Ryan's Blog: November 2005

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

by: Kelly Graves

You may believe that your company is the only one in the free world that’s suffering from poor employee communication and frustrations at every level; We can assure you that you’re definitely not alone.

But knowing that conflict and communication problems exist in practically every organization comes with little comfort.

Are you getting the best out of your employees? If not then take steps to improve your organization by investing in an employee development program.

Your employees are the only resource you have which separates you from your closest competitors...

Because all organizational problems are fundamentally problems involving employees!

No matter what technical, financial or other challenges you face, there will always be humans involved. As a result, all problems must be solved by you and your staff.

Therefore, you will benefit from taking steps toward implementing an employee development program. Establishing or reestablishing trust and improving communication has a profound and positive impact on each employee’s development – as well as on your company’s bottom line.

Important steps in employee development include:

Determining your core group’s strengths and weaknesses.

Tackling the larger issues or conflicts that are tying up your organization’s time and effectiveness.

Encouraging employee feedback on the process involved in the employee development program so that staff “buy in” and support is achieved.

Developing trust and encouraging honest dialogue between people at all levels in the organization so that the company as a whole can react quicker and more effectively to challenges and competitors.

The steps in employee development really begin to sink in and take your organization to the next level when employees realize that they have some semblance of control and that they are being heard. Through employee development, you’re guaranteed a lasting commitment and support of your strategic plan and company vision.

About The Author

Kelly Graves is the founder and CEO of Internal Solutions Consulting. ISC specializes in employee development. With over 85 years of combined experience in employee development, Internal Solutions is able to quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses within an organization's employees to facilitate a more successful, productive and profitable work environment. For more informaiton about Internal Solutions Consulting please visit http://www.conflictresolutionusa.com.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Across from me a woman sat sobbing. With tear-filled eyes, she told me, “I don’t know what I believe anymore.” She spoke of having struggled and prayed many days to know how to make a vitally important decision in her life, without success. She anguished, “I don’t know what to do. If you’ll tell me what to do, I’ll do it.” With her hand on the scriptures, she said, “God told us He would help us. He answers everybody else’s prayers. Why won’t He answer mine?”

When one is caught in a whirlpool of emotion, it is difficult to find a way out alone. My prayer is to help you who have similar feelings.

When answers to urgent prayer don’t seem to come, it can be that we don’t understand some truths about prayer, or because we don’t recognize answers when they come.

Our Heavenly Father did not put us on earth to fail but to succeed gloriously. It may seem paradoxical, but that is why recognizing answers to prayer can sometimes be very difficult. Some face life with only their own experience and capacity to help them. Others seek, through prayer, divine inspiration to know what to do. When required, they qualify for power beyond their own capacity to do it.

Communication with our Father in Heaven is not a trivial matter. It is a sacred privilege. It is based upon unchanging principles. When we receive help from our Father in Heaven, it is in response to faith, obedience, and the proper use of agency.

It is a mistake to assume that every prayer we offer will be answered immediately. Some prayers require considerable effort on our part. True, sometimes impressions come when we have not specifically sought them. They generally concern something we need to know and are not otherwise able to find out.

We are here on earth to gain experience we can obtain in no other way. We are given the opportunity to grow, to develop, and to gain spiritual maturity. To do that, we must learn to apply truth. How we face challenges and resolve difficult problems is crucially important to our happiness.

To better understand prayer, I have listened to the counsel of others, pondered the scriptures, and studied the lives of prophets and others. Yet what seems most helpful is seeing in my mind a child approaching trustingly a loving, kind, wise, understanding Father, who wants us to succeed.

Don’t worry about your clumsily expressed feelings. Just talk to your Father. He hears every prayer and answers it in His way.

When we explain a problem and a proposed solution, sometimes He answers yes, sometimes no. Often He withholds an answer, not for lack of concern, but because He loves us—perfectly. He wants us to apply truths He has given us. For us to grow, we need to trust our ability to make correct decisions. We need to do what we feel is right. In time, He will answer. He will not fail us.

