Podcast: Start the New Year Motivated for Success

Podcast Transcript

JESSICA LOVE: Welcome to 2017. Two Januaries ago, we asked a number of Kellogg professors what advice they had for listeners looking to make changes to their lives. And it turns out, their advice is as relevant today as it was in 2015. So please enjoy this podcast from our archives. And at the very end, you’ll learn something that may forever alter the way you think about the ever-lengthening holiday shopping season.

[music prelude]

JESSICA LOVE: Welcome to 2015. The new year is a good time to return that ill-fitting sweater and reckon with the damage youve done to your bank account over the holidays. Its also a time for resolutions. Giving yourself goals is a great way to ring in the new, but a year is a long time. How do you stay motivated?

Speaker 1: When I have a long-term goal, what I do to stay motivated is to make sure that I have a core group of people that I can discuss these problems with to help me reflect and move forward.

Speaker 2: For me, when you have a goal, I just keep going and thats it.

Speaker 3: Small daily goals, because for me, the big picture is kind of really overwhelming, like with New Years resolutions, stuff like that. Just tiny little goals that I cant necessarily procrastinate on, because I will if I can.

[music interlude]

LOVE: Hello and welcome to Insight in Person, Kellogg Insights monthly podcast, produced by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Im your host, Jessica Love.

This month, we look at what it takes to start off 2015 right. Whether youre trying to save money, become healthier, or make your company more efficient, weve got insights to help you, so stay tuned.

[music interlude]

BLAKE McSHANE: You know, like most things in life, when we
find ourselves with a task to complete, whether its being mired in debt
or anything else, a strategy to help us get out of that hole can really

LOVE: Thats Blake McShane, an associate professor of
marketing at the Kellogg School. When McShane and his research
colleagues started to delve into what makes people more likely to
complete a task, a lot of strategies presented themselves.

McSHANE: One could proceed linearly, right? Just think about
the beginning, the middle, and the end, and proceed in that direction,
and lots of tasks lend themselves to that. Alternatively, you might
think about tackling your toughest task first or, for that matter, your
easiest task first.

LOVE: One common goal is to get out of debt, but juggling
multiple accounts with varying principles, interest rates, and payment
schedules can make coming up with a strategy a daunting task. The advice
we hear time and time again is to pay off your highest interest debts
first. This ensures that you pay the least amount of interest in the
long run, but it turns out this perfectly logical advice may not always
be the best. Heres McShane again.

McSHANE: Theres another strategy, which has been called the
snowball strategy, or the snowball approach to debt, which takes the
idea of starting with your easiest task first. It says you should find
your smallest debt, and first pay that one off.

LOVE: Along with colleague David Gall, McShane studied people
who enrolled in programs with debt settlement firms. These firms
negotiate with creditors on debtors behalf, often getting them to
accept a much smaller lump sum than the amount they originally owed.
Since the debt settlement firms handle the haggling, participants in
this study had no control over the order in which their debts were paid
off. Still, order mattered when it came to motivation. Regardless of
interest rates, people whose smaller debts were paid off first were much
more likely to finish the program and eliminate all their debt. So
should people disregard interest rates when paying off debts and stick
to a smallest-to-largest strategy?

McSHANE: We wouldnt say that you should absolutely disregard the interest rate on your debt.

LOVE: But, McShane says, within a specific class of debt, like
credit card debt or car loans, your interest rates are likely pretty
similar, so going after the smallest debt first within a specific class
of debt could be motivating.

McSHANE: Also, quite nicely, is that when you think of
different classes of debt, usually its the very, very big ones that
comes with smaller interest rates. So, for instance, your mortgage is
typically your biggest debt that you have, and usually those have much
smaller interest rates than something like a credit card.

LOVE: Why exactly is starting small a good choice for getting out of debt?

