Thursday, December 26, 2013

"Student Debt Forgiveness"

By Keith Gilabert

One of the biggest challenges I faced after college was making payments on my student loans.  I got an entry level job with an investment bank and was making the bare minimum to pay for my rent and basic necessities.  At the same time I had a $248.00 a month student loan payment.  As you know, life happens…  My car broke down and I needed to make a choice, fix the car so I can go to work or pay my student loan.  I chose to fix my car and got hit with some severe penalties.  I eventually paid it off but it was extremely difficult and I had to contact the lender to make a modification on my payments because I did not want to default on my obligations.

Today, there are about 7 million student loans in default.  What is even more troubling is that the student loan market has crossed the $1 trillion mark according to the Department of Education.  In order to avoid another financial meltdown,   Congress has approved a new plan called, “Pay As You Earn.”  This program only applies to federal funded loans and it will keep out of default which is very important if you would like to buy a car or house later in life. 

This plan pegs the payment at roughly 10% of your income above the poverty line and any remaining balance is forgiven after 20 years.  Right now borrowers are looking more short-term and just trying to reduce the monthly payment as small as possible.   

The Extended Payment programs that slices your payments comes with a catch.  You pay more in interest even if the payments are reduced and the balance will go up. 
Be careful not to miss a payment.  Even if you’re late once or twice, it will haunt you for many years.  Government and private lenders such as Sallie Mae will report your late payments to credit bureaus.  I remember when I applied for my first job the company ran my credit report, you can be denied a professional license if you have bad credit.  Keep in mind, credit checks can be pulled by anyone with permissible financial purpose such as a landlord or auto lender. Defaulting on a student loan will cause severe damage to your credit report.   This can stay on your credit report for up to ten years and not only will you be denied any additional financial aid but your wages and tax refunds can be garnished.    

Don’t get discouraged about getting a student loan.  The federal student loan programs offer the most options when it comes making payments.  They offer income based repayment and they also offer deferments and forbearances are granted for a few months at a time, and they will extend the time if circumstances haven’t changed yet.

Keep in mind, the average income for a college graduate in $13,000.00 more per year than someone with a high school diploma.

About Keith Gilabert
Keith Gilabert's research interests are in the broad areas of education policy, housing policy, immigration policy and political economy. Within those areas, he has published numerous scholarly articles on the topics of residential segregation, immigrant assimilation, housing affordability, the consequences of gentrification, the determinants of student achievement in elementary and secondary school, the causes and consequences of delinquent behavior among adolescents, teacher turnover, civic participation and voting patterns, and racial inequality in the labor market. He is currently working on a book on assimilation and immigration, From Immigrants to Americans, Sacrifices America made in order to become the dominant Power in the World.


Business Insider
By Matthew Boesler | Apr. 11, 2013, 1:35 PM

"Bond God" Jeff Gundlach is hosting a luncheon at the New York Yacht Club today.

As part of the luncheon, Gundlach presents his market views. Josh Brown, author of the popular financial blog The Reformed Broker, is tweeting Gundlach's presentation live.

Gundlach has a lot of interesting things to say today. One thing he recommended was shorting Chipotle. According to Brown, he was saving this idea to be unveiled at the Ira Sohn investment conference, but he couldn't resist mentioning it today.

According to Investor Keith Gilabert, "In my experience, shorting a stock when the trend is not in your favor could prove very costly, Mr. Gundlach could be right but the market can always make you wrong."

Read more

“Made in the USA”

By Keith Gilabert


Japanese auto manufacturing made a significant impact on the American car market in the 1970s with vast improvements in quality, reliability and fuel economy. As a result, the three major American firms were forced to change the way they manufactured cars.

Then in 1982, with only 5% of the car market, Honda Accord became the first car from a Japanese manufacturer to be produced in the United States when production commenced in  Ohio at Honda's Marysville Auto Plant. The Accord has achieved considerable success, especially in the United States, in 1990 the Accord sedan unseated the Ford Taurus as the best-selling car in America.  The Ohio built Accord went on to be the #1 selling car for fifteen years (1982–97), topping its class in sales in 1991 and 2001, with around ten million vehicles sold.  Numerous road tests, past and present, rate the Accord as one of the world's most reliable vehicles.

