How to achieve your goals

medalWhich goals do you wish to accomplish? What are the dreams you have? Take some time, and think about what dreams you have. Dreams for today, dreams for tomorrow, and dreams for the long term…

Well, you need to know that a lot of goals and dreams do not require having a lot of money at all. To give you an example, you may want to pay a visit to one of your friends who’s living a couple of miles away. Well, just take a day off and go… Or maybe you’re dreaming about spending some extra time with your relatives or family. Perhaps you could take them out for a great picnic in the forest instead of having diner at home. This kind of goals and dreams won’t cost you a fortune, but they actually are really worthwhile.

Fulfilling some other dreams or accomplishing some other goals do require some money though. Maybe you’re dreaming about things like:

  • Buying or renting a house in a safer neighborhood that has some good schools
  • Having a reliable car
  • Setting up your own small business
  • Dealing with your debt: pay it off!
  • Getting a better education. Improve your skills, earn a GED, or go to college

Now how will you succeed in making your dreams and goals come true? Well, determination is key, but so is self-respect and self-belief and understanding that you are deserving the life that you’ve always dreamed about. Continue reading

TCOC helps students with scholarships

Tri-County Opportunities Council (TCOC) is providing 15 scholarships to qualifying students. TCOC is the Illinois Community Action Agency that focuses on the counties of Lee, LaSalle, Carroll. Bureau, Ogle, Marshall, Stark, Whiteside, and Putnam.

The TCOC scholarships are up to $1,250 each and were made available through the Community Services Block Grant funds of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Development. All ethnic or racial minorities, students from low-income families, and also earlier scholarship recipients may file an application.

In order to qualify for the TCOC scholarship competition, applicant need to be members of income-eligible households, need to attend an accredited Illinois higher learning institution, and residents of a county administrated by the Tri-County Opportunities Council.

To be eligible for a full scholarship ($1,250), applicants must be full-time students with at least 12 semester hours. Part-time based students may also partake in the competition, but scholarships are pro-rated in case they come out as winners. Continue reading

Solving Mortgage Problems

When Should You Talk With The Mortgage Company

When you get into a situation that you can’t make your monthly mortgage payment, get in touch with the mortgage company as soon as you can. You really should make that call before you start falling behind in your payments. Quite a few mortgage companies are accepting partial payments, and some may even let you skip some payment(s) and not even charge a late fee. Of course you’ll still owe for the skipped payment(s), but they let you pay it off more gradually. Keep in mind that mortgage companies (just as landlords) will be far more likely to cooperate with you when you contact them before you fall behind in your monthly payments.

In case you are not able to come up with a plan, you should immediately get in touch with a housing counseling agency. The US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) operates a housing counseling & referral telephone line that will direct you to low- or no-cost resources (1-800-569-4287). You can also get in touch with your city, county, or state housing authority. You can find their phone numbers on the government pages in your telephone directory. You may also want to get in touch with a nonprofit consumer credit agency to help you restructure all your debt payments. Check out the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (1-800-388-2227). You can also go to the website of the NEFE (Smart About Money Economic Survival Tips) for advise on how to best protect your home from foreclosure. Continue reading

Paying Rent Problems. When Should You Contact Your Landlord

The moment you know that you will have trouble to pay your rent, you should go and talk to your landlord. The longer you’ll wait, the more the landlord will be thinking that you’re not willing to come up with the back rent. And then, your landlord could begin the eviction process. Another aspect is that, in case you come to an agreement with your landlord before he sets out on the eviction path, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of money, as there’s quite some legal cost associated with eviction procedures. In case you’ll pay the back rent after he already started the eviction process, the landlord may very well demand that you also pay for those legal costs.

What Should You Tell Your Landlord

When talking with the landlord, try to explain your situation as clearly as possible. Don’t waste much of his time by describing all your troubles, because you just want to inform him that the problems are of a temporary nature. Bear in mind that for your landlord, you are merely a customer, and not a friend. On top of coming up with a decent repayment plan, you also can indicate that you have taken steps to avoid a similar situation in the future. One more way to fulfill  your back payment obligations is to see if the landlord has any work to be done on this or another property. Lawns may require some attention or the hallways may want some fresh paint. In case your landlord will agree, you could spend weekend or evening hours performing these tasks, thus decreasing the amount of owed back rent. It will take some real courage to address this sort of problems, but generally will landlords be more likely to help if you talk to them first. In case your landlord needs to corner you on your back rent, there’s little chance for working out a suitable plan. Continue reading

My Home as a Wealth Builder

Owning your own home comes with quite a few benefits. Maybe the most important is that you have the chance to create equity in your real estate, a great asset. Equity is actually that portion of your house that would bring in cash for you if you would sell your house today. When you pay do a mortgage payment, a portion of that payment is for interest on the loan, while the rest will add up towards your equity as the loan amount is reduced.

