Categories
Taxes

A Review of the Protege Financial Multi-Level Marketing Program

The company Protege Financial first registered their domain name in June 2006, although this is the first time I’ve heard of this company. They are based out of Valencia, CA. I’m very familiar with that area of Orange County being a Southern California native myself. The main reason this company exists is to provide their clients with investment vehicles that will not go away despite the bad economy.

The partners that make up this company are Michelle Seward, Scott Foulk and Mark Francovich which claim to have 4 decades of investment and financial know how behind them. The owners also state they launched Protege Financial because they really care about their clients and set this company up with an MLM Compensation Plan to help spread the word across the United States. Apparently they officially just launched July 4th 2009.

Apparently these 3 partners have already helped thousands of clients. When I visited their website they do have their actual office address, phone and fax number prominently visible on their website, so it appears they are not hiding. One of the main products they offer their clients are “Tax Free Income” vehicles that people can use to help hedge the low wages they could experience when they retire.

When I visit the Protege Financial website, I don’t see any credential logos like CFP (Certified Financial Planner) or BBB (Better Business Bureau) or anything like that nor any Internet Trust Logos. I’m not a professional Website Designer and I could throw this website up within one night easy. The company that designed their site is based out of Idaho. Also I couldn’t find details on how much reps get paid for referrals or the MLM Compensation Structure.

In addition, the website just had those generic type paid videos which appear to be a standard voiceover. I’ve heard the same voice on many other voiceovers used for other companies so they don’t sound original or sound like they come from the owners. And no pictures of the owners on the website, not even with their bio statements.

This being the end of August 2009 and the fact that they launched launched July 4th 2009, I assume this site would have been completed by now. Add this to the fact that it is an investment company to be honest almost terrifies me. Money is hard to come by these days, and on the occasion when I am able to save a grand or so I like to put it in a Mutual Fund setup by my bank which is a major bank in the US.

Protege Financial does offer a free consultation. When you get to the website, all you need to do is fill out a form and someone will end up calling you back. And if you live in or are visiting Southern California, they have Career Opportunity Meetings every Thursday evening from 7:00 to 9:00pm (as of the time of this writing) Pacific Time.

I noticed a testimonials section on the Protege Financial website. It had 7 testimonials with just two initials under each name. Finally the company offers a free eBook just by filling out your Name, Email, City and State. This eBook is supposed to educate you on the basic types of Investment Vehicles that are out there.

I’m not accusing this company of being a scam. They could very well be experienced financial planners with little experience on establishing credibility on the internet with trust logos, pictures of themselves, write-ups of successful reps in their company, etc.. But this is even more important in Network Marketing. I would be extremely cautious here. If anyone has had any experiences, good or bad with this company, we would like to hear about them and you can post your comments on our blog.

Categories
Student Loans

Student Loans and the Federal Family Education Loan Program

Established by an Act of Congress in 1965 and started in 1966, the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) is a partnership program between the federal government and private lenders and an umbrella program which includes Stafford loans, student PLUS loans and Perkins loans. Since it started more than half a trillion dollars have been disbursed through this program.

Funds for the program are provided by a network of independent banks, credit unions and other financial institutions and lenders are generally happy to make money available in what would normally be considered a high risk area of ‚Äč‚Äčlending because loans are to a large degree (although not totally) underwritten by the federal government. In about five percent of cases private guarantors do become involved with defaulted loans and are able to make application to the federal government for at least partial reimbursement.

The vast majority of funds are used for subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans. In the case of subsidized loans the federal government pays the interest on loans while students are attending full-time courses (and for up to six months after graduation), while in the case of unsubsidized loans students are responsible for paying the interest due on their loans. Interest is not however normally paid on unsubsidized loans while a student is attending full-time education (and again for up to six months after graduation) but is added to the loan.

The other program with attracts major funding is the student PLUS loans program which is designed to allow parents to take out loans on behalf of their children. This program was extended in 2006 and is now also available to professional and graduate students. The student PLUS loans program is becoming an increasingly important part of college funding these days.

Applications to the Federal Family Education Loan Program are normally made using a Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) application form which is submitted to the loans officer at the college for which the student has been accepted. Applications are then examined and loans granted on the basis of the information provided and the availability of funds for disbursement.

