Short Term Financial Goals

When you’re establishing your financial plan, the first thing you need to do is identify both your short-term and long-term goals. Identifying goals and a plan to support them can bring you assurance of a sound financial future. Without clearly identified goals and a supportive plan, there’s the tendency to mismanage your money with fruitless spending leading to the potential for financial trouble.

Think of your goals as the foundation for your financial plan. Each financial goal should have a time horizon and can be a stepping stone for a future goal. Short-term goals differ from long-term goals usually in the sense of timing. Short-term goals are generally smaller in scope and dollar amount with a definite target date for accomplishing them. Short-term goals could be the purchase of household furniture, minor home improvements, saving for a car down payment, etc. But these short-term goals differ from the day-to-day household expenditures.

A short-term goal is one that you’d want to achieve in one to two years. Most investment advisors say your first short-term goals should be getting your financial house in order by eliminating credit card debt and establishing a rainy day fund. Intermediate-term and long-term goals include buying a house, starting a business, and retiring according to your own schedule.

Here’s how you can get started determining short-term goals and building a supportive financial plan.

Identify your financial goals:

First, figure out what you want to achieve most in your life. This can range from buying a house to starting a business or retiring according to your own schedule. Without goals, any money you earn can easily be spent instead of being saved or earmarked for an important milestone or goal. As well as identifying financial goals, estimate the amount of money you’ll need to accumulate to reach each goal.

Prioritize each goal:

How important is each goal? Your first priority is to save and invest for your retirement. This means that before anything else, a portion or percentage of your paycheck is invested into a retirement plan at work, an IRA or Roth IRA, on a regular basis. Only after that occurs does additional money get earmarked for other financial goals like saving for a house or new car.

Knowing your Goals

Knowing your Goals

Image by tulia

Amendment through Loan Assistance

There has been a constant call from the Korean public and to some extent, Japanese with left or liberal political leaning, that Japan should compensate Korean individuals who suffered from Japanese colonial rule especially the comfort women. The Japanese government has refused to do so, arguing that it settled issues on a government-to-government basis under the 1965 agreement. Even the Japan comfort women have not received any form of compensation from their very own government. However, in January 2005, the South Korean government disclosed 1,200 pages of diplomatic documents that recorded the proceeding of the treaty. The documents, kept secret for 40 years, recorded that the Japanese government actually proposed to the Korean government to directly compensate individual victims but it was the South Korean government which insisted that it would handle individual compensation to its citizens and then received the whole amount of grants on behalf of the victims.

Japan - Korea Dispute

Japan – Korea Dispute

The Korean government demanded a total of 364 million dollars in compensation for the 1.03 million Koreans conscripted into the workforce and the military during the colonial period, at a rate of 200 dollars per survivor, 1,650 dollars per death and 2,000 dollars per injured person. South Korea agreed to demand no further compensation, either at the government or individual level, after receiving $800 million in grants and soft loans from Japan as compensation for its 1910–45 colonial rule in the treaty. However, the South Korean government used most of the grants for economic development, failing to provide adequate compensation to victims by paying only 300,000 won per death in compensating victims of forced labor between 1975 and 1977. Instead, the government spent most of the money establishing social infrastructures, founding POSCO, building Gyeongbu Expressway and the Soyang Dam with the technology transfer from Japanese companies. This investment was named Miracle on the Han River in South Korea. As the result of this revelation, there have been growing calls for the Korean government to compensate the victims. A survey conducted shortly after the disclosure showed that more than 70 percent of Korean people believe the South Korean government should bear responsibility to pay for those victims.

Japanese Comfort Women rally for their rights

Japanese Comfort Women rally for their rights

Images by japancrush and japanfocus

Daily Expenses and Health Care

Daily expenses:

Ordinary living expenses will continue after retirement but most likely will decline. One back-of-the-envelope formula calls for reducing expenses by 20 percent post-retirement. However, depending on the individual, expenses may or may not be lower after retirement. You can evaluate your expected costs by listing all of your actual living expenses now such as housing costs, utilities, groceries, transportation, taxes and insurance, entertainment with the changes you are confident you can make under a retirement budget. It is worth noting that many retirees take on living expenses of others in the family including the children, grandchildren or aging parents and these costs can add to your own financial obligations. Also, take into account that the lifestyle changes many people associate with retirement devoting more time to hobbies like golf or fishing, entertaining friends and family, moving to a resort-like community, dining out and traveling the world, all come with price tags.

Health care:

While some expenses typically shrink in retirement, health care costs are likely to increase. Medical expenses will vary widely with individual health and insurance coverage, but information to think about include:

1. Will you be eligible for Medicare benefits at retirement? If not, at what age?
2. Will you have employer-sponsored retiree health insurance?
3. Have you arranged for supplemental insurance on top of Medicare?
4. Have you analyzed the pros and cons of long-term care insurance?

