Ultimate Guide of Christian Financial Gurus- Who you should Follow.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Proverbs 22:7

crossWhose wisdom you would follow in terms of financial advice is up to you and who seems to speak the truth for you. There are many financial gurus out there giving sound advice on living within your means and keeping away from financial ruin.

Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this. –Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey has the largest following on the internet with “The Dave Ramsey Show” has many internet resources he uses to communicate

Active on Google Plus, Dave Ramsey recent post:


He had tips on making extra cash while you start changing your budgeting including:

  •         Cello lessons
  •         Making cakes
  •         Poop-scooping service
  •         You Pick It Pumpkin Patch
  •         Driving Seniors to Appointments

His Youtube channel has many stories of people who get debt free by using his advice as well as even the discussion section of Youtube filling with people asking questions on what to invest or what they should o in their circumstances.

You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you. –Dave Ramsey

With an Itunes Podcast , the Dave Ramsey Show, and on his website daveramsey.com with books to sell on “The Legacy Journey”, what the Bible say about money and other books; classes on “Dave’s Plan –Take Control of Your Money!” which includes a DVD HOME STUDY kit “Financial Peace University”, online tools for creating budget,  newsletter and  speaking engagement tour. You can also get a “Total Money Makeover” with a software to carry on your laptop, mobile or desktop tracking your zero-based budget.

You can start with “Seven Baby Steps” and go on to create a budget and read about Budget basics and find out “How to Get Out of Debt” or “The Truth about Debt Reduction”.

It’s almost is easier to ask what software, hardware or media that Dave Ramsey doesn’t use than to list what he does with his Christian based financial business.  If Dave Ramsay resonates with you and his message of “Take Control of Your Money” then you should follow him.

so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:17)

For a quieter Financial Freedom assistance, Rev. Bob Louder of Christian Financial Ministries with the motto “From Information to Transformation” can help with E-coaching on the internet with “Financial Freedom God’s Way On-Line Academy” in the privacy of your own home.  As well, you can hire Rev. Bob Louder as a personal coach or listen to radio seminars like “Financial Safety for Seniors” and read “A $ Word for Today” with a thought and a prayer for each thought.

Rev. Robert B. Louder, as mentioned on his website, is a Distinguished Military Graduate from the University of Nebraska, MBA through the air Force Institute of Technology from the University of North Dakota, Air War College. A Bible-based financial teacher, trainer, counselor, coach and consultant, Bob has worked with and/or developed and presented materials for organizations such as Christian Financial Concepts (Larry Burkett), Crown Financial Ministries, and the Lampo Group (Dave Ramsey).  His local, regional and national radio and TV experience including TV appearances on the 700 club, with the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, and on the nationally syndicated Fox TV Network.  Bob authored several Bible-based financial E-Books and a wide variety of articles and reports for the Christian Post, The American Family Association, and several Christian newspapers and magazines.  He provides Bible-based financial newsletters to subscribers in 19 countries.

Join a Community of Christians who want to Live Debt Free and Give More

Christian Personal Finance is a resource for Christians to get practical tips, biblical revelation, and wisdom about how to handle our money. According to Bob Lotich, you should appreciate your wealth.

Bob used his passion for personal finance to launch his award-winning blog, ChristianPF.com, in 2007.

The site has seen over 20 million visitors since inception and his writing and advice have been featured in

Men’s Health Magazine, Forbes, Real Simple Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and many others.

Bob has resources including a ‘Getting Started’ course. a FREE 4-week email course containing 20 lessons that will give you actionable steps to help you save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars a year, get out of debt, better organize and manage your finances, and help you begin planning and preparing for the future. As well he blogs about finances including

5 Question to ask yourself before you begin budgeting

Is Refinancing your Mortgage always a good thing?


5 ways men and women spend money differently

The Female side of Finances

For a female perspective with a financial side, Deborah McNaughton of Financialvictory.com writes on how to get out of debt, credit repair, the mysteries of FICO score and starting your own business. She has written “The Essential Credit Repair Handbook” and “Money Trouble” both available on Amazon.

Deborah is a monthly columnist for First for Women magazine and has been interviewed on hundreds of national television and radio stations, including CNN, Bloomberg Television, and Good Day New York. She has also been quoted as a credit expert in many publications, including Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Today ‘s Christian Woman.

These are some of the financial gurus out there on the internet who are giving money advice with a Christian theme.  Whether you will follow one of these gurus or others, it will depend on your beliefs and whether their message inspires you.  Do you have any other Christian Financial Gurus that you would like to include here?