I have described the absolute reality of our relationship with our Father. There is nothing about us He does not know. He is conscious of our every need and could provide all of the answers. Yet, because His purpose is our eternal happiness, He encourages us to make the correct choices.

Sometimes, like a child, we misbehave, act unwisely, and feel we cannot approach our Father with a problem. When communication is strained, how wonderful it is to have a Mediator who works things out when we obey His counsel and repent. Such is our Elder Brother, the Savior.

Perhaps Oliver Cowdery’s experiences were recorded for us to understand how to pray and how to recognize answer to prayer. Oliver was told: “That assuredly as the Lord liveth, … even so surely shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall receive. …

“I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost.” (D&C 8:1–2; italics added.)

When we receive an impression in our heart, we can use our mind either to rationalize it away or to accomplish it. Be careful what you do with an impression from the Lord.

Oliver was further taught: “Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not. …

“According to your faith shall it be done unto you.” (D&C 8:10–11; italics added.)

“Ask in faith” means ask with confidence in our holy Father. Like many of us, Oliver did not recognize the evidence of answers to prayers already given by the Lord. To open his, and our, eyes, this revelation was given through Joseph Smith:

“Blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.

“Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth.” (D&C 6:14–15; italics added.)

If you feel that God has not answered your prayers, ponder these scriptures—then carefully look for evidence in your own life of His having already answered you.

To help each of us recognize answers given, the Lord said: “If you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.

“Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?” (D&C 6:22–23; italics added).

The Lord provides further insight by counseling us to study a problem out in our mind and then to ask if it be right: “If it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

“But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought.” (D&C 9:8–9; italics added.)

It is vitally important to recognize that the Lord also responds a third way to prayer by withholding an answer when the prayer is offered. Why would He do that?

He is our perfect Father. He loves us beyond our capacity to understand. He knows what is best for us. He sees the end from the beginning. He wants us to act to gain needed experience:

When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.

When He answers no, it is to prevent error.

When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act.

Most often what we have chosen to do is right. He will confirm the correctness of our choices His way. That confirmation generally comes through packets of help found along the way. We discover them by being spiritually sensitive. They are like notes from a loving Father as evidence of His approval. If, in trust, we begin something which is not right, He will let us know before we have gone too far. We sense that help by recognizing troubled or uneasy feelings.

Nephi’s efforts to obtain the plates of brass show how the principles work. When the older brethren were asked to go, they “murmured” and received no help. Nephi was assured, “Thou shalt be favored of the Lord, because thou hast not murmured.” (1 Ne. 3:6.) Nephi’s words, “I will go and do,” reveal a positive commitment to act and to succeed by using spiritual law. (1 Ne. 3:7.)

After two unsuccessful attempts, Nephi remained confident. He crept into the city toward the house of Laban without all the answers. He observed, “I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do,” significantly adding, “Nevertheless I went forth.” (1 Ne. 4:6–7; italics added.)

Nephi was willing to try time and again, using his best efforts. He expressed faith that he would be helped. He refused to be discouraged. But because he acted, had confidence in the Lord, was obedient, and properly used his agency, he received guidance. He was inspired step after step to success, and in his mother’s words was “given … power [to] accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded.” (1 Ne. 5:8; italics added.)

Nephi knew he was required to confide in God, to exercise faith, and to act so that he could receive help, step by step. He did not murmur nor ask for a full explanation. But, observe particularly, he did not wait passively for help. He acted! By following spiritual law, he was inspired and given power to act.

Sometimes answers to prayer are not recognized because we are too intent on wanting confirmation of our own desires. We fail to see that the Lord would have us do something else. Be careful to seek His will.

I confess I don’t know how to make a correct decision except where there is righteousness and trust in a Heavenly Father. The principles simply will not work when agency is intentionally used at variance with the will of God. If there is unrepented sin, we are left to our own devices to flounder and struggle on our own. We can be rescued through our own repentance.

When we seek inspiration to help make decisions, the Lord gives gentle promptings. These require us to think, to exercise faith, to work, to struggle at times, and to act. Seldom does the whole answer to a decisively important matter or complex problem come all at once. More often, it comes a piece at a time, without the end in sight.