Loans are normally disbursed at least twice each year (depending upon the academic timetable followed by the college) and it is common for the bulk of each loan to be paid directly to the college to cover tuition and other fees, with the balance then being paid over to the student or parent, less fees.

In most, but certainly not all cases, a fee of about 4% is payable which is made up of a 3% administration, or 'originating', fee and a 1% insurance fee. It is not uncommon however for higher fees to be charged and so it is important to ask about the fee structure and, if necessary, to shop around when applying for student loans.

Categories
Mortgage

Mortgage Modification 411 – Loan Modification Program

Firstly, what is a mortgage modification program? It is simply the modification of your loan structure to lower your payments. Banks have now introduced mortgage loan modifications as a way to minimize their foreclosure ratios.

Let’s get introduced to the Mortgage modification Program

This program is basically for those who are having trouble paying their monthly mortgage installments and now want to lower their payments. In order to be eligible for a Mortgage Modification you need to:

o Be owner of the mortgaged property

o Have a first mortgage originated on or before January 1, 2009

o Have a monthly payment of more than 31% of your Gross Monthly Income

o Have a mortgage payment that is unaffordable due to financial problems

If you meet all the required criteria, then you can apply for a loan modification.

Pros of modifying your mortgage loan

o Monthly mortgage payments are lowered

o After the loan is modified, and you make timely payments, then you get a “Success Incentive” that reduces the principal balance of your loan

o Modifications under the Home Modification program are free

o This program is basically designed for people who lack their timely payments or are on the verge of foreclosure.

Thus you can see how useful the mortgage modification program can be for those who are having hard time meeting their monthly payments. Lastly, beware of persons or institutions who ask you to pay fees in exchange for your loan modification-NO Charges should be made for a loan modification. Also, never make any payments to persons other than your mortgage service provider or an authorized official.

So, go learn about the different modification options available to you, begin the journey to modifying your loan and save yourself some of that ever so needed money. Good luck!

Categories
Mortgage

What Is the Home Affordable Refinance Program?

2008 saw one of the biggest housing crashes in the history of the United States of America. The housing crash, also known as the housing bubble, was so bad the United States allocated over $900 billion dollars in 2008 alone to special loans. Over half of the $900 billion dollars was given to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Because of the crash millions of home owners were now upside down on their home mortgage making them ineligible for a new home loan. To add to the damage many home owners had adjustable mortgage rates (ARMS) loans that were going to reset to a higher interest rate causing a payment to sometimes triple.

Many home owners were now unable to make their monthly mortgage payment or owed much more on their home loans than what their house was worth.

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is a relief program for people who continued to make their payments even though their homes where under water. Because their homes were worth less than what they owed they often encountered difficulties with trying to refinance their loans. Typical loan standards would usually not allow a new home refinance unless the house was worth more than the amount of the loan being received.

The HARP program helps to enable a new home loan if the applicant owes more than what their house was worth. A few key guidelines include the loan be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie May and sold on or before May 31, 2009. The home owner has must current on their payment and have a good payment history for the last 12 months.

This program will end December 31, 2016 so it is very important to speak with a mortgage lender to see if you may qualify for a new home loan before the deadline passes. By learning if you qualify you could be eligible to save thousands of dollars a year with a new home refinance.

It is also wise to compare rates from trusted lenders to find out the right loan program for you. These lenders can answer all of your questions as well as give you the options on all the loans you may qualify so that you can make an educated choice on the new home loan. Usually these lenders can give you a good idea of what loans you would qualify for without any obligations or hidden fees.

Categories
Student Loans

Obama’s Scholarships For Moms Program – Advantages of the Financial Aid

Are you a mother looking all day after her home and kids or a single mother wanting to study further but simply don’t have the money to do it or time to go to a college? Have you ever wondered that would it be possible that someone granted you some aid to fulfill this dream and that too from the comfort of your homes with your kid’s right in front of you?

President Obama has made an increase in the Pell’s grant to ensure a scholarship for moms who want to get higher degrees but have not been able to do it so far because of varied compulsions and limitations, especially the financial ones. This is the Obama’s scholarships for moms’ program.

It is not at all complicated to apply for Obama’s Scholarships for Moms’ program. The application forms are absolutely free and there are no hidden charges. One the student applies or registers for it she simply becomes eligible for a $10000 grant. This aid can be asked for in parts with every year and also tax benefits can be enjoyed. The amount granted varies depending on what category, dependent or independent, the student declares herself to be. Also if there is a parent making certain amount of contribution towards the higher education (this is applicable in case of dependent mothers), the aid amount may again vary keeping in mind the exact requirement of the student. FASFA (Free Application for Federal student Aid) is the agency which grants this aid absolutely free of cost.

