All posts by Ecomtom

Apply Mortgage Online – Best Online Lenders

Apply mortgage online
Most realtors won’t take you on until you are preapproved for a home loan.

If you are in the market for a new home, before you call your real estate agent to begin the home search process you want to be preapproved for a mortgage loan.

It is a good idea to apply mortgage online, which is easy, convenient, and will also save you time, and money.

Most real estate agents will want to know right up front if you are preapproved for a mortgage loan. If you are not preapproved, a good real estate agent will advise you to start that process immediately. Perhaps you have already been advised by a Realtor to find a good mortgage company.

As a former Realtor, I can tell you that I would not begin to send properties to clients, or show them homes until I knew that they were preapproved and ready to go, and for what amount were they preapproved for. This not only benefits the real estate agent, but it also benefits you, the buyer.

There is nothing more frustrating than finding a home that you love, and want to buy, only to find out later that you can’t qualify for it.  Not to mention the wasted time, and the lost opportunities of homes that you would qualify for.

Of course the Realtor does not want to waste his or her time and money showing properties to clients that can’t get preapproved, or that won’t be preapproved for a high enough amount.

He or she also does not want to lose the chance to work with a buyer that is preapproved by spending time showing homes to someone that is not, and may not be able to be preapproved.

I will explain to you what the lenders or mortgage companies look for in order to preapprove you. I will explain the different types of mortgage loans.

I will also tell you why it is smart to find a mortgage company or lender online, and the best way to search for your mortgage company or lender online.

What Mortgage Companies or Lenders Want to See

Have you ever wondered what mortgage companies or lenders look at, and want to see in order to preapprove someone for mortgage loans?

Apply mortgage online
Lenders look at 5 different things in order to preapprove a client for a home loan.

There are certain things that these folks want to see from you the borrower in order to feel reasonably assured that you will be able to pay your mortgage on time every month.

1. Credit Score

Mortgage companies and lenders want to see a credit score of at least 620. They look at your credit score from the 3 main credit reporting bureaus, Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax. They take the middle score from these 3 credit reporting agencies.

For instance if your scores are 600 from Trans Union, 700 from Equifax, and 650 from Experian, they will use the middle score of 650 from Experian to count as your credit score.

Obviously, the higher your credit score, the better. As you go higher you will qualify for the best loans with the best terms, and the lowest fees, assuming of course, that the rest of your application checks out.

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2. Time on Job/Income

Lenders and mortgage companies want to see at least 2 years of continuous work experience, and ideally on the same job. And, of course, you need to be employed currently.

You can have more than 1 job, but it needs to be in the same industry, and there can’t be large gaps between jobs.

They also obviously look at how much money you make, and how you make it. A salaried job is given some preference over a variable income such as a commission, or hourly job.

If you are self employed you have to be in business for at least 2 consecutive years. Your proof will be your tax returns.

3. Debt

Lenders and Mortgage companies look at certain debt you have called mandatory debt. This is the amount of money you may owe for monthly credit card payments, monthly car loan payments, lines of credit, child support, alimony, other mortgages, and property taxes as a percentage of how much money you make.

It is acceptable to have no or little debt, but often times having no debt can hurt your credit score.

4. Down Payment

The more down payment that you can put toward your home mortgage, the better. This lessens the amount you will be borrowing, and will make it easier for you to pay the loan back.

You will have to show some proof of this down payment amount whether it be a bank statement, a gift letter, or proof of sale of an asset like a home, car, boat, etc. in an amount large enough to cover the down payment.

5. The Home or Property 

Although the home or property that you want to buy is normally not known when the preapproval process is started, it will become a factor before the bank actually fully approves the loan.

The mortgage company or lender will want to be sure that the property you want to buy is worth what you are paying for it. They will normally order an appraisal to be absolutely certain.

If your home choice does not ‘appraise out’ according to the lender’s appraisal, the loan may not be granted.

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Types of Mortgage Loans

Apply mortgage online
The most popular type of mortgage is the fixed rate.

Fixed Rate Mortgage: A fixed rate mortgage loan is by far the most common loan that is provided by lenders nationwide.

A fixed rate loan keeps the same interest rate throughout the loan. This means your monthly payments are steady and consistent.

The 30 Year is the most popular fixed rate mortgage loan. Loan durations of 15 year, 20 year, 40 year, and even 50 year fixed rate loans are also available with some lenders.

An  ARM or Adjustable Rate Mortgage, has floating or changing rate of interest.  An ARM, can fluctuate, unlike a fixed rate mortgage depending on various economic factors. The ARM is considered more risky than most other loans.

Two-step Mortgages:   A two step mortgage loan will have the initial period of time at a fixed interest rate percentage, and the second period of time at a different fixed interest rate percentage.

Such as, the initial 10 year term of the loan could have a fixed interest rate at 5%, and the next 10 year term could have a fixed interest rate at 6%.

Combination Mortgages:  These are mortgages that combine a fixed interest rate loan for a certain time period, and an ARM loan or another time period.

The interest rates, and time periods can very depending on the particular lender.

Balloon Mortgage:  A balloon mortgage usually has a fixed interest rate for a certain time period, normally with low monthly payments, and a balance, commonly a considerable amount or balloon amount due at the end of a certain loan period.

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Finding Your Lender or Mortgage Company Online

Apply mortgage online
Almost anything you can imagine is purchased online every day.

It makes a lot of sense to shop for a mortgage online. Ten or fifteen years ago, it may not have been advisable to shop for a mortgage online.

Today, however, almost anything and everything imaginable can be and is purchased online every day of the week.

All of the top companies in the world do business online, and the assurances and safeguards are in place.

It is easy to do your due dligence on any company easily through Google, and many other websites.

By shopping for a mortgage online, you can cover a great deal more ground much more quickly than if you set appointments, and physically drive to banks, mortgage companies, and other lenders in person.

You may have seen the television ad where the Muppet character tells his human friend that instead of putting on a suit and going to the bank, you can apply online with a few clicks, and the banks come running to me.

This is true. You can find information about loans such as interest rates, and fees, and apply to several of these lenders at one time.

This increases your chances of being approved. They will let you know very quickly in most cases, if you are preapproved or not.

You never have to leave the comfort of your own home, or office. You will save a considerable amount of time both while applying, and waiting to hear if you are approved, you won’t have to fight traffic, and even save a few dollars in the process.


The Best Way to Find Your Mortgage Online

The best way to find your mortgage online is to find a website that provides you the opportunity to fill out your information one time, and in so doing submitting to at least 4 or 5 different lenders at once.

You will need to know the type of loan you want, most people go for the fixed rate loan, and how long of a loan duration you would like, most people like the 30 year loan.

You also want to hear back as quickly as possible what you may qualify for, and from what company. In many cases, you can hear back within minutes.

At this point, it is a decision that you will need to make as to which mortgage company you want to go with.

This is when you will need to weigh loan offers based on reputation of the mortgage company, duration of loan, interest rate, fees, and points.

The online source that I recommend is Lending Tree. They will provide you multiple, reputable offers at the same time.

They also provide a handy mortgage calculator to calculate what your payment will be, so you will know what you can afford.  Click on the picture below.






Applying for a Mortgage Online is Fast and Easy

It’s a good idea to apply for a mortgage online. It is fast, convenient, easy, and can save you time and money.

Most real estate agents won’t show homes to clients that aren’t preapproved for a home loan.  You want to be preapproved so you know how much home you qualify for. This will keep you from being disappointed, and wasting your time.

Lenders want to see a minimum credit score of 620 in most cases. The 3 main credit bureaus are Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian.

Lenders take the middle score to arrive at your credit worthiness number.   They also want to see that you have a minimum of 2 consecutive years on the job.  Salaried jobs are preferred over hourly, self employed, and commission type jobs.

Having debt is acceptable, but too much debt in relation to how much you make can be problematic.

The more down payment you can put toward your home the better from a lender’s perspective.

You want to pick a home that is worth what you are offering to buy it for, or the bank may nix the deal with their appraisal.

The most common type of loan is the fixed rate loan. The most common fixed rate loan duration is for 30 years.

Other types of loans are the ARM, adjustable rate mortgage, the two step mortgage, the combination loan, and the balloon mortgage.

Almost anything you can  imagine is purchased online today. A home loan/mortgage is no exception. Make sure you choose a reputable lender.

Applying online is a breeze compared to the old way of dressing up and going from bank to bank or lender to lender to apply for a home loan.

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Top 10 Domain Hosts

Top 10 Domain Hosts
Professionally designed website hosting is yours for a low price.

Listed here for your viewing pleasure are the top 10 domain hosts. You are setting up your domain, and your website, and you need to pick out a domain name, get it registered, and find hosting.

Scroll down for top 10 domain hosts.

The good news is, hosting is very affordable. Buying a domain name is also quite affordable, and setting up your website is also not expensive in most cases.

There are many web hosting companies. Besides hosting services most domain hosts will also provide other services, such as domain searching and purchase, cloud hosting, wordpress hosting, vps hosting, and dedicated server hosting.

I will explain what the various services are, and how they can help you. I will also list the top 10 domain hosts.

Domain Names

Top 10 Domain Hosts
Your website starts with your domain name.

When you set up your website, the first thing you need to do is choose a domain name. Your domain name will be unique to you. No two people have the same domain name.

Your domain name can be anything you want. Normally it is related to you, or whatever your website will be about, as long as the domain name is available.

