Change A Light, Change The World With Energy Star

Most people want to do their part to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save on their energy bills, but don’t know what they can do. Using energy efficiently at home is an important start; and, it can be as easy as changing a light bulb. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) are calling on Americans to join the growing number of individuals switching their current lighting to energy-efficient light bulbs and fixtures.

Many people don’t realize it, but the average home is responsible for twice as many greenhouse gas emissions as the average car. In fact, if every American home replaced its five most frequently used light fixtures or the bulbs in them with ENERGY STAR qualified ones, the amount of greenhouse gases we could prevent is equivalent to the emissions from more than 8 million cars. Not only does energy-efficient lighting help protect the environment, but it also saves consumers money since lighting accounts for nearly 20 percent of home electricity costs. Each home making this “5 light fixture change” could save about $60 a year in energy costs.

As part of the annual ENERGY STAR Change a Light, Change the World Campaign, the EPA and DOE have declared Oct. 4, 2006 “ENERGY STAR Change a Light Day.” Americans are invited to take a pledge online at energy star.gov/changealight and commit to replace at least one incandescent bulb or fixture in their home with one that has earned the government’s ENERGY STAR for energy efficiency. Individuals who have pledged are already having a dramatic combined impact. Pledges taken in 2005 alone will result in the reduction of 33 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to encourage at least 500,000 individuals to join the community and take the ENERGY STAR Change a Light Pledge. This is a step in the right direction, to ensure that our children have a bright future ahead.

ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program helping individuals and businesses save energy and protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.

Are Business Buyer Notes Profitable?

Like anything else, it depends on the type of business you’re selling. Business buyer notes are documents secured by a business, much like a mortgage broker except there is no real estate involved. Often, personal property like cooking equipment, furniture, and office equipment obligates one individual or company to make payments, usually monthly, to another person or company. Businesses are sold without the help of bank financing; this makes it much easier for a person to buy a business with a small down payment. Because the down payment is small, most banks will not finance the remaining balance, so the seller {owner} agrees to hold a “note” on the remaining balance for the buyer. This is called seller-financing or owner-financing. The buyer then agrees to pay the seller a monthly payment. The person holding the note however does not want to wait that long to receive all the money from the business, so he or she looks for a someone to buy all or part of the note being held.

Business buyer notes can be a good asset because the holder of the note can get cash in hand from an interested buyer and there are a lot of company’s willing to buy business notes. The note holder may choose to sell all or part of the note and receive a lump sum for the cash he or she needs to pay off bills, go on vacation, or to buy another business, while still receiving monthly payments from the one who bought the business. The holder may also want to sell the note to get out from under the responsibility of the business. Most business owners really don’t want to be note holders but in order to sell the business quickly the note was agreed upon. A drawback to being a business note buyer is when future payments are sold for cash, the current balance is always sold at a discount. The reasons behind this is time erodes the value of money, and the payee is paying the owner over time. Another reason business buyer notes are sold at a discount is because personal property and office furniture does not provide the same degree of safety that real estate does. Also the interest rates on business buyer notes are not high enough to interest investors to purchase these notes unless it is sold at a discount price.

If you are interested in purchasing a business buyer note it’s probably a good idea to contact a service that will help you in these matters. First there needs to be an assignment of the security instrument and receive the endorsement of the promissory note. The service you hire in this matter will examine all aspects of this transaction, and verify all notes in question, plus they will of course record all of the necessary documents for your records. It all depends on the nature of your agreements with all involved whether your business buyer notes are assets or not.

Travel Health Insurance: Don’t Leave The Homeland Without It

Insurance is designed to give us peace of mind. It is there to help us when things go wrong. Whether it is insurance of our health, possessions, or income, we willingly pay our premiums in order to rest easily in knowing that we are protected from loss. Yet it is truly ironic that when we are farthest from home and on foreign lands, our health insurance is often at its most useless. For peace of mind when traveling or living internationally the smart traveler is sure to purchase travel health insurance.