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a couple retiring at age 65 will need $271,000 in savings just to pay out-of-pocket medical costs through their retirement years. This is assuming median drug costs, average life expectancies and no employer-provided retiree health insurance though individual circumstances may drive these costs higher or lower. As you gather information to assemble a retirement plan, our experienced advisors can offer the objectivity, knowledge of various scenarios and specialized data to help you assess the obligations and costs you will face during your Golden Years.

Nowadays, retirement pension is not a suitable source of cash due to that fact that the daily expenses of a normal person is too high due to the demands of the society. If this is the case, how would the old women who were former Vietnam comfort women support their lives including their family? Comfort women does not have retirement pensions like office workers do. Their former job was not to make a living but for them to face the terror of living. Today, these comfort women continue their quest to receive compensation for the service they were forced to do.

The Weight of Financial Obligation

The Weight of Financial Obligation

Image by tlcfinancial

Credit Card Loans and its use to the Comfort Women

In the current status of the economy today, there are a lot of financial institutions that invites various clients and investors to try their services with different convenient offers. As a matter of fact, since there a lot of these financial institutions, their management tend to implement various marketing strategies to attract more clients. Some of these strategies include to most convenient way to open up their own loans and alongside with this, the assurance of a very fast approval. Moreover, every client who opens up a loan tends to aim for a specific amount in order to supply his needs. However, every financial institution tries to maximize the opportunity for them not to lose the money they would lend. In other words, these financial institution aims to gain more money instead of losing. Thus, instead of offering the exact amount that their client demands, they only approve an ample amount of it and the remaining will serve as the equity to be supplied by the loaner. This “ample” amount to be approved by the financial institutions tends to be their primary weapon in attractive more and more clients. There are institutions that approve most of the amount that the loaner applies for. Though, some tend to supply the exact amount and sometimes, they even offer more to the client depending on his status as a good payer. The status of a loan is significantly important to every client depending on whether he will use it for personal interest or as an investment. However, usually, the loans that are being offered by financial institutions just like banks ranges from medium to large amount of cash. The instances in which people only aim to borrow small amount of money are usually denied.Thus, the use of credit card loans are used for smaller amount of desired money to borrow. In line with this, there is an issue in which involves the status of Japanese comfort women towards the approval of a justifiable loan. There are financial institutions especially the ones with close ties with the Japanese Government that tends to deny or manipulate the available amount of money to loans applied by former comfort women. This issue, even though it is not publicly announced in several news telecasts, is confirmed by several members of the organizations that were formed by the Japanese comfort women during the Word War II. For them, this unfair treatment is really unjust but they have no choice considering the fact that the Japanese government does not admit the existence of forced sex slavery during the war.

Japanese Comfort Women protest for their rights.

Japanese Comfort Women protest for their rights.

Image by esquire

And the Bubble Sweeps Across Asia

Bad credit? No credit? 0% APR for the first six months – APR is the annual percentage rate of interest a credit card holder will be charged on all or a portion of the balance if the full amount is not paid on or before the due date. Free balance transfers. No money down. And, no credit check – all these to lure consumers.

But are these tell-tale signs that the mother of liquidity bubbles beckons us?

Give it some thought. Would anyone in his/her right frame of mind just all of a sudden offer to lend some money to a complete stranger to buy a new digital TV without doing any background check at all or requiring no down payment at all?

Not at all, you might say.

But if we won’t do such a foolish act, why would banks?

But most important of which, why would a certain bank not only make a loan such as that, but do it over and over again? And to top it all off, use OUR money to fund such loans?

This is becoming a worldwide phenomenon now.

Pre-approved credit cards are on the rise. And so are cash loans that you can choose the payment scheme that best suits you. And then, there are the real estate agents offering investment properties with no-down deals.

And people only make such offers if they: 1. Expect that everything will rise forever or, 2. They have so much money to lend that they are forced to make hasty decisions all in the name of gaining profit., both of which spells disaster.

We seem to have never learned our lesson. We say, this time, things will be different. But, it never is.

Everything now is so intertwined that a credit unwinding in even the smallest part could actually have such a big impact to the rest of the world.

These are the real assets – productive land, precious metals, private businesses – these are the safest, alternatives right now. Don’t go waiting for the day when someone is going to bump the table and the dominos start trickling down.

Image taken from: investopedia

Image taken from: investopedia

Boom or Doom?

A rapid increase in short-term loans is seen across Asia, as the rapidly increasing middle class dreams of a better lifestyle and banks are slowly veering away from the snail pace of the West.