I have saved the most important part about prayer until the end. It is gratitude! Our sincere efforts to thank our beloved Father generate wondrous feelings of peace, self-worth, and love. No matter how challenging our circumstances, honest appreciation fills our mind to overflowing with gratitude.

Why is it that the most impoverished seem to know best how to thank the Lord? In the highlands of Guatemala, members barely subsist. Going to the temple requires great sacrifice. A visit takes a year of preparation. There is hard work, sacrifice to save money and food, the spinning, dyeing, and weaving of new clothing. There is the long, barefoot walk out of the mountains, the crossing of Lake Isabel, the bus rides with little food. Tired and worn, they arrive at the temple. They scrub until they shine, dress in their new clothing, and enter the house of the Lord.

Reclothed in white, they are taught by the Spirit, receive ordinances, and make covenants. One highland woman was greatly touched by the spirit and meaning of the endowment. Entering the celestial room, she saw others seated, with heads reverently bowed. Innocently, she knelt at the entrance to the room, oblivious to others. She bowed her head, sobbed, and for twenty minutes poured out her heart to her Father in Heaven. Finally, with her dress soaked with tears, she raised her head. The sensitive temple matron asked, “May I help?” She responded, “Oh, would you? This is my problem: I’ve tried to tell Father in Heaven of my gratitude for all of my blessings, but I don’t feel that I’ve communicated. Will you help me tell Him how grateful I am?”

The counsel about prayer is true. I have tested it thoroughly in the laboratory of my own personal life. I have discovered that what sometimes seems an impenetrable barrier to communication is a giant step to be taken in trust.

If you seek His help, be sure your life is clean, your motives are worthy, and you’re willing to do what He asks—for He will answer your prayers. He is your loving Father; you are His beloved child. He loves you perfectly and wants to help you.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Follow-Up Letters Win Job Offers

A surefire way to separate yourself from a sea of other qualified candidates is to write a follow-up letter after an interview. Most job seekers neglect to write a letter, assuming that once they leave the interviewer’s office the interview is over. Well, it isn’t. The interview process extends beyond the one-on-one meeting and it is up to you to keep your candidacy in the forefront of the decision-maker’s mind.

An effective follow-up letter serves two purposes: (1) It reminds the interviewer of your skills, knowledge and abilities; with the number of candidates they are interviewing, it can be easy to get lost in the crowd. (2) It demonstrates that you remain interested in working for the company and that you were impressed by the organizational culture.

There are several slants the follow-up letter can take, including the following:

• Thank the interviewer(s) for the time they took to meet with you and for giving you the opportunity to learn more about the organization and the open position.

• Reiterate your interest in the position and draw parallels between what you have to offer and the organization’s immediate needs.

• Address a concern that came up during the interview or offer new information to a question that was asked during the interview.

Most job seekers don’t follow up because they don’t want to do the wrong thing. So instead of risking making a bad impression, they choose not to follow up at all. Common questions most job seekers have about following up include:

1) Should I e-mail, hand-write, or type, print, and mail my follow-up letter?

The answer is, it depends. With so many ways of sending communications, you may feel confused as to how to send a follow-up letter. Send an e-mail when a hiring decision is going to be made within the week. This will ensure that your letter gets read before it’s too late. A handwritten note works well if you have nice handwriting and if you’re sending a card with a quick note; I wouldn’t recommend handwriting a note on loose-leaf paper. My favorite, if time allows, is a typed letter that you send through regular mail. The reason why I prefer this method is that it is easy to for a decision-maker to delete an e-mail but most likely, a snail-mailed letter will end up in your file. Again, a snail-mailed letter is not always possible, so do the next best thing and e-mail the letter instead.

2) After interviewing at a company, should I send a letter to all interviewers?

Yes. You should send a letter to each interviewer because each one has his/her own concerns and reasons for participating in the selection process. For example, a direct supervisor may be looking for a new hire that will make her look good to the powers that be. On the other hand, a peer will be looking for a coworker he can get along with when participating in work activities or when grabbing a beer during Friday night happy hour. Having two different audiences means that you can—and should—create two different follow-up letters.

