Roadside Assistance

Roadside assistance is one of those handy services that can make your life a lot easier. A well-known national company has been doing it for years, but certainly does not have a monopoly. You can shop around to obtain the best policy possible. The good news is that most roadside assistance policies cost around $135 a year, an amount that can quickly be offset with a couple of towing bills.

With that said, there are some things to think about when it comes to roadside assistance. While all of them offer similar services, few offer identical services or terms. Here are a few of the services and some things to consider with each.

Towing

When your vehicle has gasped its last alongside the road, or in the middle of the road, one of the best sights in the world is that tow truck slowing down and stopping in front of you. Towing doesn’t come cheap these days, and the thought of having to dig down into your travel budget to pay for one is rarely a wonderful experience. Roadside assistance covers most local towing fees. Some companies top out at $100 for towing, while one exceptional company pays for unlimited towing to the closest service even if it is 500 miles away.

Locksmith Services

Locksmith services often get rolled in with towing, but never underestimate their worth. If you’ve ever hastily locked your vehicle’s door and realized that your keys are inside, you are certainly not alone with this experience. It becomes even worse if you have locked your ID and perhaps even your phone in there, as well. The absolute worst scenario is if a pet or child that is too young to operate the door locks is inside. Under those circumstances, getting help quickly is the only thing on your mind.

Roadside Assistance

A flat tire can seriously deflate your best travel plans. Even if you have one of those handy little pumps that plug into the DC electrical outlet in your vehicle, not every flat can be so easily inflated. Some companies like the RAC personal plan roll this into a service usually described as “roadside assistance” which can also include recharging batteries, unlocking your locked door, and even moderate repairs. Some companies cover a moderate amount of replacement parts, but others will charge extra for parts such as a new tire or a replacement battery. Even so, having someone drive up in an official vehicle and fix that minor whatever it is so that your vehicle will go again is a wonderful thing. More than that, the service person might arrive in a towing vehicle or be able to quickly summon one if that turns out to be the real answer.

Above and Beyond

Some kinds of assistance go beyond the immediate mechanical details of your vehicle. One company provides a coupon for discounts on repairs at nearby shops of a certain brand. Another offers a bond certificate. Sound like something you wouldn’t need? Guess again. If you are involved in an auto accident in another country or even in a state that is not your own, you might need to post a bond before being allowed to journey on. Being confronted with coming up with a bond or going to jail can very much ruin your road trip adventure. In that same sort of consideration, some companies offer coverage for what they call “trip interruption” where you need a place to stay overnight.

Trip Planning and Other Small Perks

Some policies offer assistance with trip planning and even provide maps and Carfax reports. These are small things that don’t seem to amount to much when you first look at them but can add up in the long run.

Home Equity Loan vs. Line of Credit: Understanding the Fixed Rate Equity Loan

Homeowners who find themselves in need of money can use their home to get a home equity loan or take out a home equity line of credit. Both of these options provide the individual with money to use, but they work a little differently. The greatest thing is that the interest rates are typically lower than those of credit cards or other loans. Below, individuals will get important tips for understanding the fixed rate equity loan.

What is the Difference?

With a fixed rate equity loan, an individual receives a lump sum of money that can be used for whatever the individual needs. The individual then has a fixed payment, which must be paid every month in order to pay off the fixed rate equity loan. However, with a line of credit, the individual is extended a certain amount of money that they can use slowly – as they need it. This is similar to a credit card. The individual then has a minimum payment, which must be paid each month, although they can choose to pay more.

Benefits of Fixed Rate Equity Loan

There are many benefits of a fixed rate equity loan, including fixed payments. The borrower knows the amount he or she must pay every month and rather than paying off only the interest, he or she will be paying off the balance of the loan as well. The large sum of money up front allows individuals to obtain larger purchases that they need, such as a vehicle or college tuition. To learn more about the benefits of a fixed equity loan, visit loansinaflash.

Costs Comparison

Both the home equity loan and the line of credit carry higher interest rates than a first home mortgage. However, there is a difference in the two. The fixed rate equity loan typically has lower interest rates than the line of credit. Most lenders give individuals the option of choosing a fluctuating interest rate or a fixed interest rate with the home equity loan. This allows individuals to choose what kind of interest they will be paying. With the fixed interest, individuals can ensure that their interest payments never increase for the life of the loan.

How to Determine Which is Best

While there are benefits to both options, it’s important for the homeowner to determine which option is best for him or her. Typically, individuals seeking larger purchases such as that of a vehicle, college tuition or a major home renovation will choose the home equity fixed loan. They receive a higher amount of money and a fixed rate to pay off each month. Individuals with smaller needs here and there may choose the line of credit, which they can use as needed. Also, with the line of credit these individuals’ payments will be determined by what balance is owed and how much of the credit has been used.

