There is a moment – as the full realization of debt out of control hits – when, at least metaphorically, the knees buckle, the head swims, and the urge for flight swells to an almost irresistible force.

This is the ‘Moment of Panic.’ More exactly this is the start of a very long moment of panic. And for quite a while it will return in short bursts. And there is every reason to have such a Moment and such moments. For you have no idea what lies before you, and no idea what mess you are in. You have, after all, never been there before, and probably don’t know anyone else who has either.

I say the Moment! Savor it, milk it, stroke yourself with it! Soon enough you are going to come to your full shaken senses. Then you will have to handle matters coolly, calmly and thoughtfully.

While in The Moment:

  1. Make no decisions
  2. Sign no papers; and
  3. Don’t try to make reason of anything.

To do any of certain, you must be as bright and as objective as you can manage. During your Moment you are not going to be that.

The panic is fed, of the route, the reason of the whole world falling on your head, of fingers pointing at you in the street and of being cast from your home to ramble the streets begging crusts from strangers.

Or maybe even of being thrown in prison and breaking rocks in some cold and hostile place.

Well in England and Wales at least this last is not going to happen. There are only two situations involving debt that can lead to prison here. One is where rates are involved, and unless you are withholding rates on principle, it is unlikely that this will happen since there are probably other problems that can be addressed.

The other is where you have committed fraud, and if you have done that you are not going to be reading this article. Having bad luck, being silly or being ill is not fraud. Losing your job is not fraud, suffering the effects of inflation is not fraud. Being old is not fraud. And having a mental disorder is not fraud.

You are not in a debt crisis because you chose to be. Something has happened since you took on the loan, and – in England and Wales at least – your creditor is expected to take that into account and negotiate a solution.

There is a structure of priorities which places those things you need to live as priorities and most loans as non-priority. But there are some difficulties where you own assets, especially a house, which requires a lot of thought about how to go forward.

Since it is a priority to have accommodation and mortgage or rent are priority debts, it makes no sense for mortgage lenders to repossess in many circumstances, and that is very much so in a weakening house market. For, unfortunately, while you possess the house, the mortgage is a separate debt secured on the house. Repossession of the house does not clear the debt, and the money received from selling the house may be far less than the mortgage figure.

If the lender places you in a position of having less money available he is cutting off his nose to spite his face. For you to stay in that property paying rent and looking after the property makes more sense, especially if it is by reviving the mortgage when things pick up again. An idea worth exploring at least, if it is needed.

BP bonds have now fallen in cost significantly following the leak in the Gulf of Mexico. The downturn is giving a sign that BP will soon default on its debts according to many analysts. Although shares are beginning to show signs of recovery the bonds are still falling steadily.

Rating agencies are now threatening to cut BP’s credit rating and even threatening more downgrades as they wait to see what the full extent of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico will mean for the company.

Many of BP’s investors are restricted from owning lower grade bonds and therefore if BP suffers any more cuts the investors could be forced to sell their shares.

BP revealed last week that it had cut a faulty pipe from the leaking source which will hopefully make a big difference to the spill.

Even though recent happenings have shown a lot of negativity surrounding BP, it is clear that the company still has a good investment grade credit rating. The current AA rating was described as being ‘a very strong rating,’ by BP spokesman Mark Salt this week.

BP owes £14bn in total debts, whereas stock markets currently value the company at £84bn which means its debt levels are very low currently.

Investors in the shares such as many UK pension funds now fear that BP will cut their dividend as a result. The next dividend meeting is set for July 27th, which means a wait for many.

Lots of room for negotiation – once you are over The Moment of Panic. Similarly with other debts whether secured or unsecured. In all cases what makes sense can usually be agreed.

Though sometimes you have to argue your corner pretty strenuously. And if all these possibilities are at the back of your mind in Your ‘Moment of Panic’ you will be less likely to rush to decision or signature. For that period keep out of the water, there were many sharks.

How much should I have in my Piggy Bank?

Human life is full of unexpected events. You never know when your car can just break down, water heater replacement, roof repair or an injury come on your way. In those occasions you are in look out of ready cash to cover you up. That’s why we all want to save for that rainy day and recently it has been seen that many Singaporeans have developed this practice of saving.

With more options and individual commitments there is a lot to explore the concept of emergency fund. It is usually defined as three to six months of income which is left untouched and should be kept at easy reach to access in emergencies.