A testament to American manufacturing and Japanese engineering is Joe LoCicero who purchased “True Blue,” his 1990 Honda Accord LX which he purchased used in 1996 with 74,000 mile on it.  Joe set out with the mission to prove that with proper maintenance that he could extend the life of his Accord.

After 15 years and 185 oil changes, 72 tires 31 transmission fluid changes and 13 sets of brakes pads, Joe has over 1,000,000 miles on his Accord. 

Today five of the top ten selling cars in the United States are from Japanese companies but are made in America.  The following automobiles are foreign owned but domestic in manufacturing:  Toyota Camry, Sienna, Tundra and Honda Accord and Pilot.

Keith Gilabert Foundaiton Proudly Supports Children’s Hospice & Palliative Care

December 24, 2012

Keith Gilabert Foundation, thank you for caring so much about quality care for children and for honoring their families with your generosity. Children's Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition exists to ensure that seriously ill children and their families receive compassionate, family-centered care and to support families throughout the journey of their child's illness. 

We depend upon generous donors like you and on behalf of the children and their families, we thank you.

Keith Gilabert, "How To Find Lost Money"

I found out that I have a check waiting for me for $37.00.   I've heard of people getting a lot more than that.
Good Luck!

This site offers links that help you in thoroughly searching the government’s data base to find your family's missing, lost, and unclaimed property, money and assets.
Free Money Search is your free source for information on the tens of billions of unclaimed money and property being held today in state and federal unclaimed accounts. By clicking on the "Search Your State" link you can freely search your state data base for unclaimed funds.
Here are some search strategies to find Unclaimed Funds:
1. Search for everyone - family (living and non-living), friends, and the names of businesses.

2.  Search for maiden names and common misspellings of your name.

3. Aside from state data bases - there is over $16 billion sitting in federal coffers waiting to be found.

Remember those savings bonds you got when you were young ? Do you know where they are?
In total there's well over $50 billion awaiting claim in both state and federal data bases ! In New York and California there is approximately $15 billion waiting to be found. These assets have been turned over to the State for safekeeping by banks, businesses and other organizations as required by law.

For Search of State’s Data Base
Go directly to a government unclaimed property program by clicking on a state, territory, or province from the map or drop box below. You should search in every state where you have lived.
For Search of Federal Data Base
Keith Gilabert Foundation has set up this 100% free site to assist you in searching the government’s data base to find your family's missing, lost, and unclaimed property, money and assets.

"The State of California is holding more than $4.8 billion in Unclaimed Property."

Keith Gilabert, “What You Need To Do To Step Up With Your Personal Finances Today.”

Do you feel frustrated by the lack of control you have with your personal finances? This is commonly felt, and one can get rid of this feeling by following helpful advice. This article will give you some tips to make handling your money easier and less stressful.

Young people who want to take care of their future finances should discover how compound interest works. Save your money in an account where you will make money off of the interest that you earn as well as your initial investment.

Use your tax refund money to pay off any debts you may have. Most individuals use the money for frivolous things, instead of being reasonable with it. Those individuals will continue to carry their debt load once the cash has been spent.

Among all of the complex financial instruments you have at your disposal today, the humble savings account is the most important for your financial well-being. You can save money for buying large purchases like a new TV or a new car. Save money so you can retire and be comfortable. No matter the reasoning, putting money away in a savings account is one of the best ideas a person can have.

Don't start new debts, and pay your old debts down diligently. Although our instincts tell us to do one thing, it is really quite easy to train ourselves to do another. Decrease your debt slowly without adding on more! Working at it consistently will find you debt free and in a place of personal financial freedom.

Being able to successfully manage your money is key to your success. Protect your profits and invest your capital. Put some of the money you earn into more capital investments, and make sure to stay on top of the process to ensure that you continue to make money. Set aside a specific percentage of profits earned, and invest the rest in capital that can make you even more profit.