Many of us spend thousands of dollars each year in purchasing comprehensive and complete health insurance coverage. Yet many people are surprised to learn that what is comprehensive coverage within our own borders is often useless when we travel abroad. And it is not just those who purchase extensive private health insurance coverage who are surprised, student health insurance and U.S. Medicare both fail to cover the insured when they are beyond the border.

If you are planning international travel and you wish to avoid the shocking expenses that an unexpected injury or illness can cause, then you should consider the purchase of travel health insurance.

While the format and benefits of various travel health insurance plans can vary, the basic premise remains the same; if something goes wrong you are covered. Depending on the cost of the plan you can purchase coverage that will have various maximum limits, from as little as $25,000 to as much as $1,000,000. Further, it is not uncommon for travel health insurance plans to cover more than just medical bills.

Other common features are the cost of medical evacuation in case you need to be moved back to your native country for care or treatment. Accidental death and dismemberment coverage provides insurance benefits in the event of a loss of life, limb, eyesight, speech, or hearing. Some plans will cover the expense of returning your remains to your country of origin in the unfortunate event of death, or cover the expenses of children or family members who need to be returned home due to your condition.

Still others can include coverage for less catastrophic occasions, such as trip cancellation or lost baggage. These features, and others not listed, are not available on all plans so smart consumers will be sure to investigate further in order to determine the plan that best covers their particular needs.

Travel health insurance is a product that should appeal to anyone who is engaged in international travel. Whether coming to or leaving from the United States, travelers can rest comfortably when they know their basic needs will be covered without incurring massive expenses. If you are planning to travel across international lines then you would be wise to investigate your travel health insurance options right away, and a great place to start is by getting a quote from a reputable broker. This can be done with a few clicks of the mouse on the Internet.

If you are traveling through a university function, or with a group tour or cruise line, you may be able to purchase insurance directly from the trip organizers. But do not wait until it is too late; only a few dollars spent before you depart can save you thousands of dollars, or more, as long as you remember to make travel health insurance a staple item in your pre-travel planning.

Annuity Lead Generation

Copyright 2006 Brian Maroevich

If you want to generate more annuity leads from your marketing efforts, here are five annuity lead generation tips you should consider:

Your Audience: Whether you are marketing on the Internet, using direct-mail, or creating display ads, marketing to the right audience is crucial. Even the best marketing piece or sales presentation is worthless if it’s presented to people who are not interested!

Do your research. Who is your target audience? What do they read? What are their fears? What are their desires? These are just some of the questions you should ask, and once you have the answer you are on your way to uncovering a hungry market.

Benefits: Although it’s important to know your products thoroughly, it’s equally as important to know the benefits of each feature. Agents are so focused on how an annuity works that they often lose sight of the benefits. It’s what drives your prospect to respond to your offer or sign the application.

A good exercise is to squeeze out as many benefits you can for each feature of your annuity, and write them down. This will not only help you in your annuity lead generation efforts, but it will help you sell more annuities as well.

Do you really want to market a product?: One thing is for certain, if you’re marketing a financial product like an annuity, you can expect small response rates. The reason for this is that your potential prospects have been hit with advertisement after advertisement on the advantages of owning products like annuities. As a result, your prospect is more likely to throw your marketing in the trash, or simply click delete.

An alternative to marketing annuities on the front end is to create what is called a “lead generator”. A lead generator comes in many forms, but the most common is an information product. In this case it would be a booklet, report, or something similar. Do not mistake this for a brochure. A lead generator, written properly, works more like a sophisticated sales letter.

Instead of advertising an annuity, you would advertise your lead generator. The key is to use the lead generator as a tool to capture your prospects contact information, and as a result, you build an extremely valuable list that most agents and financial advisors would crawl over broken glass to own.

Systemize: Whether you decide to market an annuity on the front end or use a lead generator, it’s important to systematize your marketing system. Studies show that it can take up to 17 contacts to make a sale. In other words, for every lead you generate, you should have a sequence of follow-ups ready to go.

Test: Another important area you should consider is testing small. Once you decide upon your market and how you want to generate leads, test a small ad or test a small number of names on a well selected list. If your response rates do not provide you with a decent return on investment, you haven’t wasted a lot of money.