By using the information above, individuals can compare the home equity fixed loan and the home equity line of credit to determine which option suits them best.

A Vehicle Title Loan Means Fast Emergency Cash: An Automobile Title Loan Provides a Bad Credit Quick Cash Advance

Borrowing money can represent a challenge, especially if the applicant has bad credit. An automobile title loan involves using the equity in a car to get fast emergency cash. It is an any any-purpose loan that is suitable for a poor credit history due to there being no credit checks at any stage. Conventional lenders perform credit scoring in order to determine the risk of the borrower defaulting. However, the provision of collateral (the car) means that this isn’t necessary for a vehicle title loan.

Getting Approval for an Automobile Title Loan

  • Most lenders require applicants to be 18, possibly 21.
  • Some vehicle title loans will only be available to those who are in full-time employment. However, others will simply seek proof that the customer is in a position to repay the debt.
  • Whilst clearing vehicle finance is normally a basic requirement, an auto pawn loan may still be available if there is less than 25% left to pay.
  • Proof of vehicle ownership will also be required.

How to Get an Auto Pawn Loan

  • The value of the car will be assessed using an internal process or the Kelly blue book. Although most customers want their fast emergency cash as quickly as possible, it is advisable to check with several providers as valuations and the terms of lending are likely to vary considerably.
  • After the valuation, it will normally be possible to get a vehicle title loan for 25% to 50% of the available equity. The figure is capped as lenders want to make sure that there is sufficient equity to cover any interest and charges in the event of default. There is also scope for the customer to renew the borrowing agreement in the event of financial difficulties.
  • Most automobile title loans tend to be for over $2,500. This is because customers can get a pawnbroker or payday cash loan for up to $1,000.
  • Any paperwork will need to be signed. The customer will also hand over a duplicate set of car keys and the car title. A quick cash advance will normally be provided within the next 24 hours.

Cost of a Vehicle Title Loan

  • The APR for an auto pawn loan can be as high as 300%. This makes repaying the debt difficult and regularly leads to its continued renewal. A Missouri auditor found that there were 3.5 times more renewals than new loan agreements.
  • The usury rate of interest means that the borrowing term is normally 30 to 45 days. Depending on the worth of the car, APR and how much is borrowed, the term can be extended.
  • Almost half of U.S. states have prohibited automobile title loans and others have placed limits on the maximum rate of APR to protect consumers from unfair lending practices. For example, the maximum annual APR in Iowa is 35%.

Defaulting on an Auto Title Loan for Fast Unsecured Cash

An auto vehicle title loan is a secured debt. Failure to repay the principal and interest punctually will normally lead to the repossession and sale of the vehicle. Any profit arising from the sale will be kept by the lender. Financial difficulties are the leading reason why so many auto pawn loans are renewed.

Debt Busters: How to Eliminate Credit Card Debt

If one is suffering from large amounts of credit card debt, spread across a number of credit and store cards, then there are a number of options available to ensure that the minimum level of interest is incurred and debts are paid back in the shortest period of time possible.

Reduce Credit Card Debt: List the Sources of Credit Card Debt

The first stage of reducing credit card debt is to carry out an audit of one’s outstanding credit card debts and obligations. Start by making a list of all of the credit and store cards in ones possession, listing the outstanding balance, available credit limit and interest rate charged. Include all credit cards and store cards, including those with no outstanding balances.

Now a list of outstanding credit card debts has been complied, this will give the individual a key set of data which will enable interest charges to be minimised and thus allowing a person to reduce credit card debt at a faster rate. Key points to note at this stage are the total amount of credit card debt, the most expensive and least expensive sources of debt.

Eliminate Credit Card Debt: Rearranging and Paying Back Credit Card Debts

Before paying back any credit card debts, one can make a significant amount of savings in interest by simply rearranging the structure of one’s outstanding credit card balances. In short, savings are made by transferring the balances of the highest interest charging cards onto those with the lowest interest charges.

The next stage is to eliminate credit card debt, the objective here should be to payback the outstanding debts on the highest costing credit cards first. As such, a sensible approach is to assign a total monthly budget for the repayment of credit card debts

Out of this total budget, subtract the minimum repayments needed to service each of the credit cards which are less expensive than the most expensive credit card. The amount of money left in the total budget should then be used to pay off the most expensive sources of credit card debt first. As each credit card is paid off, work logically through the list of debts each time focusing on the highest interest charging card.

