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Canvas Roll Sizes - Arts, Crafts, and Being Practical

When artists get working, it's not all creativity. Any creative professional will tell you that there is a lot of business that goes along with the fun and freedom that come from creating new works of art. Even hobbyists who make art on weekends without any desire to turn their craft into a business understand that being practical is an often overlooked part of the art game. The first practical decision any artist has to make relates to the kind of material that will be used. There are factors such as cost and weight to consider. There are also questions of quantity to consider as well. In this article, you will get some tips about how to choose canvas roll sizes.

First, look at the size of the project you are working on. This is going to help you to think clearly about the amount of materials you will need to purchase. Next, look at the amount of canvas you will be using for your project. Just because you have a huge project with many different parts doesn't mean that each part will require a lot of canvas. Just because a project is small, however, doesn't mean that it won't require a large amount of canvas. In the end, before choosing canvas roll sizes, look at the amount you will need for your project.

Don't forget to purchase a little extra canvas. This is important for flexibility. Even professional artists who work every day of the week sometimes make mistakes. They need to have extra materials sitting around in case a particular technique does not work out correctly. Having a little extra canvas is also good for experimenting before you commit yourself to a certain technique, colour, or style. If the plan for your project changes, a little extra canvas can take some of the stress off. You will have more room to work with. Take your artistic process into consideration when choosing canvas roll sizes.

Finally, don't forget to look at your finances. No artist wants to consider cost, especially when they get rolling on a project. It seems like it would be so much easier to just concentrate on the look and style of your work. The truth is that money restricts what you can do. Make sure you buy only what you can afford. If you don't have enough money to buy the canvas roll sizes you need, you might want to consider testing a less expensive material or weave. Don't sacrifice quality, however, because a strong, attractive canvas can be an important detail of your work.

The ONE Law You Should Be Breaking

There is a law all smart people break.

Parkinson's law.

Parkinson's law states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." It was first coined by C. Northcote Parkinson in the book Parkinson's Law: The Pursuit of Progress.

A common derivation of that is "expenses rise to meet your level of income." Has that happened to you? It happened to me in 1991 and I'm particularly aware that it could happen to me again in 2005.

In 1991 I took my BS in finance and started a carpet cleaning business...like most finance majors, of course! I learned the business for a couple months and was earning a whopping $200-$300 per week working for someone else.

When I left that company and went out on my own, the ad I used FLOODED me with business. I had 15 calls by 10:30AM the day the small ad first ran. The answering service told me every "little old lady in Saratoga was calling".

So almost immediately I went from making $200-$300 a week to making upwards of $1000 per week.
WOW...23 years old and making that much money WORKING FOR MYSELF was great fun...had a great boss!

I don't remember what I spent all the money on other than one of those nationwide pagers but my spending
rose dramatically. But guess what? At $7.95 per room for carpet cleaning it doesn't take a math major to
figure out I was working very hard to earn $1000 a week. So, of course I got tired and lazy and slowed down.
My income level dropped to some level probably near $500 per week but my lifestyle didn't and you can figure
out the rest.

If, while earning $1000 per week I was living like I made $400-$500 per week I would have been sitting pretty...
or whatever the male equivalent of sitting pretty is! :>)

Recently in a workshop I had a woman relate her story. Her husband had been out of work because of injury for
about a year. They had been living on only her income for that time. Before his injury they had been living on two
incomes and usually had just enough money to meet all their expenses.

The injury had her worried. How could they do it on one income?

Somehow, THEY MADE IT. All the bills were paid on time. They didn't take any drastic measures like canceling
the cable or pulling apart the 2-ply toilet tissue to get 2 rolls out of every one.

This gal was amazed and tremendously EXCITED because her husband was going back to work soon and she
was going to be able to put a large chunk of one entire income toward eliminating all their debt using my program.

(Do you have it yet?) Two thousand dollars a month put under your mattress or towards paying off a debt is
$24,000 per year or $120,000 after 5 years.

This family was forced to break Parkinson's law and you see how it dramatically improved their lives. The silver
lining in the cloud.

Don't be forced to break the law...do it voluntarily starting today. If you are a two-income household pretend
that one of the incomes is now gone. If you are a one-income household advertise for a wealthy widow or
widower and then pretend that your income was slashed in half.

Keep track of every penny you spend...write it down...put it in your Quicken, Microsoft Money or any spreadsheet
program...just get it on paper so you can see it.

Be brutal about it and I'll bet you can live on half of what you now make. Take the "missing" half and pile it on
your debt. (you know which debt don't you?)

Break Parkinson's law and you'll never be sorry!

Strategies for Selling in a Buyer's Market

If you haven't had proper training as a real estate investor, you have probably fallen victim to the same perpetrated myths as every other individual who purchases a home and calls himself an investor. A buyer's market rolls around, and you automatically assume you'll have to wait until the seller's market returns to make any money. What you probably don't realize without the prior education is that you can easily make money and still sell your property for a profit, even in a buyer's market.

It's a matter of preparation and creativity that builds profit during a buyer's market. While you may want to invest during this time because you can pick and choose your investments with so many options available. However, to do so, you have to have income from other investment ventures, meaning you have to continue selling. With proper training and the right tactics, this can really be a cinch. Here are some pointers to make buyers come to you even in a seller's market, creating opportunities to work less and make more.