Secondly, you can find out where you went wrong in your marketing system and fix it. Once you have a profitable annuity lead generation system put together, you can roll it out on a bigger scale.

A successful annuity lead generation program has the best chance of success when you target the right audience, uncover the benefits of your product, choose the right approach, follow-up regularly, and test small (to get the kinks out).

American Express Blue Cards: Which Blue Is For You?

Times certainly have changed for American Express. Gone are the days where the American Express card was simply a charge card that had to be paid off in full every month. Yes, the old workhorse – the green card – is still available and popular too. However, American Express decided to take MasterCard and VISA on directly by offering its own line of credit cards. These “blue” cards have been such a hit with consumers that the admired financial giant is now offering four different blue cards from which consumers can choose. Each American Express blue card is different, so let’s take a look at just what makes each one so special.

American Express Sky Blue, The Ultimate Travel Rewards Card

Sky Blue – If you are tired of all those rewards cards that promise you a weekend in Las Vegas, but can only deliver you an overnight stay in Providence, then the Sky Blue card should appeal to you. Touted by American Express as putting an end to travel reward card restrictions, Sky Blue goes where no other American Express blue card has gone before it. With absolutely no black out dates and no travel restrictions, the Sky Blue card allows for card holders to travel where they want, when they want. But, it even gets better: 0% introductory APR and no annual fee; discounts on airline tickets, hotel stays, and car rentals. You even get free coverage on rental car insurance and travel accident insurance with Sky Blue.

Blue Cash For Cold, Hard Cash

Blue Cash – If it is cold, hard cash that you want, then there isn’t a card that matches the American Express Blue Cash card. This is no 1% or 2% cash back card; the Blue Cash card is one that really works for card holders as it gives back 5% cash on just about everything you buy. Save 5% on gas. Save 5% on drugstore visits, on the bills you pay, and on so much more. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about redeeming your points as every year American Express will give you your earnings back to you in the form of a big fat credit to your account!

The Original Blue: The American Express Blue Card

Blue – The American Express Blue card was the card that got the whole blue movement rolling. Although it isn’t as power packed with the features found in Sky Blue or Blue Cash, the Blue card is still a worthy choice. If you select “Blue” you get 0% APR for up to 15 months, 4.99% APR on balance transfers for the life of the loan, and you will earn points toward the American Express free rewards program. Yes, there is no annual fee with the Blue card either!

Jet Blue: The Airline And The Card

Jet Blue – Named for the airline it represents, the American Express Jet Blue card allows card holders to accumulate points toward free Jet Blue Airways flights. Using the card the very first time nets users a cool 5,000 points right off the bat. You can also get double points at many places where you like to shop or eat.

As you have read, the competition for credit card carrying customers is heating up. With an American Express Blue Card you can receive benefits not available to customers of competing card companies. What are you waiting for? Put an American Express Blue Card in your wallet today and reap all of the rewards!

Building Long-term Energy Savings Into Your Home

While new homes are 100 percent more energy efficient today than those built three decades ago, most people are not familiar with how to actually design energy savings into the infrastructure of their home.

Here are a few ways to save energy in your home:

* Windows and doors: Today’s architecture takes advantage of increased window space and elaborate entry systems. This style enhancement certainly adds to the appeal of a home, but it increases the importance of having energy-efficient windows and doors.

On average, a household spends nearly 50 percent of its annual energy costs in heating and cooling. You can reduce this expense by up to 15 percent by using energy-efficient windows and doors, which help decrease the transfer of heat. Start by looking for products that have the Energy Star label. This label identifies products that meet the strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

* Construction materials: Wood or vinyl (for windows) and steel (for doors) offer high energy efficiency. For windows, dual-pane insulating glass units and low-emissivity glass also increase the products’ energy efficiency. For steel doors, look for a polystyrene core, which helps the door retain its energy-saving properties longer than steel doors with a polyurethane core.

Rest assured, however, that you will not have to forgo style and beauty when seeking energy efficiency. Many manufacturers, such as Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors, offer a variety of Energy Star-qualified products that are attractive, durable and provide superior performance. In fact, upgrading windows and doors is a great way to build energy savings into your current home.