Sample Follow-Up Letter

Ms. Barbara Cortes
ABC Corporation
876 Lakeland Street
Hauppauge, NY 11787

Dear Ms. Cortes:

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me regarding the paralegal position at Collado, Collado, & Fiore, LLC. After meeting with you and discussing the set requirements, I noted several similarities between your requirements and my past experience.

From our discussion, it seems you are seeking a paralegal that has experience in supporting trial proceedings by organizing evidence for case review; preparing exhibits; maintaining relationships with experts; and scheduling witnesses and ensuring they are present and ready when needed. In my current position with Allen & Associates, I am required to perform all those responsibilities in addition to juggling and managing numerous legal tasks.

Be assured that I can be counted on to get the job done under demanding schedules, and I would enjoy the opportunity to do the same for your organization. What you will expect and get from me as a member of your team is dedication, enthusiasm, and professionalism.

Again, thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I remain interested in participating in the next round of interviews. Thank you for your consideration.


Bob Barker

Final thought

Don’t underestimate the power of an effective follow-up letter. They have been known to win job offers.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

The more you know about people the easier it gets to run a small business. This statement is so true, yet I don't know many business owners that use this power principle.

Are you working long hours? Do you have few holidays? Would you like to grow your business, but you already work many hours and don't want to work any harder? This article is for you!

When it comes to recruitment there are 3 key points to understand. Business owners fail to understand these 3 points and wonder why they hired a person who doesn't do what they want them to do. Or, they work really hard for the first few days or week then their performance wains over time.

So let's look at the 3 points.

First, most people hire on experience instead of attitude. That's the first mistake business owners make. Instead, a better aspect to hire on is ATTITUDE.

The next aspect you need to hire people on is their personality type. Lastly you need to hire people on experience. Experience is a very poor third.

Let me go over each of these points to explain why this is all so true.

When you hire on attitude you're looking for the following traits in a person... willingness to learn, willingness to change habits, someone who is open minded, someone who is keen, positive in response to new ideas, willing to take on responsibility, has a good emotional state of mind nearly all of the time and someone who doesn't complain or criticize others.

What I have described are very powerful traits in a person. If someone has these traits they will be a very fast learner. They will have good self esteem and take pride in themselves and their work.

People are a mirror and if they like themselves and take pride in themselves they will with their work.

Unfortunately people write ads for recruitment that looks like they are recruiting for the army! They ask for qualifications, state areas of experience and hardly mention attitude at all. And the more you emphasise experience and qualifications the more you state you don't want attitude.

I've found the break even time of hiring an experienced person to one who has little experience with a fantastic attitude is about 4-6 weeks. In other words the new person with great attitude learns very quickly and keeps on performing better over time. While the experienced person's performance reduces over time due to any number of reasons.

Experienced people have their own way of doing things, their own habits and often can feel like they know as much you. And when that happens you often become dependent on them and that's when the trouble begins.

The advertisement must be carefully considered with little mention of experience. If you must hire a qualified person then state it in the ad, but then write other attitude type wording in the ad.

You can teach a person anything, fast if they have a great attitude, but you can't teach someone to have a great attitude.

The second aspect of recruitment is personality type. This is a huge subject, which I can't do justice here, but let me say 2460 years ago Hippocrates identified 4 types of personality so this isn't new! The 4 personality types are now known as DISC profiles.

DISC profiling gives incredible insight into matching roles in a business to personality type. Sales needs a very different personality type to production. DISC profiles give you incredible insight into a person's natural strengths and weaknesses in a work environment. Everyone has both.

When you write your recruitment ad with the descriptive aspects of the DISC profile you want based on the role in your business you then attract the person you are looking for.

This is a science and very few people understand DISC profiles, yet alone how to match them to a role in a business. If you find it hard to trust people or rely on them, study DISC profiles.

Knowing people's DISC profiles is the most powerful management tool there is! Each profile needs to be managed completely differently. You'll manage them based on your own profile, which is great if they’re the same profile as you.