Here are some of the advantages listed of the Obama’s scholarships for moms’ program:

This grant is not a loan and therefore it does not have to be returned or paid back in any form.

There are a number of technical schools offering this degree. If the student is a single mother and finds it difficult to leave her kids and home, she can look for one of the many online colleges recognizing this program,

Obama has also asked educational institutions to make certain amount of contribution in certain cases once this grant is given to the student.

The grant ensures that tuition fees as well as cost of living while pursuing the higher studies is taken care of. There is no interest or fee charged whatsoever for taking this financial aid.

Categories
Student Loans

Financial Aid – The Federal Work Study Program

The Federal Work Study Program (FWS), is a federally-funded program designed and set-up in order to help eligible students with the cost of their post-secondary education. The Federal Work Study Program assists students in the earning of funding via a part-time working program. The funds from the program may be used by the student at any of the 3,400 college institutions across the US that are participants in the scheme.

The FWS program used to be called the College Work-Study Program, and the program, like many often federal grant programs, is based upon a student’s financial need, and students must apply and meet various criteria in order to qualify for an award. Students deemed eligible for an award will join work programs organised through their colleges in order to earn money necessary for their tuition and extra college expenses. There are a range of different jobs that qualify for the scheme, and students will receive federal minimum wage-at the very least-for the complete duration of their employment on a work placement under the program.

The FWS scheme is set up to make sure that only those college students most in need of funds get the jobs offered by the scheme. The jobs on the scheme, despite their vast scope, will very often look to encourage community service work as well as work specifically related to a student;s particular course of study. In terms of the program funds themselves, Federal funding is made to participating institutions themselves after a request from the institutions themselves.

Once the funds are worked out and decided for each institution, it is then the responsibility of each institution to allocate and administer the funds. As soon as the funds allocated to an institution have been allocated, no more students will be able to join the scheme until the next year. In order to apply for the schem, students need to file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) in order that their eligibility can be determined. Alternatively students may also see what other education grants may be available to them elsewhere as well to help support their education. The program itself is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students alike.

Categories
Ethics

How To Build A Business Ethics Program

Recent corporate financial scandals have highlighted the importance of business ethics and legal compliance. Yet a recent National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) survey of 280 corporate CEOs and directors found that “only one of three directors felt that they were highly effective in ensuring legal compliance”.

Ethics in Business

Most companies realize that they need to develop and implement a business ethics and compliance program.

An effective program can:

o Establish a code of conduct that reduces risk of criminal behavior

o Detect wrongdoing, foster quick investigations, minimize consequences

o Demonstrate company’s ethical/legal philosophy during an investigation

o Reduce fines if company is found guilty of wrongdoing

o Enhance company reputation and stature

Looking at the Options

But how do you build an effective program? Companies find themselves with three options to build the program:

o Develop in-house from scratch

o Hire an external consultant

o Use a pre-written manual

And most of these companies learn a few lessons – sometimes the hard way.

Making a Strong Company Policy

Developing a program from scratch can be very time consuming and costly. Also, the company might not have the knowledge or understanding of the complexity involved. But hiring an external consultant is not always a cost effective option either. So what’s left?

Developing Your Business Ethics Program

By using a pre-written template or manual, many companies have found it easier to develop their business ethics program. And to do this, they look for what a strong program needs.

A highly effective tool for creating, organizing and implementing a sound business ethics and compliance program should provide:

o Sample policies and procedures

o Step-by-step instructions for the development of a program

o A business ethics training program outline with classroom materials and a detailed session leader’s guide

o Business ethics and compliance officer position description

o Templates for employee involvement

o Sample code of conduct

Implementing Your Business Ethics Program

If the company board has committed to a strong business ethics and compliance program, the next step is to put the manual in the hands of corporate executives responsible for implementation. Used properly under advice of legal counsel, this efficient tool will yield a solid program that the board can understand, endorse, and monitor for effectiveness.

With step-by-step guidelines and accompanying examples of policies, procedures, training program, and employee survey, an effective tool provides an excellent road map for implementing an ethics and compliance initiative.