In choosing a domain name, you will also have to choose an extension. The most desireable extension is .com  If the domain name you have chosen with the dot com extension is not available, you will have to either choose a different domain name, or you can try to keep the same domain name with a different extension, such as .org, .net, .biz or .info, to name a few.

Once you know that your domain name and extension is available, you need to registar that domain name and extension. In order to registar a domain name, you must buy the right to use that domain name for a period of years.

You can choose to purchase the right to use your domain for a period of one year, two years, or longer. In most cases you will pay for one year at a time.

Your domain name will stay in your possession as long as you continue to purchase the use of it.  You will always have the opportunity to renew your domain name in advance of your expiration date.

Hosting Services

Once you have chosen your domain name and extension, and have registered, and purchased it, you then need to obtain web hosting. Web hosting is basicly a place to park your website. It is a home for your website where you can store your email, your files, and your images.

In addition to the parking, and storage of your website, the hosting company also puts your site on the internet so that it can be viewed by others. Your website will be housed in a shared server, unless you choose to purchase a virtual server, or a dedicated server which are more expensive than a shared server.

When you are just starting out, a shared server should be more than adequate to meet your needs. These servers are located in a specially designed building called a data center.

The data center is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is manned by highly trained technicians. It is built with security and resilience as a priority. It also has back up systems built in to make sure that your website is always working, and available for access.

There are 3 standard or traditional types of hosting. Shared hosting, Vitual or VPS hosting, and Dedicated hosting.

Top 10 Domain Hosts
Shared hosting is the most common type of hosting.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most basic or common of the hosting types or services. Initially you will likely only need shared hosting. It comes with all the necessities like WordPress hosting, file, image, and email storage, webbuilders etc.

But, as the name implies it is shared with other people’s websites, and as a result can affect it’s operation, speed, etc. due to such things as a surge in web traffic.

It is not optimum, but more than adequate in most cases for a new website. A good analogy for shared hosting is from real estate. It is like living in an apartment building.

You have access to all of the facilities you need, but you are subject to some of the issues that living in the same builiding with a lot of other people can bring, and you have little if any control over what you can do within the confines of the apartment.

Top 10 Domain Hosts
Virtual hosting offers more benefits than shared hosting.

VPS or Virtual Hosting 

VPS stands for virtual private server. This type of web hosting is a step up from  the shared hosting. It provides more freedom, flexibility, and speed for you, the website owner, yet does not offer complete freedom, and has some limitations.

You have more control. You can install whatever programs you like. It is more flexible than the shared hosting. However, you are still sharing the property.

A good analogy for VPS or Virtual Hosting is like having a townhouse or a condo. You have much more freedom, space, and flexibility than living in an apartment on the inside of your townhouse, yet you are limited to what you can do on the outside of the building.  And, you still have to share the building with a few others.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting means you have your own server that is not shared with anyone else. You have complete control, freedom, and more speed and efficiencies compared to the other types of hosting.

This is well suited for businesses, and companies that have a lot of traffic, and other activity, and need space and power in order to run an impressive, and profitable enterprise. With dedicated hosting you never have to worry about somebody doing something that could take down your website, or your app.

A good analogy for dedicated hosting is of course having your own home where you have complete control, more freedom, space, and are not subject to anyone else, as you don’t have to share with anyone. You are free to decide what to do with your property on both the inside, and the outside.

Top 10 Domain Hosts
Cloud hosting provides many benefits including low costs.

Cloud Hosting

As it’s name implies, cloud hosting is housed and maintained in a separate 3rd party location, or in the cloud.  Computer maintenance and infrastructure are eliminated, or greatly decreased with cloud hosting.

This saves money, time, and allows IT departments to focus on their foundational businesses.

Cloud hosting is optimum because it is practically unlimited. Unlike traditional hosting cloud hosting has unlimited bandwidth, unlimited space, and unlimited ram(random access memory) which prevents it from slowing. Cloud hosting is becoming more and more popular because it is reliable, safer, more secure, and faster.

Cloud hosting also has a lower overall cost of ownership, no IT maintenance costs, productivity anywhere, easily upgraded, off site data storage, disaster assistance, and it is always up.

Top 10 Domain Hosts

All of these hosting sites have shared hosting, and more. Click on the link or banner for complete information.

Blue Host


Just Host


Start Logic



A2 Hosting

managed wordpress hosting



Domain names for just 88 cents!


Dream Host

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Site Ground

Web Hosting


Glow Host

Hosting for 1 Cent!


Mocha Host


It is easy to get your new website up and running. You can get all of your domain names, and your hosting needs taken care of in one place.

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How to Commodities

how to commodities
Commodities are agricultural product raw materials

How to Commodities.  What are commodities? What are futures? Are they the same? The short answer is yes. Some may argue that they mean subtly different things, but for the majority of intents and purposes they are one and the same, but at the very least they are interrelated.

Technically they could be construed differently but I believe, as do many others that they are the same thing. So what are commodities? Commodities are defined as a primary agricultural product raw material that can be bought and sold, such as or wheat, corn, or soybeans.

Although commodities have been traded as far back as 17 century Japan where rice tickets were traded, the US commoditiy markets started in 1848, which is the year the CBOT, Chicago Board of Trade came into being. .Commodities are also known of as derivitives.

Commodity markets or futures markets were set up to help the farmer of the commodity which initially was only grains, specifically corn, wheat, and soybeans.

The idea is that if the price today is acceptable to the farmer of a commodity, but he will not be able to deliver his crop for months down the road, he can lock in a price that he can make a profit with by utilizing the futures market.

The farmer sells futures contracts for delivery in the future for the equivalent amount of his expected harvest. So, even if the price of the commodity goes down in the mean time, he is assured of getting his price when he is ready to harvest and sell his crop. This is also known as hedging his risk.

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The negative aspect for the farmer by hedging his risk with futures is that the price he agrees on will be the most he can realize when he is ready to deliver.

In other words, if the price of the commodity that he provides goes above the price he agreed to, he will lose out on the extra profit.

Now, if he utilized options on futures, he could participate in an upswing in prices.

Who Trades Futures

how to commodities
Hogs, lean hogs, and pork bellies are traded on the futures exchanges.

Only 3 percent of futures contracts traded are transacted by those that actually provide the specific commodity. The rest, 97% are traded by speculators, or investors.  Speculators or investors are those that are looking to make a profit by trading commodities/futures.

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Futures are often used by financial managers that have or manage large financial instrument portfolios in order to offset their risk, and maximize their return potential.

The sad truth is that only 15% of farmers use the commodity markets at all. This is despite the fact that these markets were designed for them, and can greatly enhance their ablity to stay in business and to prosper, if utilized properly.

A common denominator among many farmers that have been unable to maintain their farms, is they did not take advantage of the commodity/futures markets.

Speculators provide a very important service to the smooth operation of the futures markets. They provide liquidity. This liquidity allows for the ability to buy or sell futures easily as another speculator is there to take the other side of the trade.

Speculating in futures is a very risky proposition. It is estimated that 90% of investors lose money in the futures markets. 90%! However, many people have become very wealthy from trading these markets.  These markets are highly leveraged, which means a small amount of money can turn into a large loss or a large gain.

Bottom line is, you better know exactly what you are doing before you tread here in commodities. My intention is not to scare you away from futures, but to make you understand people can and do lose money.

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How to Futures

How to Commodities
Commodities can be researched and traded online

In order to learn how to trade futures we must first understand more about them. There are two main types of futures. Futures that are traded for physical delivery are the agricultural types such as corn, wheat, soybeans, and others.

Financial futures, on the other hand, are settled in cash, or cash delivery. These types include stocks, bonds, indices, currencies, and others.

Futures are traded at commodity exchanges. The most well known, and largest of which is the Chicago Board of Trade, or CBOT.  The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, also known as the Merc, is also a well known, heavily utilized exchange.

There are also commodity exchanges in New York, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and elsewhere in the U.S. Many other countries also have exchanges where futures are traded.

Within these exchanges are pits or trading areas where a specific commodity is bought and sold. If you have ever seen one of the trading pits in action, it looks very chaotic, and unorganized. In reality though, it is anything but chaotic, and unorganized.

The traders in these pits are placing orders that come primarily from commodity brokers for their clients.  These clients can be speculators or those involved in the underlying commodity such as farmers, grain merchants, and others.

Speculators or investors utilize many of the commodity trading tools that their commodity brokers supply. These trading tools include both technical, and fundamental information about a specific commodity.

Technical tools include charts that show prices, open interest, volume, moving averages, convergence/divergence, and other indicators.

Fundamental analysis includes news reports, farm reports, weather reports, and other information that can affect the supply and demand, outlook, and prices of a certain commodity.

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Speculators normally use a combination of technical analysis, and fundamental analysis, to guide them in their trading decisions.

Important commodity/futures trading terms:

Contracts:  These are what are bought and sold in the futures market and represent a certain quantity of the commodity that is traded.

Volume: represents the total amount of futures contracts that have been bought, and those that have been sold in one day.

Open Interest: the total amount of pending or outstanding contracts that are currently held by those in this market at the end of the day.

The various commodities that have futures markets include (heaviest traded):

Agricultural: rice, corn, wheat, soybeans, soybean oil, oats, cotton, coffee, sugar, orange juice

Livestock and Meat: live cattle, feeder cattle, lean hogs, pork bellies

Energy: heating oil, crude oil, gasoline, natural gas

Metals: gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper

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Commodity Brokers

How to Commodities
Commodity brokers facilitate trading of speculators

Commodity brokers are the folks that facilitate the trades that all traders make. There are full service brokers, discount brokers, and those that provide both full service, and discounted brokerage services.