There will come a time that you could borrow money against the equity of your home to fund one of your kids’ education or, if you want, to remodel your house. Owning your own house is a great investment in you, your family, and your future. Beware though, that even though your house or condo will generally increase in value, there is no guarantee. We all have seen during the past decade that houses may actually lose a good deal of their value, but this really depends on where you are living, your state’s or the national economy, and several other factors. When that happens, you couldn’t sell your house for what you paid. Continue reading

How Much Money Do I Need if I Want to Buy a House?

In case you are enjoying a steady, good income and if you don’t carry much debt, there’s the rule of thumb that says that you are able to buy a house that costs between 2.5 and 3 times your yearly gross earnings. If, for example, you (or your spouse and you together) are making $40,000 annually, you probably are qualifying to buy a house or a condo that’s costing between $100,000 and $120,000.

Closing Costs & Down Payment

If you can buy your own house, you’ll be faced with several up-front costs. The amount of money that you will need in total is depending on a few factors, such as the price of the house and what mortgage type you will get. But there are also standard costs such as earnest money (deposit), down payment, and closing costs. Let’s take a look: Continue reading

How Can I Own a Home?

Housing Tips & Options

One of the important things in life is having your own place to live. A place that you can call your own, where you feel safe and your family too. Feeling comfortable in your own place is crucial for your well-being. There are times that having a place you can call your own will help to make other problems in life more bearable. Usually, the cost for housing take out the biggest chunk of a family’s budget, and even in times when money is tight, the majority of people will cut all other expenses to be able to pay for the mortgage or rent every month.

There are times, however, that events happen that are not in our control. For example, an emergency may leads to huge medical bills, or maybe a divorce or a layoff is threatening housing payments. In this article we’ll take a closer look at some very useful home owning and rental tips, and also what the consequences are of owning and keeping your own home. This article provides several ideas for support when you are in the situation of risking to loose your housing.

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Job Benefits: Disability Insurance

In case you are sound and healthy, you may not see any value in disability insurance coverage. But we all know that illnesses and accidents really do happen. It is actually more likely that you won’t be able to perform your work for over 90 days due to illness or an accident than that you will pass away before reaching the age of 65. In case become hurt or sick and won’t be able to work for a longer period of time, having a decent disability insurance will help you get through the days or months that you won’t get a regular paycheck.

When your employer is not offering disability insurance, think about getting it yourself. Disability insurance doesn’t need to be so expensive, especially when you compare it with health insurance, though the cost are depending on your chosen coverage and your occupation. Continue reading

Job Benefits: Education and Retirement

Just imagine that all your training or college expenses are paid for… Well, this may happen when your company offers education benefits.

If you want to break away from the ongoing cycle of badly-paying jobs, in-demand skills is what you should focus on, and the only way to get there is through continuing education. So if you have an employer that is helping to pay for your education, head back to school and start learning!

Your employer’s education benefits may vary from paying for certain costs to a maximum per year, to picking up the full tuition tab for training related to your position. Employers may also opt to furnish a percentage of your education costs, or subsidize a set amount pf money. Regardless of what benefit your employer offers, you should really take advantage of these options. I’m sure it will pay off in the future, and in many ways. What’s important is that it allows you to grow continually, and it will provide you with the tools to turn your dreams into reality. Continue reading

Job Benefits (Work Incentives) To Consider

Health Insurance in Key

Having good health insurance for you and the ones around you is critical. There are quite a few employers that will pay for (or at least a great deal) of your health-insurance policy costs. In general we can see that, even if you still are required to pay for a portion of the insurance premium, your cost is usually far less than when you would have to pay for it all by yourself. We can find numerous sorts of healthcare plans. Most larger categories are including the health maintenance organization, indemnity plan, preferred provider organization, point-of-service plan, and a health savings account.

Please note that when you currently are eligible for Medicaid benefits, having a job could influence your benefits. There are, though, special rules (labeled ‘work incentives’) that still allow you to work and at the same time receive benefits. If you want to learn more, visit the website of the Medicaid program and check information on the program called ‘Ticket to Work’. Continue reading

How to find a job

Looking for a good job can be quite challenging. You should regularly check all the available resources, but also inform your family and friends that you’re looking for a job. You never can tell when or if anybody may hear about a job opening which could be your perfect fit.

You may also be attracted to a company you would like to work for. If you happen to know somebody who works there, you can ask him who would be the right person to contact, and see if you can use him as reference. Then you can get in touch with that person and express the interest you have in working for his company while stressing that your acquaintance recommended the contact. Even though there may very well not be an opening at that point in time, chances are that you will have put yourself on top of the list when they want new staff.

Generally you should try to keep away from so-called ‘work from home’ job offerings that are frequently advertised. They usually come with a 1-800 toll-free number but most of the time, they will request you to send money up-front to buy the products that they want you to sell, or they want money for some other reason. As a result, only the people that placed the adds will be making money from this sort of schemes, while leaving the respondents with more debt. Continue reading