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How to Use a Loan for Your Home Improvement Project

Upgrading and renovating your home costs money, and depending on the type of home improvement project, it can cost a lot of money. However, what if that money isn’t there right now and a new roof just doesn’t fit into your budget? That’s where home improvement financing and loans come into play, even if you generally prefer to avoid them.If you don’t have all the money that you need for your home improvement project, there are ways to borrow it, including a home equity loan, credit line, second mortgage, home improvement loans and short-term credit card solutions.Most people who want to finance a home improvement project apply to their bank for a home equity loan. Like a mortgage, a home equity loan uses your house as collateral for the loan which is often based on the projected value of the house after the renovations are completed. How much you can borrow will also depend on how much of your first mortgage you have remaining.Your interest rate for a home equity loan will depend on your credit score, your lender, the value of your equity and the going or prime interest rate. Often for home equity loans that are targeted specifically toward home improvement projects, your lender will ask to see a full plan of your home improvement project along with a budget and estimated timeline. This way, the lender can not only gauge the value of the property after the renovations, but also get a clear grasp of the required budget. Remember, when making your budget, always add a 10-20% buffer to allow for delays, weather problems or unexpectedly higher supply costs.Another option for smaller projects is a line of credit. A line of credit allows you to only borrow what you need and only pay interest on what you use. For example, if you get a line of credit for $25,000, but only spend $15,000 to renovate your kitchen, then you’ll only need to make payments on that $15,000. With a solid credit rating, a credit line usually offers great interest rates too.For short-term and small financing needs, many couples use credit cards. And when planning a smaller project or a quick-fix like a refrigerator that needs to be replaced promptly, credit cards can work adequately. However, the interest rates are normally much higher and should only be seen as a short-term solution rather than a means of long-term financing.

The Antisocial Aspect of Social Networking

It’s estimated that more than one-third (35 percent) of U.S. adults have a profile on a social networking site, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s daily tracking survey of 2,251 adults. A more practical survey can be done just by thinking of the number of people you know who use these sites – starting with yourself.While many will legitimately use social networking sites for broadcasting, distribution, and communication purposes, more people are attempting to instigate and manage friendships online.Therein lies the problem. I contend that if social networking sites contribute to the decline or decay of social skills, they inadvertently create an antisocial mindset for people as they navigate in the real world because they become more adept and comfortable at socializing in an online world.If you were walking down the street, or sitting on a bus and someone tapped you on the shoulder and said, “I’d like to add you as a friend,” you would look at them as though they were insane, or at the very least, with skepticism. Online, most people are not nearly as discriminate about their friend selections as they are in real life, but they should be.Friends are afforded special privileges both online and offline. Offline you have to earn them. Online they are instantly granted. One such privilege is knowing who your other friends are and what you are up to. This comes in the form of “updates” which a surprising number of people use to post personal information and comments.The shouting nature of MySpace (which is saturated with people who are eager to draw attention to themselves or their songs) makes it a favorite among a younger demographic of social network users.Dr. Himanshu Tyagi, a psychiatrist at West London Mental Health Trust, stated in a recent report that people born after 1990, who were just five-years-old or younger when the use of Internet became mainstream in 1995, have grown up in a world dominated by online social networks such as MySpace and Facebook. He states:”This is the age group involved with the Bridgend suicides and what many of these young people had in common was their use of Internet to communicate. It’s a world where everything moves fast and changes all the time, where relationships are quickly disposed at the click of a mouse, where you can delete your profile if you don’t like it and swap an unacceptable identity in the blink of an eye for one that is more acceptable,” said Dr. Tyagi. “People used to the quick pace of online social networking may soon find the real world boring and unstimulating, potentially leading to more extreme behavior to get that sense.”It’s been my observation that most people don’t know who they have among their “friends” on MySpace. More commonly, people amass hoards of friends strictly for the sake of appearance – the appearance of being popular. So friends can get used both offline and online in that regard.The 80/20 rule teaches us a lot about friends and time invested in friendships (which is what really defines them). 80% of correspondence that you send to anyone on any given social networking site will be sent to only 20% of the people you have in your “friends list.” Just as 80% of your time spent nurturing friendships will be with 20% of your friends. You are most likely to communicate with that 20% without the aid of a social network.Facebook, for lack of a better if not more accurate description, has become the adult version of MySpace. As the real estate mantra goes: build it and they will come. But social networks have a saying all their own: build it and they will use it for illegitimate purposes.B.J. Fogg, director of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University and editor of a book called The Psychology of Facebook has been studying the social networking phenomenon for years. He argues that what we are doing on Facebook and other social networking sites is a lot like “primate” grooming. We are building “social solidarity” by publicly flirting and socializing online.Yes, your suspicions are correct: the most illegitimate use of social networks takes place among people who are married or in committed relationships who use them to locate old flames. Actually, that’s not the illegitimate part. The illegitimacy stems from the resulting clandestine relationships that occur. There’s a lot of rekindling taking place on social networks…probably right now as you read this article.According to Nancy Kalish, a professor of psychology at Cal State Sacramento and author of the book Lost & Found Lovers: Facts and Fantasies of Rekindled Romance, many people try to reunite online because it’s so easy,” Kalish says. “Most people go looking for lost loves, initially, out of curiosity. First loves in particular are most often sought out online, she says, and they pose the most danger to real-world relationships for two reasons: biological and emotional.First, she says, when two people meet in the adolescent years (between 16 and 22), they start to form their identity together and break away from family. In those formative years, “you define what love is and what you want from a partner, and when you lose that, you lose that piece of yourself.” This combines with the hormones that are encoding in your brain at that age as “emotive memory” and creates a biological imprint of that person.On top of all this chemistry, the adolescent years are typically the years when humans start to reach their reproductive maturity and look for biologically compatible mates. Kalish argues that this in turn causes problems because people are delaying marriage. She says, “we are so far away from marrying our first love because people are waiting until later in life to settle down. When they do settle down, oftentimes, the chemistry just isn’t the same.”Perhaps this is the reason why in the Pew survey, of the adults who had removed their profile from a social networking site, 3 percent said they did it because their spouse or partner wanted it removed.My favorite social networking site is LinkedIn. It’s essentially an online portal for resumes. Like the others, it operates on a membership/sign-up basis, but is geared toward professionals and building professional networks. Unlike MySpace and Facebook, people lead with their credentials on LinkedIn and the site regulates, discourages, and prevents abuse of the system by blocking those who get repeated rejections for linking requests.It’s most distinctive feature are the recommendations that others make on your behalf to help you complete and promote your profile. The LinkedIn business premise is simple: you should know at least 5 people with whom you have real relationships who can endorse you to make you a more valuable connection to others.LinkedIn is not a cozy, give-a-shot-out, tell you about my weekend, post a stupid comment about what I just saw on TV social network. It is for serious professionals who want to network with credentialed people without the levity and frivolity that is so commonplace on social networks. It’s not designed for conviviality and making friends.Another social network that’s growing in popularity is Twitter. Twitter allows users to “follow” each other (i.e. keep up with each other’s activities) and is predicated on the exchange of short updates that can be seen online via their website or sent to you via your cell phone. I suspect that many music artists and professionals who regularly calendar events that the public, their fans, or constituents need to be made aware of will utilize it more in the future.Personally, I have yet to make a friend through any social networking site. Nor do I know of anyone who has. I’m sure it happens. I’ve even been contacted by “friends” from my past. I’m hesitant to call them “friends” because I believe it’s extremely rare when you lose contact with a real friend.Most of the time when we lose contact with each other it’s because we lacked the motivation or commitment to maintain the friendship in the first place; therefore, I tend to keep past “friends” in my past because that’s usually where they belong. Those who don’t subscribe to this philosophy usually end up briefly re-uniting with their past friends and drifting apart once more.For me, the social networks offer their greatest value from a professional capacity. They serve as a divide between my associates and my friends, while allowing me to communicate with both simultaneously. But in the end, they offer us a reminder of just how valuable real friends and friendships are, if we can take our faces away from the computers screens long enough to realize it.