Debt doesn't have to be negative. Debt that can be considered beneficial or good most often involve real estate purchases and investments. Real estate is good because, for the most part, they increase in value over time and the loan interest is tax deductible. "Good debt" may come in the form of paying for college tuition. Student loans have relatively low interest rates, and they do not need to be paid off until after the student graduates.

If you are not ready to sell, don't. If you are getting money from one stock more than another, let that one stay. Take a look at stocks that are performing less well, and think about making some changes with them.
Sacrificing your home is a difficult decision that nobody wants to make. But, there are times when it may be the best strategic option for getting back on your feet financially, since it can free you to pursue cheaper housing and rethink your budget from the ground up. It would be worse to fail at repayment efforts and then be evicted. Sometimes it's a good idea be preemptive.

As already mentioned, not having control of your finances can be a source of extreme frustration. It should not be difficult to get your finances in order if you keep a clear head and have the right guidance. If you consider these tips you will find yourself in a good financial stand

Creating Good Financial Habits By Keith Gilabert

By Keith Gilabert
For the last few years, it has been my quest to eliminate debt, increase my savings and increase financial security for my family.  There is only one thing that I fear more than death and it is taxes.  I feel it is my duty to pay taxes but often times I also feel that the government squanders my contribution to the overall health of our economy and society.
Some people may suffer depression because of their finances. Don't resort to this!  Getting your finances stable and becoming financially successful requires the development of good financial habits. No matter your financial situation, you can improve it by following some very simple tips. If you want to fix your financial problems, read this article.

Setting your bank account to automatically withdraw a set amount of funds into a high-interest savings account can be a good idea. At first you may not like doing this, but after a while it will seem like another bill you have to pay. This will allow you to save quite a bit in a short period of time.
If you haven't opened an FSA yet, do so now. This money is not taxed, so it's actually a savings.
Consider whether items you are removing from your home might have value to another person. You can have a yard sale or bring items into a consignment shop to see whether you can get some money for them. 
Personal finances can benefit when an old piece of valuable furniture is sold.

Do not incur substantial student loans unless there is a strong likelihood that you can repay them. Going to expensive private schools when you are unsure of what major to take could cause you a lot in the long run.
If you want to have truly sound finances, avoiding debt altogether is a very good thing to do. For larger purchases, like a house or a car, taking on debt is usually unavoidable. Do not use credit too much during your daily life.

Tax planning is an advantageous way of improving your overall individual financial picture. Do not neglect or pass over any employer-offered investment opportunities that let you invest dollars before taxes into qualified plans. Set aside pre-tax money for medical expenses. Utilize 401K matching programs your employer offers. Nobody can deny that responsible money management lays the foundation for lifelong financial freedom.

Planning for your children's college should begin as soon as possible. College can cost a lot of money, and if you only start saving when your child is a teen, you probably won't have enough for their tuition fees.
Save a bit day by day. Instead of shopping at a store because the location is convenient, compare prices at several stores before making a decision. Always look for food that is on sale.
Improve your finances by decreasing expenses. Saving with coupons should be more important to you than brand loyalty. As an example, while you may have always purchased brand X detergent, if you have a coupon that will give you $2 off brand Y, then buy it and save money.

Have a little envelope with you at all times. This envelope can be used to keep track of receipts and small documents. Saving these will provide you with a record of items purchased. It may be helpful to use them when going over your credit card statement every month, especially if you are charged for something twice.
After reading this article, you should have a brighter view of your financial future. You are better equipped to deal with your personal finances. If these tips have given you hope, show this article to a friend or someone else who can use it too!

Take Control Of Your Finances And Plan For Your Future by Keith Gilabert

By Keith Gilabert
Many people come to me and ask if I can prepare a financial plan for them.  I have often found that many people have the income but lack the discipline.  Basic personal finance management doesn't require advanced expertise.  I personally know a gentlemen who never made more than $35,000.00 a year retire with more than $1,000,000.00 in savings.   With a little planning and discipline, you can live on what you make while putting some aside to grow your net worth so you can retire in comfort.

One of the things I do to save money is shop at Costco.  Try purchasing non-brand name products such as Kirkland in place of expensive well known brands. Many brand names are more expensive because of advertising costs.  Most of the time there really is no difference between the two, so you won't even notice.