Don’t Blow All Your Legal Funds Before You Get To Court

No matter what people think, there  aren’t  a lot of individuals who truly enjoy lawsuits. Yes, there are people who love justice, and those who enjoy the money they may get. But the process of a lawsuit can be daunting, dirty, emotional, and just plain exhausting. This is why you need to realize that if you’re going to enter into court as a plaintiff or a defendant, it will most likely be a marathon and not a sprint.

Famous Case

One famous lawsuit that changed how people received awards has recently come back into the spotlight. USAToday30.usatoday.com reported that nearly 50 years after the case was settled, German manufactures of Thalidomide came forward with an apology. The lawsuit decades before was because the un-recommended drug had been given to pregnant women for morning sickness and it caused birth defects that were:




The lawsuit became famous because when the amount of money awarded to the plaintiffs was so big that it would have put the distributors out of business. This suit was the beginning of  structured settlements.

Games People Play

The reality is, court is expensive for everyone involved even before a decision is made about who wins or loses. And larger lawsuits can drain individuals of their personal fiance just to keep fighting. In fact, this can be a tactic for some defense teams. YJBLaw.com reveals, the defense is unwilling to pay an appropriate sum without forcing the plaintiff to wait longer and incur greater expenses in preparing for trial. A Forbes article recently discussed Mary Brown’s bankruptcy while she waiting on her lawsuit against Obamacare.

The Cost of Court

The American Intellectual Property Law Association reveals that it can cost a plaintiff over a million dollars to pursue a case for patent infringement. For a start-up company, or midsized firm, this can easily bankrupt them. Courts.Ca.gov walks you through what a simple slip and fall case might cost you versus what you would win.

Sue for $15,000-18,000.

Contingent lawyer fee (only gets paid if you win) will be approximately 1/3rd or $5,000-$7,000.

Other costs:

Witness fees.

Wages lost while attending court.

Notice to attend fees.

Filing fees.

Extraneous court costs.

Having to pay for someone beingserved

Expert fees.

Enforcement of judgment if the person won’t pay.

How to be Prepared

If you do a little homework and make smart decisions up front and along the way, you won’t have to lose your shirt waiting for a lawsuit outcome. Some pre-lawsuit tips from FindLaw.com include:

Make sure you have a good case to start with.

Make a final demand from the business or individual before you file.

Try to compromise or use mediation if the other side is willing.

Know for sure if you will be able to collect if you win the judgment.

Get an estimate from your lawyer for what they would charge, court cost, etc. Decide if it’s cheaper to settle.

Do the math on if you have the time and resources for a long, or drawn out lawsuit.

Are you able to meet the statute of limitations?

Is your claim small enough for small claims or conciliation courts?

Only you can decide if you would be able to afford a long trial, and if the lawsuit is worth it. Do the math, think it through, and make the decision that is best for you.

A Bank that Pays Down your Student Loans?

Smarter BucksHave you heard of SmarterBank ®? Probably not, and that’s unfortunate because it could change the way you pay off your student loans. We’re talking an online bank that actually helps you get out of debt instead of into it. Weird, we know. Here’s how it works:

Better online banking

Online banking is practically standardized these days. SmarterBank is no different, coming with all the features you want. You get an online checking account with no monthly fee for active users, a SmarterBank Visa ® Debit Card (with a network of over 40,000 free ATMs), free checks, free online bill pay, and more. Their banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, the same bank behind PerkStreet and Simple.   SmarterBank, however, distinguishes itself with SmarterBucks, their free rewards program.

Rewards that become extra student loan payments

SmarterBucks allows you to earn rewards on the money you’re already spending. But here’s where things get interesting: SmarterBucks rewards become extra student loan payments that are used to automatically pay down any student loan you choose, whether it’s private or federal. And redemption is automatic. Every month you have an earned reward balance of $15 or more, they’ll make an extra loan payment on your behalf. It’s a value proposition we’ve never heard before. And it’s one we like.

The secret ingredient

Traditional rewards programs offer points or dollars you use to purchase something. SmarterBucks, on the other hand, uses those rewards to pay off your student loans faster. This actually increases the value of the rewards you earn. Here’s how: if you earn $15 in SmarterBucks and contribute that toward a student loan, you’ve not only paid off $15 in debt, you’ve avoided paying accruing interest on that $15 for the rest of your loan’s repayment period. Depending on your interest rate and where you are in your repayment period, your $15 payment could reduce the total cost of your debt up to 2-3 times that amount. They harness the power of interest to make your rewards worth more than they’re face value. It isn’t just a good idea. It’s a brilliant one.

Plus, earning rewards is easy!