Maintaining a Culture of Ethics

Companies should make certain that their ethics compliance manual provides fully editable MS Word files with sample policies, surveys, forms and training session outlines. Also, businesses should ensure their ethics compliance system manual is fully endorsed by The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) as a tool to maintain a culture of integrity.

Categories
Credit

37 Days to Clean Credit Review – Will Chris Brisson’s Program Work For You?

“37 Days to Clean Credit” is a credit repair program being offered by Chris Brisson, a credit repair specialist. However, many people are asking the question, “Will this really work for me?” In this article, we’re going to talk about why you might want to purchase this course, what comes with it, and who would benefit the most from it. Read this independent review and see if his clean credit course is right for you.

First, let’s talk about why you might want to purchase this course. This eBook is for anyone who wants a step-by-step action plan to clean up their credit rating. It shows you how to boost your credit score by taking some simple steps such as looking at your credit report, finding costly errors, and fixing those errors through writing dispute letters. It also shows you how you can remove negative items, inquiries, judgments, and bankruptcies from your credit report fast. By applying the principles in this book, most people should be able to raise their credit score by 100 points or more.

Next, let’s discuss what comes with the course. “37 Days to Clean Credit” is a step-by-step guide designed to give you an action plan to repair your credit and boost your score to new levels. This will allow you to get better interest rates which could save you hundreds each year. Most credit scores range from 500 to 800. Higher credit scores mean better treatment from lenders and more opportunities for you.

The system contains other helpful information to boost your credit score by removing negative items on your report. One of the more helpful items is when he shows you how to double your credit limits with one simple phone call. By increasing your credit limit on your cards, you can increase your credit score by several points. This was something that I hadn’t heard anywhere else.

Another helpful technique Chris talks about is how to get your credit cards down to 0% APR. This one technique alone could save you hundreds in interest payments each year. The system also covers situations such as how to stop foreclosure, and how to negotiate with you bank to lower your payment 10% -20%. If you have experienced bankruptcy, Chris tells you how to restore your credit report coming out of a bankruptcy. All the techniques in the course are very flexible and you can pick the ones that will work best for your situation.

One of the great bonuses that comes with this course are the copy and paste credit letters. These letters can be used to send off to various organizations that will help boost your score by several points. Just simply copy and paste into your computer and fill in the appropriate information regarding your account. These proven letters are worth the price of the course alone and can be used to immediately dispute negative inquiries, late pays, judgments, and more.

Another help bonuses that’s included is the budgeting success software and video series. If you’ve ever wondered where all of your money goes, this software will show you a simple way that you can quickly see where you money actually goes. By putting in a few numbers, you be able to see exactly how much you spend on gas, food, eating out, credit card bills, and everything in your life.

Now, who would benefit the most from this course? This system works best for anyone who wants to repair their credit rating and have more choices in life. If you’ve been denied credit in the past, then this system will work for you to improve your score. If you are facing foreclosure or bankruptcy, then this course will help you negotiate around those pitfalls as well.

In conclusion, “37 Days to Clean Credit” along with the bonuses, are a powerful combination for anyone who wants to improve their credit in a reasonable amount of time. It won’t clean your credit overnight or increase your score by 100 points tomorrow. However, if you want a sensible plan that is guaranteed to work in a few short days, then this program will work for you.

Categories
Taxes

Tax Relief Program Information

Just about everyone in the U.S. tax system tries to voluntarily comply with the tax laws. We are required to file tax returns and pay the correct tax amount owed to the government. Not complying, threatens the stability of the tax system. Sometimes, if not most of the time, non-compliance is due to the lack of knowledge by the taxpayer. Usually the IRS will help the taxpayer become compliant. If the taxpayer purposely decides not to pay taxes then they may be subject to criminal sanctions by the IRS. There are those times that a taxpayer has financial trouble paying taxes or that their tax returns have been incorrect for a long period of time. The amount of the tax liability can be staggering if you consider the interest and penalties that the IRS will tack on due to your mistakes. The IRS can take advantage of a taxpayer who does not understand the tax law or the IRS Audit and Collection system. The good news is that there are tax debt relief programs that can help individuals or businesses like you.

1) IRS Tax Relief Settlement – The IRS developed this program to allow the taxpayer to settle their tax debts for a percentage of the taxes owed. Depending on your age, total assets, income and expenses, you could save thousands of dollars with this program.