McSHANE: First of all, its the idea of getting a quick win.
It makes you motivated, it makes you feel pumped, and youre ready to
continue doing what youve just successfully done. It also sort of
instills confidence. You think that, you know, maybe when you start the
task, you have no idea whether you can complete it, but the fact that
you got a win made you say to yourself, Hey, I can do this now. I
think in any long-term goal you might have, particularly one where
partial progress is not so important, then this idea of focusing on
checking items off the list can be really helpful.

[music interlude]

LOVE: Many of us enlist the support of those around us when
tackling long-term goals. If we set out to lose 10 pounds in 2015, we
might make sure our family and friends know not to tempt us with sweets
and French fries. It turns out this strategy can backfire.

Eli Finkel is a professor of management and organizations at the
Kellogg School. His research points to a phenomenon he calls
self-regulatory outsourcing. This means that when we work on reaching a
goal with the help of another person, there is a risk that we come to
depend on that persons help so much that we let our own efforts flag.

ELI FINKEL: When people help us in a way that makes it clear
that we dont have to work as hard, we take that as a signal that in
fact we dont have to work as hard.

LOVE: In one study, Finkel looked at women in romantic
relationships who wanted to lose weight. One group of women was asked to
think about how their partners help them with their weight-loss goals.
Another group was asked to think about how their partners helped with
their career goals. Afterwards, both groups were asked how much time
they plan to spend working out the following week. It turns out that the
women who thought about their partners help with weight loss planned
to work out less than the women who thought about their partners help
with their careers.

FINKEL: Because you can think about how somebody else might
help you achieve that goal, it frees you up to think about or to use
your resources, your goal-pursuit resources, on other goals rather than
that goal. Then, consequentially, it has this ironic undermining effect,
such that thinking about how somebody else helps you achieve a
weight-loss goal actually makes you lazy.

LOVE: That doesnt mean you shouldnt enlist people to help
you achieve your goal. Its all about how they approach their role as

FINKEL: The crucial distinction is the way we offer help, and
in particular, when we offer help to other people, do we offer it in a
way that promises to substitute for their own effort versus promises to
support their own effort? A husband might make sure he does all the
healthy cooking to help his wife lose weight, for example, but the
better way to provide social support, and to help people achieve their
goals, is to mention, Im here, Im hanging back, and you can count on
me if you need it, but Im not going to be intrusive. Im not going to
get in the way or take over the pursuit of the goal. Im just going to
be here to support you and encourage you.

[music interlude]

LOVE: If youre someone who sets incremental goals to help you
achieve big ones, youll be pleased to hear how you can trick yourself
into taking that next step. Kellogg School associate professor of
marketing Miguel Brendl has found that how we measure our progress
toward a goal can impact motivation.

MIGUEL BRENDL: We need to take a step back and ask, What
motivates people? One thing they do is they constantly ask themselves,
maybe not consciously, but in the background somehow, How valuable is
it to take the next step?

LOVE: He finds that, while pursuing a goal, we make continual
calculations. How much is the next step going to accomplish compared to
how far Ive already come or how far I have left to go?

Lets say you have a goal to run ten miles. After you run the first
mile, you calculate what that second mile is worth. One mile to run
versus the one mile youve already finished. That ratio is 1:1, meaning
that second mile is pretty valuable. At mile nine, you make the same
calculation, but this time you focus on how close you are to finishing.
Since you only have one mile to go, the value of that last mile is very
high. This knowledge pushes you to the end.

BRENDL: This is just perception. You know, we normally think
of in motivation is, How much willpower do I have to force myself to
move on? Its not about willpower; its just perception of the sizes of

LOVE: Switching your perception of your progress from how much
you have completed to how much you have left works well at the
beginning and the end of a task. But in the middle, youre far from both
ends and that next step doesnt seem so valuable anymore.

BRENDL: We call it, “stuck in the middle.”

LOVE: The way to get unstuck, Brendl says, is to set sub-goals
for yourself. Lets say your 2015 resolution is to save $8000, so you
need to squirrel away about $650 a month. In January, no problem. Youre
super motivated. February is probably pretty easy too, but what about
when you get to July? By then, youve saved nearly $4000. That next $650
doesnt feel as valuable compared to either the $4000 youve saved or
the $4000 you have left to go, so you set yourself a sub-goal to get
past that $4000 hump.

