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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Things to consider when buying a new car

Budgeting properly helps car buyers avoid overspending
Knowing trade-in value protects against dealer undervaluation
By Greg Jones

Are you sick and tired of seeing flashing warning lights on your dashboard while driving, hearing funny noises and wondering if you will even make it to your destination? Sure, you could send the car for repairs, but this will only be an on-going and unnecessary burden on your already stressful life. So why not buy a new car? In the long-run this will be cheaper than fixing the sinking ship that is your car.

A new car will not only be more reliable that your old one, but it’ll also come with a motor plan and AA emergency road-side assistance, for car faults or break-downs. However, buying a new car is not as simple as walking into the nearest car showroom and pointing at a car. Buying a car requires research, asking questions and well proper planning.

Here are some important tips for buying a new car:

Determine your budget: When shopping for your new car, make sure that you determine how much you can spend on it. Financial planners advise that you spend no more than between 15-20% of your monthly budget on repayment costs. Therefore, have a look at your budget and determine the price range that you are able to afford. Remember, while a couple of hundred rand a month does not seem like much in the short-term, the long-term repayments will catch-up with you. That’s why you have to ensure that you stick to your budget.

Know your trade-in value: When buying a new car, you need to get rid of the old one. While this vehicle might seem like a pile of steel junk to you, there is a resale value. Ensure that you ask around and find out what a reasonable trade-in price is for your car.

Do some research into new cars: Once you have determined your budget, the next step is to do some research into the car market. Ask car dealers, look at car blogs and check in with local car magazines and newspapers. All of these will give you valuable insight into the price of cars. Remember, during this stage, you need to find a vehicle that not only suits your budget, but also your lifestyle. For instance, while you might only be able to afford a Smartcar, if you are a family of five, this will not be a practical buy.

Take it for a test drive: Once you find a few cars that suit your budget and requirements, the next step is to take them for test drives. This is essentially to gain a feel for how the vehicle drives and whether it suits your driving style. If you do not like the drive or feel uncomfortable –the chair hurts your back or you cannot see out of the back window-, you are only going to regret the decision at a later stage. Therefore, ensure that you find a car that is comfortable and suits you. Before moving on to the next step, take as many test drives as you need to be sure that this is the right car for you.

Sign the contract: The last step is to buy the vehicle. During this stage, you need to speak to your local bank or finance provider to ensure that you qualify for asset finance and that your credit check is approved. Once you qualify, the last step is to sign the contract. Remember to read the small print and the repayment terms to ensure that you are comfortable with the new car.

Buying a car is easy, but buying the right car on a budget is a far trickier task. Ensure that you buy a car that suits your needs and your budget. Remember, before driving the vehicle off the showroom floor, to have your vehicle properly insured with your insurance company and to check that it is fully licensed. 

About the author: Greg Jones recently bought a new car. I was absolutely lost during this process, until my brother in-law (a asset finance clerk) explained the process of how I can obtain the best trade-in and interest rates on my car loan. I now have a brand new car and a fantastic repayment deal that suits my needs.

* Image license: Morguefile; royalty and attribution free

Friday, August 2, 2013

Calculating a mother's true cost of divorce

Divorce does not guaranteee a pre-divorce standard of living will be maintained
The cost of divorce averages $20,000 per Mint
By Debbie Nguyen

Taking on the role of parenting is an important job and a woman who manages both a household and children has a significant amount of responsibility on her shoulders. A husband who shares in the duties of running the home may have taken on financial obligations such as paying the bills and balancing the chequebook. However, when an unexpected divorce happens, you may find yourself in the dark about the money aspect of your relationship, and the jobs that go along with it.

Taking time to digest

Divorce strikes 3.6 of every 1,000 marriages in the United States. It can be crippling mentally, physically and financially, especially to women who have been busy managing the domestic side of the relationship. Ensuring that your household is running right can be time consuming, especially when you have children to take care of. However, waking up one day and realizing the burdens that come with a divorce can be overwhelming. You don't have to go through it alone though, and you can benefit whether you retain legal help from a Beverly Hills celebrity lawyer or from a local Orlando divorce attorney. You are going to have a lot of decisions to make down the road, but you need to begin by digesting what this divorce will mean for you, and the children.

A host of burdens

You can expect to have a host of burdens to contend with when going through a divorce. You may have been honest, loving and trusting of this man that you married. But you may find dishonest dealings ahead with hidden accounts, additional credit cards you weren’t aware of and money not fairly dispersed until the divorce has commenced. What's more, the cost of divorce alone averages $20,000 per Mint.

