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December 2007
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February 2008

Jim, I Have Been Seeing A Lot Of Infomercials On TV About Foreclosure Investing. What Are Your Thoughts On Buying Foreclosures?

Yes, the infomercial guys are really starting to push foreclosure investing. I have an e Book on this topic available for only $9.95, which will give you everything you to know to get started with finding and buying foreclosures (a far better deal that you will find through the TV infomercials). Jim's Foreclosure e Book The major drawback involved with buying foreclosures is that you will likely need to buy the property and hold it for at least 2 to 3 years. This is why my primary recommendation on buying foreclosures is for people to use this as a strategy... Read more →


Jim, My Company Is Discontinuing Health Insurance And Is Going To Give Me The Money Instead So I Can Buy Insurance On My Own. My Wife Thinks I Should Find A New Job, What Do You Think I Should Do?

I just read an article on this last week in USA Today. The idea of dropping company paid health insurance and instead giving employees the money to buy their own coverage is a growing trend, but not new. For many years, I did this in my businesses. I became very frustrated with how little employees seemed to appreciate my payroll costs. I found out very quickly that we could pay an employee $200 to $250 per month in extra salary and simply discontinue our group health insurance plan and save thousands. This worked for me, since most of my employees... Read more →


Jim, A Company That I Owe Money To Has Gone Out Of Business. Do I Still Owe The Money?

The answer is yes, but the real question to be asked is what organization do you owe the money to now? It is not uncommon for mortgage companies, credit card issuers, and various other lenders to close their doors. When they cease operations, what do you do and what happens to your debt? Legally, the debt is an asset of the defunct corporation and will survive. Think of it like this; if you were to die would bonds or stocks that you owned no longer be collectible by your heirs? Certainly they would. In the same manner, a defunct creditor’s... Read more →


A 10 Year Old Debt That I Have Has Been Sold To A New Collection Agency. They Are Now Reporting This As A New Account On My Credit File. In Texas, What Are My Rights?

I am glad that you included your location, so I could do some research on your state laws. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is a federal law, would give you the right to challenge any item that is 7 years or older. The age of the debt is determined by the date of last activity. This would generally be established by the date of your last payment on that debt. From what I was able to find online, Texas has a very unusual position on these kinds of situations. They have a statute of limitations of 4 years on... Read more →


A Friend Of Mine Set Up A Web Site And Is Making Hundreds Of Dollars Per Month Selling Other People's Products. Is This A Good Business And How Would I go About Getting Into It.

I am not sure exactly what your friend is doing, but if he is involved with affiliate selling, that is a very significant and growing opportunity. The way this business model works is that companies offer a commission for websites to refer customers to them. There are the more notable names like Amazon.com, but there are also thousands of lesser known names doing this as well. The key to affiliate selling is to be sure and match your website content up with the right products and services. Amazon, for example, provides a way for affiliates to earn a commission on... Read more →


Jim, I Have Searched The Internet For The Highest Yielding CD. I Am Considering Buying A CD From An Out Of State Bank, Is This Something That Would Be Risky To Do?

I have been receiving some very good questions lately, and this is another one. If the bank you are planning to buy the certificate of deposit from is FDIC insured, you are probably OK from the standpoint of your principal being safe. This does not guarantee that you won’t have any service problems with the bank itself. For example, when buying a CD you will be signing an agreement that is filled with a lot of fine print, such as withdrawal penalties, automatic rollover to a new term, and other bank related policies. It may turn out that you need... Read more →


Jim, I Am In The Market To Buy A Home. I Don't Know Whether To Try And Do This On My Own Or Work With A Realtor. What Are The Pros and Cons Of Using A Realtor?

First, as a disclaimer, I am licensed as a real estate broker in Florida (although I am not currently working in the field). This is really a very good question and one that will help a lot of people who are right now trying to make sense of the current real estate market. Over the years, I have written on real estate in virtually all of my books. I have to admit that perhaps I have not given Realtors their proper due in my writing. I think there are times to use a Realtor and then there are times when... Read more →


Jim, I Am Considering Refinancing. Every Time There Is A Rate Cut, It Does Not Seem To Translate To Mortgage Rates. How Will Today's Cut Affect Mortgage Rates?