Most of the time emergency fund is kept in simple savings account, as a fixed deposit will not let you liquidate the cash before a certain time line. Though its always best to consult your financial advisor.

How do I get started ?

Planning your emergency fund requires lot of attention, discipline and analysis. Set goals or targets that are achievable and be genuine as there isn’t going to be any reward unlike other financial goals like making a down payment for your car.

But the best part about the emergency fund is – once you reach the goal, you don’t have to invest or set aside more money into it unless there are life changing events which account for additional members to be accounted such as new born.

Savings for beginners can be done with following guidelines:

1. Priority to savings just after monthly expenses and debt payments

If you are already loaded with debt that’s your priority and your day to day expenses like food, transport, loan payments, education fees are all to be paid before you take the chunk out for savings. You can either set aside all the money left after covering all your expenses or set a percentage every month. There isn’t an exact answer or figure to quote for savings. Bottom line your emergency fund should be an amount that makes you feel secured.

2. Automate the Saving Process

Setting up an automated process such as GIRO or ACH (automatic withdrawal) will help fund x% to your savings account regularly. This covers you for any lack of discipline. If you are one of those who is unlikely to save regularly then setting up the automated deposit feature should help.

3. Direct bonuses towards Emergency fund

If saving is difficult from your monthly income, then set aside all your bonuses into the emergency fund instead spending it. Its difficult but remember once you have achieved the target, you can blow your future bonuses towards luxury expenditures.

4. Use Blitz Approach

If you can really handle a year living without partying, you can build your emergency fund in no time. Opting a blitz life style – which means living on just lesser (approx. 50%) of your income can actually get you to the target and then you are relaxed with your saving goals.

5. Limit unnecessary expenses – Less you spend, you save more. Some of your expenses could be unavoidable such as uber taxi rides, too many party or get together, unnecessary shopping. Go for smaller getaways, as moment you reach your goal you can spend as you like.

6. Consider using Singapore Saving Bonds

You can consider Singaporean saving bonds which can help you save and also earn interest of 2.6 per annum. Although this is not a very lucrative rate but at least your money will not stagnate and can grow over a period. SSB is comparably better than fixed interest deposit as you can redeem your bonds anytime without any penalty for exiting before maturity. This bond works with a flexibility of easy cash at disposal should there be any emergency.

7. Save in Dollars

Open a multi currency account which enables you to save different denominations ( RM 5000, USD$700 etc. ) and Citibank International Personal bank has one of those options. With money being in different currency, you cannot just walk up to an ATM and splurge on new pair of jeans. You can also be benefited occasonallly from exchange rates when Singaporean dollar value reduces compared to US dollar.

Start saving , its never too late. Initial days could be daunting but its financially wise to plan for the worst. You may not know what emergency situation could crop up but building emergency fund will make those circumstances less stressful. However, should such scenerio arise, speak with us at Credithub and see how we can help you.

Family vacations are an essential part of family bonding. With busy schedules to maintain in day-to-day life, there is far too little time for families to spend together enjoying nothing but each other’s company. Vacations allow families to experience new things together. In tough economic times be it for family holidays or honeymoon, they are harder to afford now, it’s important to get the most out your family vacation budget.

There are endless opportunities and destinations for perfect for the Year-End Holidays in all different price ranges, but the most important thing is to choose an experience well-suited for the entire family. The following are some of the best family vacation destinations where entertainment, exploration and educational opportunities abound.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando makes the list of top family vacation destinations because it is centrally located in Florida and home to some of the best family attractions in the state. Boasting Walt Disney World, a long-standing family tradition, as well as Universal Studios which is now home to their newest attraction, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and SeaWorld. All three of these major attractions are as family-friendly as it gets and plays host to some beloved family favorites.
Before departing, check out the number of deals available for week-long stays at Disney World resorts and other hotels nearest to each attraction. Multi-day passes and multi-park passes are available at both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios that will enable you to make the most of your time and money.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey is a name known to most every kid, but Hershey is also a fun, family-friendly destination. Located near Harrisburg, Hershey is home to Hersheypark, an amusement park complete with thrill rides, kiddie rides, and water rides. It is also adjacent to ZooAmerica, an 11-acre zoo. Admission to the zoo is included with admission to Hersheypark. While in Hershey, families can also visit Hershey’s Chocolate World where kids can make their chocolate bar from scratch, using factory equipment and ingredients.
For families with kids under the age of 12, a visit to Dutch Wonderland may be in order. A miniature-sized amusement park atmosphere with amusement rides, water rides, miniature golf and other entertainment suitable for young children, Dutch Wonderland, is just the right pace for little ones.