Brokers have different rules, and qualifications for their clients. Normally, the full service brokers will provide many tools, and also help you with determing which trades to make.

The online discounted brokers may have some tools to assist you, but you are on your own when it comes time to decide what, and when to trade.

Some brokers may even let you place dummy trades, where no money is at stake but the conditions are the same as with a normal trade.

There are different fees involved with brokers. Even discounted brokers may have additional fees, so make sure you know and understand how you will be charged before you open up an account with any broker.

Commodity trading used to be the playground for the rich, and it still is, however, it is now possible for those with less substantial means to trade commodities. Some exchanges offer ‘mini contracts’ that require smaller monetary commitments than the typical futures contracts.

Also, trading options on futures can be less risky and less expensive than trading actual futures.

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Learn Before You Earn

How to Commodities
The more you learn, the more you earn.

If you are just getting started with commodities, and you have a strong interest or passion in this exciting area, I strongly suggest you invest in your commodities education before you even consider becoming a trader.

You will be better served to spend money and time learning the ins and outs until you feel comfortable with futures, before you spend money on actual trades.

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You can request basic commodity trading learning materials from many brokerage firms free of charge. You can of course also go online to find many excellent commodity education sources.

I suggest you try to find a mentor that has been, and is successful doing what you want to do, making money trading commodities.

The very best mentor that I have come across is the great Larry Williams. He is one of the most knowledgeable, and successful traders in this arena, and he has many years of experience.

Larry forgets more about commodities/futures than I know. He has written books, has online courses, and has a membership program that has a lot of members.

A trading coach may be the optimum way to learn to trade commodities. In order to take advantage of a trading coach, you should have a good, basic foundational knowledge of commodities going in.

Find someone that is already successful doing what you want to do, and emulate them.  Knowledge is power.

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From Humble Beginnings to High Finance

The commodity markets started as a way for a farmer to sell his crops at a local market.  They slowly evolved to include futures as a way for him to hedge his risk.

As time went on, more types of farm products were added in these markets. Soon other farm products such as cattle, and hogs were traded in the commodity markets.

Eventually energy products like crude oil, and metals like silver, and gold were included in the futures markets.

Today a myriad of financial instruments are also traded in the futures markets in exchanges all over the world.

Despite the fact that commodity markets were brought about to benefit the farmer, only 15% of farmers use these markets to assist their business.

Only 3% of all the contracts traded, are by those that perform delivery of the commodity. The other 97% of contracts bought and sold are done so by speculators.

Speculators normally use a combination of fundamental analysis, and technical analysis to determine what, where, and how to trade.

Commodity brokers provide various services to facilitate trades for their clients. There are discount online brokers that provide little support, and charge smaller fees, as well as full service brokers, usually off line that provide a good deal of support in exchange for larger commissions, and other fees.

In this highly risky playground of the rich, it is wise to educate yourself thoroughly in commodities, and futures, before you attempt to undertake an active trading strategy.

Best stocks to buy now

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How to Commodities

Gun Safes for Sale

Gun Safes for Sale

gun safes for sale
Gun safes are the best way to protect your family, and your guns, and allow for quick access.

As of the year 2017 over 42% of American households own one or more guns. The number of guns manufactured per year in the U.S. is over 9 million.

According to the Congressional Research Service 2017 April report there are 300 million firearms available for possession, and transfer to, by people in the United States.

This is almost 1 gun for every US citizen, as our population is 327 million plus. There is also a direct correlation between the increase in the amount of guns legally owned, and the decrease in violent crime.

Perhaps you are a hunter that owns hunting rifles, and accessories. You may be a sport shooter that has guns for shooting skeet, or for other competitive or leisure shooting sports or activities. Or you may be a homeowner that simply  wants to protect your family, and your possessions.

Or you may be a combination or all three. Whatever the reason you own guns, you know it is imperative that these guns should be protected, kept from the curious hands of youngsters, and available to you in a moments notice should you need them to shield yourself, your family, and your home in a crisis.

The best way to accomplish this, is with gun safes.  I will also tell you the different types of gun safes, what makes one gun safe superior to another, and the different locks that are available on gun safes. I will also make recommendations to you for the best quality gun safes that provide the best value.

Gun Safe Types

gun safes for sale
Gun cabinets are a less expensive way to safely store your long guns.

The two primary gun safe types are gun safes, and gun cabinets for rifles or long guns, and handgun safes. Within these two types are many different variations.

The rifle or long gun safes, and gun cabinets are larger for obvious reasons. There are different interior configurations. Depending on how many guns you want to store, you can find a gun safe to accommodate them.

Many long gun safe interiors, in addition, have shelves for storage of ammunition, accessories, and other valuables. Also, some of these safes offer the ability to store more items on the inside of the safe door.

As these safes can take up a good deal of space, they may need to be placed in a basement, garage, or other area that offers plenty of room.

The new ‘front of the bed’ or ‘under bed’ gun safe that sits on the floor and extends the width of the bed has become a popular model in recent years. This convenient position allows for quick access to your long guns in the event of a home invasion, or other crisis.

gun safes for sale
A good hand gun safe allows for quick access, and provides protection.

Handgun safes or gun boxes are a different animal altogether. These much smaller safes are designed for storage of handguns or pistols, and for quick access.  Most handgun safes only offer enough space to store one or two handguns, and perhaps some ammunition, along with very limited space for accessories.

Handgun safes can be bolted to the inside of a drawer, bolted on a floor (under a bed within close reach is a popular spot), or really anywhere there is a little room, clear access, and ideally the ability to secure it to a surface.

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What Makes a Good Gun Safe

Gun safes come in many shapes, sizes, types, interiors, and with various types of locks.  Your main considerations for a gun safe is fire protection, burglary protection, and locks that control the exterior door.

Generally speaking, the better the fire protection, burglary protection, interior climate control, and lock, the better the safe.

Fire Protection

Buying a safe that includes fire protection is a very real, smart, and important decision. In the United States alone, fires cause over $6 billion dollars worth of property damage every year.  A home structure fire occurs every 85 seconds.

Ideally, you want a fire rated safe that has the UL listing or designation, or the Intertek ETL Gun Safe Fire Label. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratory.

UL 1 Hour and 2 Hour Fire Labels.

U.L. Label/Class 350°F-one hour, and UL Label/Class 350°F-two hour. For the One Hour designation, the safe will maintain an interior temperature less than 350°F when exposed to fire for a period of one hour at 1700°F.

For the Two Hour designation, the safe will maintain an interior temperature less than 350°F  for a period of two hours when exposed to fire at 1850°F.

The safe must also pass all requirements for the Fire Endurance Test, the Fire/Impact Test, and the Explosion Hazard Test.

Intertek ETL Gun Safe Fire Labels

Intertek ETL is the safe industry’s leading independent testing laboratory for fire ratings of gun safes.  They have a stringent 45 minute, 90 minute, and 2 hour fire rating.

If you don’t see either the UL label or the ETL label on the ‘fire’ safe, you can not be certain that any fire testing was done reliably, and it could well mean inferior fire protection.

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Burglary Protection

A burglary safe is designed to resist and deter a break in of the safe. There are also safes that are built with both fire protection and burglary protection.

A fire rating on a safe is a test classification, as opposed to a burglary rating on a safe which is a construction classification. These different ratings were established by the insurance industry to provide a standard of protection.

The various typical Burglary Protection Classes are:
(Minimum characteristics)

B Rate: 1/4″  thick steel body, 1/2″ thick steel door

C Rate:  1/2″ thick steel body, 1″ thick steel door

TL-15: The requirements for a TL-15 are a UL listed Group ll combination lock, or type 1 electronic lock. Body walls of at least 12 gauge open hearth steel or material equivalent to it. Door at least 3/16″ open hearth steel or material equivalent to it. These safes also have fire protection.

TL-30: The requirements for a TL 30 are U.L. listed Group 2M, 1,1R combination lock or Type 1 electronic lock. Safe body walls of at least 1″ open hearth steel with a minimum tensile strength of 50,000 P.S.I.   Safe weight must be 750 pounds minimum, or comes with instructions for anchoring in a larger safe, concrete blocks, or on the premises where used.

The TL-15, and TL-30 designation safes are primarily utilized in a commercial application.

gun safes for sale
Gun safe interiors include gun racks, shelving, lighting, dehumidifiers, and pistol holders.

Gun Safe Interiors

Gun safe interiors are designed to accommodate a certain number of long guns, so that they can be stored upright. There is often, depending on the size of the safe, additional shelving, and interior compartments along with the long gun storage configurations.

The inside of the exterior door can be ordered to contain more storage capability such as for handguns, and accessories. There are also interior climate control options.

Using a dehumidifier to keep the moisture away from your guns is a popular choice.  In addition to gun storage, gun safes are also often used to store and protect other valuable such as cash, coins, and jewelry.

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gun safes for sale
Electronic key pad locks allow for quick entry to your gun safe.

There are many different types of locks that control the exterior door of your gun safe, as well as different locks for any interior compartments you may want to include, although most interior compartments are controlled by a single key lock.

The old stand by combination lock is still used on many safes, but the electronic key pad lock has overtaken it as the lock of choice.

The electronic key pad lock allows for quicker access, and offers additional features that the simple combination lock doesn’t.

The electronic key pad lock can either be a basic lock with a single input code capability, or it can have multiple functions such as multiple user, time delay, dual custody, and armored car override.  Most electronic key pad locks come with a battery power source.