Don't trust any organization that guarantees success in repairing your credit. A lot of agencies will make general claims about their capability in repairing your credit history. This is not at all accurate since what is affecting your credit is not the same as another individual with credit issues. If you owe the money pay it.  If you do not have the ability to pay the credit cards off then hold off until you have saved enough money and work out a settlement.   When it comes to credit repair, there can be no guarantee of success.
Protect yourself financially with the best health insurance policy for you. Illnesses can spring up suddenly. Because of this, you should be sure that your health insurance leaves you protective. I once went to the emergency room and the bill was $6,700.00. With insurance you'll be covered instead of facing years of debt, my part of the bill was only $600.00.  If you have kids make sure you are covered, a hospital stay will cost you financially and will permanently damage your credit if you can’t pay.

You can improve your credit rating by paying your bills on time and in full each month.  This is really important because credit issuers want to see a debt-to-available credit at about 11 percent.  When you pay something early, you will know right away how much you have left to spend or save. You will not be as anxious about how you are going to pay your bills or having something come up financially you did not expect.
Take advantage of being married and the spouse having the better credit should apply for loans. Paying off credit card balances is a great way to repair a bad credit report. When your credit score improves, you can start to apply for joint loans and share the debt with your spouse.

Speak with your bank about setting up a savings account where a certain portion of funds transfer over to it from the checking account each month. This is a great technique which forces you to put aside a little bit of money each month. This can also help tremendously if you need to save for a future event like a wedding, vacation or other event down the road.
The best way to stay one step ahead of financial problems is to advance plan for your future. With a goal in mind and a plan for reaching it, you have a yardstick to use in evaluating potential expenses and a source of motivation to work harder.

It should now be apparent that everyone can become wealthier, learn to spend less than is being earned, and develop an effective financial plan. If you combine your common sense with the beneficial financial advice presented in this article, you can devise a budget that's easy to maintain, decrease or eliminate your debt, develop a savings plan, and gain control of your personal finances before they gain control of you.

First Step to Stop Making Money Mistakes – Stay out of Debt.

By Keith Gilabert

I get a lot requests from young people, on how to grow wealth.  When you are first starting out, it is often tempting to just splurge on meaningless items. As opposed to doing this, be responsible in managing your finances in order to stay out of debt.  If you can’t buy it cash, then don’t buy it.
One of the strategies I employ is separating my finances.  Open a few checking accounts so that you can stay within your budget. Use your primary account to pay your necessary expenses and use your secondary account for optional expenses. Separating your necessary from your extraordinary expenses might help you learn how to manage your finances.

Be sure that you view your credit report from time to time. You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months, and there are other ways to monitor it for little to no cost. Check your credit yourself at least twice in a year so you can ensure that you have not been a victim of identity theft.  I had a friend who owned a car for 2 years without knowing it.  Be careful with your personal information.
Buying a car is definitely one of the biggest and most important purchases you will ever make. Comparison shopping with all of the different retailers available to you is the best way to make sure you get a good price on a car. Don't forget to look on the Internet.  An excellent source is, this site gives you  the wholesale cost of an automobile and you can use that as your negotiating point.

Always allocate a cash budget,  you can avoid splurging and spending your savings. You can use your cash allowance to reward yourself in whatever way you want, but you can't spend more than your allowance. This way you can reward and treat yourself on a consistent basis without damaging your overall budget.  STAY


Take a little money out of each of your pay checks and put it into savings. If your plan is to save the money you have leftover once the month is over, chances are, you won't have any left. Since the money is not available, it will make it simpler to stick to your budget.
If your money is gone once your bills are paid, you may want to find a way to cut back on certain novelties. You may not be able to entirely give up eating out, but you can at least make it less frequent. By eliminating half of your meals out each month, you can still have fun while saving money.

Let your investments do some international travel. The easy way to add foreign investments is through various no-load mutual funds, which handles the research and diversification for you.
If you find yourself with a surplus at the end of the month put the money you have left over into savings instead of wasting it on something unnecessary. Try sticking to your budget and not allowing harm to come to your finances again.