BRENDL: Maybe they could reward themselves and say, okay, if I
hit $5000, Im allowed to go out and have a nice dinner. Then they
will be focused on that and they may save a little less because they
spent the money on the dinner, but then are more likely to save the
entire goal.

[music interlude]

LOVE: Weve been talking about ways you personally can
accomplish your goals in the new year. But how about retailers that have
their own goals, like selling out all of the holiday merchandise they
stocked? If you walk into the mall this week to use up those gift
certificates you got for the holidays, youll probably notice some
stores packed with 50 percent off signs, return-seeking customers, and
scrambling employees, while others appear almost completely dead. The
dead stores probably did a much better job of managing the holiday rush:
they better predicted total customer demand and, more importantly, just
what customers were demanding. Heres Sunil Chopra, a professor of
Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences at the Kellogg School.

CHOPRA: Its relatively–relatively speaking–easier to prepare
for a total demand that will arise and the total need for staff, because
total sales become much more predictable. What is much harder to do is
figure out which are going to be the winners and losers because you have
so little time to react if you guessed wrong.

LOVE: Thats right. Retailers biggest challenge isnt volume
but timing. People like to lament how the holiday shopping season seems
to stretch longer and longer each year. We generally chalk this trend up
to retailers wanting people to spend more. This is undoubtedly true.
But the biggest benefit to a longer holiday shopping season for
retailers may be that they have more time to get the right products into
the store. Heres Professor Chopra again.

CHOPRA: What youd like to do is, as early as possible, get a
sense of where the market is going. Waiting till Black Friday to have
your first taste of what Christmas shopping is going to look like is too
late, because youll have less than four weeks to react and arrange for
supply if you guessed wrong. Its impossible. On the other hand, you
run in early November, late October–so the earlier things move, I get a
second chance to react, which corrects my predictions quite
significantly. Because from a retailers perspective, the best possible
outcome after the holiday rush is that they have nothing to do.

[music interlude]

LOVE: This program was produced by Jessica Love, Fred
Schmalz, Emily Stone, and Michael Spikes. Special thanks to Kellogg
School of Management faculty Miguel Brendl, Sunil Chopra, Eli Finkel,
and Blake McShane, as well as Northwestern students including Jose
Martinez and Elizabeth Frieda, who shared how they stayed motivated. You
can stream or download our monthly podcast from iTunes or from our
website, where you can find articles on debt consolidation, motivation,
and supply chain management, in addition to plenty of other business
insights. Visit us at insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu. Well be back
next month with another Kellogg Insight podcast.

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Spice Modern Steakhouse files for bankruptcy — for the fourth time

Spice Modern Steakhouse and parent company Level 1 Inc. claimed $419,865 in liabilities and $76,464 in assets.

But much of the debts are tied up with owner Manuel and Brea Tato, who filed a personal bankruptcy claim Tuesday with $6.4 million in debts.

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Despite optimism, consumers just want to get out of debt

Photo (c) AdobeStock

When you ask consumers what their top five financial goals are, usually “saving money” and “paying down debt” are among them.

This year, after what may have been a very robust season of holiday spending and rising consumer confidence, an online poll shows that getting out of debt is far-and-away the top priority among consumers.

The end-of-the-year poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)shows 80% of respondents picked “paying down debt” as a top goal to start 2017.

Bruce McClary, spokesperson for the NFCC, says he isnt surprised.

“It’s a sobering moment when the credit card bill arrives in January and reveals a mountain of debt fueled by holiday spending,” McClary said. “January is a good time for planning to get debt under control before it becomes unmanageable.”

Debt can quickly mount

And that can quickly happen. If you start January with a balance of $1,000 but only pay $150 of it, then add $500 in spending the following month, youve suddenly got a balance of $1,350 – plus monthly interest charges.

McClary says consumers facing mounting debt in January shouldnt panic, but should also realize that it will take some time and effort to bring that balance back to zero.