Prepare the home for the market. Make sure the landscaping has been done to present a proper front, and maintain the exterior of the home. On the inside, make sure there is no accrual of dust, dirt, and insects. The clean exterior will attract more buyers, and a clean interior will drive home the interest.

Stage the house. Don't leave an empty shell. While a nice house can sell itself under normal circumstances, you need something warmer and more inviting during a seller's market to sell your property. Staging a home is an easy, inexpensive way to make a potential buyer more comfortable in the atmosphere and more likely to choose your home over another that contains no furnishings or dressings.

Advertise properly. While technology and the internet have made it easy to list real estate for sale online, you need to pack a greater punch to get buyers to take notice of your property during a buyer's market.

Make it easy to buy. If you cater only to the same individuals as the bank, you're selling yourself short and only reaching about a third of the population. By offering seller financing and lease purchase options for your real estate, you are easily reaching the other two thirds of sellers who have money and no credit or vice versa that cannot qualify for a bank loan. Working with what potential buyers do have available to make the purchase of your property will also place you ahead of the competition in a buyer's market.

None of these strategies costs a lot of money, and none of them take much time or effort. However, in a buyer's market, it's essential to have the proper training as a real estate investor to understand the steps to take to continue earning revenue and building your fortune. These tips are just a starting point that can help guide you on your journey in learning to be a true real estate investor.

Dating Success- Why The Rich Get Richer

It's a well known and much debated economic principle that "the rich get richer". When it comes to finances, the rule tends to be that those who already have a certain level of financial liquidity tend to find it tons easier to make even more money. Given that financial institutions and investment houses everywhere are happy to have people with gobs of cash store it on their premises in return for some level of interest compensation, it's easy to see why all of this is sort of, well...true.

As the saying goes, "It takes money to make money". Or at least it's a whole lot easier when that's the case.

And guess what? The exact same principle holds true when it comes to dating and attraction. People who already have lots of MOTOS (Members Of The Opposite Sex) in their lives keep on attracting more.

Now obviously, there's no "First Bank Of Wildly Successful Dating" to invest in. So figuring out why the "rich get richer" in our field of interest is going to take a different train of thought. Here are the Big Three reasons why I think things are the way they are:

1) Confidence Attracts

Once a person has seen some success in attracting MOTOS, then he or she rapidly becomes very comfortable in the notion that he or she TRULY IS attractive. This kind of swagger naturally manufactures that elusive brand of confidence that men and women alike think is irresistible. I mean, once you have actually succeeded at something, there's no use in continuing to doubt your capabilities, right?

2) Options Attract

Every good sales professional knows that people buy on the approval of others. If everyone else seems to be snapping up a commodity of some sort, then it must be good stuff (at least theoretically). If MOTOS are attracted to you, then other MOTOS will see that as a green light to join the crowd.

3) The Less Significant The Risk, The More Risk We Can Tolerate

The financial analogies just keep on rolling, don't they? Well, they keep on making perfect sense in context so why not? Savvy investors have an eagle eye for high returns with minimal risk. In the dating world, if a man or woman already has, say, six or seven MOTOS on his or her "radar screen", he or she may not even care to add any more...unless of course someone comes along who raises the bar. Considering that in such a case one's entire social life does not hang in the proverbial balance if a prospective date happens to prove uninterested (or uninteresting), a person with a lot of dates already is relatively unaffected socially OR emotionally should an approach not pan out. After all, there's already enough "social proof" to go around already when one's Black Book has lots of entries.

Somebody said, "Yeah, yeah McKay. So how do I get there?"

Just like creating wealth out of poverty in the financial world is NOT easy, there is no "magic potion" for wealth creation in the dating world either. But I do have a fascinating concept for you, that if put into practice just might get you on the road to Wild Success.

Back when I was a sales manager for an IT company, I offered my teams something I called "Millionaire Training". Essentially, the trick to BECOMING a millionaire on paper is to become one IN YOUR MIND first. And how exactly do millionaires carry themselves? Well, first of all money is no option. "Financial freedom" means not worrying about making ends meet. A true millionaire is not focused on money. He or she is FREE from that. So a MILLIONAIRE sales person isn't concerned about commission checks. He or she is focused on the customer, doing the job because he or she WANTS to be there. Second, millionaires have NOTHING TO PROVE. Having already achieved great success, they have no need to flaunt their "money" to people. Finally, millionaires understand their fortune and are GRACIOUS to those who are not exactly millionaires themselves just yet.

Most who are TRULY successful financially are particularly charismatic people. After all, the traits outlined in the previous paragraph are INTENSELY attractive. And every single one of these traits translates EXACTLY into how a man or woman who creates WILD ATTRACTION conducts him or herself.

Think about it.

"Dating Millionaires" are not focused on "getting someone"-especially sexually. They lead satisfied lives, and focus on masculinity or femininity instead of a biological sex act. Similarly, they are never NEEDY or CLINGY. Why? They've been FED. They aren't hungry. Finally, people who "get richer" in the dating world are never rude or pushy with anyone. Knowing their intrinsic worth, they conduct themselves with a regal dignity and afford others the same respect.