Following divorce, a report published by the University of Oregon claims an income increase of 30% is necessary to maintain pre-divorce standard of living. This can present a host of problems such as how to make ends meet financially, run a household and maintain a normal home life for the children. You need to take charge of the finances for your household and place a hold on all accounts such as money markets, savings, chequeing and retirement. You also need to keep an eye on your credit cards to ensure that you’re not responsible for large amounts of debt. 

Help is on the way

Through the help of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, you’ll be able to get the necessary documentation rolling in your divorce and find an amicable resolution. If you find that things aren’t going smoothly, a judge can get involved to make sure your assets are handled more than fairly, especially if your primary job has been to take care of the household. You can protect yourself by staying in the home with your children.

Divorce is often difficult for a family, and you want to keep their lives as normal as possible. Parents must collaborate for the benefit of their children. You also want to make sure your attorney files the proper paperwork, so you have money on hand to run the household and care for the children. You will also have to decide on custody arrangements and, dependent on the circumstances surrounding the divorce, a judge can also decide on the primary caregiver and visitation rights.

You’re going to be going through an assortment of ups and downs until the divorce is final, and you need to find ways to maintain your sanity. This could include support groups, friends and family. While things may not seem fair, and you may argue about who gets the china, you need to regroup and keep a level head about what’s important. Finding the strength to move forward once the divorce is final is also imperative, and you need to realize that this was just a stumbling block. The next chapter in your life could hold a host of opportunities and happiness for you.

About the author: Debbie Nguyen is a blogger and compulsive reader who researches and familiarizes herself with various topics, including family law. Her research found Orlando divorce attorney of Katz & Phillips, PA have been assisting families successfully in the Sunshine State.

* Image license: Tom Check; CC BY-2.0

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Top five oilfield jobs with no degree needed

Oil Field Jobs Are Hot And Available!
Increased activity in U.S. oil and exploration has led to rises in oil field  jobs

By David M Leiter and Dan Sem

There’s no hiding the facts. In today’s recession, finding a decent job is hard enough for a college graduate, much less someone fresh out of high school. While the national unemployment rate is hovering at 7.6% this summer according to the Bureau Of Labor & Statistics, the rate for those aged 20-24 is almost double, a staggering 13.5% as of June 2013. Add to that the fact almost one-fourth of 18-19 year olds fresh out of high school cannot find jobs (a staggering unemployment rate of 22.6%), and you have a situation where millions of post-teen twenty-somethings can’t even find work to begin their life independent from parents and family. 

However, in the midst of a brutal recession, one market has emerged that continues to provide job growth and new openings on an almost daily business. Across the country oilfield jobs continue to increase as further drilling takes place in the shale plays, such as the Bakken shale play in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford shale play in south Texas. Within this job market there are several high-paying, but hard working, jobs that you can pursue right out of high school. Some pay $60,000 or more a  year, and are summarized below. 

5. Floorhand/leasehand/roustabout

This is one of the lowest-level workers on a rig, responsible for general maintenance and labor, as well as cleaning according to CNN Money. Roustabouts have to get hands-on with their work, and are expected to do lots of hard manual labor in stressful or dangerous conditions in close proximity to various machinery. They may be required to stand for 12 hours and do frequent heavy lifting. On the plus side, the only further requirement for this job is a high school diploma, and a roustabout can expect to earn anywhere from $35,000 to $54,000.

4. Truck driver

Frac Sand Trucking Can Be A Highly Paid Job
Truck drivers are needed to transport oil products
Believe it or not, oil companies are desperate for truck drivers; in this capacity, truckers are employed to haul proppant frac sand, equipment, oil, and other material. A degree is not a necessity for trucking employment, but every bit of experience helps; workers will be required to possess a current Class A CDL driver’s license and will also need to pass drug testing.

Trucking jobs generally require significant patience, problem-solving skills, and physical ability; the job may also involve loading, delivering, and unloading heavy items and can be physically demanding at times. However, truckers in the oil industry will generally earn $40,000 to $60,000 a year, and in some locations they can earn up to $2,500 a week per AOL.  

3. Derrick hand

The derrick hand is responsible for doing risky work; he or she will be required to maintain the drilling fluid system and related equipment, and can expect to do lots of lifting, climbing, and other strenuous physical activity. Applicants do not need a college degree for this position, but should have at least some experience related to it; passing a drug test is a must, as is having a valid driver’s license and being able to lift up to 100 pounds. Working conditions may include cold, heat, dust, dampness, gases and fumes; furthermore, derrick hand workers cannot have a fear of heights. A derrick hand can expect to earn at least $51,000 a year.

