible solutions to your borrowing needs. Many of these lenders will assess your application, even if your credit file isn’t perfect or your income is lower than average.

Instead of (or in some cases, as well as) running credit checks, these lenders will take other factors into consideration, including your income and employment circumstances, and how long you have lived at your current address. They may even ask for references they can contact who will vouch for your character personally.

Even those who receive benefits as a form of income will be able to apply, giving everyone a fair and carefully considered chance of borrowing money. In these cases, applicants won’t be accepted for higher loans than they can afford to pay back, and interest rates will be low, meaning there is a better chance of managing repayments.

If you have poor credit and need to borrow money, consider a personal installment loan, but make sure the APR is advertised between 5.99% and 35.99%. There should also be a number of options in terms of flexible repayment, offering you the chance to pay the money back anywhere between six months and six years, depending on what you can afford to pay per month.

Small, carefully considered personal loans could actually help you build a financial profile making you eligible for better future borrowing. As long as the lender is responsible, and offers reasonable interest rates, online lending platforms can actually give people with more opportunities than many other lenders in terms of improving their situation.

With this in mind, personal loans can be beneficial to those hoping to improve their credit score, but only if some caution is exercised by both parties, and you only apply to borrow an amount you can afford to pay back.

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Five Reasons for Refusal of a Personal Loan

Don’t you wish personal finance were a mandatory course in college? Unfortunately, too many of us learn by mistake. When you need a personal loan and are rejected, you might be baffled as to what went wrong- and how to fix it. Here are some clues.

NO CREDIT

No credit is a situation where you have never used credit and therefore have no credit history for the bank to review. They have no way of making an educated decision on whether or not you will pay back a personal loan based on your credit history. No credit is worse than bad credit. Qualifying for and making regular payments on these types of introductory forms of credit can overcome a “no credit” score:

· Student Loans

· Secured credit card (includes a down payment amount)

· Being added to a parent’s or spouses good credit: card, car loan, etc.

LOW CREDIT

Low credit takes on several forms. If you’re using more than 30% of your allowable debt, it can negatively impact your score. Too many inquiries from shopping around for loans will also hit you hard. Lapses in payment, defaults, or bankruptcies are giant red flags and can take a long time to rebuild from.

Other things that lenders may look at are whether or not you have sizeable assets should you default on the loan. They also check to see if your debts are diversified or if you are only carrying one type of debt.

INCOME

Proof of income is generally required when applying for a personal loan. If you are unemployed or underemployed, it can work against you in the loan approval process. Lenders may also require a work history to see how long you have been with your current employer, and to determine if you typically have job stability. Frequent job loss or change will tell a creditor that your payments may not be reliable.

PURPOSE OF THE LOAN

Believe it or not, your application can be rejected due to your proposed purpose for the loan. Financial institutions have the right to set up the parameters surrounding their disbursements and can accept or reject your application based on what you want to use the money for.

BLACKLISTING

If you’ve defaulted on debt before, your name may be put on a list of whom not to loan to,’ also known as a “Blacklist.” This will follow you around for a long time and is difficult to erase. If you do resolve the debt issues, get documents to prove the resolution.

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How Can A Personal Loan Improve Your Credit Score?

When it comes to a personal loan, you have to first learn to use it responsibly. Because if you miss a repayment, your credit score will be impacted adversely. And remember, that a credit score is an indicator of how well you manage your personal finances. Also, it plays a defining role when you apply for any kind of loan – secured and unsecured. It is suggested to apply for a loan slightly larger than what is needed so that you will be assured to have enough money to pay all bills necessary and still have some money left over to ensure that your bank account stays current.

A credit score can be defined as a number which reflects the financial situation of a person. If the person is well-off when it comes to financial matters, then he or she is said to have a high credit score. On the other hand, if a person is the exact opposite of this, then they possess a low credit score. There are a lot of factors that are considered by financial institutions for the purpose of evaluating a person’s credit score – usually, the credit scores of people vary from 300 to about 850.

A personal loan is a type of loan that is given by digital lenders, banks and credit unions to aid you in your plans, be it starting a small business, or making a big purchase. Personal loans tend to have an interest rate(s) lower than the credit cards; however, they can also be put to use for combining several credit card debts together into one monthly lower-cost payment.

Now, your credit score is built by keeping in mind various parameters from your credit reports. These reports serve the purpose of trailing your history of utilization of the credit across the duration of seven years. These credit reports are comprised of information, including how much credit you have utilized to date, the type of credit in your possession, the age of one’s credit accounts, whether one has put in for bankruptcy or liens filed against them, actions of debt collections taken against them, one’s total open lines of credit as well as recent inquiries for hard credit.

Like any other type of credit, personal loans are very capable of affecting your credit score. This can be done through the process of applying and withdrawing a personal loan. If you are curious as to how personal loans can end up affecting your credit, then read on to find out more about the context. There are many ways in which your credit can be affected by personal loans and some of them are listed below:

The ratio of your debt-to-income and loan

Debt-to-income ratio is considered to be the measure of your amount of income that you spend on the debt repayments. In the case of lenders, the amount of income that you receive is said to be one of the major factors proving that you are able to repay your loan.

Some of the lenders have come up with their own debt-to-income ratio so that their proprietary credit scores may make use of it in the form of a credit consideration. Do not fall into the kind of mindset that possessing a high amount of a loan would hurt your credit. The most damage it can do is raise the ratio of your debt-to-income so that you won’t be able to apply for loans anymore without it getting rejected or denied.

Paying loans on time will make credit scores soar

The moment your loan is approved, you have to make sure that you settle the payments of each month on time and in full. Delay in repayment may significantly impact the state of your credit score. However, on the other hand, if you make the payments on time every month, then your credit score will soar high, leading to an overall good score. This will not only make your name to the preferred borrower’s list, but it will prove to be beneficial for you in the long run.

Since your payment history is comprised of almost 35% of your credit score, paying loans on time is essential in cases like these so that your credit score can maintain a positive status.

Variety is built into your credit type

There are about five factors that are responsible for determining your credit score. These are composed of the payment history, the length of the credit history, the utilization ratio of the credit, the credit mix and new inquiries of the credit in accordance with FICO®.

The credit mix only accounts for about 35% of your total credit score, whereas when it comes to a personal loan you can have a varying mix of the credit types. This mix of all types of credit is viewed at a high level of approval by the creditors and lenders.

Origination fee charged by loans

Most of the lenders end up charging you an origination fee. This fee cannot be avoided at any cost and is instantly taken off from the amount of the loan payment. The amount of origination fees depends upon the amount of the loan you are about to borrow. Late payments can lead to an overdraft of fees and late expenses. Therefore, make sure that you pay complete repayment for each month before the deadline.

Avoiding penalties when it comes to payments

Some of the credit lenders tend to charge an additional fee if you end up paying your part of the loan earlier than the agreed date. This is because they are looking for moderate amounts of interest on your loan. Now, seeing that you have paid off your part of the loan before time, they will miss out on that interest that they could have possibly made if you had not cleared the debt soon enough before the deadline.

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