Feel the Freedom of Debt Rescue

Image by eyewashdesign A. Golden
Image by eyewashdesign A. Golden

Heavy with debt

In my experience, getting into debt is a bit like becoming overweight. Both conditions don’t happen overnight – they tend to creep up gradually while your back is proverbially turned. The other characteristic these afflictions (and I don’t choose that word lightly) have in common is that it’s much easier to get into them, than to escape. Just like weight loss, getting out of debt is difficult to manage on your own. Thankfully, there are experts who can help. Just like Slimming World and Weight Watchers which help count the calories and develop meal plans, professional debt solution teams can help quantify debt and put together manageable repayment agreements.

‘D’ stands for ‘denial’

I didn’t consider myself to be someone vulnerable to debt. As a kid, I was pretty careful with my money and thought I really understood its value. But when I left college with student debt I realised that this was a common situation to be in. I was far from alone with my new found ‘debtor’ status, and began to get more comfortable with the idea of owing money. My problem was that I got far too comfortable.

I was one of the lucky ones who got a job straight out of school, but like most first jobs, it wasn’t going to make my fortune. With my student debt pushed firmly to the back of my mind, I guess I got a taste for spending. And with credit far too freely available, boy could I spend! Before I knew where I was, I had credit card debts and a couple of sizeable personal loans to keep my student costs company. But again, my case wasn’t unusual, and I thought I could handle it.

Ignorance isn’t really bliss
As the debts accrued and my financial health declined, I did the worst thing possible – I ignored the entire problem. I kept on acting rich, when my paycheck told a very different tale. I thought that as long as I made my minimum payments, everything would be okay.

By this stage, my family were worried – having seen the obvious disconnect between my meagre salary and my upscale purchases – but I ignored their pleas for me to address the situation. Avoidance became my watchword.

The day of reckoning
The crunch came when I lost my job. Like many people in the early days of the recession, I didn’t see it coming. I never thought it would happen, and I certainly hadn’t factored this possibility into my lack of planning for the ever accumulating debt. I panicked. I lurched from anger at the injustice of the situation to fear of how I would manage. But most of all I wanted to escape – I needed debt rescue!
As I sat in my apartment and analysed the scale of the challenge I faced, I knew that I couldn’t do it on my own. I knew that I had to change how I lived my life and managed my money, but I just didn’t know where to start. Surely, someone out there had trod this path before and could show me a few short cuts? Thankfully, a former colleague recommended a professional debt solution team.

Bring in the experts
Asking for help from the debt solution team was the strongest decision I ever took – this was the first time that I actually owned the problem. As experts in consumer Debt Rescue, they offered me a range of services to help get my finances back in order. Thankfully, I had got another job by this stage, but it paid even less than my previous position, so I took the difficult decision to move back to my parents home. I was lucky to have this safety net – with over a third of us only one paycheck away from homelessness, I don’t underestimate the difference my parents’ generous offer made.

The condition of my return to the parental nest was that I took control of the debt. The debt solution team carried out a comprehensive credit card analysis for me as well as my other spiralling financial obligations. They knew that for me, the best course of action was to purge the plastic altogether and so offered me credit card rescue.

Debt consolidation allowed me to combine all the debts into one, and then work out the a realistic and achievable repayment schedule. Putting together a plan showed me that the problem, while large, was not insurmountable, and gave me an end point at which I could see I would be entirely debt free.

Released by Debt Rescue
I’m now close to the end of my debt story. I’ve worked through the process set up for me by the debt solution team and am close to being debt free. Although I am thankful for the safety net my parents provided, I am about to move into a new apartment, which we are all delighted about!

Debt rescue is achievable, with the right help. Take action today! Do it because it will allow you to really live again – but this time within the bounds of financial reality.

Author bio: Israel Brown enjoys economics and history, and combining these passions, yearns for a time when global financial systems were more transparent. He enjoys writing about the past, and is glad to consign his Debtrescue experience to history. He looks forward to a debt free future, underwritten by a modest investment in gold.