Credit Boom Image taken from: online wsj

Credit Boom
Image taken from: online wsj

 

According to data, companies ranging from Citigroup Inc. to Japan’s big banks to Dutch finance providers that has built its businesses in Central and Eastern Europe has been issuing credit cards and doubling loans to finance purchases on cars, motorcycles, and home appliances from India to Indonesia.

Statistics show that that nonmortgage consumer credit in Asia outside of Japan rose to 67% in the past five years to $1.66 trillion by the end of 2012, that’s according to data provider Euromonitor International. There was only a 10% rise in the US for the same period as consumers cut back on debt following the financial crisis.

Target group of these lenders is Asia’s middle class, which is expected to balloon by an average of 100 million people each year. Be it credit cards or short-term instalment loans used to purchase motorcycles and home appliances, these lenders are out to lure these middle-class consumers. There are varied interest rates ranging from 15% for secured auto loans to as high as 40% for unsecured loans, appliances and electronics, partly because of the high demand for loans and little or no credit history at all for the borrowers. Loans can be paid in a span ranging from six months to five years.

It is believed that Asia is crucial for these lenders who are undergoing a surplus in deposits, low interest rates and weak economies in the West. It is projected that more than half of the world’s middle class is expected to reside in Asia, compared with one-fourth in 2009, estimated by Brookings Institution economist Homi Kharas.

It is common to have a rise in borrowing at this stage of development.

But some people are wary of this growth. The loans that are being pushed to the borrowers may leave them unable to pay. Another concern is that these debts might pose to be a bigger burden for low income people who have smaller financial protection when the going gets tough.

The First Credit Card

The idea of credit has been used in society for a long time, it has continued to develop and sustain the economy as a whole and the spending of the individuals. The first credit card as we know of it today was released in 1946. John Biggins who at that time worked at the Flatbush National Bank in Brooklyn, New York invented it. This bank was the one to issue the first credit card which was called the “Charge-It” program by its inventor.

 

The program worked in a simple manner. The transactions made between the bank’s customers and the business owners were done in the local. These businessmen then deposit the sales slips at the bank and then the bank will now bill the customers. This worked well for both the customers and the business owners. It allowed transactions to be made easier and more efficiently with only a small flat fee that goes to the bank in exchange for these services. The Flatbush National Bank acted as a middleman between the two parties involved in the transaction.

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Consumers with great enthusiasm accepted the first credit card. It became especially convenient for the business owners that frequently travelled. Transactions became easier for them and they did not have to carry around money thus eliminating a lot of risks. Another surprising effect of the credit card was that consumers were spending relatively more when they have the credit card instead of when they are carrying money. This was a bonus that business owners freely welcomed. The overall safety of transactions due to the credit card is one of the main reasons that it continued to prosper.

 

The American Express Company has only followed this credit card seven years after its inception. In 1966 the use of the credit cards gained more momentum when 14 more United States Bank formed the Interlink, a bankcard processing association. This allowed banks to issue a greater number of credit cards, which made it more available and enticing for consumers.

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More and more banks continued to take part in the association; the processing of credit cards became more sophisticated. This allowed banks to take advantage of the economies of scale by minimizing the costs of processing, issuing, settling, and payment. Rules were developed to ensure that the internal system remains in order and intact while the expansion continually grows.

 

68 years from the first credit card, we now see how much it has changed our lives. It has become such an integral part of society that allows us to continually improve the quality of our lives.

Best Credit Cards in Japan

For those of you out there who have international credit cards like Visa, Mastercard, CitiBank, American Express and the like, you will find it very convenient that you can use them outside the country and easily when you are in a foreign country and you don’t have much cash on you. Sure this is easy and convenient but the fees that will rack up your billing statement might surprise you as the international usage fees can take a huge toll on your savings account. All of these can be avoided if only you have a credit card that is issued from that country that you are in. Of course it wouldn’t be practical to get a credit card from the said country if you’re only staying there for a couple of days or weeks. This is however advisable for someone who is staying for a year or more and you know that you will be using the credit card a lot. This is also the case for those who want to spend a good duration in the busy country that is Japan.

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For people who are living in Japan for a good amount of time, whether it is because of school or because you have a new job that requires you to move to the Land of the Rising Sun, getting a credit card can help you loads and can slash a huge chunk of international usage fees from your international card.