Does your frame of mind line up with that of a "Dating Millionaire"? If not, what would happen in your life if you visualized belief in your ability to get there? How would your approach to life change?

Personal Finance - Do You Know What Counts?

"Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains." Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778) The Social Contract, French political philosopher.

There is no true freedom without financial freedom. There is no financial freedom without financial literacy, financial understanding. We need to be financial literate to be able to gain and keep wealth. Mike Murdock, author, minister, public speaker says, "People who have what you don't have, they know what you don't know."

Little do we understand that we are a slave to the one we are indebted to, be it mortgage, car loan or personal loan... and as long as our main source of income is active income, we are in essence bound (enslaved) to the one we serve (where we exchange our time (and skills) for income).

Financial illiteracy has led many to ruin their business, company and or personal life. Many financial decisions are taken based on assumptions on one's understanding on what income (active and passive income) and expenditure, asset and liability, good and bad debts, opportunity cost and cost of opportunity are and the impact they have in one's personal finance.

Financial illiteracy is the number one reason why most people would skip paying their loan and not be too concerned about it. We lack the understanding of how taking a loan, using credit card, moving too frequently, electoral roll affects the rate that we are charged when we take loan, credit card, mortgage. Financial illiterate person would skip a loan payment of £5, not knowing that eventually this will cost him dearly on other future financial deals.

What we need to understand is we live in a highly organized world, every person has a record (held somewhere electronically) of who he or she is, the financial decisions that one (including those that one is financially tied to) has taken in the past and the consequences thereof. This is what is known as credit record, credit score or credit worthiness.

Unfortunately, most of us do not know how we contribute either positively or negatively towards our credit record and how it affects us daily. This is due to lack of financial understanding otherwise known as financial literacy. We certainly know how to count numbers, but do we really know what counts?

When is a Cash Out Re-Finance Possible?

A cash out option is available when there is existing equity in the home. This is important because the lender is able to justify the practice of offering increased funds to the homeowner due to the value of the property. This is because the lender feels as though the security of having the home for collateral does not put them at a high risk for the homeowner defaulting on the loan.

Homeowners who wish to take advantage of a cash out re-finance offered by a lender should inquire as to whether or not the lender offers this type of re-financing. This is important because not all lenders offer this option. It should actually be one of the first questions the homeowner asks when inquiring about re-financing programs. Doing so will save homeowners, who are seeking a cash out re-finance, a great deal of time.

How Can the Cash be Used?

For many homeowners the most appealing aspect of cash out re-financing is that the additional funds can be used for any purpose desired by the homeowner. The homeowner does not even have to offer the lender an explanation of how the additional funds will be used. This is important because once the lender writes the check for the additional funds, he has no concern for how the money is used. This is because the amount of the additional funds is rolled into the re-financed mortgage. The lender simply focuses on the homeowners ability to repay the mortgage and is not concerned with how the homeowner uses the funds which are released in the cash out.

While the purpose of a cash out re-finance does not have to be disclosed to the lender, the homeowner would be wise to use these funds in a judicious manner. This is because the homeowner will be responsible for repaying these funds to the lender. Some of the popular uses for funds collected from cash out re-financing include:

* Undertaking home improvement projects

* Purchasing items for the home

* Taking a dream vacation

* Putting money in a child's tuition fund or

* Purchasing a vehicle

* Starting a small business

All of the reasons listed above are excellent uses of a cash out re-finance option. Homeowners who are considering this type of a re-financing option should also consider whether or not the deductions are tax deductible. Using the cash out option to make home improvements is just one example of a situation where the funds can be tax deductible. Homeowners should consult their tax attorney on the matter to determine whether or not they are able to deduct the interest from the repayment of their re-financing loan.

Cash Out Re-Financing Example

The process of a cash out refinancing option is fairly easy to illustrate with a simple example. Consider a homeowner who purchases a $150,000 with a 7% interest. Now consider the homeowner has already repaid $50000 of the loan and would like to borrow an additional $20,000 to make a rather large purchase or invest in a small business. With this additional funding available the homeowners have the opportunity to use the equity in their home to make their dreams come true. In the example above the homeowner may refinance for a total of $120,000 at a lower interest rate such as 6.25%. This process allow the homeowner to take advantage of the existing equity in their home and also allows the homeowner to qualify for a substantial loan at a rate typically reserved for re-financing or home loans.

Enrolling and Making the Most of a Banking Degree

The language of finance and banking is almost certainly a universal one, and when enrolling on for an MSc Banking Degree you will encounter incredibly diverse characters and multi-national personalities all with the same ambitions.

The never-ending nature of finance means that there is a continuous demand for post-graduate executives with both theoretical and practical experience of business.

MSc Banking Degrees are largely designed to equip students for a wide range of careers in banks, investment banks, securities firms, portfolio managers, finance departments of industrial and service companies, consultants, central banks, auditors and multinational financial organisations.

With a high number of nationalities represented amongst Banking Degrees the international learning experience adds depth to the student experience as well as worldwide networking opportunities after graduation.