 

Planning a Week in China? Get the Latest Tips From The China Travel Company

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How to Plan a Week in China

How exciting to be going to China for a week. The first thing to do is to sit down and plan. The plan should contain things you want to do, places you want to visit and things that you might need to bring with you. Now, what everyone tends to forget is that you will need to plan how to leave your place (house or flat) to make sure it is secure when your departure date is here. A new trend is to  delete emails you receive during holidays with a reply message saying you will be away but will return on a particular date. This is so that you won’t have millions of emails in your inbox when you return.

 Tips on Planning a Trip

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Here are a few things to consider for your plan to travel in the Orient:

  1. Find out what the weather will be like so that you know how to pack and what clothes to bring on your trip.
  2. Find or purchase an electronic translator to bring with you in case you need to translate or look for a word to communicate.
  3. Research places to visit and things to do that you might be interested in
  4. Contact a China travel specialist to assist you in planning.

I particularly like the idea of having a China travel specialist to contact as I might have some idea of what I would like to see but the specialist would be able to gear the activities and destinations to my liking and expectations. I would also love to take a tour so I will check out how to plan my tour online.

 

 

What to do

This is where a travel guide would come in handy. There are many things to do when you travel in the Orient. Doing a little research helps. There are a variety of travel options when you visit China: high speed bullet trains, overnight trains, river cruises, and local flights within the country. There are many options when setting up an itinerary, so it might be a good idea to find out about the guided tours that are on offer online. You will find there are tours that are self-guided, custom tailor-made and also private tours.

 

Trip for a Week

If I were to book a trip for a week in China I would try to get the most out of the trip.
Here are a few destinations that I came up with that I would include in my travel itinerary:

  • l Mount Wuyi: to go rafting and backpacking
  • Hongcun Ancient Village: beautiful views, walks, backpacking and encounters with the local farmers.
  • Echoing Sand Mountain in the Gobi Desert
  • Bamboo boat cruise in Yangshuo.
  • Water Sports in Yalong Bay: great place to visit to relax by the beach and get involved in water sports.
  • Sand pillars of Wulingyuan. The pillars are said to have been the inspiration for the Avatar movie director for the pillars on the planet Pandora. One of the pillars has been renamed as Mount Hallelujah, after the name of the pillar in the movie.
  • Jilin, Heaven Lake: This lake is considered the Loch Ness of China. Visitors have reportedly seen a monster in the lake of up to 20m long. Beautiful views but can be cold.

There is so much more to see but I will leave that up to you to share. The list above are interesting places that maybe you and I can identify with travelling to China from Europe.  It is best to try to get a guided tour at some places but then allow yourself to explore the wonderful treasures that can be found when you travel to the Orient. Good planning will pay off so set up a tick list and go through the different things you need to think about to make your trip the best experience. Plan your China tour at http://thechinatravelcompany.com/
Author Bio – Johanna Zhen travels the Orient in search of beautiful places and wonderful experiences. She lives in Europe as a travel journalist. Born in France and living in the UK. Her father is Chinese and her mother is French. She is one of 4 sisters and 3 brothers. Conversations around the dinner table are always colourful as they discuss their lives, professions and opinions on the world. Johanna doesn’t like losing an argument and is very good at debating. She has a first in public speaking and loves to read Oriental History. She writes her travel adventures for  http://thechinatravelcompany.com/.

Commercial Property Investments Returning To Profitability

The commercial property market is returning to a more profitable state for investors, thanks to the rise of investment products like REITs which allow for a more diverse exposure to the commercial real estate market.

According to reports in Bloomberg, real estate prices across domestic and commercial properties are recovering, as banks and building societies report more lending activity for real estate investments. The news will be welcomed by those with property investments, and those with capital already tied up in commercial premises.

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Commercial property was one of the first areas of real estate to be affected by the crash, and lawyers, bankers, surveyors and agents all went bust as a direct consequence of this depression of the commercial property market. With banks unable and unwilling to lend money to even perfectly viable businesses, expansion into new premises became the exception rather than the rule. Those that were exposed to commercial property lost heavily as values fell and demand in the marketplace collapsed.