In summary, a great deal of time and money may be saved in reducing credit card debt through the two actions of rearranging the structure of one’s credit card debt in the first case and subsequently paying off the most expensive sources of debt first. Despite focusing on the most expensive sources of debt, it is important to ensure that minimum payments are made on cheaper sources of debt, so as to avoid expensive penalty charges.

Student Loan Interest Deduction

If you are deciding to itemize on your taxes, there are a few types of interest that you can include on your Schedule A. However, some interest incurred from students loans can be written off as a deduction, whether you are itemizing or not. A taxpayer is eligible to write off up to $2,500 of qualified student loan interest. Of course, there are some requirements you must meet.

First off, the loan received must have been entirely for education purposes. The proceeds of the loan must have been used to pay for higher education expenses at eligible educational institutions. Plus, the individual must be an eligible student.

An individual is an eligible student if they are a degree candidate that is currently taking a half-time course load. The student does not need to be the taxpayer. They can be the taxpayer, their spouse, or someone the taxpayer is claiming as a dependent in the year that the education was furnished.

There are also limitations with the expenses. Qualified expenses include tuition and fees that are related to the course. However, all required books, room and board, transportation, and necessary expenses are also included as qualified expenses. These are typically excluded from other education-type tax breaks but are included here.

The student loan interest can only be deducted by the individual that paid or is paying off the loan. However, the money cannot be borrowed from a related person, such as a spouse, parent, child, descendants, ancestors, or sibling, in order to pay off the loan. Individuals that are being claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer cannot claim the deduction in the current year. The same goes with individuals that are using the filing status ‘married filing separately’- they are ineligible for this deduction.

The reason that this deduction is limited to $2,500 is because it is based off of modified adjusted gross income. This AGI consists of income disregarding any student loan deduction. There are two equations – one for those filing under the status of ‘married filing jointly’ and one for those filing under anything else except ‘married filing separately’. These two equations will reduce what you are eligible to write off.

If your AGI is between $110,000 and $140,000 and you are filing ‘married filing jointly’, you must subtract your modified AGI by $110,000. Take this number and multiple it by the interest you have paid on your student loan. Then, divide this number by $30,000. This will show what you have to reduce the $2,500 by.

If your AGI is between $55,000 and $70,000 and you are filing anything except ‘married filing separately’ or ‘married filing jointly’, subtract your modified AGI by $55,000. Then, multiply this number by the interest you have paid on your student loan. Finally, divide this number by $15,000. This is what you have to reduce the $2,500 by.

Keep in mind that $2,500 is the maximum amount allowed for this deduction and in some cases, you will not be forced to reduce this amount.

401(k) Loan Rules: How Does Borrowing From 401(k) Plans Work?

Although the aim of 401(k) plans is to build income for retirement, some people find another use for their savings by taking out loans against them. If a plan allows borrowing, this may seem a relatively easy way to access a quick loan during your working life. What are the 401(k) loan rules and how does borrowing from a plan work?

401(k) Loan Rules, Tax and Borrowing Limits

A loan from a 401(k) plan is not subject to tax if it meets criteria set by the IRS. You can borrow up to 50% of the vested balance up to a maximum limit of $50,000. Borrowing must be paid off within 5 years, although this period may be extended if the money is used to buy a main residence for the first time. Repayments have to be made at least once a quarter and must be made in more or less level amounts.

Do All 401(k) Plans Allow Loans?

Although all 401(k) plans can allow loans, not all of them do. The rules set on borrowing may also vary from plan to plan which could see additional criteria added to standard IRS guidelines. So, for example, one employer may offer loans for any purpose; another may rule that loans can only be used for specific purposes (i.e. for medical costs, college expenses or to buy a first home). Those considering 401(k) loans should, therefore, check if they are offered by plans and if there are any additional specifications to consider.

How Does Borrowing From a 401(k) Plan Work?

Each plan will outline the application process for a loan. This may involve completing a form or applying by phone. It does not involve a credit check. Loans from 401(k)s must be repaid with interest as outlined by the plan. Repayments can be deducted from pay checks or paid from bank accounts but will not be made with pre-tax dollars as with plan contributions. If you don’t pay off your borrowing to schedule, then the borrowing may be viewed as an early withdrawal, at which point you may be liable to income tax and a 10% penalty. If you change job or are laid off, the loan may become due more quickly.

Are 401(k) Loans a Good Idea?

There are advantages and disadvantages to borrowing against a 401(k) plan and it may be wise to think hard about the pros and cons before applying for a loan. Although this can seem to be an easy and cost-effective way to borrow, it may have an impact on retirement income in the future. In some cases, if loans are not an option, then a hardship withdrawal may also be worth considering.