With SmarterBank, you can earn rewards on everyday spending like groceries and gas, or coffee, or movie tickets, or restaurants. You get the idea. You get rewarded for the spending you already do. What’s better than that? Or earn bonus rewards in the SmarterBucks Marketplace by shopping with your favorite brands, including the Apple Store, Target.com, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Groupon, and more. You can even invite family and friends to contribute directly to your rewards balance via their credit or debit card. That means things like birthday presents, Christmas gifts, or any other special occasion can help you get out of debt faster. What’s even better? Come February, SmarterBucks will be giving you the power to have what they call Giftersââ”people who sign up and use SmarterBucks to earn rewards on your behalf. Basically your family and friends can soon earn rewards on the money they’re spending then give those rewards to you.

A company dedicated to college affordability

SmarterBank and SmarterBucks are brought to you by the team at SimpleTuition, a company that’s been dedicated to college affordability since 2006. They’ve already helped millions of students and families better afford their college education by teaching them to search and compare student loan options. Now they’re helping those same students get out of student debt faster. Now go sign up for Smarter Bucks!

0% Interest Cards With the Best Intro Periods in 2013

VISA credit card0% interest credit cards are a bit of a misnomer, since no credit card offers 0% interest forever. That would be cool, huh?

Credit cards billed as 0% interest cards actually refer to the intro periods these cards use as sign-up incentives. The best intro periods are the ones that charge no interest on purchases and balance transfers for a specific period of time.

Obviously, you want to to pay no interest for as long as you can, making the best 0% interest cards the ones with the longest intro periods. These cards are especially useful for consumers hoping to transfer their credit debt from one card with high interest to a new, zero interest credit card.

This is the most popular way to eliminate interest fees without paying back all of your credit at once. However, because some consumers have more credit debt than others (a recent report from the credit bureau TransUnion said that the average borrower owed close to $5,000 in credit debt alone), the best 0 interest credit cards are the ones with the longest introductory periods.

So if you’re hoping to save money on interest fees in the coming year, consider transferring your credit debt to one of the 0% interest credit cards below with the longest intro periods.

  • Discover itâ„¢ Card â“ 18 Month Balance Transfer

No 0% interest balance transfer card on the market today has a longer intro period than 18 months. That said, a full year-and-a-half is a generous amount of time to pay back your credit debt interest-free.

There are only a handful of 18-month intro period credit cards, and the new Discover itâ„¢ – 18 Month Balance Transfer Card is simply one of the best. An upgrade to their popular More ® Card series, Discover itâ„¢ offers cardholders a lucrative rewards program, with 5% cash back opportunities on rotating categories, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

It’s also especially useful for jet-setters since it charges no foreign transaction fees (as opposed to the usual 3%), and there’s no annual fee and they’ll even waive the fee on the first late payment you make (it’s $35 thereafter).

But this credit card from Discover is most useful thanks to its 0% intro period. If you’re hoping to back credit debt over time, you literally won’t find a better offer than the one afforded by the Discover itâ„¢ â“ 18 Month Balance Transfer Card.

  • Citi Simplicity Card

No credit card with 0% interest for 18 months is better suited for the consumer looking to simplify and consolidate their debt than the Citi Simplicity Card.

Like it’s name, this Citi card makes transferring debt simple; no interest on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months, no annual fees and â“ best of all â“ no late payment fees! OK, you should really avoid late payments since they’ll hurt your credit score, but it’s nice to know your wallet won’t get docked, too.

The only knock on this credit card with no interest is that it doesn’t offer a rewards program. That said, this an easy credit card to monitor in terms of payments and fees, and is one of the very best if your main goal is to alleviate credit debt in 2013.

  • Slate from Chase â“ No Balance Transfer Fee

Finally, the Slate from Chase â“ No Balance Transfer Fee Card is popular because, like its name makes mention of, it’s the only card on the market today that doesn’t charge a fee when you transfer a balance.

The average balance transfer fee is 3% of the total balance you plan on transferring. (That’s also the rate used by the aforementioned 0 interest cards above.) Slate from Chase â“ No Balance Transfer Fee is the only card that offers a balance transfer to its card free of charge. Note that no fee balance transfers are only eligible when made within 60 days of the credit card account opening.

The intro period attached to this card is slightly shorter â“ 15 months â“ but the fact that it waives the standard balance transfer fee make it one of the three best 0% interest credit cards of 2013.