The real-world nature of banking and finance is mirrored in the teaching of MSc Banking Degrees. Interactive lectures and seminars from lecturers with vast industry experience provide the backbone of such courses, with team assignments and workshops providing an insight into the workings of a professional environment.

Tuition fees and living costs must come into consideration when enrolling for an MSc Banking Degree. It must be said, a masters course is a considerable financial outlay and students must be wholly dedicated to their profession in order to get the greatest value out of their degree.

Financial degrees in some of London's most exclusive Business Universities are very competitive in terms of applications despite the fact that admissions are encouraged on a rolling basis. Interested parties should seriously consider applying early in the academic year in readiness for enrollment in the following 12 months.

Money-Based Insomnia Can Keep You Up All Night

When money troubles start piling up, you could find that you get a big case of money-based insomnia. It isn't fun. You can be so worried that your money problems follow you through your entire day. You are constantly trying to figure something out. And it is wearing you out.

Believe me on this -- worry never ever solved a money issue. It can actually make you desperate. When you are desperate, you become a target for many schemes and you make bad decisions. I've heard plenty of people say that they don't want to go to jail because they can't pay their bills. This won't happen. It can't happen. It will never happen. Not being able to pay your bills is a bad situation, not a crime.

So you aren't going to starve, go to jail or find yourself out on the streets. So stop worrying about it. And start taking action. You need to set up a certain time every day to specifically work on your situation. This is the time in which you focus on your finances. Grab your calculator, notepad and bills. Sit and start planning.

To start with, an hour is long enough. If you are on a roll, go ahead and work until you reach a stopping point. The key is to not wear yourself out or get frustrated. Start with assessing where your finances are right now. We'll assume that your goal is to pay off debt and free up more monthly spending money.

Make a list of all of your bills. Include your housing, autos, utilities, debts and other expenses. This is how much you have to spend each month. Subtract this from your income and the remainder is what you have to live on -- groceries, gas and other things. Chances are, there is no extra to live on. So start eliminating things from your list of bills. Cancel your satellite television, water softener rental and everything but your utilities, phone, housing and auto.

Now look at your debts. List them in order of highest interest to lowest interest. Write down the interest rate, monthly payment and outstanding balance. Don't skimp on anything -- list it down to the penny. This list will let you see how you are progressing. Every month, you can update it with your balances. You can see them decrease and be eliminated.

Start making a list of actions that you can do to help your situation. The list could look like this:

-Cancel satellite television.
-Put the extra money to paying off credit card #1.
-Sell motorcycle.
-Pay off loan on car.

At the end of each "money session," you should tell yourself okay, that's enough for today. I'll think about it tomorrow. And leave it there. Everyday you can take several steps to completing your list and eliminating your problem. Tell yourself that you have done all you can right now.

Remember, constant worry won't do you any good. Take action and you will find that you can find a way out. And sleep at night.

Time To Sort Out Your Finances

It started on the fringes with the failure of smaller sub-prime lenders but the problem is now spreading to mainstream banking. Following the recent news of major US investment bank Bear Stern's dramatic emergency rescue, the growing transatlantic credit crisis is threatening to spiral out of control and cause significant disruption to the UK economy.

This latest development should serve as a big wake-up call to many UK consumers, who need to seriously assess how the credit squeeze will affect their personal finances. Confidence in the UK economy had already taken a knock following the near-demise of the Northern Rock, and the latest news out of America can only shake that further.

Now would be an ideal time for many people - especially those with a high proportion of debt - to take stock and honestly assess their financial situation. As the cost of credit could spiral at worst, or will be more difficult to obtain at best, it is particularly important that those already heavily indebted resist the temptation to take on any extra debt.

For many they need to force a radical change to their 'buy now, pay later' mentality if they are to avoid serious financial difficulty in the future. It is also a good time for those worried about the future to review their credit report and take control.

If you are worried about the future you may wish to get a copy of your credit report. Being in possession of your credit report allows you to see what information lenders have recorded against you and how much credit you have outstanding.

You can also check that all information held on your credit record is accurate, including electoral roll information and details displayed in the legal judgements section. Also, if you are no longer financially associated with a person or persons listed in the financial associations section, then notify the credit reference agency as soon as possible.

Everyone can now get a credit report online - some agencies even provide them free of charge - so it's certainly a lot more convenient, not to mention cheaper, than the alternative way of obtaining a credit report: sending £2 in the post and waiting for the report to come back.

If you need to improve your credit rating, then close credit card accounts that you do not use; they will all be listed on your credit report. Lenders tot up the potential amount of credit available to an applicant when they make a risk assessment and ultimately a decision on whether to lend to that individual. So, the more open and unused credit cards that you have, the more potential debt you can also incur.

Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball allowing us to tell the global financial future, but by taking control of your own finances now and cutting out any unnecessary expenditure, at least you can potentially safeguard yourself against your own financial hell.

Short-Term Financing Through Commercial Paper

Introduction: Every business needs money to run. The nature of expenses incurred by the business, decides the type of financing required by it. As an example, payroll expenditure, common to all businesses, is a recurring expenditure, required fortnightly, or monthly, to remunerate the workforce. On the other hand, funds to buy an office building for the business, is required, once in probably several decades. Whereas the former is a short term expenditure requiring short term financing, the latter is a long term one, requiring correspondingly long term financing.
 