* Insulating your home: In addition to diminishing heat transfer through windows and doors, you can ensure even temperatures in the home by selecting proper insulation. Well-insulated homes can save up to 30 percent on heating and cooling costs. Pay attention to the R-values used to rate the energy efficiency of insulation – a higher R-value indicates a better ability to resist heat flow, meaning that it is more energy efficient.

* Heating and cooling engines: Installing oversized heating or cooling equipment is a common practice to provide customers with immediate results. However, oversized equipment is not necessary if your home is designed to conserve energy; it will only add to the growth of your energy bill.

Visit a local home improvement center to learn more about heating and cooling options.

Annuity Transfer – What Are The Risks

Many people who know in the back of their minds that they got the possibility to transform a monthly payment or annuity long term payments into a big lump sum and by that to relieve some temporarily financial problems, or need to buy a new car or a house or help their children and so forth are tempted to exercise this process into action.

Although it is a very natural feeling and sometimes even a real life need or deep inner quest for power and control, it is not in their best financial interest to say the least.

It is no wonder that the U.S federal laws encourage long term payments in both cases like Structured settlements and lottery winnings. There are many good reasons for that and I’m going to spell them out as clear as I can.

– In some countries around the world it is legal to pay for lottery winning in one lump sum. Experience shows many of these people lose most or all of their money in a few years time, due to the following reasons:

– Ordinary people who get into their possession a very large sum of money don’t really know how to manage their treasure or how to invest it wisely, they are not prepared for it and they are overwhelmed with a delusion of over abundance of wealth, they become totally careless on how and on what they spend their money.

– Even if they invest their money, they go for high risk speculative investments as they try to get high yields. Instead of going for a much solid and safer, “widows & orphans” type of investment portfolio. Neither do they go for the golden middle way in between of a mixed portfolio. They don’t use investments advisers or financial consultants.

– They become over generous with their family and friends, they buy their children homes, cars or any other materialistic requests, they ” lend ” money to a friend in need…

– They listen to shrewd business people who talk them into investing into all kinds of business adventures that seems to them very profitable but in a short while turn into total failures and the money is gone.

– All kind of addictive behaviors like betting horse races or going to play the roulette in the casino are now intensified with the feeling of power and wealth, it might drive the person to gamble high sums of money as if there is no tomorrow.

– Believe it or not but criminal elements might engage in putting pressure to extort monies from the overnight rich poor guy. They might threaten to harm his family etc’

– Charity institutions start to call all day and night asking for donations to a very noble causes, they even send some slick reps to convince him to donate money.

– His own children, some times his spouse becomes very greedy and exert emotional pressure to give them more and more money. In some cases the sudden riches literally ruined the families.

As I have shown you above, getting a large lump sum of money might be a risky thing, this is In addition to the fact that you are loosing a lot of money which was Tax free, that alone might be a difference of anywhere between 35% – 65% , add to it the profits of the fund who bought the annuity from you and you are loosing big time. It is not recommended for an injured or a disabled person, to transform the whole Structured Settlement long term payments into one big lump sum or you might find yourself one day without the money and facing high medical expenses and other bills you cannot afford.

Travel Arrangements and Insurance

There are many different types of traveller. There are business men and women who are flying from one city to another for brief meetings, then there are families taking a two week holiday to the sun with young children, then there are students or gap year travellers who will be backpacking around exotic locations on extremely low budgets. There are really about as many different types of traveller as there are different types of person.

There are many different approaches you can take to booking your travel arrangements. Your main priority may be convenience, for example if you have a meeting near the airport you will need airport accommodation and little else, however, if you are travelling for pleasure, you are likely to have far less restrictions and will be willing to consider all types of arrangements. You can have these arranged for you by a travel agent or you could do it for yourself online. Or alternatively, you may wish to simply travel to a city or country with absolutely no plans and just see what happens when you get there.