Here are some things to do to begin to shrink that credit card balance:

Look at the details of each debt. That means drilling down through balances, transactions, interest, fees, terms and conditions. Try to identify the debt that is growing fastest.

Not all debts are equal

Prioritize. Place the most attention on the credit accounts with the highest interest rates. If you can speed up the payment process on these accounts, it will save money that can be allocated to other debts. Remember that high interest rates and lengthy repayment schedules are a costly combination.

There is always hope. Even if you think there is no extra money in your budget to apply to debt repayment, reach out to trusted sources. Your lender may be able to make some accommodation. A non-profit credit counselor may be able to provide helpful guidance.

Avoid so-called debt settlement companies that promise they can settle your debt for pennies on the dollar, as long as you pay an advance fee.

Its also helpful to remember that repaying debt is a marathon, not a sprint. It might not have taken very long to run up that huge credit card bill, but unless you win the lottery, its going to take a while to pay it down.

Thats the toxic element of debt. When you borrow against the future to spend today, you are in essence reducing tomorrows income. Future income will not only have to cover current expenses, but pay back what you spent in the past.

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Credit Coach: What to do when debt becomes a problem

Each day many individuals and families struggle with debt and debt repayment.

Working with BDO First Call Debt Solutions as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee provides me the opportunity to sit and review family budgets and debt problems ranging from the very simple to the complex. One question that continually arises when talking with people about debt is “What are my options?”

This blog is the first in a four-part series that will take you through an overview of the various personal debt management options available. Parts two, three and four of this series will detail the ins and outs of the various options.

Option One: create a budget and try to cut costs to manage debt repayment

Once an individual realizes that their debt loads are causing stress and anxiety the first step to solving the problem is to sit down and create a detailed budget to take control of the household finances.

In an earlier blog I talked about the raw data you need to create that budget. Hopefully you already know how much your household spends each month on items like groceries, clothes and household sundries. If not you should compile this data before you can begin. Try not to overthink the budgeting process — keep it as simple as possible.

A budget does not need to be an elaborate spreadsheet with fancy calculations. It can be as simple as writing out a list of your household costs for a two-week period and matching that against your total household income for the same period.

You are either going to have a surplus or a deficit. If you have a surplus, that’s great — make a plan to apply that surplus to credit card debt (or any other high interest debt). If you have a deficit, it’s time to sharpen the pencil, review your food costs, review your fuel consumption and review your personal expenditures — such as dining out, alcohol consumption and tobacco use. Hopefully by trimming a few of these expenses you can put together a budget that balances, with enough room left to spare for debt repayment,

Option Two: seek help with your debt

So what do you do if you have sharpened that pencil as much as you can and the budget still doesn’t allow for payment of all the household debts and living expenses? It may be time to seek professional help with your debt. In Canada, there are a few different agencies you can consult. Essentially what you are looking for is an opportunity to have a third party work with your creditors to arrange payment terms — most often, the plan involves repaying your debts over an extended period of time.

  • A for-profit debt settlement company offers a debt settlement plan. In short, you will sign a contract with the company to pay them a monthly amount. You stop paying your creditors while the debt settlement company attempts to negotiate with your creditors to repay less than what you owe.
  • A not-for-profit credit counselling agency will assist you with formulating a family budget. A credit counsellor can also help you design a repayment plan commonly referred to as a Debt Management Plan (DMP). The credit counsellor will communicate with each of your creditors seeking acceptance of repayment of your debt in full at a reduced rate of interest over a 48 month period. You will pay back the total amount of your debt.
  • A Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) will review your finances during a free consultation. The LIT will begin by reviewing options offered by other debt professionals with you. If you choose one of those options, a LIT will provide a referral to a third party if this is appropriate.

Options three: prepare a consumer proposal to your creditors

Once you have taken the step to contact a LIT for a free consultation and assessment of your financial situation, you will be presented with all of your available options.

If you are no longer a candidate for some simple budgeting help and if your financial situation is such that a debt management program won’t be successful, the LIT will explain the two formal legislated credit management processes.