When you put all this information above together into one powerful advertisement you're on a winner. Great people are always out there in the market place, but they aren't usually unemployed. They're already working for someone feeling unappreciated or wanting a change or challenge.

Your ad has to make your business "attractive" to work for. If you don't make your business attractive you don't even get the phone calls from these great people.

Learning copywriting is where good recruitment begins. Understanding people's 6 emotional needs Tony Robbins explains and incorporating them into the ad is powerful as well. You'll have to read his book to find out more about these.

I could explain how to sort through 50 applicants who might call in a powerful interview process that only takes 2 hours, but that's something else that takes too much space here right now. Be creative though and test people's attitude with your interview as seeing if they want to respond in a positive way to a new concept is a great tool to test their attitude.

Remember, its attitude first, personality (DISC profile) second and experience third. That's the most powerful 3 step formula in the world for recruiting fantastic people you can trust and rely on!

How do you know you've hired a person with a great attitude? If you still say the person is great 6 months after you've hired them, you've hired a great person!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Debit Cards: The Good and the Bad

Even if you write the check while waiting in line, it will take you forever to pay by check in most stores. They have to see your driver’s license, write down all of your info, circle your address and then run it through the system. It isn’t the store’s fault. The need for all of the double-checking is caused by check fraud and identity theft.

Many shoppers, myself included, have turned to debit cards. Debit cards aren’t really like credit cards, they are an electronic check. But some banks are starting to offer frequent flier miles, rebates and cash rewards to regular debit card users. The lines are blurring for some consumers.

When you shop with a debit card, you need to know how it works and the drawbacks.

There are two types of debit cards: PIN cards and signature cards. With a PIN card, the money is automatically deducted from your account. You must use your PIN number to use the card. Sometimes you can even get cash back from a merchant.

Signature cards are often called check cards. The money is deducted from your checking account within usually two or three days. You don’t have to enter a PIN, you simply sign the receipt.

Most cards today will perform as both types of cards. You can use it as a PIN card and receive money back or as a signature card. Both types will work in an ATM machine. With a PIN card, the money comes out of your account immediately. With a signature card, you have to keep track of your receipts, because, like checks, the money will not come out for a few days.

Debit cards are a good alternative to credit cards. You have the convenience of a card with a limitation to the money that is in your checking account. While you can’t go on a spending spree, you must keep track of when you use the card. It can be quite surprising how it all adds up.

Debit cards don’t have some of the legal protections that credit cards have. Credit cards give you the right to withhold payments on an item that is defective. Debit cards don’t allow this, so you would have to try to get a refund or replacement item. For large purchases, you are often advised to use a credit card. Then simply sit down and make the payment to your credit card company that same day.

Debit cards require that you report a theft of your card within two days of discovering the loss to recoup some of your stolen money. If you follow all guidelines, you will only be liable for $50. After two days, you are liable for $500. After 60 days, you are left holding the empty bag.

Credit cards often will offer more protection than the law allows. Several cards offer zero liability for unauthorized use of a debit card.

While a debit card often gives you the ability to use it in place of a credit card, say for telephone or internet shopping, there are times that you should use a credit card instead. Hotels, rental-car companies and even gas stations will place a hold on your account for a certain amount of money until you check out or return the car. The practice ensures them that you have the money to pay the bill.

If you use a card with the available credit, you probably won’t have any problem. But when using a debit card, be careful. The amount they place on hold is exactly as if it has already been spent. This could prevent you from having checks go through or withdrawing money from your account.

The best advice for using a debit card is to be meticulous about keeping your receipts and writing them down in your register. It is so convenient, often we loose track of how and where we have spent the money.

Martin Lukac, represents, #1 Loans USA (http://www.1LoansUSA.com), a finance web-company specializing in real estate/mortgage market. We specialize in daily mortgage news updates, rate predictions, mortgage rates and more: info@1LoansUSA.com


Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Simple System For Finding A Killer Product And Identifying A Hot Niche!

Creating your own products is not difficult. However, it does take a little time to get it done, create a sales letter for it, work on the site, test it out, etc.