You can apply for a lot of credit card at a lot of banks and credit card companies with ease. Some don’t really require much if you don’t aim for the more “high-class” cards with the sparkling reward system. There are a lot of cards to choose from because of the convenience that they offer and the rewards that they give you. One of these cards is the Seven Card. They are carried by Visa and JCB, and only require a 500 yen/year fee, also the first year that you have this card, there are no annually fees yet. You can also exchange the points that you earn to shop or to ANA miles. Another one of these great cards is the Saison Card International credit card. They are carried by Visa, Mastercard, and JCB and do not require any sort of annual fee for the entire duration that you have that card. Their point system also offers you to exchange the points you get for shopping and they do not expire.

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The Best Credit Cards in Singapore

Living in the fast track nowadays, credit card has become a convenient mode of payment to everyday purchases and expenses.  Imagine not having to bring with you cash and being able to purchase items and paying it in a later date.  In Singapore, more so that people are living in the fast phase.  People are most often in the run from their homes, to dropping their children off of school to rushing to work and still running errands after.  A lot of Singapore’s residents resort to acquiring a credit card because it suits their way of life and they find the comfort of being able to buy the things they need with just one card.

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Top Credit Cards in Singapore. Image taken from: Cosulich

In Singapore a lot of banks offer credit cards but of course, there are those that give better deals than the rest.  Just one example that we can discuss is the American Express Platinum Credit Card.  If you want to get a credit line then you better check it out for it’s been branded to be a “must-have” in the country.

Citi is probably famous worldwide and in Singapore another “must-have” for them is the Citi Dividend Card which boasts that you can save up to 18.3 percent at Esso and 18.1 percent at Shell.

If you’re looking into free miles and discounted Airline tickets then you better check out American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card which will offer you lounge tickets and complimentary stays in hotels besides the miles and airline tickets you could get from your credit card points.

Other cards that you could look into are ANZ Platinum MasterCard CreditCard, Citi Clear Platinum Card, DBS Altitude American Express Card, HSBC Revolution Credit Card, OCBC Platinu, MasterCard, CIMB World MasterCard, Family & Friends Platinum MasterCard, Maybank Platinum Visa and etc.

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There are a lot of credit card choices in Singapore. Image taken from: On Singapore

If you’re really confused on which credit card company to get then go and research further about reviews.  Some sites would say that HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card deserves the highest rating but still other companies does not fall behind for every bank offers great interest rates and competitive annual fees.

It is a big convenience when you own a credit card but always remember to be a smart shopper and don’t abuse your credit line because at the end of the month, you will be paying all your expenses.  Be sure to take advantage of the freebies and discounts you could get from your credit card company.

Best Credit Cards in the Philippines

There are credit cards offer here and there.  Just when you’re shopping for groceries, someone will approach you and offer you a credit card application.  Even when you’re just walking around the mall there are people who hands you fliers and application form for a credit card with the promise that their company offers the lowest rates and etc.

Because of the number of banks that has been offering such service competition today is now very high.  Banks would think of gimmicks and strategies to attract potential card holders.  But, what are really the top or best credit cards in the Philippines today?

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There are a lot of banks in the Philippines today that offer credit cards with competitive features. Image taken from: Philstar Business Section

Standard Chartered Gold cards are among the top credit cards in the Philippines.  It offers an annual fee of 2,500 pesos and brags about it’s easy instalment plans for ticket items and up to 30 percent cash advance of your credit limit.

PNB Essentials MasterCard are fighting its way to the top too.  PNB presents an annual fee of 1,200 pesos only.  PNB offers free travel insurance up to 10 million pesos.  And, they have a feature for their future card holders of being able to pay in pesos even transactions done overseas.

The company CitiBank has been a name that goes along with the words credit card.  Citibank is one of the famous bank and they offer today CitiBank Gold Card which has an annual fee of 2,500 pesos. They are proud of their protection plan from fraud, theft and even card loss.  They also have Citi CreditShield Plus which protects your credit card too at maximum level.

HSBC Gold Credit Card has an annual fee of 2,500 pesos and offers a rebate from it’s affiliate company, Caltex.  It also offers discounts and other privileges to its other affiliated companies.

Of course, the largest bank in the Philippines today won’t allow them being left behind.  Banco de Oro or BDO owned by the tycoon Henry Sy, offers BDO Platinum MasterCard or Visa to Filipino consumers.  It has a membership fee of 4,500 pesos per year.

Another bank joining the list is Metrobank.  Metrobank is been here for a long time already and they’ve made their Filipinos credit card clients happy about their Metrobank M Free and M Lite.  The two has differences in features that is suitable to two different types of clients.

Last Bank to make it to the list is East West Bank.  Recently East West bank has modernised their look which makes it more attractive to potential clients.  The best things about East West Platinum MasterCard is that it’s principal membership fee is totally free.

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You can choose the top credit cards in the Philippines from a wide range. Image taken from: Mikhail Writes