Some electronic key pad locks are available with External A/C Power: Provides power for unlimited use with battery power as backup.

Another popular lock with gun safes is the biometric lock. The biometric lock can be opened by simply inserting your hand into an opening. It works by being programmed to identify fingerprints, and allows for quick entry into the safe.

This will limit entry only to those preprogrammed for it, and can be very valuable when you need to get to your guns right away, such as during a break in at night, or other crisis situation when remembering your code, or fumbling around for your keys can be difficult, noisey, and time consuming.

These biometric locks normally can be programmed to allow for multiple users to access the safe, so that you can permit family members admittance to your safe, if you so choose.

Gun Safe Recommendations

There are many fine gun safe manufacturers, and many very good quality gun safes on the market today. By making a recommendation I am by no means attempting to downgrade the other makers of gun safes. Two of the best known gun safe companies are Browning, and Fort Knox.

However, from my 20 some years in the safe business, I have been able to experience many of these gun safes, and one brand in particular stands out to me as far as quality of workmanship both on their safes, and their locks. Many safe manufacturers don’t make their own locks.

They must add the lock from a different company, which makes you, the consumer, have the added hassle of dealing with two separate companies, one for the safe, and one for the lock, for warranties, and support.

The company I recommend does make their own locks. This company also has an 800 phone number on the safe direct to the 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, and 365 day a year service department to support both their safes and their locks.

The other great feature to this company is they build their safes right here in the good ole US of A. They have a huge factory, and have been in business for many years. They are one of the oldest and most respected safe manufacturers not just in the US, but the entire world.

They also have a great selection of safes and locks, and accessories. The name of this phenomenal safe company is Amsec, which is short for American Security. So, whether you are looking for a gun safe, a gun cabinet, a handgun safe, or any other type of safe, You won’t do better than Amsec.

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All Gun Owners Need a Gun Safe

gun safes for sale
Gun safes are a necessity for hunters, and other gun enthusiasts.

American households own more guns than ever before. It is a documented fact that the proliferation of legal gun ownership has a correlation to the decrease in violent crime.  Gun owners may be hunters, sport shooters, or keep their guns for protection of their family, and home, or a combination of all three.

Your guns should be protected, kept from the curious hands of youngsters, and available to you in a moments notice in the event of a crisis situation.

There are rifle or long gun safes, gun cabinets, and handgun safes.  The long gun or rifle gun safes have different interior configurations which are based on the amount of guns that need to be stored.  Based on their large size, and weight, these safes need a good bit or room to be placed in like a basement or garage.

Handgun or pistol safes or gun boxes are much smaller, and generally can only hold one or two handguns, and a small amount of ammunition, and accessories. These safes take up little room, and can be placed, and bolted to a drawer, or to the floor.

A good gun safe will have UL listed or ETL listed fire protection, and B rate, C rate, TL-15, or TL-30 burglary protection. The various locks available on gun safes include combination locks, key locks, electronic key pad locks, and biometric locks.

Gun safes are available with various interiors. These interiors can be ordered to accommodate a certain number of long guns. They can also have shelving, and interior compartments for storage of accessories, and other valuables. A dehumidifier is also an option.

There are many great gun safe companies out there. Two of the best known are Browning, and Fort Knox. My highest recommendation for quality, and value goes to Amsec, or American Security Products Company, a US company.  Amsec has a complete line of quality gun safes for sale, handgun safes, home safes, commercial safes, and accessories.

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Kitchen Faucet – Repair and Installation

Kitchen Faucet – Repair and Installation

Your kitchen faucet has evolved over the years to include many different varieties, finishes, features, and extras. Yet, the functionality and installation of your kitchen faucet has remained mostly unchanged.

“Kitchens sell houses” is a statement that many Realtors live by, and the type of faucet you have in your kitchen may seem like an insignificant consideration.

Truth be told however, it can mean the difference in selling your home quickly and for top dollar, and never getting an offer.

As a Realtor for many years, I have studied the buying habits of people quite closely. It is true that kitchens sell homes. It is also true that if the woman does not like the kitchen faucet, it is a safe bet that it will be on to the next home on the list.

This is true even despite the fact that changing out a kitchen faucet is not, in most cases, a big job.

I will describe how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet, how to replace a kitchen faucet, and when to know it’s time to call a plumber to do the job for you.

kitchen faucet - repair and installation
Some kitchen faucet repairs are easily fixed.

How to Fix a Leaking Faucet

Plumbers can be expensive, sometimes very expensive. Many plumbing repairs are relatively simple, and inexpensively accomplished.

Many of these repairs can be done by the homeowner given a few basic tools, and some plumbing knowledge. There is however, a limit to what the uninformed, ill prepared homeowner should undertake.

The first thing we need to know is where the faucet leak is coming from. Is it coming from the base of the faucet? Is it coming from the handle? Is it coming from the nozzle or spout?

Two Handle Faucet Leak from Nozzle/Spout

Is the leak coming from the nozzle? (Single handle or two handle faucet) This is the most common kitchen faucet leak. If it is a two handle faucet where there is one handle for the cold side, and one handle from the hot side, and the leak is coming from the nozzle, put your finger under the nozzle to see if the drip water is cold or warm to hot.

This is also applicable for most two handle bathroom faucets.

If the water is warm to hot, you know that the leak is coming from the hot handle. Conversely, if the leak is cool or cold water, you know the leak is coming from the cold handle.

In this type of leak where the water is dripping from the nozzle on a two separate handle faucet, the most likely culprit is a  valve seat washer and/or the valve seat.

Once you have determined which side the leak is coming from, go under the sink, and close the shut off valve on the corresponding side.

Make sure it is shut tight. You can also shut the water off at the main, to be sure.  The main shut off valve is normally located close to where the water line comes into the house. Usually in a basement.

With the water shut off,  turn on the faucet to bleed the line of any residual water. Once this is done, you will need a screwdriver to pry the H or C button off the top of the handle.

You will then need either a phillips head screw driver or a slotted head screwdriver to unscrew the screw that is holding the handle on to the .

Then remove the handle (you may need a handle puller if it is stubborn). You will then need a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench to remove the valve from its base.

Once you have removed the valve, turn it upside down, and you should see a black washer at the valve’s base. It will likely have a large furrow in it, or it may be even more damaged.

If you place your finger in the hole in the faucet, you should feel a raised seat that has chips in it, or has an uneven surface. At this point you have some options.

You can buy a seat resurfacing tool at your local plumbing supply, and a new seat washer. (Be sure to bring the seat washer or the entire valve in to make sure you get the right size)

Use the tool to smooth out the pitted, uneven seat. Replace the seat washer, and reinstall the valve, and the handle. Turn the water back on, and see if the leak is fixed.

Another option is to buy a seat removing tool at your local plumbing supply store. This tool is usually less than 10-12 dollars.  Remove the seat at the bottom of the hole opening in your faucet.

Bring the seat back into the plumbing supply store, and buy a new seat, and seat washer. Install the new seat into the hole in the faucet.

Replace the old seat washer with the new seat washer, and reinstall the valve back into the opening in the sink, and reinstall the handle. Turn the water back on under the sink, turn the water on at the handle, and see if this fixed the leak.

You can also try replacing the entire valve, but if the new seat and washer didn’t fix the leak, it is not likely that a new valve will either, at least not for the long term.

The new washer at the base should work for a while, until the pitted seat forms a new furrow in the washer, and allows the water to leak through again to the nozzle.

If none of these options fix the leak, it is time to look for a new faucet.

Two Handle Faucet Leak at Handle

If you have a leak coming from the handle itself, it is usually an o-ring on the valve that is to blame. Follow the steps above, remove the valve, and either remove the o-ring on the valve and take it to your local plumbing supply for a new one, or take the entire valve into the plumbing supply for a new o-ring.

You may want to pick up on o-ring pic at the plumbing supply or hardware store, but a pin can also do the job. It is a good idea once you have the valve out, to inspect the seat washer to see if it may need to be replaced also.

In addition to the new o-ring, you will need a little plumbers grease to apply to the outside of the new o-ring to ensure easy reinstallation of the valve.

This should stop the leak, but if not, you can try a new valve. If a new valve doesn’t work, it’s time to look for a new faucet.

Single Handle Faucet Leak from Nozzle

kitchen faucet
Single handle kitchen faucets leaks are fixed by a repair kit or a new cartridge.

If you have a single handle faucet where the water temperature, and volume is conrtolled by a single handle, and the leak is coming from nozzle, you are likely in need of a new single handle repair kit or a new cartridge, depending on the make and model.

Go under the sink, and shut the water off on both sides, the hot side, and cold side. Depending on the maker of the faucet, you should be able to unscrew the nozzle at or near the base of the faucet.

If you use a wrench, use a cloth between the wrench and the faucet to keep from scratching the finish of the faucet. You will also need an hex key set or an allen wrench if your faucet has an allen screw at the back of the handle, which many do.

This should reveal a ball with a stem on it, some rubber barrel type washers, and springs. Note how they are installed, then remove all of these, note the manufacturer of your faucet (you may even want to take a picture of the faucet), and take them to your local plumbing supply.  Buy the correct repair kit, install it, and reattach the faucet nozzle. Turn the water on under the sink, and see if the leak is fixed.

If it isn’t, check to be sure you have the correct repair kit.  If you do have the correct repair kit, and it doesn’t fix your leak, it is time to look at a new faucet.

This is the set up for many single handle kitchen faucets like Delta, and others.