There are various sources of finance available to a firm, depending on its needs, as also its eligibility to source such finance. Banks and Financial Institutions are, of course, the major and most widely accessed source of funds.
 
But there are situations, when a firm is either not in a position to access Bank funds on account of various constraints, or it is in such a strong financial position, as to raise funds on more favorable terms by taking the unconventional route of issuing Commercial Paper.
 
Commercial Paper (CP): Commercial Paper is an unsecured, short-term, debt instrument, in the form of a usance promissory note, issued at a discount to face value, to meet short term financing requirements.

Rules regarding the issue and conduct of the Commercial Paper business differ from country to country. However, some of the common features of the CP are that it is unsecured. It is a short-term debt instrument, not over one year in maturity. It is issued at a discount on its face value, i.e., its maturity value is equal to its face value. Higher the creditworthiness of the issuer, lower the discount allowed.

It is meant to raise funds to meet the short term expenses of the firm, like those related to payroll, inventories and the like. It is not meant to be invested in long term asset like land, buildings, plant and machinery etc. However, some firms do use the funds from CP for long term requirements, which is called "bridge-financing", as a stop gap arrangement to long term financing.
 
Who can issue: From the definition of Commercial Paper, as given above, it may be inferred that only highly rated companies and financial institutions can issue CP, as it is unsecured. The investors can only depend upon the creditworthiness of the issuer, and have no other support, like collateral, to fall back on, in case of the issuer's default.
 
Normally, two types of firms may issue CP. One, a firm that does not find the traditional financing methods convenient and or economical. Second, a firm, which, by virtue of its financial standing, and rating, is able to command the most favorable terms for its borrowings. Such firms, instead of approaching financiers, issue their own debt instruments, in the form of CP, as and when required.
 
However, it is also observed that firms, not enjoying the best ratings are also in the fray with this product (CP), with the help of a tie-up with their better rated peers.
 
Benefits of CP to the issuer:

  • In many countries, rules regarding the issue and conduct of the Commercial Paper business are quite liberal, and do not attract the normally comprehensive set of regulations, applicable to other debt instruments, like bonds.
  • The cost of funds obtained through the CP route is generally less than that from the Banking sector.
  • The issuers, being top rated, and with good standing, do not have to provide any collateral to the investors.
  • The issuers have the freedom to fix the discount on the face value of the CP, depending on their creditworthiness.
  • Issuers can avoid brokers and dealers, by going directly to the investors, and saving on administrative and other costs.
  • Issuers have the option to "roll over" their debt, i.e. issue fresh CP to pay off the maturing one.
Summary: To sum up, Commercial Paper is a niche financing option, available to financially sound firms, that has more advantages than disadvantages for the issuing firms.

Spread Betting Finance Costs Explained

Financial spread betting is a simple and straightforward way of trading global markets. Among other advantages, leverage stands out as one of the most powerful tools deriving from spread betting. To get exposure to any market, you just need a small margin of the total trade's value. You trade on margin and borrow funds from your provider (or lend him when short selling). That way you can commit to trading just a fraction of your total funds and apply the remainder elsewhere.

Since there is no such thing as a free lunch, you will have to pay for the borrowed funds you will get. Your provider will charge you a finance cost to rollover your open positions overnight and keep them opened. This fee is called finance cost, and is also known or referred to as overnight cost,rollover cost, or even holding cost. Most of the time these terms refer to the same thing.

The Composition of the Finance Cost

The finance cost in spread betting is formed of two basic components:

  • Borrowing Cost- the cost of using leverage to trade. You borrow funds from your provider that will require you to pay for it. Using the same reasoning, when you engage in a short position you lend money and will also be paid for that.

  • Carrying Cost -the cost associated with the possession of most commodities. When you buy oil, you are buying a future delivery of X number of barrels. You own the barrels between the time you buy and the delivery date (or until you sell) and you should be responsible for costs that include storage, delivery, and maintenance. Basically, you have to pay for costs of possession.

How to Calculate the Borrowing Cost

The borrowing cost is calculated as follows:

(Notional Size of Position - initial Margin Requirement) X Applicable Interest Rate / Day Basis)

The notional size of position is the amount you would need if you were to buy a similar position in the market. It is calculated in a simple way:

(Closing Price / Unit Risk) X Stake

The best is to use an example to explain how it works and better understand the dynamics behind the calculation. Let's consider you buy the FTSE 100 index at 6,000 points. Your spread betting provider states that stakes on FTSE are per point movement, and you decide to put 10. The unit risk is 1, and the notional size of this position is 60,000. If instead, you were trading the EUR/USD pair the unit risk would be 0.0001 instead.

Let's now look again at the borrowing cost calculation. The first part of it, in parenthesis, represents the total borrowed funds. Assuming your provider requires a margin of 60 points, you will have to deposit in your account 600 to proceed with the trade. You are borrowing 59,400.

The second part of the calculation reflects the daily applicable interest rate (dAIR). Providers usually use Libor plus or minus a spread, depending if you are long or short. The daily basis depends on currency conventions and is determined outside the provider like the Libor rate. Depending on the currency, that number would be 360 or 365. The pound and the Australian dollar use 365, but the Euro and the USD use 360.