Since you may be short on time (and money), one method you can use is to start by looking for existing products that you could acquire resell rights to or become an affiliate of.

You can go to www.clickbank.com and browse through their Marketplace for a product you can affiliate with. I like clickbank because they automatically (and instantly) transfer your commissions into your account. You don't have to depend on the product owner's schedule to receive timely commissions. And, you can become an affiliate of all of their products at no charge.

You could also go to www.google.com (or even Yahoo) and search for sites selling recipes, recipe books, cookbooks, etc. and look for sites you could affiliate with. It would be to your advantage to work with sites/products that offer a generous commission (at least 50%.)

Tip: As you look through these sites, pay attention to how professional the sites look, how convincing the sales letter is, and also how soon after the sale they send out commissions. If you personally feel good about the site, see some great testimonials, and feel that you would want to do business with that company, you've probably found a good business to affiliate with.

(Let me also point out here that if you do have some experience with creating your own products, feel free to do so. It doesn't have to contain 100 pages. It can be only a few pages, as long as you provide solid, valuable information.)

Finding Your Niche

When trying to figure out which niche to go after, the questions you want to ask yourself are...

What do I love to do the most? What am I most passionate about in life?

What subjects do I have strong emotional feeling towards?

What am I naturally good at or have an instinct for? (Provided it's something you enjoy doing!)

If I were to wake up in the morning and choose to do one thing, what would that be?

What would express my creative intention and bring out the best in me while doing it?

How can I benefit myself and others if I were to express my creative intention?

To some, the answers may come very easily. And for some of us, it may require a little bit of soul-searching and self-discovery to get there.

If you're having a hard time finding the answers, just get your mind going in that general direction by pondering on the above questions, especially before you go to bed at night (and until you fall asleep.) The power of focus is such that it will get your mind working in the background (while you're sleeping) to bring the answers to you.

For now, you can simply start by asking...

"What are my favorite hobbies, interests, activities, etc."


"What are some things I don't know yet but have a burning desire to learn more about?"

Start a list and add all your favorites to it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

18 Easy Steps to Buy a Bargain House

What is a "distressed" property? What is "bargain" real estate?

A distressed property is one with a distressed seller. Job loss or transfer, divorce, death, pending foreclosure, and lack of money cause sellers to sell fast for less. Discovering the seller's problem and finding a solution is the key to buying a bargain property. A distressed property may also be a "doghouse," a dump, or a fixer. Owners of "doghouses" are not always distressed sellers.

18 Easy Steps to Buy a Bargain House

1. Get good advice from successful investors. Ask friends and real estate agents for referrals to investors.

2. Create your personal "Investment Journal," like Doghouse to Dollars Workbook: Turn Yucks into Bucks Investor's Guide.

3. Define investment goals: Do you want to buy a home to live in, to fix and sell, or to hold for your future?

4. Get credit reports & scores. Create a file for each credit reporting agency. Take care of any credit issues.

5. Read Real Estate investing books and articles. Attend workshops and seminars. Avoid out of date infomercials on TV.

6. Get good advice from lenders. Choose a lender with great service, good closing record, and fair costs. Arrange financing.

7. Define your target locations: Is your desired property near home or job, vacation or second home?

8. Learn your target market. Study real estate newspaper sections. Pick up homes for sale flyers. Watch sales and note prices, amenities, and conditions. Follow HUD sales in your area.

9. Interview Real Estate agents and learn from them. Do not sign any agreements with agents limiting your search for bargain property. (These contracts make you pay the agent a commission even if you purchase by owner.)

10. Use agents who know local market customs and guarantee to make many offers for you.

11. Find a good escrow officer for buying "for sale by owners."

12. Study home remodeling, design magazines and books. Learn the costs of materials, supplies, and trades. Visit home improvement warehouses. Note costs of building materials.

13. Be ready to know a bargain property when you see it.

14. Make many offers. Bid on HUD repos.

15. Buy only bargain property. Get great terms or concessions from seller.

16. Plan house transformation during escrow. This speeds your work time -- saving you money in holding expenses.

17. Monitor real estate escrow closing. Do not jeopardize your financing by charging up credit cards or making unnecessary purchases.