Some single handle kitchen faucets like Moen use a cartridge instead of the ball and stem, rubber washers, and springs. You should approach the repair in the same way, and replace the entire cartridge if applicable.

Single Handle Faucet Leak at Base of Handle

If there is a leak coming from the base area(at bottom of single handle), it is usually an o-ring that goes around the inner section of the base, and the inner wall of the faucet. These o-rings, depending on the manufacturer are usually included in the repair kit.

There also may be a ball with a stem on it that may be the culprit, and may need to be replaced. Again, it depends on the maker of the faucet. Best rule of thumb is to replace the simple, inexpensive parts first, and try the other parts if not successful with the simple ones.

If you have a leak coming from the very bottom of the faucet. (Usually a large rectangular piece that runs along the sink) Follow the instruction above about turning off the water to the faucet. Go underneath the sink, and you will see two or three nuts that secure the faucet to the base of the sink.

Unscrew these nuts, and pull the faucet away from the sink at the top. (You may have to unscrew the water supply lines that are attached at the bottom of the faucet.)

Gently pry the rectangular base away from the faucet. Inspect the rectangular base to make sure there are no cracks, holes, or deterioration.

If not, clean any residue on the area of the sink where the faucet base was sitting. Buy some plumber’s putty from your local plumbing supply, or hardware store. Apply a ring of plumber’s putty around the inside bottom of the base. Reattach, and tighten the nuts that you loosened. Also reattach any supply lines you may have undone.

This should fix the leak. If it doesn’t, it’s time to look for a new faucet.

How to Replace a Kitchen Faucet

kitchen faucet - repair and installation
Most kitchen faucet replacements are not difficult

Replacing a kitchen faucet with a new kitchen faucet is, in most cases, a relatively easy job. This is assuming that the shut off valves under the sink that the control the hot, and cold lines are working properly, and not deteriorating.

This is also assuming that your supply connections under the sink are not soldered together. If you encounter soldering, it’s probably time to call a plumber.

If the supply line valves are working fine, and looking fine, and there is no soldering to the bottom of the faucet,  go ahead and shut the supply valves off.

You may also want to shut the water off at the main just in case. With a pair of pliers, or an adjustable wrench, unscrew the supply lines from the shut off valves, and from the bottom of the faucet.

You will also need to unhook/unscrew any sprayers your faucet may have.

You may also need a plumber’s wrench with a swivel head to help remove the nuts that secure the faucet to the sink. This will depend on the amount of space you have underneath to access the faucet.

Don’t discard the supply lines as you will need to take those with you when you buy your new faucet, so that you will know the size of the thread on the shut off valves for your new supply lines.  I strongly suggest you buy new supply lines even if the existing supply lines look fine.

Supply lines are normally inexpensive, and you don’t want to risk that your existing supply lines are worn out from the inside from being under pressure. You may have to change them anyway depending on the size of the new faucet hook ups.

Unscrew the nuts that are holding the base of the faucet to the sink from underneath.  This should release the faucet from the sink. You may have to pry the base of the faucet from the sink using a putty knife or a slotted head screwdriver.

Once you have the faucet free from the sink, you can either take the entire faucet with supply lines with you into the plumbing supply or home store to buy your new faucet. This will allow you to buy a faucet that will fit your existing sink dimensions.

If you would rather take measurements, or if you want to buy your faucet online, just measure the distance from the middle of the main holes (hot side to cold side) on the sink or from the middle of the holes on the faucet. This distance is usually 8 inches, but it can vary depending on the faucet brand, and type.

At this point you just need to know what type of new faucet you would like to buy. Most plumbing supply stores, and home stores will have displays set up for you, and knowledgable sales people to help you find a faucet that will provide the look and the features that you want, at a price that you can afford.

Be sure to also pick up some new supply lines, and a tub of plumbers putty for reinstallation of the faucet. Apply the plumbers putty around the inside of the base of the faucet to keep any residual water from leaking on to your counter tops.

A roll of teflon tape to put around the threads of the shut off valves, and around the threads of the hook ups to the faucet is also a good idea. The teflon tape will ensure a leak proof seal.

Prices for new kitchen faucets range from about $25 to as much as $4000. It is very possible to find a good quality kitchen faucet for under $50. I would stay away from generic brands, and stick with a good brand name faucet that will have a warranty, and that will have parts available should you encounter a problem.


Your Options

kitchen faucet

With a few tools, a little know how, and some determination, you can fix, and install a kitchen faucet. You can also check out some good YouTube videos on the topic for more information, and advice.  If, however, you find the task daunting, finding someone to fix or install the faucet for you is only a phone call away.

To save money, you should buy the faucet yourself, and then have the plumber, or handyman install it for you.  In most cases you will save the plumber’s mark up this way.


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When Can I Collect Social Security

When can I collect social security
Many Americans have saved nothing for retirement.

When can I collect Social Security is a question many people ask as they hit their 50’s and beyond. For those of us that are nearing retirement age, having a retirement plan in place is vitally important.

The Economic Policy Institute reports that the vast majority of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, and half of all Americans have put away nothing at all for retirement, even in retirement savings vehicles such as 401k’s, and Individual Retirement Accounts or IRA’s.

35% of American adults have only $400 in a savings account, and 34% have no savings at all. Less than 13% of Americans have a pension plan in place.

In a survey by Bankrate, 22% of Americans said their biggest financial regret was not getting started saving for retirement earlier. So, how will seniors, and almost seniors deal with this?  According to Gallup Polls and others, many Americans expect to rely more heavily on Social Security, and contributions from children, and other relatives.

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History of Social Security

Originally called the Economic Security Act, the title was changed as Congress considered the bill, Social Security Act was signed into law by FDR, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. This act was designed as a social insurance program to provide a continuing income for retired workers 65 years of age or older.

When can I collect social security
FDR signed the Social Security Act into law in 1935

Social Security taxes were collected for the first time in January of 1937, and the first lump sum, one-time payments were made in the same month.  January 1940 was the beginning of on-going, regular benefit payments. Originally, only the primary worker was paid Social Security benefits.

The first person to get Social Security benefits was a man by the name of Ernest Ackerman, whom received a lump sum payment of .17 cents in 1937.

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A law change in 1939 included survivors, and the spouses and children of retirees to collect benefits. In 1956 Social Security Disability benefits were also added.  The original 1935 law also included the first unemployment compensation program, Aid to Dependent Children program, and health and welfare aid to various states.

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Cost of living allowances, COLA, became law in 1972, and was initially paid in 1975. Before this, it took a special act of Congress to increase benefits, and happened on an irregular basis.

November 1936 is when Social Security numbers were first issued. Since this time over 453 million numbers have been issued.  From 1937, when payments were first issued, until 2009, Social Security has taken in $13.8 Trillion Dollars, and paid out $11.3 Trillion Dollars.

By law, the the Social Security Trust Funds program assets must be invested in securities guaranteeing both principal and interest. These Trust Funds hold a mix of both short-term and long-term government bonds.

The Trust Funds can hold both ‘special obligation’ securities issued only to federal trust funds, and regular Treasury securities. The majority of the securities in the Social Security Trust Funds are ‘special obligation’ type securities.

In 2015, the program paid benefits to more than 60 million people, made up of 43 million retired workers along with their  dependents, 6 million survivors of deceased workers, plus 11 million disability claimants, and their dependents.

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Current State of Social Security

When can I collect Social Security
Many think that Social Security is on a free fall.

You may have heard that Social Security is going broke. This rumor simply isn’t true.  According to the 2017 Actuarial Status of Social Security Trust Funds, Social Security isn’t bankrupt or even running out of money. In fact it is currently running a surplus, and is said to be solvent until at least 2034.

You can rest assured that Social Security will be there when it’s time for younger baby boomers, Millenials, Generation Xers, and even younger generations to claim their benefits. There are, however, other schools of thought regarding how sustainable the Social Security Trust Fund really is.

Some feel that after 2034, due to the large amount of draw from the baby boomer generation, that going forward it could cause too large a burden on the system to continue to pay out in full.

Others argue, that due to the smaller family unit of recent, and current generations, as well as abortions reducing the number of potential claimants, that the demand for Social Security will be less. This smaller demand should enable the program to continue with little if any reduction.

When Can I Collect Social Security

When can I collect social security
The later you wait to collect your social security, the larger the monthly amount

The soonest someone can collect Social Security benefits is age 62, as long as you have paid into the program for a minimum of 40 quarters, or approximately 10 years.  Full retirement age is 65 – 67 depending on your date of birth.

For each year you delay in taking your pay out, your benefit amount increases by about 8% until age 70.

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The latest someone can start to collect Social Security benefits is age 70.  If you elect to start taking your benefits at age 62, you will receive a reduced rate at 75% of the full monthly benefit.

The monthly amount you will receive will depend on how much you have paid into the system, and for how long.

If you are a spouse, you will receive 35% of your spouse’s benefit if they begin to take it at age 62. If your spouse waits until full retirement age, you are then entitled to 50% of your spouse’s monthly benefit. Only one spouse can take the spousal benefit.

You can also receive spousal benefits based on an ex-spouse’s benefits as long you were married for at least 10 years, divorced for at least 2, and not remarried, even if they have never filed for Social Security.  Widows, and widowers can collect survivor benefits starting at age 60.

You can also work and collect Social Security benefits starting at age 62. However, if you are under your full retirement age, your benefit will be reduced by $1 dollar for every $2 dollars you earn that is over the yearly limit amount, which for 2018 is $17,040

Your Social Security benefit income may increase as your work continues. Your income will be looked at every year, and you will be informed if there is an increase.