2) Offer in Compromise (OIC) – This is a settlement to collect unpaid taxes for less than the full amount due. Congress developed this program to offer taxpayers a one time opportunity to eliminate their debt for a fraction of what is owed. IRS agrees on the amount to settle the debt. The IRS follows certain guidelines or circumstances for a compromise.

A) Doubt as to Liability: some doubt if tax is correct.

B) Doubt as to Collectibility: doubt that the full amount tax owed will ever be paid.

C) Effective Tax Administration: no doubt the tax and amount owed is correct but due to circumstances the taxpayer can’t pay i.e. economic hardship.

If there is a financial hardship where the amount owed exceeds the ability to pay off the tax debt in 5 years, the qualification for this program should be easy. The problem with the program is that it is very popular. Some frivolous cases were submitted, which now causes the IRS to scrutinize each and every case. You can actually perform the OIC yourself but it is best to let a professional help. The IRS will take advantage of the less than knowledgeable taxpayer. If the OIC is not to the requirements set forth by the IRS, it will be rejected and you will still have to pay the full amount of the tax liability.

3) Penalty Abatement – If you can’t pay your tax debt due to circumstances out of your control, the penalties and interest owed can be challenged and thus should be able to negotiate down the debt. Four categories fall into this relief:

A) Reasonable Cause – mistakes on taxes, death, serious illness, unavoidable absence and ignorance of the law.

B) Statutory Exceptions – minor to major tax code changes.

C) Administrative Waivers – hardship beyond your control: fire, flood, natural disasters, bad tax/legal advice.

D) Correction of Service Error – IRS mistakes.

For a successful penalty abatement, the stated representations for relief of penalties and interest have to be very specific. This will involve a skilled professional to work with the IRS protocol and bring a resolution to the taxpayer’s problem.

4) Payment Plan – This program allows taxpayers to make payments on their tax debt because they can not settle their tax in one entire payment. This gives the taxpayer time to pay and reduce their tax debt without the harassment and embarrassment of the IRS officers.

If there is a financial condition where you can’t pay, your account can be placed in a “not currently collectible” status. Under this program, the IRS will withhold collection activity until you are financially able to accept a payment plan or an Offer in Compromise is submitted.

You should try to avoid working or negotiating with the IRS yourself and hire a professional who knows and understands the IRS and the tax laws.

Categories
Debt Consolidation

Debt Consolidation Program – A Real Burden Buster

There are a lot of different kinds of debt consolidation companies offering a variety of consolidation programs to eliminate your debt. These days, there are more options to alleviate their debt than in the past.

There are a lot of ways you can find free information and decide which one will help you reduce your debt. One of the most popular ways to get reliable debt relief advice and professional help is the Internet.

If you plan your every action towards fixing your financial situation, then maybe there are debt-free, stress-free days ahead. Unlike in the past, when you were not able to pay your bills, your only way out was to declare bankruptcy. People burdened with so much debt had very few alternatives then. That has all changed, even for individuals with enormous and unbearable debt burdens can find a debt program.

A good debt consolidation program gives you many financial advantages other than bankruptcy. Even if your debt problems seem impossible, going bankrupt won't be the right answer to your trouble because it is usually just a temporary fix.

Even as you declare bankruptcy, you will have the responsibility to pay up specific types of debts, like state taxes. It's the opposite of debt consolidation, because with this sort of plan, you can get permanent relief. Additionally, if you make a decision to do a consolidation, you are certain to reduce all your debts around 50 to 60 percent. This means a well-organized debt consolidation program will help you slash all your debt in half.

One more advantage of debt programs is that it offers you the opportunity to keep living the type of lifestyle that you are accustomed to; it's not necessary for you to make any drastic changes in the manner you live. The one change you must deal with is the capacity to repay all your new loan in very small monthly payments.

If you carefully select the proper debt consolidation program for you, it can produce a stress-free mood of good credit that you can benefit from. All your associates and lenders will appreciate all your efforts to improve your financial situation.

Getting a debt consolidation program to elimination your debt in turn permits you to have total independence from your lenders. This is done by giving all your debt obligations to your debt consolidation company. Then they will deal with your creditors, carrying out the payment duties that you once were hampered with. Through debt consolidation, you can enjoy a stress free life, with no more pestering through the phone and mail. Through this sort of loan, you may really see all your financial troubles disappear.