This guest post was written by  Jason Bushey. Jason is a personal finance blogger and the editor of Creditnet.com.

photo by dahlstroms

Exploring Google Mobileâ™s Impressive Line of Free Smartphone Apps

GoogleMobileYou don’t have to be an Android fan to appreciate Google’s quite impressive offering of Google branded smartphone apps.   Since Android is a Google platform, all of the company’s mobile apps will work on Android devices.   Many of Google’s mobile apps will work on iPhone, Windows, Blackberry, Nokia/S60 and even some non-smartphones.   If you are using a non-Android device, you can visit m.google.com from your device browser to see which apps are available for your phone.   In the meantime, below are a few fun, innovative, must-have goodies:

Google Translate

This application allows you to translate back and forth between over 50 languages.   The voice input feature allows you to say a word or phrase to obtain translation.   There are also dictionaries in over 30 languages.   Perhaps the most interesting feature is conversation mode. Enable this to allow speech to speech translation, making it easy to have a conversation with someone who speaks a foreign language.

Google Sky Map

This open sourced app offers an impressive look at the night sky (although it does work during the day).   I like it because there have been numerous times when I am curious about a bright star or planet.   I simply point my phone to the sky and an exact map of the planets, stars and constellations appears on my screen.   You can also search for a specific star or planet.   Just type in what you want to locate, and the app will point your device directly to the object!

Google Talk

Google Talk allows you to chat or video chat with any other Talk user.   While this app is most handy on smartphones, don’t be afraid to download it to your tablet.   And, if you have a Gmail account and a front facing camera, you can enable it from your PC.   While iPhone users cannot download Talk to their devices, a third part app called Vtok by Skymobius, Inc. will allow you to make video calls to your Google contacts.


Google Play Books

Yes, there are a number of book apps out there, but Google’s rendition isn’t too shabby.   Books purchased are available on your computer and on all devices which you download the application (including IOS).   This versatile platform allows you to change reading font, save your page position and sync across all of your devices, and includes a night reading mode.

Google Earth

This popular desktop application is available for mobile devices.   The entire world is literally at the palm of your hands.   Search and zoom to anywhere you would like â“ from your own home to pyramids in Egypt â“ the possibilities are endless!

Google Goggles

Search the internet by taking a photo!   Want to know more information about a landmark?   Take a photo of it and Google Goggles will look it up and return information about it.   Another neat feature is the ability to scan a business card and add full contact information to your phone contacts without typing a single word.   The application also recognizes logos and artwork, and can translate text.   So, the next time you are in a foreign country and cannot read the menu, simply scan the menu item you would like to know about and Goggles will translate it for you.   Google Goggles was previously only available for Android, but now iOS 4.0 users can download the application as well.

Google Maps

This popular app offers accurate maps which pinpoint your location, voice-guided turn-by-turn GPS navigation and search features to locate restaurants, businesses, etc. near you. The Android version also offers Indoor Maps, 3D Maps and Street View.   Google Maps is now available for iOS user platforms.

Google Currents

Access your favorite blogs, publications and content in a user-friendly magazine format.   Download free editions of magazines from popular publishers, available for both high-speed and offline reading.


Google Shopper

Looking for prices, reviews, specs or other information on a product?   Google Shopper puts it all right at your fingertips.   Search by voice, barcode or scanning (books, CDs, DVDs and video games).   Find local stores as well as online offers.

I’ve highlighted some of my favorite Google mobile apps, but, of course, there are many others.   And, you can count on Google to continue expanding their app offerings, so be sure to check frequently to see what’s new.

So, what are you waiting for?   Grab you smartphone and start downloading!!

Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications on behalf of a number of companies, including Global Response.  Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.

First Steps in January to Sorting Out Your Debt

JanuaryJanuary is often a depressing month for many of us. We are still in the depths of winter, Christmas and Hogmanay have both been and gone and worst of all, we are left with the expectation of a series of hefty bills at the end of the month. From high energy bills to the credit cards you used to fund those special Christmas presents, it’s easy to be daunted by it all. The key is not to let it get to you, and to follow our tips on how sort out your finances in January!

1) Firstly, sit down at the start of the month and try to find out how much your bills are going to be. For your energy bills, try looking online- most suppliers have a system that allows you to check how much you owe. Even make a note of your meter reading and compare it to the value on your last bill, so you can estimate how much it will cost you come the end of January. This will help with the next stages. You should also look up extraneous bills, such as credit card bills, etc.

2) Next, have a look at how much money you are going to have coming in this month, from benefits, income support or your wages. This will make up your income.

3) Then, make a list of all the essentials you need to cover for living expenses in January (this is where looking up your bills comes in handy). Bear in mind that you should only include your essential bills such as energy and mortgage etc. Try to account for as much as you can though and also be sure to think long and hard about whether what you’re spending your money on is an â˜essential’ or a luxury. This will make up your expenditure.