When you control the flow of your money, you automatically control your property. Track the value of your home, and look at your home as a long term investment. Make certain to have a solid budget in mind and stick to it.

Avoid being overwhelmed with debt by paying unpaid bills every month, by making a shopping list and a budget of how you should spend your money. Put the advice from this article into use and you will find your finances will get on track and stay there.

Avoid Financial Pitfalls Now With These Simple Do-It-Yourself Tips

By Keith Gilabert

When your finances are in bad shape, it reflects on your life in general.
Read on to pick up some personal finance know-how.

Look at what you no longer use to free up some cash.  Your old laptop can make you some extra money if you need it. Used electronics that are working can net a decent chunk of change. If it's broken, it can still be sold for some extra change. Remember, getting a little bit of money is a lot better than getting nothing.
Avoid investment opportunities that have high fees attached. It is common for investment managers to assess substantial fees for the work they do on your behalf. These fees majorly affect your total return. Stay away from brokers who make too much money off of commissions or a fund that costs too much to manage. 

Always check the fees.

Think about purchasing store brand foods over name brand foods. In most cases, there are no major differences between a store product and a costly brand name one. It usually consists of the same ingredients too. Do not be afraid to try these foods, they can save you a lot of money in the long run.  The average person spends about $780.00 per year on Starbucks.
Replace older incandescent bulbs with high-efficiency CFL bulbs. This will lower the cost of your electricity bill, and also help out the environment. CFLs also last longer than traditional light bulbs. You will spend less money by buying fewer bulbs.  Making small adjustments in your life will help in the long term.

Don't try to save money by skimping on home or vehicle maintenance. Preventative maintenance is necessary in order to take proper care of your possessions. Over the long term, taking care of your property will save you money.

Try to hold a garage sale, where you can sell all of your unwanted goods for additional cash. Your neighbors may even let you sell items for them. Creativity is one of the most important factors towards a successful garage sale.

Make sure you have a checking account that works for you. A lot of people stay with the accounts they have always had, but you should see if there is a better one with less fees! Find out what fees you are being charged at your current bank and make an effort to find a checking account that charges you less, so that you can keep more of your own money.

Write it Down!  A written budget is valuable to having successful personal finances. The first of each month, compose a list which describes every expense. Remember to include all expenses due, such as rent, lights, cars, phones and food. Try to take all expenditures into consideration. Add up your anticipated monthly expenses, and make sure you don't spend more than what you have left after paying them.
If the whole family wants an expensive item, then ask each member to contribute to buying it because this will show kids the value of money and make them appreciate what they have. When the purchase is for something the whole household can enjoy, like a new television, try convincing everyone to donate towards the purchase.

If you take the time to get your money in order, your life will run more smoothly. Having a firm grasp on your finances gives you peace of mind and relieves stress. It allows you to focus on more rewarding areas of your life.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Are Bitcoins A Good Investment?

By Keith Gilabert

There has been a lot of interest in Bitcoins.  Recently we have seen Internet Moguls such as Marc Andreessen invested through his venture firm $25 million in Bitcoin processor Coinbase.  Another high profile investor has been Winklevoss Capital the brothers that inspired the creation of Facebook, recently they invested $11 million Bitcoins and now that investment is worth about $32 million...not a bad return for virtual currency.

What is a Bitcoin(BTC)?  Well a Bitcoin is a virtual currency to help facilitate the transfer of funds without paying the hefty processing fees of Visa, Mastercard and other banks that may be involved. 

The value of a Bitcoin comes from the potential that it will be treated as an alternative currency to the US Dollar or the Chinese Yuan.  The problem I see with a Bitcoin is that it is meant to be spent not saved.  If consumers that currently use Bitcoins abandon this currency we will see it crash.  What is vital to the survival of this currency is acceptance by consumers and merchants.  The banks and central governments would never endorse this currency because it would weaken their own economy, just look what China did.

In the end, if you were to invest in Bitcoins, make the assumption there could be a loss and that there will be a lot of volatility.

Related post.