The calculation should be as follows:

  • If long:AIR = Relevant Interest Rate + Spread
  • If Short: AIR = - Relevant Interest Rate + Spread

So, if Libor is now at 2.5% for the pound, the spread is 2% and you account is denominated in pounds, then the daily interest rate would be 0.0123288%. Applying this rate to your position, you will be charged 7.32. It is important to note that the next day, you have to recalculate your position value to compute the borrowing cost. If FTSE 100 rises to 6,050, the notional size will be 60,050. Subtracting the required 600 in margin and applying the funding rate, you would pay 7.38.

When you go short, the calculation is similar but you are lending funds to your provider. In that case, and using the above example AIR is is -2.5% + 2%, or -0.5%. The minus signal means you are going to receive money instead of paying. You would receive 0.81 per night. Note however, that in some cases, when Libor is very low, you may still have to pay when lending funds.

Spread betting companies vary widely in the way they calculate the borrowing cost. Don't be surprised if most of them charge interest against the entire position value instead of only against the borrowed part. CMC Markets is a rare example of a provider charging interest just on borrowed funds.

For the case of currencies the calculation of AIR needs a little adjustment. If you think about it, when you buy a currency you sell other. It means that you should pay interest on the sold currency and receive in the bought one. The interest applicable is then the result of a differential between two interest rates.

Let's look at another example. You want to buy the AUD/USD currently quoted at 1.1015. The unit risk on this pair is 0.0001. Interest rate for AUD is 4.75% and for USD is 0.25%. You want to stake 10 and the spread is again 2%. First, the notional size for this position is 110,150. If the required margin is 100 per 1 bet, then the total position to fund is 109,150 since you have to keep 1000 in your account. Regarding interest, the AIR is equal to 0.25% - 4.75% + 2%, or -2.5% The dAIR is -0.00685%, meaning you will receive interest instead of paying. If you were to short the pair instead, then the AIR would be equal to - (0.25% - 4.75%) + 2% or 6.5%, meaning we will have to pay 0.0178% per day.

Capital Spreads uses the above procedure to calculate interest in Forex markets, but some other providers don't use Libor rates to calculate the interest rate differential for foreign exchange pairs. Instead they use TomNext procedures based on overnight currency swap rates. IG Index is amongst those using such methodology. Information about swap rates is rarely available at provider's websites and you will have to contact them directly to obtain such.

The Carrying Cost as Part of Total Funding

The funding cost is just one component of the total finance cost. We also have to include the carrying cost.

Unlike the borrowing cost that applies every time you are borrowing (or lending) funds, the carrying cost just applies to certain commodities. There is no carrying cost for equities, indices or interest rates.

Many providers don't charge this cost. Don't be fooled with that! There is no such thing as a free lunch. Remember? If they don't charge a carrying cost it is because they can include it elsewhere. The three most common alternatives are:

  1. It is included in the spread used to calculate the AIR;
  2. It is factored into market prices, increasing them
  3. It is charged as a certain number of points per night of rolling.

For the case in which carrying costs are explicit charged, the calculation is usually done in the following way:

Total position value X carrying rate / daily basis

The carrying rate is variable from provider to provider, asset to asset, and with time. It may be 1%, 2%, and even much more. You should ask your provider or look at their market sheets to find the exact figure. CMC Markets provides a breakdown of the full funding cost separating each component and showing the carrying rate, but that is a rare exception.

Final Remarks About Spread Betting Finance Costs

The total finance cost is just the sum of the borrowing cost and the carrying cost.

As discussed earlier, when the asset is not a commodity, the carrying cost is just non-existent.

It is important to include a reference about what happens at holidays and weekends. Although most spread betting providers are closed on Saturdays and Sundays (open just a few hours), they are charged interest by banks on those days and will pass the cost to you too. The way they do that differs from one to another. Some will charge you interest for three days on Monday night, others charge 3 days on Wednesdays. Holidays will usually be charged two days after. The exact time the rollover is charged is other point of difference between companies and you should investigate your provider policies.

New Credit Advice: Don't Pay off Those Credit Cards!

Credit needed for real estate mortgage financing differs from credit needed for consumer loans. If you need help getting a home mortgage, these credit tips will help you.

Contrary to what many credit advisors say, paying off credit cards each month is not always the best action to take. When making credit card payments, don't pay the balance in full each month -- let a little roll over. Carry a balance on your credit card every other month --as little as a dollar. Paying balances in full does not increase your credit score; paying balances in full may in fact lower your credit score. Accounts with zero balances do not compute significantly in your total score. For instance, a credit card with a perfect payment history and no balance will not raise your credit score as much as a credit card with a low balance. Any balance keeps the card active so it computes in your credit score.

You most likely have been advised to cut up your credit cards and close your accounts. Following this advice degrades many credit scores.

Canceling Credit Cards

Canceling credit cards can lower your credit score. Keep your longest-term credit card account open to show long-term credit history. If this account has prior late notations, negotiate with the creditor to drop negative reporting on your credit history file. Slowly close out newer accounts after they are paid off. Keep your best accounts open -- those paid on time or reporting "pays as agreed" and with the longest history.