Fast-forward to today and commercial property is very much on the rebound, with business levels picking up, back towards pre-crash levels and with new developments from firms like DMB. Buyers are returning, and sellers are again able to realize a fair value for their real estate, both in rental and buying markets. The market is still on the road to recovery more generally, but conditions appear to be stabilizing to the benefit of those invested in these markets and for the benefit of future generations hoping to make it onto the housing ladder.

With uncertainty ruling over commercial property markets over the last five years, it is perhaps unsurprising that investors have turned to alternative means of exposure to property investments. Rather than buying homes, shops and offices, a growing body of investors are seeing value in investing in ancillary products like Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in commercial property.

These types of funds allow individual investors to spread risk across a more diverse bundle of individual real estate investments. Rather than owning one or two properties personally, investing the same money in REITs or ETFs brings the benefit of professional investment and real estate management, along with the investment diversity that makes returns that bit more secure.

Those that choose to invest in real estate through a fund can do so either on exchange or privately, depending on the fund they think best meets their investment objectives. However, in some cases returns are suppressed by the cost of management fees and the general weighting of less effective investments.

There are arguments both ways for investors who are interested in taking exposure to the real estate market. However, the main thing for individuals and companies engaged in real estate dealings is that investments are becoming more profitable as the market regains lost strength.

While the commercial real estate and domestic property markets remain far from buoyant, analysts are hoping that growing opportunity for investors could spell the start of a reversal of fortunes that can contribute extensively to the wider global economic recovery.

Samsung Sees Breakthrough In 5G Technology

Samsung has announced a breakthrough that it says could power 5G communications, a standard that would allow for much faster data transfer across mobile networks.

Building on the 4G mobile standard, which enables a more fluid mobile web experience, Samsung engineers think the new development could enable ultra-HD video streaming on the next generation of smartphone handsets. The technology would enable handset owners to stream TV shows and movies on the spot in uninterrupted quality – a step up from the capabilities of the current 4G protocols.

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Its engineers have developed a transceiver that is capable of reaching the 28GHz Ka band, an ultra-high frequency transmission band that could be used for faster, more effective mobile data transfer. However, some close to the technology have downplayed its importance, suggesting there is still a long way to go before the 5G future becomes a reality.

The transceiver is an important development in the move towards 5G, and its successful creation marks a first-of-a-kind breakthrough for this new technology. However, much of the surrounding technologies still need to be developed, which some analysts have suggested puts this finding in context.

Professor Rahim Tafazolli, the academic leading research efforts into 5G at the University of Surrey, told the BBC the transceiver was just one “piece in the puzzle.” For Professor Tafazolli, whose work is part-funded by Samsung, there is more work to be done towards building a complete 5G band.

“Some of the companies are still putting too much emphasis on speed when discussing going from one generation to another generation. In my opinion 4G achieves a decent speed and what we need to do is crack the capacity crunch we are facing.”

The development of 5G could provide significant opportunities for advertisers. Reviews are showing that a number of businesses are turning to digital marketing opportunities, particularly locally, in order to reach out more directly to prospective customers.

While the local focus is important, businesses need a way to be able to transmit their messages and data in a fast, streaming environment – with 5G, the possibilities for rich advertising media could be endless.

With 5G allowing for HD, broadcast-quality marketing messages, the eventual roll-out of the technology could coincide with a maturing market for mobile advertising, presenting new opportunities for business owners to capitalize.

Aside from the speed increases that come with upgrading to the higher frequency band, commentators are now suggesting the notion of increasing capacity beyond 4G is essential. With smartphones now constantly streaming and sending data, the need for more robust systems has never been greater.

As the developing world joins in with smartphones and their reach expands into new, previously unchartered continents, experts like Professor Tafazolli believe it is now capacity which will affect users and the organizations attempting to advertise on it.