Yellow Stone National Park

Families who prefer to avoid the commercialism and tourism of some of the more popular family destinations can enjoy the quiet of nature with a trip to Yellow Stone National Park. Naturally, visiting Old Faithful is a must-do, and Old Faithful the geyser will erupt every 90 minutes or so. Camping expeditions, park ranger tours, and educational programs are ideal for families with a love of nature and a desire to explore the great outdoors. Enjoy fishing, hiking, horseback riding and llama packing while you’re there. An unforgettable outdoor adventure, Yellow Stone National Park is an affordable vacation and best-suited for families with school-aged or older children.

Chicago, Illinois

Between the Magnificent Mile, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the American Girl Store, virtually any family can find fun things to do in Chicago. There are numerous family-friendly attractions ranging from museums and amusement parks to shopping. Being situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, there’s plenty of water fun to be had as well. Chicago is a great family value as there’s there something for all ages and Lincoln Park Zoo is the only admission-free zoo you’ll find. There are many great travel deals and packages for Chicago so do a bit of research, and you’ll have a family vacation planned in no time.

All-Inclusive Family Vacations and Cruises

If you’re looking for the simplest way to plan a vacation and travel, then an all-inclusive family vacation to any one of these or other great family destinations, such as Washington D.C., New York City, or the Bahamas, may be your best bet. Also, keep in mind many of the kid-friendly themed cruises like Disney and Nickelodeon. When the itinerary for your trip is planned for you, it can make traveling with kids much easier, especially if there’s always something to do.

When planning a family vacation, especially with young children, be sure to request accommodations like cribs, strollers, and other necessities from your hotel before you book. Several great packages are available for families, especially those with young children and may include kids staying free, eating free, or free admission to nearby attractions. Whatever destination you choose, a family vacation will prove a rewarding and memorable experience for everyone.

The future is extremely unpredictable and it is difficult to ascertain the kind of situations that we would have to face in the coming days and years. That is why, it becomes extremely important and vital to invest and save money in a strategic and proper manner.Some of the reasons why Money saving, financial planning is important are as follows:

1. For Emergency Funds

In order to tackle emergencies in a proper manner, you need to have a substantial amount of money that you have saved over a period of time. These emergencies could include any number of things like building a new roof, unexpected medical expenses, sudden layoff leading to loss of steady income, etc.

2. For the Improvement in life expectancy

As medicines and public health facilities improve, the average life expectancy of an individual is all set to rise. This means that you would require more money in order to maintain the same quality and standard of life over the years.

3. For the Volatility of social security

Even if the government in your country provides social security, it cannot be considered as the main source of income. Social security, at best, can be a small part of your additional income and in no way should you depend on it entirely for your daily expenses. If at any time, social security plans are withdrawn, you will be left with no source of income and that can become a major hurdle in your financial independence.

4. For Kids Education and other expenses

The cost of both private and public education is increasing every single year. Not just that, many daily needs are also becoming more expensive. So in order to live a comfortable life, it is of utmost necessity that you save money at every stage possible.

Investment plans are one of the best ways that can help you save money in an easy and simple manner. Further, it becomes much easier to manage your investments when individuals are in the habit to save on a regular basis. It is, therefore, important to balance both your personal income and expenditure on a monthly basis before you can invest your money in a proper manner. Some steps, that you can follow to save money in a better manner, include:

Create a budget to track your expenses on a monthly basis

Creating a budget will help you identify your spending areas and in turn, regulate cash flow. When you track your expense against your budget in a proper manner, it will help you save money by ensuring that you do not spend on things that you do not need.

Hence, when your saving plans are in place, it will ensure that your investments are protected and safeguarded at all times. At all times, make sure that your extra money is invested in good investment plans so that you are able to reap rich dividends in the future. Good saving plans and investment plans are extremely important in this volatile and ever changing economic environment. In the end, saving and investing money is very important and will help you live a more comfortable life in the long run.