The first is called a consumer proposal. This process is essentially a plan or proposal you present to your creditors. Depending on your financial situation this process often results in you repaying only a portion of your debt with no additional interest charges over a period of up to 60 months. The consumer proposal offers relief from your debts without having to dispose of or lose control of your property.

Option four: file personal bankruptcy

During your consultation with a LIT, you may be presented with information on filing a personal assignment in bankruptcy. This option is available to individuals without sufficient income or assets to enter into any form of formal debt repayment.

The bankruptcy process is a legislated process governed by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. This process can only be administered by a LIT. Each individual’s bankruptcy experience is unique depending on income levels, dependents and asset ownership.

Unlike some of the myths and legends to be found on the internet, going through a bankruptcy does not mean losing everything. And you can often rebuild your financial life once the process is over.

While this has been a general review of four basic options for resolving your debt and dealing with creditors, most people will need a detailed assessment to pick which option is best. The first step in any process is arming yourself with information. If you have debt worries, please visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website and the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada website. Each site offers valuable information about dealing with debt that will help you make an informed decision. You can also make an appointment for a consultation with a LIT. Most importantly, before you commit to any debt solution, make sure you feel comfortable with the person and the plan that you have chosen.

Jayson Stoppel is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee and Chartered Accountant with BDO First Call Debt Solutions. With over 15 years in practice, Jayson assists individuals, families and companies with financial difficulties in Thunder Bay and throughout Northwest Ontario. To reach Jayson by email: JStoppel@BDO.ca

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Chicago Bankruptcy Attorneys Launch Foreclosure and Debt Relief Legal Services

CHICAGO, IL, US, January 5, 2017 — The Chicago bankruptcy attorneys at the law office of Gregory K. Stern, PC, announces the launch of its bankruptcy and foreclosure services in the city. The firm specializes in legal advice for bankruptcy and foreclosure legal services.

More information about Gregory K. Stern, PC, and its bankruptcy and foreclosure legal services is available at https://www.gregstern.com

Bankruptcy remains one of the last legal recourse available individuals who are unable to repay their loans to their creditors. In the United States, more than 900,000 individuals and businesses file for bankruptcy to restructure existing debt or discharge that debt by the sale of applicable assets. Industry analyses indicate that unbearable medical expenses are the leading cause of bankruptcy, while IRS actions, civil lawsuits, auto repossessions, and mortgage default are also major reasons for bankruptcy.

With more than a century of collective debt relief counseling experience, the law office of Gregory K. Stern, PC, offers its legal expertise in Chicago. The firm offers comprehensive legal expertise and services to individuals filing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The firm offers its services to businesses that are reorganizing debt through Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy allows individuals and businesses gain a fresh start by having their debts discharged or restructures. Most people can file bankruptcy, however, you may be ineligible based on assets, transfer, prior bankruptcy filings, or having a household income above the medium income based on the Internal Revenue Service guidelines (the “Means Test”). Other times, individuals and businesses choose to not file bankruptcy for personal reasons. There are alternatives to explore including debt settlement, business and corporate wind-down, defense litigation, debt negotiation and restructuring, and more. Call our attorneys at Gregory K. Stern, PC to discuss your options.

Bankruptcy is not always the solution. The attorneys at Gregory K. Stern, PC take time to listen to your situation and provide you with your options. Since 1983, our attorneys have helped thousands of individuals and corporations resolve their financial difficulties.

For individual filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, sound legal advice and the effective administration of qualifying requirements is crucial to the protection of assets covered by exemptions. The law office of Gregory K. Stern, PC, works with a client to ensure the proper implementation of all exemptions permitted by the law. In the case of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the firm helps working individuals pay off their debt through a repayment plan.

According to a spokesperson for Gregory K. Stern, PC, “Our commitment is to help the people of our great city eliminate or restructure their debt through bankruptcy while protecting their assets. Bankruptcy laws are specifically designed to help individuals who face financial difficulties. We provide compassionate, humane, and pragmatic legal advice for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and Chapter 11 bankruptcy to help our clients successfully navigate through the process.”