The ongoing research into 5G is being part-funded by a number of sources including Samsung and electronics manufacturers Huawei, the UK Government and Fujitsu. Aside from the University of Surrey team, other independent research work is being carried out around the world to figure out 5G.

Check Out the Latest Updates to Norton 360 2013

Updates have been made to the entire line of Norton products, including Norton 360. The latest version of this popular computer protection software now comes equipped with more benefits, advanced features, and a higher level of protection than ever before. First introducing many of the changes in the beta versions released for trial in late 2012, the 2013 suites are now in full effect and available for purchase and download directly from the Norton website.

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Improvements have been made to existing protection features, while a social media and anti-scam protection has been added to what Symantec is now labeling the “five layers of patented protection” that Norton 360 embraces. In addition to the Antivirus and Internet protection software, a new Scam Insight tool, called “Norton Safe Web for Facebook,” will provide regular scans of Facebook timelines to ensure that you are not one of the 10 who fall victim to fake links and scams. Meanwhile, IP tracking has been enabled in Insight, allowing for Norton to do a more efficient job finding out where threats are originating. Other updates have also been made to the Insight and Browser Protection tools.

The release of this updated version of Norton 360 was made to coincide with the release of Windows 8. Norton products are now fully functional on Windows 8, with additional benefits to boot. The user interface of Norton 360 has been adjusted to be more user friendly and compatible with the Windows 8 operating system, and integration with the Window’s new Anti-Malware (ELAM) technology allows for faster speeds and swifter action by the security software. You can purchase the newest edition of Norton 360 (or download a free 30-day trial) directly from Norton’s website or from antivirusbarn.com.

U.S. plans to shift their troops in Afghanistan for a bigger role

The United States government to shift their plans for their elite units in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, to play a bigger role. They want to lower down its combat role in Afghanistan a year earlier than expected relies on shifting responsibility to Special Operations forces that hunt insurgent leaders and train local troops.

This news is according to senior officials and military officers from the Pentagon. The US armed forces could remain in Afghanistan after the NATO mission ends in late 2014. This plan was already approved by the president Obama. He also sent 32,000 more troops in Afghanistan last week.

American conventional forces will be the first to leave, while thousands of American Special Operations forces remain, making up an increasing percentage of the troops on the ground. The number of troops to be assigned in Afghanistan will relatively grow in the months to come.

Officials and military planners from the Pentagon say the new plan for Afghanistan is not a direct action to the deteriorating conditions in Iraq. The planned shift could give Mr. Obama a political shield against attacks from his Republican rivals in the presidential race who have already begun criticizing him for moving too fast to extract troops from Afghanistan.

The officials from the White House confirmed in broad terms the shift to a Special Operations mission, and said a formal announcement on the future of the mission was expected at the May summit meeting of NATO leaders in Chicago.

Currently, the U.S. has around 90,000 troops in Afghanistan, with 22,000 of them expected to leave by this fall. No schedule has been set for the pace of withdrawal for the 68,000 American troops who will remain in Afghanistan. Some administration officials are advocating for Mr. Obama to order another reduction by the summer of 2013.

Aid & Politics in Africa

“The worst drought in 60 years has thrown some 13 million people across the Horn of Africa into crisis. In Somalia, ravaged by two decades of conflict, the consequences have been disastrous. We ask if aid in this region of the world has become politicised? And has Washington’s pre-occupation with terrorism in the Horn of Africa contributed to the deadly consequences of this disaster?”

Al Jazeera English

 

Photo courtesy of David Axe.

 

The answer to the first question is, “Duh.”

Aid work in Africa has been tied to politics since the first time outside governments decided to step in. I think the grassroots Christian groups and other non-profit organizations (like Doctors Without Borders) do a better job at maintaining aid. OK, so there are some bible-thumping on the part of the Christian groups and the other NPOs tend to lean left, but this does not affect the fact that they are helping out in practical terms. When it’s a government involve, not just Washington in this example, the rice and anti-malaria kits come with diplomats. Famine should never be used as a pawn in a political chess game. The only benefit of a government body bringing aid is that they are backed up by millions of tax payer money and logistical resources.