Credit card companies may raise your rate if you cancel a card before it is paid off; it is best to keep accounts with outstanding balances open until you pay them off.

Perfect Balance of Credit

1. Mortgage over one year old with all payments on time

2. Visa Card or Master Card with less than 10% of available credit as balance due

3. Discover or American Express Card with less than 10% of available credit as balance due

4. Auto loan either paid off or paid down with low payments compared to monthly income.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Credit scores do not reflect income -- credit bureaus do not have income reported to them. However, real estate lenders look at the consumer debt-to-income ratio -- the amount of monthly debts in relation to the amount of earnings. Consumer debt is more highly regarded/scores higher if total debt is under 20% of net income, or total monthly payments on all debts is less than 35% of monthly gross income.

Qualifying Ratios

Lenders want the total debt ratio (the percentage of total monthly payments, including the new mortgage, to income) to be less than 33% for a typical conventional mortgage. This means the new mortgage payment, credit card payments, and all other monthly debt payments should not equal more than about one-third of the monthly income.

Lenders want the mortgage debt ratio (the percentage of the new mortgage payment to income) to be less than 28%.

Non-prime loans have lower standards; some lenders allow debt-to-income ratios as high as 55%. Borrowers with less than perfect credit qualify more easily for a non-prime loan compared to an "A-paper" loan.

Once you total your monthly expenses and determine your debt ratio, you can estimate how much you can afford for a house payment. For example, if your income is around $3,000 per month, you can afford a home with payments around $1,000 per month (including taxes and insurance) with a conventional loan, if your other debt does not total more than 5% of your income.

For investors, these equations change. Lenders expect 10%-25% down on investment property and allow about 75% of the rental income to offset the debt ratio.

Understanding your credit helps you manage your credit so you can obtain real estate financing, either for the house of your dreams or for your financial future.

(c) Copyright 2005 Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

6 Areas of Focus to Make Huge Household Savings

I recently read a fantastic article entitled, "Are You Throwing Money Away? on Unused Expenses and Untapped Discounts" The whole article was about how we should check out or finances at regular intervals to make sure we are getting value from every little penny which is leaving our purse or wallet. Below, I have adapted some of the suggestions made in the article to our UK customs:Unused and Unnecessary Expenses

Memberships - Duncan Bannatyne must be taking a battering since the Credit Crunch began. If he isn't then he should be! A gym membership is nice when the money is rolling in, but with storms clouds on the horizon it must be the first to go. There is actually nothing at all that can be accomplished in a gym that can't be accomplished for Free elsewhere. In relation to my own finances, I signed up for Lovefilm about 9 months ago and I now need to ask myself, is it necessary to have Lovefilm and Sky Movies? (I say ask myself - I actually mean She Who Must Be Obeyed)

Banking Fees - I am a great fan of Martin Lewis and I copied his methods of retrieving Bank Charges last year. In the past I was very lax at keeping my balance within the overdraft limit, resulting in about £1000 of charges. If this is you then take action now. It may not be possible to be refunded bank charges soon, so why not just switch your account to one offering a larger overdraft? I switched to an A&L online account, and I've been very happy with them so far. After 6 months or so of good conduct they increased my overdraft limit to £2000. Just make sure you don't act like a kid in a sweetie shop when the overdraft is granted.

Magazine Subscriptions - cancel all magazines! Don't even try to argue with me on this one. There is nothing in a magazine that can't be gleaned whilst browsing the newsagents or by doing a bit of research online.

Unused Extras on Your TV Programming - as above, I am going to have to have a serious chat with the Mrs. regarding our current satellite package. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed about three hours of programmes in the last month. Remember the Bruce Springsteen hit "57 channels (and nothing on)"; well I'm recreating that every evening.

Too Much Insurance Coverage - Insurance is my game. Now is not the time to be cutting back on policies (apart from pet insurance - no more pet/ no more insurance in my book) however I would seriously consider increasing the excess on your home and car insurance to save a few pennies whilst the credit crunch rages.

Reward Programs - many people are switching to the budget superstores in order to save money at the moment, but after a spell using Aldi, I am back patronizing my local Tesco. I have done this for two reasons. Firstly because the Tesco value range is as good, and as cheap as the wares on offer at Aldi. Secondly, the Tesco points system gives me an added reason to visit over its budget rivals. Marketing does work.

When you get your next bank statement focus in on: memberships, banking fees, magazines, TV packages, insurance and reward points. Small changes in these areas can make big differences to your bottom line, with very little effect on your lifestyle.

100% Home Loan by USDA - The Loan That Will Allow More Buyers to Own Homes in the New Lending World

If you are thinking about or have decided to enter the real estate market to purchase a home, congratulations! This article is for you. Due to the huge inventory of homes for sale at bargain prices, it is a great time to be a buyer in this market. As you consider financing options for the property, your head may be spinning from all the mixed messages that we keep hearing in the media. Just yesterday I heard a so called "financial expert" on the news who said a buyer could not purchase a home without having a 750 credit score and a twenty percent down payment. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is true the guidelines have tightened up, but choosing the right loan program is the key to getting the mortgage.