The Chicago bankruptcy attorneys at the law office of Gregory K. Stern, PC specializes in legal advice for individuals and businesses affected by foreclosure and bankruptcy, offering debt relief legal services in Chicago. The firm’s award-winning team of attorneys helps individuals from diverse backgrounds discharge or restructure their debt.

For more information, please visit https://www.gregstern.com/

Gregory K. Stern,
Gregory K. Stern, PC
312- 427-1558
email us here

Chicago Personal Bankruptcy Attorneys – Gregory K. Stern, P.C

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Who will benefit from the rate cut?

S. C Dhall

The current as well as the prospective cuts in home loan interest rates will undoubtedly benefit new home-loan borrowers. But what about the existing borrowers? Will they also benefit from the falling home loan rates?

For the existing borrowers, the rate cut would take time to reflect. This means that they may have to wait until the next reset period if they are on marginal cost of funding lending rate (MCLR). The reason for this is: if you have taken an MCLR-linked loan, the interest rate that you pay is subject to changes at fixed intervals as per the tenure for which the rates are linked. For instance, SBI resets the rates annually (from the date on which the loan is taken), while some other banks do so every quarter. Also, the change in the interest rates would usually be seen in the reduced tenure and not in the EMI unless you decide to re-finance your loan.

The MCLR system was adopted by banks from April 1, 2016, replacing the base rate system. Therefore, those who had taken home loans before April last year will have their EMIs linked to the base rate. Therefore, these borrowers will have to either enter into a fresh contract with their bank to get their loans linked to MCLR, or they will have to wait till their lender reduces the lending rate for them too. If that doesn’t happen, which is usually the case, then they should try to get their loan shifted to another lender by paying the required fee.

Increase in eligibility

New borrowers, however, will see an increase in their eligibility with a 50 basis point drop in interest rates for a home loan. A borrower earning Rs 1 lakh per month was eligible for a home loan of Rs 55 lakh for 20 years if the lender capped an EMI of 50 per cent on the monthly income. The same individual can now get Rs 58 lakh as home loan. For a 25-year-loan the eligibility goes up to Rs 62 lakh from the earlier Rs 59 lakh.

Reduction in tenure

For the existing customers the revision in interest rates can reduce the number of years remaining to repay the loan significantly. This is because banks usually do not change the equated monthly instalment of customers. Instead, they change the tenure whenever there’s a revision in interest rates. Thus, if your tenure was 25 years for a Rs 75 lakh loan at 9.15 per cent, after the 50 bps revision it would be brought down to 22 years. Similarly, if you had the same loan for 20 years, the repayment tenure would now be 18 years.

However, home loans linked to the marginal cost of funding lending rate (MCLR) may not see an immediate revision.

Widening disparity

The disparity in lending rates also exists for borrowers who have taken loans after April 2016, (after the MCLR was introduced). This is because, reduction in MCLR month-on-month, alone will not mean a reduction in lending rate.

Unlike under the base rate system, where a revision in base rate was immediately reflected in lending rates of all loans benchmarked against it, under MCLR-based pricing, lending rates are reset only at specific intervals, corresponding to the tenure of the MCLR.

In case of SBI’s home loans, for instance, since the loans are benchmarked against the one-year MCLR, lending rates will only be reset every year. In April 2016, one-year MCLR stood at 9.2 per cent. The effective loan rate then worked out to 9.45 per cent. These borrowers, too, will end up paying 80 basis points more as interest on their loans than new borrowers.

What is marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR)

As the banks were not quick in passing on the benefits of the rate cuts announced by the RBI in the past, the central bank introduced a new basis for banks to determine lending rates, based on the marginal cost of borrowing, with effect from April 1, 2016. All the loans granted by the banks, are necessarily to be given under the MCLR regime. The MCLR takes into account the marginal cost of funds for the banks, for a specific period, to arrive at the final lending rate.