Starting with the month that you reach full retirement age, you can receive your benefits with no limits on your work earnings.  Earnings are considered wages from your job, or from your business, net earnings are taken into account.

Interest, investment income, annuities, pensions, veterans or other government retirement income are not counted.

For more information considering your Social Security, go to:

Other Retirement Plans

When can I collect social security
Social security was designed as a supplemental program

Social Security was designed to be a supplementary program to your retirement savings, and/or your retirement pension. It was not designed to be a stand alone program.  The truth is though that Social Security is a stand alone program for many people because they have not saved for, or set up a retirement plan.

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“We didn’t plan to fail, we just failed to plan.”

I realize that it is not always easy to set up a plan, and stick to it. Life happens, and priorities dictate how the finances are handled. However, most of us, if we live within our means, and devote even a small amount of money monthly towards retirement, we can accumulate some funds that will assist in retirement.

Time is your biggest ally.  The sooner you get started with a focus on your retirement, the better chance you will have to provide yourself with a comfortable life in your later years.

If you have some years before you are ready to call it quits in the work a day world, I strongly suggest you attempt to set something up. Talk to a financial planner at your work if they offer a plan, or talk to a financial planner on your own, or someone else that you trust in the finance/retirement plan area.

If you just want to go about it on your own, I recommend you look at dividend stocks, and more specifically, DRIP stocks. DRIPs are dividend reinvestment programs.  Some publicly traded companies allow for their stock dividends to be automatically reinvested in the purchase of more stock, instead just paying out the dividend.

Many companies also offer No Fee DRIPs which allow you to automatically reinvest the dividend, and purchase more stock from the company for no fees. This terrific benefit can allow you to accumulate many shares of stock for virtually no additional fees.

DRIP stocks allow for you to take advantage of the power of compound interest.

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Know Your Options

When can I collect social security
As a spouse you can collect up to 50% of your spouse’s benefits

It is important to know when to start your social security. The longer you can wait to begin, the larger your monthly benefit will be.  As a spouse you are entitled to receive up to 50% of your spouse’s benefits.  Even as an ex-spouse, you may be entitled to receive social security payments.

You can also work and receive Social Security benefits. Your benefit amount however, may be affected by the amount of your earnings.

Even though Social Security is the stand alone income for many people in their retirement years, it was not designed as such. Time is your greatest ally when considering your retirement plan.

If you have some years before you retire, you may want to consider setting up a retirement plan at work if possible, or on your own.  There are many options to consider, and perhaps the best is DRIP stocks.

With a little planning, and some forethought you can make your later years better than what you may have thought.

You never want to have to say, “I didn’t plan to fail, I just failed to plan.”

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What is the average retirement income? 

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Best Stocks to Buy Now



The Best Stocks to Buy Now

The Best Stocks to Buy Now

The best stocks to buy now
Investing in the stock market can be like rolling the dice

Stock market investing can be a complex, time-consuming, frustrating process. Stock market investing can also be simple, quick, and exhilarating process. It can provide great financial losses, and it can provide great financial rewards.

Stock market investing can be a source of great stress, sleepless nights, and worry. It can also be provide peace of mind, fulfillment, and happiness.

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Best Ways to Pick Stocks

The best stocks to buy now
Technology can help you research, and buy and sell stock

The two primary ways of picking stocks are: fundamental analysis, and technical analysis.

Fundamental Analysis. The fundamentals of a given stock or company are it’s financials. What are it’s business prospects? What are the chances for the business to grow? Is the sector it’s in improving, or in decline?

Is it a leader in it’s sector and market? Or does it lag behind it’s competitors? What is the condition of the overall economy? It is a defensive stock? Or is it a high risk, high reward play?

Fundamentals look at historic stock prices, price to earnings ratios, revenues, profits, cash holdings, research and development expenses, insider/management holdings, and many other factors to determine if it is a stock worth buying.

Technical Analysis Technical Analysis is the study of charts of companies/stocks. The most commonly used charts are price charts. These charts document a stock’s price movements over different periods of time.

In conjunction with these stock prices are many other gauges of a stock’s performance such as volatility, convergence/divergence, number of stocks bought, number of stocks sold, stock averages, momentum, and many other indicators used to predict whether a given stock’s price is likely to go up or down.

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World’s Best Stock Investor

The best stocks to buy now
Warren Buffet is a billionaire stock investor

Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the last 30 years, it is very likley that you have heard the name Warren Buffet. Known as the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet is considered one of the very best, if not the best stock investor of all time. So, what is Mr. Buffet’s stock picking philosophy?

He says that he picks stocks based on being able to understand, and know the business that the company is in. He must also like the business that the company is in. It must have good fundamentals. He says that he will only sell if the fundamentals that he used when he picked the stock have changed for the worse.

He sets out to hold the stock forever, he says. He also adds to his positions quite often, and accumulates large enough stock holdings to be on the board of directors of many of these companies that he invests in. This philosophy has served him well, as his net worth is now in the $87 billion dollar range. Yes, that’s billion with a B.

How to Play the Market

The best stocks to buy now
Being bullish means you think the stock will rise in price

There are many different ways to play or invest in the stock market. Some of these ways are stock options, mutual funds, shorting the market, penny stocks, value stocks, foreign markets, stock index plays, futures, and others. There are long term plays, and short term plays.

Long term plays are stocks that you buy and hold. Because with this play you have a long term time horizon, you don’t worry about it’s short term stock price fluctuations. Normally, unless something drastic has happened to the company’s business, the stock is not sold.

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Short term plays are investments where the investor is looking to make a short term profit. His time horizon can be from a few minutes to a few months. Often these investors are willing to take a small profit, as long as their money is not tied up for extended periods.

The Best Stocks to Buy Now

The best stocks to buy now
Some people like to use a broker instead of trading stocks online

So, what are the best stocks to buy now? Should I be a value investor, a momentum investor? Should I try buying penny stocks? Should I buy the big name stocks like Apple, Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble? Does it matter which stock broker I use? Should I use an online broker, or should I deal with the old fashioned person to person approach?

There is much to consider in order to maximize your opportunities in the stock market. In my humble opinion, there is only one type of stock to invest in.

DRIP Stocks What are DRIP stocks? DRIP stands for dividend reinvestment plan, or dividend reinvestment program. These are stocks of which the company that offers them allow for a direct purchase of stock in the company, and for the dividend that they offer to be reinvested in more stock.

This is a powerful investment instrument because it ulitilizes the principle of compound interest. Albert Einstein once said about compound interest, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it, he who doesn’t pays it.”

DRIPs also allow you to reinvest part, all, or none of the dividend. It makes sense to reinvest as much of the dividend as possible, at least until you need to take some of the dividend income to live, as in retirement. The best stocks to buy now are No Fee DRIPs.

No Fee DRIPs

The best stocks to buy now
DRIP stocks are a smart long term play

The best type of DRIP stock to buy is the No Fee DRIP stock. This means that certain companies allow you to buy their stock without any brokerage or transaction fees, both for the initial purchase, and for the subsequent dividend reinvestment.

This means that you will be able to maximize your return, as you are not losing some of your investment in costly fees.

This can add up to a significant amount, especially with the powerful compound interest component. In order to speed up the process, additional, optional shares can be purchased, also for no fees.

There may be fees if you set up an automatic purchase through your bank account, and when selling shares.

DRIPs are considered more of a long term play, than a short term one. Generally speaking, the longer you can hold a DRIP the better as you will continue to automatically buy more shares of stock with the reinvestment of the dividend.

Although if enough money is invested, and reinvested, and the dividend is high enough, a considerable amount of shares can be accumulated within a relatively short time.

The only time I would ever consider selling a DRIP stock is if the company has dramatically decreased, or eliminated it’s dividend. This is not a common occurence, but it does happen from time to time. I would then find another DRIP stock to invest in with the proceeds of the sale.

List of No Fee DRIPs

Sleep or Excitement

The best stocks to buy now
Some stock investors like long term investments to be able to sleep well

Some stock investors love the excitement of investing in the stock market. I have seen many stock investors that seem to live for the excitement of the price swings in the market. One day they are up because their stocks are up in price, and the next day they are down in the dumps because their stocks are off.

There are also stock investors that are so heavily invested in the markets that their very existence, and that of their family depends on the performance of their stocks. Personally, I can’t see living this way.

It is difficult to consistently pick stocks well enough to ensure oneself a solid return. This is especially so, if someone is always buying, and selling. With the combination of high fees, and volatile stock prices, it is not an easy proposition to beat the market.

If I am always worried about whether or not my stocks perform to my needed expectations, my stress levels would be a lot higher. This could easily carry over to other areas of my life as well, such as relationships, health, and job performance.

Personally, I like to sleep at night. That’s why I like the peace of mind that DRIP stocks give me. I primarily invest only in DRIP stocks, and within DRIP stocks, I invest primarily in No Fee DRIPS.
No Fee DRIPs are the best stocks to buy now , they will be the best stocks to buy tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future. Which No Fee DRIPs will you invest in?

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List of No Fee DRIPs

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Make Cash Online

Make Cash Online

Make cash online
Cash is made online in different ways

If you want to make cash online, you are like millions of others. Many people have used the internet to go from rags to riches. Some folks have acquired vast fortunes utilizing the internet to further their ambitions.

There are many ways to make money, and attempt to make money online. Some ways to make cash online require little if any work or effort, monetary investment, and very little time.