4) Once you have both of the above, then you can sit down and compare your income to your expenditure.

5) Whatever you have left over is what we call disposable income. This is where you can see how much money you have to service any credit card bills or loans etc. that you’ve taken out. You should be able to estimate how much your minimum repayment bill will be by comparing the balance of your card/ new purchases with your terms and conditions.

If your disposable income doesn’t cover the cost of paying towards your various credit cards/ loans then you know that have to do something about it. You can sometimes speak to your lender and ask about extending your loan period or maybe having a payment break, but often this is difficult to get. If you are in serious trouble then you need to seek some expert advice. Your Debt Expert offer free and impartial debt advice on a range of topics. So if you follow our guide, and still find yourself panicking, try out the debt calculator from Yourdebtexpert or give us call and we’ll help you sort out your finances.

For more Debt news and advice follow Peter Dean on Twitter – @your_debtexpert

photo by aunto

Top Tips for Finding a Bankruptcy Lawyer

bankruptcyIf you are faced with a large accumulation of debt, it may seem next to impossible to tackle each dollar one by one and find a light at the end of the tunnel. There are countless reasons why people fall on hard times and fall behind on their bills, when you can’t pay your debt back or paying back your debt would place a tremendous financial burden on you and your family, it may be time to consider bankruptcy. Because there are so many different laws and provisions when it comes to bankruptcy, the first thing you need to do is look to hire a bankruptcy attorney who specializes in debt consolidation as well as any special concerns you may have related to your case in your specific state.

Free consultation

One of the best ways to find a bankruptcy lawyer is to select one who offers a free consultation. You can typically find a lawyer offering a free consultation through advertisements on the television or radio, as well as at some debt consolidation firms. This is especially beneficial when you are facing extreme financial woes and can’t afford to pay for any type of consultation fee. Some attorneys do charge consultation fees and they can run anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on your location and their fees. A free consultation allows you to speak one on one with a lawyer either in person or over the phone. Make sure the lawyer answers all of your questions regarding a bankruptcy including what type you qualify for, any type of provisions that need to be followed, how the process works and how much the entire bankruptcy will cost.

Yellow pages

Finding a good lawyer may be as simple as opening up your local phone book’s yellow pages. While some lawyers may have websites or blogs, most generally local lawyers still advertise in the yellow pages to attract customers who many not have access to the internet. Within the yellow pages you can easily see what lawyers specialize in, especially the types of bankruptcy including chapters 7 and 13 as well as various types of debt consolidation. This is a great time saver so you prevent contacting lawyers who have specialties other than bankruptcy.

Lawyers you know

If you have seen a particular lawyer in the past for a personal matter such as probate or divorce and you trust that lawyer, it may be beneficial to contact him. If he has handled a lot of your legal issues in the past, he is familiar with the best options for you and your situation. If he can’t help he can refer you or put you in touch with a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy court.

Contact local and state organizations

If you are researching lawyers in your area or who might be best qualified to take on your case, you may want to do some investigating as well. Contacting your state bar association is a place to start. They will be able to tell you if a particular lawyer has had any disciplinary action against them as well as how long they have been practicing.  For example, I live in San Diego so to contact  bankruptcy  lawyers in San Diego, I would contact local organizations in my community.  And once I do find a bankruptcy attorney in San Diego, I would call up other people who had experience with them to make sure I’m getting someone qualified.

Taking all things into consideration, you should shop around for a good lawyer before hiring him to take on your case.

photo by ralphandjenny

Advantages of Renting a Conference Room

conference roomMeetings that need to be held off-site or in a neutral location can be done by renting a conference room or meeting space. A rented conference room may also be needed because existing space is not available for the number of expected attendees. Renting conference rooms is an ideal way for a small business to conduct meetings and benefit from many advantages.  One such company leading the way in this industry is Cliftons Hong Kong.  They offer various conference rooms in Hong Kong at reasonable prices and tastefully decorated!

Reduced Expenditures

Renting a conference room is a great way to reduce expenditures for a business. Maintenance costs that are often required for an on-site conference room are eliminated. This means that money can be saved on any cleaning and maintenance that is required. Many conference rooms will be wired to an internal network for Internet access and communication. If your business has yet to perform any type of upgrade, then using a rented conference room is a great way to reduce costs.

Space Availability

The need for increased space is often not met by an on-site conference room. Most conference rooms in a building have a certain occupancy. This means that only a certain number of people will be able to get inside the room. If a conference room is rented, then a specific size room is available to accommodate a large group or meeting. Space is available to allow for easy movement and plenty of leg room.