Now, this goes deeper than that. In the book “Dead Aid”, which I read a while back and is a book worth checking out at your local library, the author, economist Dambisa Moyo, states that aid actually harms Africa more than it helps them. What you get (and this is obvious) is a system of dependence. Dependence on outsiders is what set Africa back to begin with, like colonialism for instance, in which they had no choice but to depend on their European colonizers. You see, food is politics. Famine is one of the best ways to gain power over a region politically.

On to the second question. Pirates, Muslim militants and warlords have been conducting a bloody orgy in the Horn for some time now. It doesn’t help that western-made guns end up there either. The U.S., I think, still remembers the Blackhawk incident in Somalia. But if top officials are found in the Horn, the U.S. will go there and destroy them. And it has been conducting operations there, even if just intelligence gathering.

So, what you have now is an imbalance of priorities. Do we go after terrorists or aid the civilians? There are really no one-way options here. It’s like a branch with an intricate set of twigs protruding out. You can’t have access to the civilians without dealing with the political elements of the country. In this case, before you can even bring aid you need to do some politicizing, which may contradict with my first argument, but in this circumstance you have no choice but to give in to the push-pull mechanism of political bargaining.

The West is good at setting up sanctions and that may work well for countries like Iran and North Korea, because they’re major players in the global stage, but a nation in the Horn won’t flinch a nerve over threats of sanction. To them this is nothing new. When was the last time anyone had truly done anything in Africa that affected the region? Oh, right, Libya. But when it comes to sub-Saharan Africa, it’s as if these government suits show a kind of guilt. Oh dear, we made a mess of that continent. Let’s just throw them money from afar. Stepping into a sub-Saharan African country is like stepping back into your own crime scene.

Quelling terrorism anywhere is an important priority, but the local governments in that area need to step their game up as well. American/NATO operations are still in Af-Pak. We don’t need another front. We just pulled our troops out of Iraq; Let’s give them a rest. Washington should focus more on humanitarian efforts (with as less politics involved if possible) and diplomatic missions than military actions. This can be done by taking a more regulatory role, in that making sure aid money and supplies actually get into the hands of civilians and the non-profit organizations already working there. The U.S. and the EU needs to make sure that medicine and canned foods don’t end up being filtered through local governments and are used for their personal profit. Helping with economic programs might also work. Tell the local government to either get with the program or face a larger crisis. If aid—medical, food and educational—isn’t put to use properly, the country could sink deeper into a death pit. The links between terrorism and poverty has been well-studied in developing countries. I’d rather see people being fed than being blown up in a guerrilla war between western forces and militants.

 

Macys Thanksgiving Day 2011 Parade Route

Thanksgiving Day 2011 will be celebrated in the US this coming Thursday, November 24, 2011. As part of the annual celebration, Macy’s will be having its 85th Thanksgiving Day Parade to entertain people most especially kids with their colorful floats and disney characters.

As written on Macy’s official website, Macys.com, the 2011 Thanks Giving Parade route starts at 77th Street and Central Park West and ends at 34th Street and 7th Avenue.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day 2011 Parade route begins at 77th Street and Central Park West in New York at 9am Eastern Time. It will then march south on Central Park West, and then turns into east onto Central park South.

When the parade reaches 7th Avenue, it will turn south at the corner of Central Park South and marches to 42nd Street. It then travels east along 42nd Street from 7th to 6th Avenue. At 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas), the parade veers south and marches to 34th Street. At 34th Street, the parade heads west to Herald Square, ending the route at 34th Street and 7th Avenue.

Hosted by “Today Show” hosts Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Al Roker, the2011 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air live on Thanksgiving Daystarting at 9:00 a.m. ET on NBC.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2011 will feature 15 giant character balloons; 44 novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles and balloonheads; 27 floats; 1,600 cheerleaders, dancers and performance group members; 800 clowns; 11 marching bands; a host of celebrity performers, and the one-and-only Santa Claus.