This is a great question and one that puzzles me personally. Short term rates, like the Fed Funds Rate, are not the same as long term rates, such as 30 year mortgages. These are two different animals. Unfortunately, the uninformed media reports that mortgage rates will fall in direct proportion with short term interest rates, this is just not true. The only exception to this would be those that have an adjustable rate mortgage that is tied to a short term index, such as the prime rate. It is true that a short term rate cut will lower some credit... Read more →


Jim, I Don't Want To Put My Money In The Stock Market Right Now, What Are Some Safe Alternatives That Would Be Better Than A Certificate of Deposit?

I started working as a stockbroker in 1987 and just a few months into my career came the the October 19, 1987 meltdown (so-called, ‘Black Monday’). Each time we go through these down cycles, people vow never to go back into the stock market, look to pull out all of their money, and move to CD’s and the like. While I still think the long term best bet is to stay invested in the stock market, there are times when it makes sense to at least take some percentage of your money and move it to safer alternatives. For many,... Read more →


Jim, When Will I Be Receiving The Money From The President's Tax Rebate That Was Announced Friday?

The President is proposing a tax rebate of $800 per person or $1,600 per household. This is simply a proposal and will require congressional approval. How long that will take, is anyone’s guess. The rebate proposal is to include everyone that filed a tax return last year. Any time the issue of taxes are involved things are never simple. So, expect some fine print and conditions to be placed on who will be eligible to receive this money. I think it would be unlikely that this money would be in your hands in less than 30 days, Uncle Sam doesn’t... Read more →


Jim, I Am Very Upset With My Stockbroker. I Am Considering Making A Complaint, or Getting An Attorney. What Are My Legal Options?

The first thing you need to do is to evaluate the nature of your complaint. If you are upset about not getting phone calls returned or other service type issues, that is one thing. If, on the other hand, your broker has made unauthorized transactions in your account, or engaged in other serious infractions, that is quite another.   After filing the arbitration complaint with regulatory arm of the National Association of Securities Dealers (now known as FINRA – Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). FINRA has approximately 3,000 employees and operates from Washington, DC, and New York, NY, with 15 District... Read more →


Jim, My Parents Are Considering Taking Out A Reverse Mortgage. My Siblings and I Are Concerned About How This Might Affect Their Estate And Our Future Inheritance. Should We Go Along With This?

I have to tell you right out of the box, that I am concerned with the premise of your question. The notion that your adults parents need your permission to enter into this transaction is very troubling to me. I have recently addressed the issue of reverse mortgages, and to the surprise of many readers I think they are a good option for people in certain situations. The fees are high, but for those retirees that need to be free from a mortgage payment and increase their income, these programs have much to offer. Let me suggest that you set... Read more →


Jim, For The First Time In Many Years I Do Not Have Employer Paid Health Insurance. I Need Coverage, Where Can I Find The Lowest Cost Policy?

The difficulty I have had over the years addressing the issue of health insurance on a radio or TV program is that it varies greatly from one state to another. In today’s blog, I will address the subject somewhat generically and also provide you with some tips to find out more details about your particular state. Before I get into how to find a good policy, I want to address the issue of how to buy health insurance inexpensively. While we all love the plans that cover everything from eye glasses to prescription drugs, the reality is that these plans... Read more →


Jim, I am $27,000 In Credit Card Debt. I Don't Know What To Do Or How To Come Up With A Plan To Deal With This, Please Help.

I will tell you that $27,000 is quite a lot of credit card debt, but I have seen much worse. One man called on my radio show a few years back and had $110,000 in credit card debt. First things first, how did you end up with $27,000 in credit card debt? I would want to figure that out first. Otherwise, you will end up in the same situation again in the future. I would suggest that you make a resolution to discontinue all credit card use for now (and maybe forever). In the future, you may want to carry... Read more →


Jim, I am now renting a house after just selling my home and moving. I have never rented before and need advice about what insurance I need to buy as a renter.

Many renters mistakenly believe that they don’t need insurance. The common misconception is that the landlord’s insurance will protect their personal property. In a typical landlord/tenant arrangement, the landlord will purchase insurance on the physical structure of the home or apartment.  This coverage is only for damage to the structure and does not extend to personal property inside the building.  As renter, you are 100% on your own and responsible to insure your own property. The question of whether or not to have renter’s insurance at all is still a consideration.  If you are a person with modest personal property,... Read more →