Convenience Factor

A conference room can be rented in an area that is easy for all attendees to access. A company that is in need of a parking ramp or access to a downtown area can easily select the best location. One benefit of a rented conference room with access to a downtown area is available public transportation that can be used instead of driving a car to the location. Car pooling to a downtown location is also an option.


Available Technology

Rented conference rooms often have the latest technology available. This is an advantage that is not an option with most on-site conference rooms. A meeting may require access to the Internet. Access to the Internet is typically provided via a wireless connection. Businesses that are giving a presentation need a way to display video. Video playback is often provided by a video hookup to a computer or by using a DVD player.

Additional Options

Many conference rooms for rent will have a variety of seating options. This may include an ergonomic chair or a beverage station. Catering services may also be available if a meeting is scheduled to last an entire day. If your office does not have many of the features expected by clients, then the use of rented conference room space is a good solution to this problem.

photo by Christian Church of the Hills

How to Write an eBay Ad That Sells

ebay adOne of the best ways to make a little extra cash each month is to use the internet to sell items that you’re no longer using. Selling items at a more traditional yard sale, or even on Craigslist, often means you have to accept low prices in order to sell your things. On auction sites like eBay, however, buyers look for specific brands and manufacturers, so they often are willing to pay higher prices.

Selling on eBay, though, can be difficult if you don’t include the right information. Make sure your ad always has the following elements:

1. Photos

An eBay as with no photos will never sell. Always include photos of your item, taken in good light on a neutral background. Have at least one shot of the whole item and at least one of a close-up or different angle.

If you item is made by a well-known manufacturer or is a popular brand, include a photo of the maker’s mark, logo, or brand name so potential buyers know it’s genuine.

If your item has any flaws or damage, be sure to include images of these areas. Flaws or damage won’t necessarily prevent you from selling, but if a customer buys an item and then discovers it is damaged, they will leave negative feedback and your seller rating will go down.

2. A Descriptive Title

Many people search eBay by keywords, so make sure you have all potential terms in your title. For example, don’t just write, table,❠include, coffee table/side table/ end table.❠This is also a place where you should include size information (women’s petite blazer/jacket size 8/Mâ) and brand or manufacturer (Gorham Chantilly silver teaspoonâ). Use all the available characters for the title.

3. Measurements

Because people are buying sight-unseen, measurements give them greater confidence in their purchase. Include these in the description and you instantly look like a more professional seller.

Clothing sizes vary, so for these items, lay them flat and measure their width at shoulder, chest, waist, and hips. Include sleeve, inseam, and torso length where applicable. For shoes, measure the length, width at the ball, and heel height.

For furniture, include width, depth, and height so buyers know whether the piece will fit in their home.

Even collectibles should have measurements included to help people identify the item. You wouldn’t want to order a snowglobe that you thought would fit in your hand only to discover it’s the size of a beach ball! You customers don’t want to either, so give them as much information as possible.

4. Offer Free Shipping

People always feel like they’re getting a good deal when they don’t have to pay extra for shipping, so offering free shipping gives them more incentive to buy. This doesn’t mean your profit has to take a hit! Figure out the lowers price you’d be willing to accept, add the cost of shipping (picking a flat rate shipping method makes this easy to calculate) and list that as your starting price.

You can also list separate costs for expedited and international shipping and still have the free shipping❠label show up on your listing, so you lose nothing by offering it.

The key to a good eBay as is to share as much information as possible so your potential customers feel they can bid with confidence on a great deal.

What success have you had selling items online? What tricks have you learned from them? Let us know!

photo by bobjudge

5 Economics Lessons Obama didn’t Learn from the Great Depression

lessons on obamaOne of the more cliché statements one hears in politics is those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it,❠stated by George Santayana.

Unfortunately, this statement is very true. And nowhere else is it more noticeable than how the federal government, and in particular President Obama, has attempted to handle the Great Recession.

It is easy to try to justify the president’s decisions by discussing the enormous responsibilities he has on his shoulders and the incredible duties he has to attend to every day.

The problem I have with this argument is that not only are many of those duties and responsibilities voluntarily placed on his own shoulders, since he has taken it upon himself to solve these problems, but if he simply left many of these issues alone he would find greater success in reviving the economy.

The Great Depression, for all of its suffering and hardship, provides us with numerous examples of what works and what doesn’t work when attempting to lift a country out of an economic downturn.

Sadly, an Orwellian mythos has been created for this time period, in which the federal government’s intervention guided❠the nation through the 1930’s rather than stifled it.

The facts speak for themselves. For all the New Deal programs (most of them started under Hoover, contrary to popular belief) and massive government spending, the average unemployment remained at 18 percent throughout the 1930’s, and the economy did not truly recover until after World War II.