18. Celebrate buying your "doghouse" with an open house!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Make Money With A Cash Back Credit Card
by: Peter Kenny

Cash back credit cards are a fantastic way for you to make some cash while spending on your credit card, although it does only suit the customers who pay their bill in full at the end of each month.

A cash back credit card will give you the chance to earn as you spend, as a percentage is returned to you on an annual basis for every pound that you have spent. This is usually set at between 0.5% and 2% depending on how generous the credit card lender is. I cannot stress enough, you must be able to pay off your credit card statement in full each month, and this is the only way that a cash back credit card will work for you.

If you are a borrower then a cash back credit card will only cost you, even though you will be earning a little back, you will find that this will be eaten up and more by the interest charges, which are usually on a higher scale of APR.

Is a cash back credit card for everyone?

By not incurring the interest payments, then for every pound that you spend on the card you will see a little coming back to you. If you pay your credit card balance in full every month, then why not switch to a cash back credit card. A cash back credit card is a fantastic opportunity to reward you for spending money!

There is a word of warning that will come with this though, if you decide that you want to balance transfer a amount from your existing credit card company on to a cash back credit card, then you should try and avoid this. As a matter of fact avoid it altogether, as any payments you make to the credit card will only go on to pay the amount transferred and interest will only mount up on any purchases that you have made on the credit card. You will then be paying back more than the cash back card is making you.

Here are some of the best deals

There are a few good deals on the go right now, with the Amex Blue cash back card the Amex Platinum and the First Trust Bank cards worthy at a look if you decide that a cash back credit card is for you.

So if you have a clear statement at the end of each month then go for it and make that bargain in the sales save you even more cash.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Are Everyday Candles Destroying Your Home And Health?

Did you know that most candles are made from the sludge in the bottom of a barrel of oil which is bleached and texturized with a chemical called acrolein?

They're called paraffin candles and burning one puts all the same horrible toxins and carcinogens (cancer causing agents) into the air in your home that burning diesel fuel in your home would.

The National Candle Association estimates that more than 7 million people in the US alone burn candles every year.

But testing by the EPA has confirmed that those candles, and the smoke and soot they give off, contain several dangerous chemicals in significant quantities. These chemicals include known or probable carcinogens, neurotoxins and reproductive toxins.

The American Lung Association also warns that burning paraffin candles can emit toxins (in measurable amounts) into your home's air.

It might shock you to learn that after burning just a few paraffin candles in your home, the overall effect on the quality of the air in your home could be worse than the air in major cities like Los Angeles!

Not only is your health affected, but the health of your pets and children as well.

Cathy Flanders who has been at the forefront of addressing health and safety issues involving candles says, "With the current 'candle-craze' and increased candle burning in homes, expectant Moms need to be aware of the fact that the emissions from some candles are toxic, reproductive toxins, neuro-toxins and/or carcinogens. This has been a growing cause for concern for the EPA and children's health agencies."

And it might hit your pocket book soon too. Not only is the price of oil spiraling out of control, but you might have a nasty surprise the next time you go to renew your homeowners insurance.

The NIA Group (Insurance and Financial Services) lists the following problems with paraffin candles in an article on their website:

1) Reduces the internal air quality in your home.

2) Damage by particulate deposits on interior and exterior walls, carpets, furniture, appliances, window treatments, floors and other surfaces.

3) Contributes to health problems from inhaling particulate matter or ingesting harmful chemicals.

4) Spews hazardous chemicals that are either in the paraffin wax, the wick, or are present when paraffin wax is burned....Acetone, Benzene, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethane, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Tetrachloroethene, Toluene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene, Xylene, Phenol, Cresol, Cyclopentene and Lead

They go on to say...

"Another surprise is that the candle-making industry is not required to tell consumers about the ingredients used in their products, including when a wick is used which contains a lead core."

No one knows for sure if paraffin candles cause cancer, but there are at least 4 cancer-causing chemicals associated with paraffin candles.

The EPA lists these chemicals on their website:

1) Benzene (EPA classification as Group A, known human carcinogen).