I am here to help clear this up and let you in on a loan product that is helping more people get in to homes these days due to the tightened guidelines of conventional loans. Meet the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) Rural Housing Loan that allows no down payment, no mortgage insurance, and great rates as well.

This is a loan product that has been around for many years, but not many people know about. The guidelines allow people buying owner occupied homes with 100% financing on a market rate 30-year fixed mortgage, with no mortgage insurance requirements. I know it sounds too good to be true, but this program does exist. However, you must be purchasing a home that is in an eligible area and your income must not exceed the moderate income guidelines set for the area in which you are purchasing.

The rural development loan program which is guaranteed by USDA is not eligible in highly populated areas like cities, and highly populated towns, but it is available in many small and mid size towns across the United States. This loan allows people who fit the guidelines to purchase a home with no money out of pocket. Closing costs may be rolled in, or the seller may pay all closing costs including taxes and insurance.

The USDA loan makes sense for even those who are putting money down on the home. With conventional financing, if less than twenty percent is put down, the loan would require mortgage insurance adding additional monthly expense to your loan payment. This is not the case with the USDA program. For people who qualify for this loan product, there is no better financing package. It even beats the popular FHA loan, because with the FHA there is a three and a half percent down payment and there is monthly mortgage insurance no matter how much of a down payment is put in the deal.

It would make sense to see if your gross income as well as the town or address of the property (if it is known) is eligible for the USDA program. Once you know the location and your income is qualified, the next step is to find a mortgage professional who has experience with the USDA loan. There are pit falls that can only be avoided with proper knowledge that comes from proper experience closing these types of loans. In order to have a smooth and stress free loan process, a proper package must be submitted to the right lenders who have experience underwriting the USDA loan program. I hope this information was helpful. Keep in mind that if one is qualified for this loan, there is no better loan product on the market.

10 Easy Tips to Save Money on Your Home Heating Bills

With energy costs higher than they have ever been in recent history, it pays to find ways to reduce your home heating costs. I put together some tips that are easy, cost effective and will all add up to reduce your home heating bills by a significant amount! You don't need to be Bob Villa either. Some take just a minute or two. Even small changes will add up to big savings over the course of this cold winter!

Here are the 10 tips that I have personally used to save on my home heating costs:

1. Head down to the basement and reduce the setting on your hot water thermostat by about 10 degrees. I wouldn't go below 120-115 degrees. The adjustment dial is typically a red knob towards the bottom of the water tank.

2. While you are downstairs, make sure you have clean filters for your central air-heating unit. A dirty and clogged filter will force your unit to work much harder and stay on longer as it struggles to fresh air through the clogged filter to heat the rest of your house.

3. Check your air ducts for gaps, leaks or disconnects. If you have any disconnects or leaks in your ductwork, your heating bills could be 25% higher than they need to be if these gaps were sealed. If you can't do this on your own, hire a professional. This expert can also clean your ducts for added efficiency.

4. Adjust your thermostat a few degrees lower. Believe me, this really adds up. It may not seem like much of a difference to you, but you will notice the difference when you get a lower bill each month!

5. While we are on the subject of thermostats, consider replacing yours if it is not programmable. The reason is, you can set the thermostat so the temperature setting in your house is lower at night than during the day, when you are awake. Also, if you are away at work during the day, you can set it for a lower temperature and have it programmed to start heating the house a little bit before you come home. These aren't too expensive and are easy to install and configure yourself.

6. Insulate your attic. Heat rises, right? If your attic isn't properly insulated, all of the heat in your house (and your money) goes right through the roof. Literally! This does require some effort on your part, but following through on this tip will save you a ton of money over the years. Measure the square footage of your attic and buy rolls of insulation, greater than R-13 but no higher than R-30. Wear a mask and gloves when working with insulation because it irritates the skin.

7. Find those leaks and cracks! If you were to add up all of the small cracks and holes in your house, they would probably add up to a small window, wide open, letting cold air in and hot air out. Take the time to find gaps in windows, doors, pipes, electrical and phone lines, your dryer duct and much more. Put weather-strips around your doors and windows. You can buy insulation foam that comes in a can with a straw at the top that allows you to fill in tight spaces. It expands to fill even the smallest cracks. Of all of the tasks, this was the most fun finding and filling these gaps all around the house.

8. Close the vents in rooms that you do not use. I have one room in my house that is not currently in use. I shut the hot air ducts and made sure the windows and doors were properly sealed to limit energy leakage. Why waste your money heating up extra square footage of your house that you don't even use?

9. Open drapes and shades for all of your windows during the day to let the sun heat your home. In the evening, pull them back down for added insulation. It is amazing how much direct sunlight streaming into your home helps to heat things up.

10. Your fireplace can help and hurt your heating costs. If you are not using your fireplace, make sure the damper is closed. When it is closed, inspect the damper and feel if cold air is still leaking in. If you are using your fireplace, make sure the heating in the rest of your house is reduced or turned off.

Taking the time to implement these tips will drastically reduce your home heating bills. You can get most of them done in just one day, but the payoff will last for as long as you live there! I followed through on each one of these tips and the following winter, my bills were about 25% lower, saving about $100 a month! So roll up your sleeves follow these tips and start saving money on your heating costs!