Other ways require a great deal of work and effort, money to get started, and maintain it, and a large commitment of time.  Still other ways fall somewhere in between the two.

We will look into some examples of these ways to make cash online, and why some ways may be worth taking on, and why other ways should be avoided.

It is also possible to utilize more than one of these online cash making methods. This may depend on your financial situation, your time availability, and areas that you have knowledge of or interest in.

Turn your passion into a thriving online business.

Skeptism is Healthy

Make cash online
Being skeptical of online opportunities is healthy

I have tried and been involved with many different money making opportunities over the years. The best bit of advise I can give you is to be skeptical.

If you are looking at opportunities to make money online, be sure to do your due diligence. I can tell you that there are many folks out there that spend day and night thinking of ways to take advantage of gullible, ignorant individuals.

The internet is still like the wild, wild west in that there is limited regulation, and enforcement compared to the off line world.

This environment draws the unscrupilous shiesters, scammers, and hucksters that want you to believe you can make a lot of money overnight for little if any work, and that there is a free lunch.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Realize in most cases, there is going to be some work, and at least some of your time involved. You will likely have to spend some money, although there are some exceptions to this general rule.

It is ok to take some risks, and chances, after all nothing ventured, nothing gained, but make sure you look before you leap. Assume it is illegitimate until proven otherwise.

Online Surveys

Online surveys
Online surveys are a popular way to make extra money online

Online surveys are a very popular way to make some extra money online. You likely won’t get rich filling out online surveys, but you may be able to put some decent cash in your pocket if you find the right survey company. Surveys are used by many companies to test products and ideas.

They want your opinion to determine the viability of their new products, or to improve existing products. In addition to filling out forms, survey companies may also be willing to pay you to read your email, and to watch videos.

Surveys can take as little as less than a minute, and as long as several hours. Generally speaking, the more time needed, the more it pays. You can earn anywhere from a few cents a survey to $100 or more depending on many factors, but primarily time needed to complete it.

Other surveys may pay you in points that you can use to buy products.  It is free to join most online survey sites, but there are some online survey companies that do require a fee to join.  Filling out some personal information is usually all that is needed to get started.  There may be some age requirements, but these are usually not stringent.

Some of the better known online survey websites are:
Vindale Research
Opinion Outpost
Inbox Dollars
My Survey
Survey Junkie


Start Your Own You Tube Channel

Make cash online
Many people are crushing it with their YouTube channels

If you are not the shy type, and don’t mind being on camera and sharing your knowledge, and experiences, then starting your own You Tube channel may be the go to online cash generator you seek.  Many people are cashing in big with this method.

Do you have an area that you are passionate about? Do you have expertise in a subject, occupation, hobby, or pastime? Chances are excellent that thousands of others do also.

YouTube is one of the most visited websites in the world. It generates millions of visitors who are looking for everything under the sun, much like Google visitors, only with a living, breathing human being to describe, and show them the way.

Ideas that work well on YouTube are: How to’s, travel experiences, product reviews, gamer reviews, food/cooking/recipes, comedy, pet training, and job seeking just to name a few.

All you need to get started is a Smartphone. You don’t need a super expensive camera. Be consistent with your videos, and you could well develop a following.

Share your videos on Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, Linkein, Google Plus,and others. You can also embed your videos on your own blog or website. Email marketing can also be a helpful means of getting the word out.

You can make money with your videos by allowing YouTube to place advertising. Every time someone clicks on the ads you make money. This is called Google Adsense.

You can also monetize by directing viewers to a specific website or link that you have set up to make commissions with. This can be to a link beneath the YouTube video, or to a link on the video itself.

Turn your passion in to a thriving online business. 

Download and Install Apps

 make cash online
You can make money by downloading and installing apps

This is another idea that you won’t get rich from, unless of course you design your own apps, but downloading and installing apps is about as easy as it gets to make a few extra bucks.

You not only get paid when you download and install the app initially, but you can get paid for every month that the app is on your phone.

This may only equate to a few cups of latte a month, but at least you didn’t have to do much to get it.

MobileXpression – launch this app, and you will be eligible to win prizes each week. You can also play an instant rewards game by joining in on market research.

ShopTracker – just answer a few questions, and you will earn $3.00 on any device. This app helps companies find out what people are buying online, and you will continue to earn money every month that you keep this app on your phone.

Neilson Mobile Panel – this is same company that does the Neilson TV Ratings. You can earn up to $50 a year for installing the Mobile Neilson app, which provides information on how people use their phones.

Other interesting apps are:

Shopkick: Earn money just by walking into stores.
Paribus: Scans your email receipts for changes in price.
Trim: Finds where you are wasting money
Lucktastic: Free scratch off tickets(virtual)

Website Testing

 Make Cash Online
Website testers can make good part time cash

If you spend a lot of time online like I do, you come across many different types of websites. Some websites are more user friendly than others.

Some are clear, concise, and easy to understand and navigate around. Other websites can be a challenge to discover how to find the information that you are looking for or interested in.

There is a website that will pay you up to $30 an hour to test other websites.  UserTesting will pay you to open up a website, navigate around, complete a set of tasks, and share and record your thoughts as you are doing it.

Fortune 500 companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe are clients you could be testing websites for.

Other website testing websites are: Userlytics, TrymyUI, and Userfeel.

It will be difficult to make a full time income with Website Testing because the opportunities are inconsistent, but you could possibly make a good, part time or supplemental income.

Building a Website, Blogging, Affiliate Marketing

 make cash online
Blogging or content marketing is a viable way to build an online business

People could, and do make a living by each of these online money making methods individually, or some combination of all three at once. In fact, it is easy to blur the lines of descriptions of each of these types because they can all be utilized at the same time.

You could, theoretically at least, make money selling your website building services to others, assuming you knew how to build websites.

And, you could become a blogger, and depending on your niche, you could sell advertising on your blog site once you built up a large enough following and had consistent traffic.

And, you could become an affiliate marketer by finding online companies that provide affiliate opportunities to make commissions. You would though have to know how and where to market these opportunities in order to generate affiliate commissions.

There is one online opportunity that combines all three of these areas of expertise in one place. They provide all the education, expertise, training, tools, and support needed for you to realize the power of combining these online disciplines.

The good news is, it is easier than you might think. There is unparalleled support within the community, and it is FREE to start.  They also give you 2 free websites, and provide training to get you off the ground.  The name of this company is Wealthy Affiliate.

You only need to provide an area that you are passionate about, and a willingness to learn, and to build an online presence, and a business along with it. Wealthy Affiliate basicly holds your hand for you all along the way.

This is not an opportunity that is get rich quick. It is, however, an opportunity that you can build a business with that will last you for many years.

FREE Wealthy Affiliate Info

There are many other ways to make online income such as stock trading, network marketing aka multi level marketing, currency trading, writing an ebook, offering your pro services on fiverr, elance, Upwork, or 99Designs, and many more.

Remember to be skeptical about any online or offline opportunity. Do your due diligence before you commit your valuable resources, and time.

Kick the tires, and get a feel for it before you go all in. Choose one or more of the numerous online opportunities, and you too can make cash online.






How To Affiliate Marketing

How to Affiliate Marketing will assist you in your quest to learn how to become an affiliate marketer. I will explain to you what affiliate marketing is about, what is entailed to become an affilate marketer, the best place online to educate yourself about it, and how to set yourself up with what you will need to begin.

I will also tell you what programs to align yourself with that will provide you with products, and services to help you make an income, and where to go in order to get your questions answered, and how to get the support and encouragement you will need along the way.

What Affiliate Marketing is About

The best way to describe affiliate marketing is that it is much like a salesman, or a manufacturers representative in the offline world. An online company or a company with an online presence allows people (affiliates) to market/sell their goods and/or services in exchange for a commission.

How to affiliate marketing
An affiliate marketer is an online salesman or representative

An affiliate can earn commissions by bringing someone to a company’s website, and if they perform a certain function like filling out an application, clicking on a link, or making a purchase.

The commissions will vary depending on the type of business, and what the company/website has agreed to pay it’s affiliates for a specific action.

For instance, selling a product usually pays more commission than capturing an email address for more information, or for filling out a form and agreeing to receive a phone call from a company representative, such as what is often the case for a home loan.

How to Become an Affiliate Marketer

Almost anyone can become an affiliate marketer. All that you need to do is to find a company or product that you would like to market online, and sign up as an affiliate at that business’ website.

Often times a company will use an affiliate network to handle their affiliate program for them. Some of the more well known affiliate networks are Commission Junction, aka CJ, Share a Sale, Rakuten, and ClickBank.

You will first need to be signed up with and approved by the affiliate network, and sometimes you will also need to be approved by the company or website itself before you can begin marketing for them.

Some of these networks, and their companies want to see that you have some knowledge, and experience in the online world. Some will require that you have a website set up, and that you have at least a minimum of know how in marketing products or services online.

I have found that you don’t need a website to be approved for some networks, such as ClickBank, but it does help ensure your acceptance to many networks if you do have a website.

Once you are approved by an affiliate network, you then will have many more options to represent different types of companies, products, and opportunities.

Approval means that you will have access to affiliate links, affiliate banners, photos, videos, and pre written ads for the various companies, and their websites.

At this point you are ready to spread the word about the company that you now represent as an affiliate. There are many different ways for you to go about this.

How to Market Your Affiliated Company

Now you have been approved by an affiate network, or directly to a company that offers an affiliate program. You have access to the affiliate links, and other advertitisng for the company to help you earn affiliate commissions. So, it’s time to get the word out, and make some commissions.