2) Carbon Tetrachloride (EPA classification as Group B2 probable human carcinogen).

3) Trichloroethane (EPA classification as Group C, possible human carcinogen).

4) Toluene (EPA classification as Group B2 probable human carcinogen).

Would you burn animal fat in your home?

Most of us would answer an emphatic “No!” or “Yuck!” to that question, but like something straight out of a horror movie, you might react in horror to realize that you probably are burning animal fat in your home when you burn paraffin candles.

That's because many paraffin candles contain large amounts of animal fats to give them a more textured or rustic look.

So what's the alternative?

Believe it or not, the answer comes from soybeans.

The soy plant produces a waxy substance that not only burns cooler, but can burn up to 50% longer than paraffin wax.

Since soy wax is derived from plants, it’s a renewable resource that's a pleasure for candle makers to work with.

Some of the surprising benefits of soy candles include:
* Burn with no toxins, carcinogens or choking soot.
* Burn up to 50% longer than paraffin candles.
* Cruelty-free, contain no animal fats.
* Non-toxic, biodegradable, derived from a renewable resource.
* Cleans up easily with soap and hot water.
* Better for the environment.
* Use no nasty chemicals to release fragrance.
* Supports the American farmer - not foreign oil.

As more and more people learn about the harmful effects of burning paraffin candles in their homes, they're substituting soy candles with surprising results.

Karen Key, a mother of three in Washington state, had this to say, "I'm asthmatic and when I burn paraffin candles in my home, or get around smoke or perfumy scents, my airway closes down and I start to panic. So I was more than a little nervous when a friend lit a scented soy candle in front of me. I have to say I'm completely amazed. Shocked is a better word. With soy candles I now have no problem breathing and I can finally enjoy the beauty and magic of candles in my home once again!"

So the next time you want to create a warm, inviting, and romantic atmosphere in your home, don’t destroy your home - or your health, choose all-natural soy candles as a healthy alternative.

To learn more about the dangers of paraffin candles you can go to any of the following websites:

=Ryan Mercer
- http://www.ryanmercer.com
- http://www.payformydegree.com

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Best Bad Credit Loans
by: Gary Gresham

Shopping for the best bad credit loan? Then you know it can be time consuming and frustrating. But there are several lenders who offer financing for people with bad credit if you know where to look.

First, you must realize that bad credit interest rates are always higher than for someone with a good credit rating. That doesn't mean you can't shop and compare rates and terms to get the best bad credit loan.

It's always important to do your research before you accept because it could save you a great deal of money. Here are a few places to help you with your search so you'll end up with the best bad credit loan possible.

Bad Credit Bank Loan

Not all banks are open to financing for people with bad credit but some are. This is especially true if you have current accounts with the bank now and have been a regular customer.

A bad credit bank loan is the best place to start because you are already doing business with them. That gives you better leverage with their loan agents because they may feel because you are already a customer you may repay the loan better.

Lending Company Loan

The main advantage of going to a lending company for a loan is they deal with people with bad credit on a regular basis. Even though a lending company will have higher bad credit interest rates than banks, their loan acceptance rate is considerably higher.

Bad Credit Loan Online

A popular alternative to a bad credit bank loan or going to a lending company for a loan is a bad credit loan online. These bad credit money lenders offer you loan services from the convenience of your computer.

Many online bad credit money lenders offer financing for people with bad credit or any kind of credit. Some of these online lenders have more competitive interest rates and terms because of a low overhead.

Each lender has their own specific interest rates and terms so that's why it's important to shop and compare. Half the battle is knowing where to find financing for people with bad credit.

Hopefully we have shed some light in that area for you so you will end up with the best bad credit loan possible.

Copyright © 2005 Credit-Repair-Facts.com All Rights Reserved.

About The Author

Gary Gresham

This article is supplied by http://www.credit-repair-facts.com where you will find credit information, debt elimination programs and informative articles that give you the knowledge to correct your own credit and credit report. For more credit related articles like these go to: http://www.credit-repair-facts.com/articles_1.html.