Had Obama studied the Great Depression more carefully, and without viewing events through a blatantly ideological lens, the economy might have already recovered within the first year he took office, and his reelection would have been guaranteed.

But the race is now tight and highly contested because he failed to recognize five important economic lessons from the Great Depression. Considering his background, which does not contain a single significant private sector employment whatsoever, it is easy to see how someone who has had such little involvement in actual affairs should be so ignorant about them.

In this way, history has repeated itself.

1. Government (deficit) spending does not boost or stimulate an economy

During his first month in office, Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly known as the stimulus package. The package cost is estimated to be $831 billion between 2009 and 2019, which Obama, as well as many other politicians argued, was essential for the economy to recover.

Currently, the national debt is $16 trillion. And while the unemployment rate is still high (the exact numbers depend on how you view the statistics) Obama still believes further government spending is needed.

At the heart of this thought is an economic belief known as Keynesianism. Created by British economist John Maynard Keynes, it is based on the idea that governments could spend their way out of recessions or depressions, even if this means running up a deficit and accumulating debt. The idea is for the government to make up for the decrease in private sector spending by increasing its own spending.

This tactic was tried repeatedly, first by Hoover. According to historian and economist Thomas Woods, Jr. in his book the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, Hoover spent more money on public-works projects in four years than had been spent in the previous thirty years. Although he is portrayed today as a do-nothing president, this image only works if compared to the economic intervention of future presidents.

The idea of government spending would continue into the FDR administration, all to no effect. Gross Domestic Product did not return to the 1929 level until 1940.

Inasmuch as Keynesianism is the bread and butter for many modern economists, most notoriously New York Times columnist Paul Krugmen, it ignores the most basic principle of economics by advocating higher spending than revenue.

It also begs the question: If a private company, which makes up the private sector and economy, can’t spend its way into prosperity, in what way can the government spend its way into prosperity?

Rather than state my own opinion, this is the viewpoint of FDR’s Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgebnthau, Jr., also known as the Architect of the New Deal, a viewpoint Obama should have taken heed to:

We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work.â

2. Government cannot create wealth

The function of government is to protect and defend the rights and freedoms of its citizens. It is not an institution designed to create wealth, nor can it. Government is not self-sufficient. It relies on a compulsory system of monetary confiscation via taxes to support itself.

This is critical to understanding government. Any money it spends has to come from somewhere else. It does not produce anything. Everything it has was originally taken from the private sector, which is where wealth is created.

The concept of government creating wealth is what leads to ideas such as a high minimum wage, which actually encourages higher unemployment since hiring a worker costs an employer more for performing the same job.

Both Hoover and FDR made this mistake during the Great Depression through the notion of central planning. The National Industrial Recovery Act, through the National Recovery Administration ( the other NRA) created industry cartels that were allowed to institute minimum wages and minimum prices at the same time. Naturally, rather than create jobs, it led to further unemployment because employers couldn’t afford to hire as many employees and had no control over the cost of the product they sold. In such an environment it was impossible to make profit, which is the heart of all private sector growth.

Tied to the notion of spending into prosperity, this also leads to ideas that the government can assist private companies via funding, which always leads to disaster.

One example of this is in the push for green energy❠initiatives which are both impractical and not efficient enough to be cost-productive. Most notably was Solyndra, a solar cell company which received billions either in financial assistance or loans from the government. Another clean energy company, Konarka Technologies, Inc., which went bankrupt in May of this year. Under the Obama administration, Konarka was one of 183 companies to receive $2.3 billion in tax credits as part of the stimulus package.

After Solyndra declared bankruptcy in Sept. 2011, President Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, said “It’s good for the planet, it’s good for the economy, it’ll create great jobsâ¦high end manufacturing jobs.â

Such statements also lead people to confuse job creation with wealth creation. The federal government could hire every single unemployed person in this country, which would lower the unemployment rate to nearly zero. But where does the money come from to pay their wages? Either the government has to incur further debt or take the money from the private sector. And no doubt the private sector would be vastly impacted by the higher tax rate needed to pay for a massive increase in federal workers.

As Woods points out, such jobs are funded by taking money from some people (taxpayers) and giving it to others, so there is no net stimulus. In fact, such programs are positively bad in that they divert capital from the private sector and inhibit healthy job creation.â

In other words, creating jobs in order to create wealth doesn’t make sense. You create jobs when there’s wealth. And the private sector creates the wealth, and the jobs they create as a result are more productive than government jobs because they exist to produce rather than merely provide for the worker.