On of the things you should always travel with is proper health and travel insurance. Obviously your requirements will again vary depending on what kind of travel you are undertaking. If you are travelling for business, full travel insurance that will provide you with alternative flights if yours is cancelled or delayed will be important. For most holiday travellers, this may not be quite as important. If you are travelling with children you may wish to consider it, but otherwise you may be quite flexible and tolerant if delays do occur. But you may be more worried about your luggage and belongings and wish to have good coverage for loss or damage to your property. All these options are available today with the various travel insurance companies that are operating in the market.

Generally speaking, you will always need health insurance when you travel. You cannot afford to take the risk that an accident or serious injury occurs and you do not have proper coverage. There are many parts of the word where free national health insurance is not provided and if you do require medical treatment, it will only be provided if you can pay for it. Particularly if you are travelling with children, you should always arrange adequate travel insurance with medical coverage. This is simply a risk that you do not want to be bearing yourself especially when the cost of travel insurance is so affordable.

Anatomy of a Mortgage

Mortgages were the original home loan agreement. In many ways, the mortgage changed the real estate market completely and turned it on its head in a very good way. Before the advent of the mortgage, the only way for people to go out and get what they wanted in terms of property was to pay for it outright. Since very few people possessed the means back then to pay for property outright, the ownership rights were only there for pretty much the upper middle class and the upper class people; the middle class downwards were excluded from this very important thing. Mortgages changed all of that and to understand how profound a mortgage is, it is important to take a close look at exactly what a mortgage entails.

Agreement

The agreement for a mortgage is one that is the main point of everything else that follows. Under the agreement of a typical mortgage, the person has the ability to borrow money from the bank in order to pay for a house or a property. The amount of money they can borrow varies, but for the majority of banks it usually resolves itself towards being around 95% of the actual quoted value of the house. In exchange for getting this very large loan, the person then agrees to put the house up as collateral against that loan, so that the bank has some way to save itself in the event that the person is unable to pay that loan back.

Interest Rates

Now, whenever people think about loans, very likely the first thing that they think about is interest rates. There are a number of different interest rates involved in different loans, but when you compare the vast majority of them to what is available under a mortgage, what you find is that the vast majority of those interest rates don’t really match up. The average mortgage has an interest rate attached to it between 5% and 7% and the vast majority of loans that are available on the marketplace today, even if they happen to be secured loans, really can’t match up.

Repayment Terms

Just like with the interest rates, the repayment terms for a number of different mortgages are very impressive when put up against a number of other conventional loans. When you’re talking about unsecured loans (i.e. credit cards), then obviously there’s going to be no contest, but for the most part you will find that mortgage repayment terms are significantly easier to deal with than with most other loans. This is because (a) the collateral being used is extremely strong and (b) the term lengths are longer, so naturally that makes the monthly payments smaller.

Fees

There are some fees for mortgage payments relating to things like late payments and underpayments, but you will find for the most part that fees are not really that important in the grand scheme of the agreement itself. It is important to be aware of what fees are there, but most of the time you will see that they aren’t that big.

Cash Advance Loans Online – The Plus Side

Cash advance loans online can be a huge lifesaver when you find yourself in a bit of a pinch in between your paydays. So just what is a cash advance loan and how will it be helpful to you?

A cash advance loan (or payday loan) is a very short-term loan that carries extremely high interest rates. Generally, these types of loans last from a period of one to four weeks and you either write a check out that the company will cash when the loan is due or you would have to authorize the company to be able to make withdrawals out of your savings or checking account.

If you are in a bad credit situation when it comes to obtaining a loan, getting a cash advance loan may just be the answer you are seeking. Most all payday loan companies only require that you have either an active savings or checking account and have held your current job between 3-6 months and be able to prove how much you make in a month.

You can obtain your money very quickly when you decide to into applying for cash advance loans online. After you have provided the loan company with all of the information that they require and you are approved you are likely ti have your cash within 24 hours sometimes instantly depending on the company you are getting your loan through.

Getting a cash advance loan can assist you in making your credit score better. Just make sure that when you are getting an advance you make sure that the loan company reports to one of the three major credit agencies.

Now the next time that you are in a bind and need some cash quickly, if you are you sure you can meet the terms, applying for cash advance loans online would be a smart move.