Getting Yourself Financially Back on Track After Bankruptcy

You’re a hard working person. You worked hard to develop your credit rating to the point where you have great credit. The home you and your family live in is modest. But despite the fact you live in a modest home your taxes continually rise. On top of that, your wife has just been laid off at her job.You have a decent job, but it’s certainly not enough to support your family. And as an end result, you find yourself declaring bankruptcy. Now comes the tough part; having to think and plan ahead, hoping to get back on track after bankruptcy.Making Some Great Changes After BankruptcyBelieve it or not, recovering financially after bankruptcy is not that difficult. It’s certainly isn’t the end of the world, although it may feel like it. The good news is that there are many various programs available that can be tailor fitted to your current living situation to help you get back on your feet financially after bankruptcy.One of the first things you will have to do is to determine whether not the wage you are earning is close to the minimum wage. If you will are earning slightly above minimum wage, the chances of you getting financial help after bankruptcy actually increases.The next step it is to look at the type of job that you have and what kind of benefits you are receiving. The fact that you have a family to support gives you an advantage. If you are a public servant and work for the city, there might be financial help available to city workers.Another thing you need to consider is when your spouse will be returning to work. Now if your spouse left work because of s disability suffered while on the job, then your spouse might be entitled to some sort of a financial reimbursement, which can also help after bankruptcy.Probably the most important thing you need to consider in dealing with life after bankruptcy is to keep the stress of the financial situation away from your children. Children are very perceptive when it comes to picking up the stress levels of the parents. If your children our currently attending a preschool or daycare that you is paying for, have the talk to those who are running it about a payment plan. It’s a good idea to not disrupt your children’s schedule.Just remember that it does take time to get the family finances back on track after bankruptcy. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to this. That is why it is a good idea to rely on your family and friends for support as well as advice. One tip that you can follow is to go on the Internet and do a search for various plans that you think might be applicable to your current situation. With the proper research as well as good advice, chances are good you will recover financially after bankruptcy. Just remember to hang in there and to never never never give up and things will eventually work themselves out.