Just last year, the White House pushed to extend unemployment benefits, claiming it would create❠one million jobs.

When pressed by a Wall Street Journal reporter as to how this would create❠jobs, Press Secretary Jay Carney replied “Oh, uh, it is by, uh, I would expect a reporter from the Wall Street Journal would know this as part of the entrance exam.”

There’s a reason why he deflected the question. It doesn’t create jobs; it merely allows people to collect financial assistance without having to work. Which also violates another basic economic principle.

3. People don’t work when you take away any incentive to be productive

The Bible says He who does not work shall not eat.❠But with Obama it’s he who does not work shall eat with food paid for by those who do work.â

This summer, Obama waived Section 407 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which requires work as a condition to collect welfare checks. While his Administration has denied this, one would be hard pressed to explain what else could is waved instead.

Additionally, food stamp recipients have skyrocketed. Out of a population of roughly 300 million, 47 million collect food stamps. In June of this year alone, 173,600 people were added, which was three times greater than Americans who found jobs, most of which part-time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Obama administration has even partnered with the Mexican government through the
United States Department of Agriculture to increase participation in the food stamp program for immigrants.

If Obama’s wondering why the unemployment has remained high, this may be an idea to consider: why should someone go through all the trouble to apply for a job and have to work when they can get what they need from the government?

This was a factor that prolonged the Great Depression. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was designed to put Americans back to work. Instead, the guaranteed❠jobs meant workers had little or no incentive to actually work, since the purpose of the jobs wasn’t to create or produce, but to provide employment.

The work they performed was also either unproductive or counterproductive. A common occurrence was for one group of WPA workers to dig a hole during their shift, only to have the next shift of workers fill it back in.

4. Government intervention hinders, not benefits economy

Another big myth of the Great Depression is that Black Tuesday in October 1929 started it. While there massive loss of stock value certainly paved the road for future economic downturn, there had been other similar instances before. Yet the Great Depression was the first time that the government took it upon itself to assume control of the economy, which is somewhat like a toddler attempting to land a space module on the Moon.

Rather than help the economy recover, government efforts did the opposite and actually were the chief causes of the Great Depression.

For example, Congress passed the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which was intended to protect American businesses by making it more difficult for foreign companies to compete. Rather than stimulate growth, however, it cause havoc within American export industries, and foreign governments retaliated by raising tariffs on American companies or shutting them out altogether.

The myth of government intervention dies hard. Myths have already been created about the Great Recession, one of which is that the repeal of Glass-Steagall allowed the crisis to happen.

But the fact is the law was never repealed. Only the provision prohibiting a commercial bank and an investment bank from being controlled by the same holding company was repealed. This, incidentally, had nothing to do with the financial collapse in 2009.

As Robert Wenzel wrote in an article for the Washington Post, “Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch â” three institutions at the heart of the crisis â” were pure investment banks that had never crossed the old line into commercial banking. The same goes for Goldman Sachs..The infamous AIG? An insurance firm. New Century Financial? A real estate investment trust. No Glass-Steagall there.”

But none of this prevented Obama from signing the Doddâ“Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010. Among other things, it established another federal bureaucracy designed to “prevent” another similar incident.

Rather than keeping federal government out of such financial institutions entirely, thereby forcing them to rise or fall on their own merits, such legislation creates innumerable provisions that necessitate entire departments in order to comply with all federal laws and regulations.

5. Uncertainty prevents business investment

In the business world, the worst state to be in is uncertainty. Even if the situation known is bad, at the very least the risks can be measured when making financial decisions. But when there is no certainty at all, and possible legislation by Congress could dramatically change everything or affect their investments, a business or investor will be very unlikely to risk losing their wealth.

This was another huge factor to the sense of uncertainty during the 1930’s. With a new law or proposed law coming out of Washington D.C.

In his self-explanatory-titled article for the Independent Review, Regime Uncertainty: Why the Great Depression Lasted So Long and Why Prosperity Resumed After the War❠economist Robert Higgs argued that long term investments, such as in the bond market, were significantly affected by what came out of the White House.

Had FDR simply sat back and said nothing at all, and allowed some certainty into the economy, businesses would have been more inclined to invest and growth might have occurred rather than stagnant for a decade.

So every time Obama discusses how the wealthy or rich need to pay their fair share,❠or proposes some new idiosyncratic legislation such as the Buffet Rule, he is inadvertently (or deliberately) scaring potential investors away from putting their wealth into a business or venture. It may be political rhetoric merely designed to get Obama votes or help shore up his base supporters, but businesses, who have millions and billions of dollar at stake, take such talk seriously.

photo by osipovva