Shares in Irish Banks Drop

Shares in Irish banks dropped sharply today as a series of US and European bank failures sparked fears that the massive bailout plan in the US may not be enough to deal with the problems in the mortgage and banking sector.

Shares in AIB in particular were down more than 45% at one point, while Irish Life & Permanent fell by more than 30%.


First Time Home Buyer Tips

If you are looking to become a first time home buyer you may be overwhelmed with the idea of buying your first home. This is not at all uncommon. Buying your first home can be nothing short of a daunting task. You need to come up with a substantial down payment, many areas in the country are still way overvalued, and you have to qualify for a loan. There are a few first time home buyer tips that may just help you achieve the American dream.

First you need to think procuring enough capital for a decent down payment. It’s important to remember that if you put 20 percent or more down you achieve the all important 80/20 loan to value (LTV) ratio. Why is this important you may ask? We’ll if you have an LTV ratio of 80/20 or better you won’t be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). Saving on PMI will allow you to afford more house or simply lower your monthly payments. PMI is mortgage protection insurance that protects your lender and not necessarily you. So, avoiding it only helps.

The government has allowed for a few benefits that can help you with the down payment, First, you can utilize retirement funds from your IRA, 401k, or other qualified accounts if you qualify as a first time home buyer. You are, however, limited to $10,000 towards your first time home purchase. Every bit helps though, and this may be a source for funds that you didn’t consider.

Another government program allows you a $7,500 tax credit if you’re a first time home buyer. This program has been introduced to encourage home buying during the current hosing mess. Before you get too excited about free money, it does have some restrictions. First, you must purchase between April 9, 2008 and June 30, 2009 to get the credit, so it’s short lived. Secondly, it’s not really a tax credit in the traditional since. The first time home buyer tax credit must be repaid over a period of 15 years. It is also capped at certain income requirements.

It’s important to do your home work as a first time home buyer. There are certain grants and aid available based on your state of residence. The FHA, Fannie May and Freddie Mac all offer first time home buyer programs that allow you to purchase a first home with rather minimal down payemnt requirements. Take a look at their web sites to see their latest offers.

Filing for Personal Bankruptcy

Prior to filing for personal bankruptcy it is important to make some initial considerations. Are your debts dischargeable in bankruptcy, whether you want to keep part or all of your debt and the cost you may incur during bankruptcy. Also you may wish to consider the potential future impact it might have on employment and your ability to borrow money or start a business. It may affect your ability to purchase a house should you have to move.

Check with a credit counselor whether or not your debts are dischargeable. They will be able to advise you whether or not your debts will be affected by debt relief.

A secured debt is is secured by collateral, much as a mortgage or car loan. Most consumer debts are unsecured eg card debts, medical bills, legal fees, and utility bills. Secured debts are not ordinarily discharged in insolvency unless you surrender the collateral.

As strange as it may sound, you may not wish all of your debts to be resolved through the bankruptcy. You may not wish to lose your car for example.

You may wish to consider if the reason behind you going bankrupt will stop when you become bankrupt, or will they actually get worse. For some lifestyles it may not help.

Most people choose between a Chapter 7 (“Straight Bankruptcy” or “Liquidation”)  and a Chapter 13 (“Wage-Earner Bankruptcy”) bankruptcy. To find out the difference between these contact a debt counsellor or do further research.

If you do wish to file for personal bankruptcy or this article has made you have second thoughts consider contacting a debt counselor such as

Questor: Few Irish eyes are smiling at Bank of Ireland

Bank of Ireland is short of cash. Although it is not in such dire straits as HBOS and Bradford & Bingley, it desperately needs a huge injection of capital to fund an increasingly unhealthy loan book.

Read the rest of the article here

Pay off credit card bills

Do you need to pay off your credit card bills? This article will list some of the ways people do this. Some bad, some good.

The first step is always to make a list of your income each month and gather all your bills together. It will help to put them in a spreadsheet or make a list you can refer to.

Debt Settlement – aka debt negotiation is a way of attempting to reduce the amount owed to the credit card companies. By negotiating with the credit card companies it is possible to greatly reduce your credit card debt and greatly help you to pay off credit card bills.

Credit counselling aims to reduce the interest you pay on your credit cards – frequently to as little as 0 – 12%. This may make it a lot easier to pay off your credit card debt. You may find however that a credit card negotiation scheme will be better – so it is a good idea to seek debt advice.

Filling for bankruptcy is probably not a good idea. It can have a terrible affect on your credit rating meaning you will find it very hard to get credit again for a long time. For some people for no income or savings this is a last resort / their only option – but for those that can avoid it there are better methods of paying off your debt.

Paying off just the minimum payment each month on your credit cards (at the standard interest) will generally mean the debt will take a long time to repaid. This is not a good way of paying off your credit cards debts and can take as long as 20 – 30 years to repay a debt.

Make a budget. Don’t bury your head in the sand, and don’t assume that things will sort themselves out. Create a budget and stick to it. Whether you are using debt settlement or not creating a bidget and sticking to it is absolutely vital.

There are various ways of paying off credit card debts, some good, some bad. If you really want to pay off a substantial credit card debt you will have to take positive action and take control of your debts.

Article copyright Paying Paul