What the SBI and other banks have done, is reduce their MCLR.

How a change in the MCLR affects home loan rates

Under the MCLR regime, home loan interest rate will not change with each and every change in the MCLR. The banks are allowed to have a reset clause in the lending agreement, to fix the periodicity or date for change in the actual lending rate to the borrower.

The premium, which the banks have over their base rate or MCLR for a particular loan, is generally called ‘spread’ and is expressed as certain points over the base rate or the MCLR.

The benefit of reduction in rates will accrue to borrower, if the borrowr had already switched to the MCLR from the base rate or PLR regime.

For borrowers who had either borrowed under the base rate regime or had shifted to the base rate regime from PLR, the benefit will not be as substantial as the reduction in the MCLR.

Moreover, it will be available only as and when the bank announces a reduction in its base rate.

The existing borrowers, who have borrowed under the MCLR, will get a benefit if there is no reset period restriction or the reset period is over. As the banks have reduced the MCLR but at the same time increased the spread, new borrowers will not get the home loan at the same rate as the reduced MCLR. The new rates will be higher than what it would have been, had the banks not changed their spread.

However, the reduction in MCLR will certainly benefit the existing borrowers under this regime, as the spread will remain the same for them, unless they have a reset clause and the reset period is not yet over.

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Tanzania: A Reminder On New Year Resolutions

More importantly, the first step in this direction is to prepare your monthly budget, which records all the sources of money one has and intended corresponding expenditures for the month. But remember, budgets are again like other New Years resolutions – often made, but rarely followed.

This happens because most of us have good intentions, but get frustrated easily when it comes to implementation. While failing to keep your New Years resolutions rarely has a major effect on your life, but failing to set up and maintain a monthly budget can.

Personal budgeting is so important that in absence of it, one would end up spending all the money, with no leftover for savings.

So revisit your New Year resolutions to ensure that you have set savings amp; investment as one of the resolutions and dont forget to accord it the top priority or the first rank. This is needed as we all know that it matters the most, when it comes to our life.

So go for it and implement, if not all than at least the first ranked resolution, which is nothing but savings amp; investment. Cheers!!!!

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Tickets still available for NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) –

The click and noisy tone of the printer meant tickets were, in fact, being sold at the Arizona Stadium ticket office on the University of Arizona campus Wednesday.

With each purchase and print, NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl Executive Director Mike Feder was one sale closer to his 30,000 goal.

“The good news is its been insane. Thats really what we want,” Feder said. “The bad news is we still have tickets left.

The normal 57,000-seat stadium capacity will shrink to about 37,000 with fans seated only in the lower level for kickoff Friday, Dec. 30 at 3:30 pm There were enough remaining though that some tickets were being offered for free to those who apply.

The match-up between South Alabama and the Air Force Academy presented an opportunity, drawing interest from the military community. Veterans like Robert Nemitz and his family could get tickets for free through various veteran appreciation programs.

Im bringing my kids and were going to have a great time. Thats what its about, is bringing family, having a good time, and celebrating military,” Nemitz said.

But are people well-informed? Because a stones-throw away from Arizona Stadium, at Brew of A Sports Grill, not a single poster about the game is visible. It has patrons skeptical of the game turnout.

I didnt really hear about the game until just a few days ago. So Im not sure if its going to draw some people. It should because its good football,” one bar patron said.

It begs the question: Is the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl Game something Tucson wants?

Time will tell,” Feder said with a sigh. “This is our second year. We cant survive on 25,000 to 30,000 people. We have to keep improving.

Tickets might not be hard to come by if you’re interested in attending Friday’s game, but it might be hard to catch from the convenience of your home. The game is being televised nationally on the American Sports Network and Campus Insiders.

Feder said it could be an added level of ease for fans to simply come out to the stadium.

You can learn more about the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl here: http://www.novaarizonabowl.com/the-game/where-to-watch-it/

Copyright 2016Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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Debt Consolidation Take 5 – Why Take the Debt Consolidation Route

There are numerous debt relief and management processes. They include budgeting, living within your means, debt relief, debt settlement, debt management, and bankruptcy. Despite these avenues, when you are in debt, the first place and option that you will think of is debt consolidation.