How to affiliate marketing
One way affiliates market is SEO or search engine optimization

There are various ways for you to go about this. There is email marketing. Email marketing allows you to contact others by email to tell them about what you have, and to attempt to get them to do what you need in order to earn an affiliate commission.

You can buy email lists so that you can target your audience, and you can use various other means of sending emails to your potential customers.

Autoresponders like Aweber provide tools to help you market and follow up to an email list, and take much of the work out of it for you.

Social Media is another very popular and effective way to for an affilate marketer to bring prospects to a website. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Quora are some of the best known social media websites.

Facebook offers numerous advertising options for affiliate marketers, and can be a very useful way to pinpoint target prospects.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is a great, free way for you to bring targeted traffic to a website, but you will need your own website in order to take advantage of this potentially extremely powerful way to boost your affilate commissions.

PPC, or Pay Per Click is advertising that can also be very effective for you as an affiliate. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo offer the ability to advertise with them by choosing related key words to your offer, posting short ads describing your offer, and you are then charged a pre set fee every time someone clicks on one of your ads.

Other types of online advertising available are CPA, or Cost Per Action, Google Ad Words(useable only if you have your own website), and Retargeting.

Having Your Own Website

If you are serious about becoming a successful affiliate marketer, your best course of action is to have your own website. Having your own website will enable you represent many different types of affiliate products, and opportunities, and it will provide you a great chance to get ranked by the search engines.

Becoming ranked by the search engines can bring in large amounts of FREE traffic to your website, and your online products and opportunities of which you are an affiliate.  Many affiliate networks, and companies require that you have your own website before they will approve you to represent their companies.

This shows them, and the rest of the online world that you are someone that is professional, and can be trusted to carry out a successful affiliate marketing campaign.

Your own website affords you the opportunity to be ranked on the search engines, and is done by writing related content on your website with the use of key words.

If done correctly, with time you can be ranked on the big search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.  Being ranked highly means traffic, and traffic can mean conversions and money in your pocket.

In order to have your own website, you will need to purchase a url or domain name such as http://howtobuyforeclosedhome….  You will also need to purchase hosting to provide an online parking place if you will, for your domain.  There are different places online that you can buy these needed website services.


You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

How to affiliate marketing
With Wealthy Affiliate, you never have to go it alone

Don’t worry. If you like the idea of becoming an affiliate marketer, but you know you need some education and guidance, there is a place that has a stellar reputation for providing EVERYTHING that an affiliate marketer wants and needs. You may have even heard of it. It’s called Wealthy Affiliate.

Wealthy Affiliate will take you by the hand, and give you the education, tools, training, resources, and support to ensure you can become the successful affiliate marketer that you strive to be.

Starting with Wealthy Affiliate is FREE, and they also give you 2 FREE websites, along with training right off the bat, so you can kick the tires and make sure it is right for you.

All you need is to have something you are passionate about or interested in. Wealthy Affiliate will teach you to turn your passion into a thriving online business.

You are never alone at Wealthy Affiliate. If you ever have a guestion, or need direction, there is an large community of like minded affiliates that are ready to help you.

There are many ways of making cash online. Affiliate marketing is a way to sell products and services online, and be paid a commission. Becoming an affiliate marketer is a tried and true way of generating an online income.

Almost anyone can become an affiliate marketer. Signing up with a company that has an affiliate program or with their designated affiliate network is the first step.

You then need to be approved to get started. There are many different ways to market your offer online to earn a commission. If you are serious about your affiliate endeavor, you should establish your own website.

The best way to learn about affiliate marketing, and have all the tools, training, and support you will need is to start as a free member with Wealthy Affiliate.

Click here to get started FREE!


How to Affiliate Marketing

Top Dividend Stocks

Top dividend stocks
Dividend stocks produce income for their shareholders

Top Dividend Stocks


What are Dividend Stocks?

Dividend stocks are stocks that pay out a portion of their earnings or profits to shareholders. These payouts are usually done quarterly, and there are a few stocks that will pay their dividends monthly, but are they top dividend stocks?

Dividends give shareholders an added incentive to own or hold the stock even when the stock price is not rising or even dropping. The amount of the dividend is done as a percentage of the share price.  Typically, the dividend percentage runs in the 1% – 10% range with some stocks paying less, and some stocks a bit more.

Dividends can be raised, lowered, or even done away with by the company, although the outright elimination of a company’s dividend is somewhat rare.

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What are Top Dividend Stocks?

So, how does one define top dividend stocks? There could easily be many definitions of top dividend stocks.  They could be stocks that have a high dividend yield. Or stocks that have increased their dividend over the years.  They could be stocks that have a high dividend yield, and have increased their dividend over the years.

They could be top performing stocks that have recently decided to include a dividend. They could just be solid, stable companies that pay a dividend, no matter how small or large the dividend yield or payout. In my humble opinion, top dividend stocks are also DRIP stocks.

Top dividend stocks
DRIP stocks are dividend stocks that are reinvested

What are DRIP Stocks?

I am glad you asked.  DRIP stocks are dividend reinvestment plans, or dividend reinvestment programs. Some companies that pay dividends allow for the reinvestment of the dividend payout to shareholders into the purchase of more stock in their company.

Many of these companies also allow for the direct purchase of their stock initially with no fees. They also allow for the reinvestment and additional purchase of shares with no fees. Did you catch the no fees part? Stock investing simply doesn’t get any better than this.

DRIP investing is more of a long term strategy or play than a short term one. By having the dividend reinvested in more stock, instead of taking the dividend payout, you are harnessing the power of compound interest.

Over time this can accumulate into a substantial number of shares which can provide a significant source of income, while maintaining, and even growing the principal, which in the case of DRIPs is stocks.

Turn your passion into a thriving online business. 

This can all be accomplished over time even if you don’t invest more in the program. If, however, you want to speed up the process, and increase the number of shares, as well as the corresponding amount of the total dividend payout, you can invest more money into it with periodic purchases.

These periodic purchases are also no fee, in a no fee DRIP.  Some even incorporate dollar cost averaging, which can provide a much healthier long term outlook for you.

Albert Einstein once said about compound interest:  “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it, he who doesn’t pays it.”

Top Dividend Stocks
Albert Einstein was enamored with the concept of compound interest

This combination of no fees, and dividend reinvestment, make DRIPs are very attractive long term investment strategy, and separate DRIP stocks from other types of long term investing such as mutual funds, index funds, etc.

Another great benefit of investing in DRIPs is the option of reinvesting part of the dividend in more stock, all of the dividend in more stock, or none of the dividend in more stock.

This could become very important once you have enough stock accumulated to start taking some dividend payouts, such as for retirement. or if you just need some extra cash.

You can take say a 75% payout of the dividend, and leave 25% in for reinvestment, keeping your stock principal growing. You can take more or less, or all or none, it is entirely up to you.


Which DRIP Stocks Should I Choose?

The DRIP investing strategy that I suggest is one where you invest in strictly NO FEE DRIPs in different sectors of the market to give you some diversification. You should pick stocks that have at least a 2% dividend yield, and ideally you want companies that have shown great stability, and increased their dividend consistently over at least the last 20 years.

Some sectors to consider are Health Care, Energy, Insurance, Real Estate (REITs), Pharmaceuticals, Manufacturing, and Automotive.

Some NO FEE DRIPs within these sectors to consider owning are:  AFLAC, AbbVie, Emerson Electric, Exxon/Mobil, HCP, Genuine Parts Company, 3M, and Johnson and Johnson.

The only real risk with DRIPs is a reduction or an elimination of the dividend, and of course with the company itself. If you invest in solid companies stocks though, you will have minimal risk in the underlying company going out of business.

It is possible that the dividend could be reduced. If this happens, you may want to consider selling, and buying another DRIP for your portfolio, but I would only sell if the dividend reduction was substantial, and if it happened more than once within a relatively short period of time.

Also, if there was a significant problem with the company’s business, you should consider selling the stock. These scenarios are somewhat rare, but you should monitor your DRIP stocks on a consistent basis to make sure that everything is hunky dorey with your investment.

Even if there is a drop in the stock price, as long as the dividend remains the same or only slightly lower, and there aren’t any serious problems with the company’s business, I would hold the stock. Remember this is a long term strategy. It is likely that there will be some price swings during the time that you own it.

It is very easy to check on your DRIPs online anytime you would like, day or night.

Turn your passion in to a thriving online business. 

Your Takeaways

Top Dividend Stocks
No Fee DRIPs are a great way to invest for the future

I believe DRIP stocks are an excellent way to set yourself up for the future. You can buy these NO FEE DRIPs without up front fees, or fees for the reinvestment of the stock dividend. You are harnessing the powerful principal of compound interest by utilizing DRIPs.  You can add to your position without fees of course, to accelerate the process.

A good way to add to your position is with dollar cost averaging. Buying these DRIPs in different market sectors will provide you some diversification, but if you buy solid companies with good businesses, and a track record of earnings/dividend increases, you will have little worry about issues down the road.

Another great feature of DRIPs is that you can take none of the dividend, and reinvest it all, or take some of the dividend, and reinvest the difference, or all of the dividend.  By reinvesting some or all of the dividend, you continually increase the number of shares that you own, ensuring in almost every case that your principal will always be there when you need it.

Time is truly of the essence with this long term strategy. The sooner you get started, the more you will have in later years. If you do you will never have to say, ‘we didn’t plan to fail, we just failed to plan.’

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