2. Field service technician

A field service technician is responsible for transporting, setting up, repairing and maintaining equipment in the field, and must be a natural problem solver. He or she must be capable of efficiently fixing problems with rental equipment, such as travel trailers, power generation equipment, and water supply equipment. A college degree is not required, but a high school diploma is preferred; a valid driver’s license and clean driving record are required, as is a drug screen. Furthermore, applicants must be willing to travel extensively, work under lots of pressure, and must be able to lift 75 pounds. Salaries for field service technicians range from $40,000 to $60,000 a year.

1. Welder

Oil companies have demand for welders, and this demand is growing rapidly all over the country; welders in the oil industry are being employed to repair and maintain rigs. Additional work for welders can be found with certain mobile truck repair services that service trucks and equipment in the oil fields. In addition to performing their normal welding duties effectively, welders are expected to be safety-minded, properly maintain their welding tools, and wear personal protective equipment at all times. No degree is needed to work as a welder, but a high school diploma is required, as is some welding training and experience; being able to lift up to 50 pounds is also necessary. Welders in this field are typically paid $18 to $28 an hour, but in some areas may be able to earn up to $14,000 a month.

While oil companies do continue to expand their operations despite the recession, these jobs won’t be around forever. Check your local job listings or go on to one of the oil field job forums to see what is available in your area. While in some cases it might require you to move, this is an industry worth getting into at the ground level, with jobs that you can grow in, degree or not!

About the authors: David M Leiter (with article contributions by Dan Sem) works on a team as a freelance writer. He writes on a broad range of topics, covering everything from oilfield trends, to the trucking and repair industry, to modular housing solutions for oilfields, and more.

* Image licensing: 1.  Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-15249701-xxxl-pumpjack-silhouettes.php?st=d9fcac3  2. Author owned and licensed

Samsung's record profit: 6.9 billion dollars for three months

Samsung relies on phone sales for the majority of its revenue
Samsung is the world's largest producer of smartphones

 By Morgan Johnes

The biggest smartphone producer reported, that they expect their profits to jump with almost 50% during the second quarter of the year. From the beginning of April this year, to the end of June, their net profit is 6.9 billion dollars, which is almost twice as big, compared to 2012, when, for the same period of time it was around 4.6 billion dollars. Their financial statement, however, showed a decrease in the profit compared to the first quarter of 2013.

The company finally presented their new model Galaxy S4. But although it managed to achieve good sales, it didn't cover analysts' expectations. Apart from that, the company spent a lot of money on promoting Galaxy S4, which raised their marketing costs. Competitors keep on showing more and more new models that increase the pressure on Samsung as a leader on the smartphone market. However, the company expects their profits to jump even more and last month they announced the preliminary financial results for the second quarter.

The statistics and expectations about the smartphone market, which the famous South Korean company outlined, are similar to the ones that Apple reported earlier this week. The renowned American company reported strong sales of their iPhone, especially in the U.S., but also showed disappointing results in China. "To some extent, Apple and Samsung have become victims of their own success," said Pete Cunningham, quoted by the New York Times. 'When these companies report many billions of profits every quarter, it’s hard to say they are doing anything wrong.'

Today, Samsung is the largest producer of smartphones and semiconductor products and displays. But still, phones generate most of their profits. The company said that on May it shipped around 10 million mobile phones. This is less than a month after the presentation of their S4. Many analysts say that the phone is more like an upgraded version of S3 and complained about the large amount of closed Samsung software in the device. In Japan, the largest operator NTT DoCoMo launched a summer campaign with big discounts for Samsung S4 and another Sony smartphone. Recently they announced that the model, which Sony offers, is a little more affordable and it is being sold significantly more than Galaxy S4.

After Galaxy S4, Samsung has introduced a few other versions of the model. Among them are original Android version; Galaxy Zoom S4 with a better camera and screen, the mini S4 version, and moisture- and dust proof Galaxy S4 Active.

Samsung usually announces its expectations for the future profits a few weeks before the public presentation of their financial data. Many people are concerned that the South Korean company may need to lower the prices of their products, which immediately will affect their profit. Also, analysts say that if Samsung wants to keep their consumers and high prices, they will have to offer some new and innovative products.

Samsung, which is also the biggest producer of televisions in the world, reported a strong rise in the sales of displays. The operating profit there has increased with almost 46% which approximately equals to 1.12 trillion. The South Korean company also said, that they have expanded their product offerings in the U.S. and China in order to increase the sales in these markets. The answer was clear – during the next few months, the unstable situation with European economy may hinder the financial growth.

About the author: Morgan Johnes loves to read and write financial news and analysis. He is currently working with mobile options trading. His passion are smmartphones and gadgets.

Image license: Ziggymaster; GFDL, CC BY-SA 3.0