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Ready to Tackle Your Debt? 10 Tips to Get Free or Cheap Help

Watch the video of ‘Ready to Tackle Your Debt? 10 Tips to Get Free or Cheap Help’ on MoneyTalksNews.com.

If you’re carrying a load of debt — maybe staggering under its weight — you are not alone. US households hold, on average, credit card balances totaling $16,061, according to the annual survey of household debt by Nerdwallet. For some, the big burden is student loan debt or tax debt. The average household with any kind of debt owes $132,529, including mortgages, Nerdwallet said.

Debt — especially credit card debt — is expensive, and it’s only becoming more so as interest rates climb.

In short, 2017 is an excellent time to get some help and bring your debt down to manageable levels.

Fortunately, there are many excellent, trustworthy credit counseling agencies able to help. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to stumble into the hands of a bad “adviser” — including debt-settlement companies that may leave their clients in worse shape than they were. So, as you resolve to tackle your debt, follow these tips:

To be safe, get financial counseling from a nonprofit agency. Here’s where to find one:

  • Money Talks New Solutions Center: Find a reputable expert to help you with credit card debt, student loan debt, tax debt, and more. These are partners we’ve hand-picked to help our readers.
  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling: The NFCC agency locator shows local, regional or national organizations operating near you that provide credit, debt and budget counseling in person, online or by phone. You can get started by submitting information online.
  • The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies represents independent nonprofit agencies providing credit counseling and debt help to consumers. Find a member agency here.
  • Other sources of help: The Federal Trade Commission says:

Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the US Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family also may be good sources of information and referrals.

What to expect

Trustworthy credit counseling agencies offer help with reducing debt and establishing and maintaining good credit. They can help you set up a budget. With their debt management plans, you may be able to have fees waived and interest rates and monthly payments reduced. But they can’t reduce the balance (the total amount) of debt you owe.

ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, a NFCC network member, explains a debt management plan:

It’s a systematic, step-by-step, personalized plan for paying off 100 percent of your debt. Participants make a single monthly payment to a consumer credit counseling service such as ClearPoint, and the agency distributes the funds to their creditors.

Get a plan in place to chipping away the debt — that would be an accomplishment in itself — but the duration of that plan will depend on your obligations. For many people it takes three to five years to pay them off.

Be wary

Credit counselors can negotiate with your creditors to reduce your payments by lowering your interest rate or spreading payments over a longer time. But be wary of companies promising to reduce the amount of debt you owe. The CFPB says to distrust debt settlement companies that:

… typically offer to pay off your debts with lump sum payments that are less than the full amounts you owe. For example, for every $100 of a loan that a creditor agrees to forgive, the debt settlement company will charge you some portion in fees.

If you sign up for a debt management plan, make sure it includes all of your debts, not just some. And be certain that you’ll be able to receive regular reports on your accounts. The NFCC explains in detail how to assess debt management plans and credit counselors.

When shopping for help managing your debts, here’s what to look for:

1. Free or low-cost counseling

Many nonprofit credit counseling services provide free advice about credit, debt and budgeting.

And when it comes to getting help with a debt management plan, USA.Gov says there’s no reason for an agency to charge consumers high fees: “The cost of setting up this debt management plan is paid by the creditor, not you.”

For example, for a debt management plan, GreenPath Debt Solutions, an NFCC member, charges a one-time setup fee of zero to $50 and a monthly fee averaging $36.

2. Straight talk about fees

Don’t trust a company that gives you the runaround when you inquire about the cost of its services.

3. Free information

You should be able to learn all the details you need about an agency and its debt management plans for free. Don’t surrender your personal details to get information about a company or its fees.

4. Free help for serious hardships

Agencies should waive fees if you have a serious financial hardship. “If an organization won’t help you because you can’t afford to pay, go somewhere else for help,” advises USA.gov.

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