The line-up for Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade 2011 includes giant balloon characters such as:

  • Buzz Lightyear
  • Clumsy Smurf
  • Diary of A Wimpy Kid
  • “Super Cute” Hello Kitty
  • Kermit the Frog
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Pikachu
  • Pillsbury Doughboy
  • Ronald McDonald
  • Sailor Mickey
  • Snoopy the Flying Ace
  • Spider-Man
  • SpongeBob SquarePants.

Pacquiao Frustrated Juan Manuel Marquez For The 2nd Time

There is no doubt that the latest Pacquiao-Marquez fight can be considered as one of the best boxing matches in the history. Both of them are just few of the boxers who played clean in their numerous past matches. Their rivalry seemed to be endless. They would always be branded as opponents inside the ring.

Pacquiao has been labeled to be the punisher to Mexican boxers after defeating 9 of them including Marquez in his entire professional boxing career. That’s why Marquez isn’t only fighting for the title every time he faces Pacquiao but he is also carrying that vengeance for his fellow Mexican boxers.

Boxing analysts are saying that Marquez is considered to be Pacquiao’s nemesis who could keep up with the latter’s speed and stamina. Their 12 round fight clearly showed why. Not like his previous fights, Pacquiao couldn’t just knock Marquez down that easy. If Pacquiao gives out punches, Marquez can do the same.

Both have their own rounds and the audience both inside MGM Grand and those in front of the silver screens couldn’t afford to miss a single moment.

Pacquiao and Marquez remained standing after 12 rounds and everyone’s heart started to pound heavily while waiting for the official decision. Marquez raised his hands claiming the victory while Pacquiao went straight to the ring corner and prayed.

At this moment, the decision would be all up to the judges. Robert Hoyle had it 114-114 and the crowd made noise. Then Dave Moretti had it 115-113 while Glenn Trowbridge had 116-112 declaring Manny Pacquiao to remain as the WBO World Welterweight Title holder.

The crowd seemed to be not happy with the decision. There has been booing mixed with the yells of happiness. Marquez walked out of the ring and went straight to his locker room avoiding the questions of the press while Pacquiao remained celebrating his victory.

This is yet another controversial bout between the two and the fight clearly didn’t show who’s the real undisputed in their category. It has been always a close fight just like their previous match last 2008 wherein Pacquiao won with just a point.

Statistically, Pacquiao clearly won and the judges’ decision is final. They might have seen his edge from Marquez in the fight that cannot be normally seen by a common boxing match viewer.

People’s Choice Awards 2012 Nominations Made Known

Before the year ends, everyone should make up their minds to choose who’s rightful enough for that lavish trophy given for the winners of the People’s Choice Awards 2012. Now that the list of nominees are out, choose wisely and make your stars shine as you want to be.

This year’s set of nominees for the movie category has been dominated by the Harry Potter stars. The last franchise of the movie ‘The Deathly Hallows Part 2’ shared the Favorite Movie category with Bridesmaids, The Help, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Harry Potter stars Ema Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Tom Felton are nominated in the Favorite Movie Star Under 25 together with Chloe Moretz. Harry Potter himself, who is played by Daniel Radcliffe has been nominated in the Favorite Actor category along with Hugh Jackman
Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson and Ryan Reynolds.

The music category on the other hand has been dominated with Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Katy Perry with 5 nominations. Then followed by Adele and Taylor Swift with 4 and 3 nods respectively. Justin Beiber made it this year being the youngest among the nominees for the Favorite Male Artist along with Blake Shelton, Bruno Mars, Eminem and Enrique Iglesias.

For the TV category, the musical series Glee seemed to have shone among the rest with their stars being nominated on the several categories. Lea Michelle and Jane Lynch both made it to the Favorite TV Comedy Actress category while Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith for the male counterpart.

All the other nominees can be found in www.peopleschoice.com. and voting is now officially open.