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REVIEW of Money 08
The Bottom Line

Finance is something that is a mystery to many ordinary folk. On a fixed or low income, everyday budgeting is hard enough; then along comes the purchase of an expensive necessity that even the credit card won't cover. That's when the "saviours" rise out of the woodwork with offers of great deals and plans that will solve the problem. Financial advisers, banks and loan companies are always there to explain their offers, especially with regard to the benefits; but when it comes to the long-term disadvantages they swap plain speaking for mumbo-jumbo. The mind goes blank and, all-too often, the poor applicant assumes these experts know what they are talking about. Of course they do; but do you? Before signing on the dotted line, think about this: the only sensible way to look at any transactions involving money is to consider The Bottom Line.

That's the cash remaining, or what you will wind up owing, once all the sums have been done. No matter that they tell you how wise you would be to accept their advice, especially when they are using terms that you simply don't understand, ask the question: what's the bottom line; where will I stand at the end of the day? Insist on plain speaking. If they continue to waffle on, ask again, and again; and if they persist in burying the real truth behind financial double-talk, walk away. It won't get you that new car to replace the old bomb, but you won't be discovering down the track that you've incurred a debt that could easily come back to bite with a vengeance.

There are other ways that can hurt too; like those widely-advertised deals offering goods now with no repayments and no interest for 3 years or more. Before jumping in to grab a flashy lounge suite or entertainment unit, remember the bottom line - look at the fine print of the agreement; and read it very, VERY carefully. You'll find a few nasty surprises lurking, I'm sure you will. And what about those plans for phones and Internet combos? They are generally for a set period which you are locked into for the duration. If you sign up, then discover a better, cheaper one next week - too bad!

You don't need to be a financial genius to figure out that plus is greater than zero, and a whole lot more than minus. Merely be selfish, cautious, and look for the bottom line.

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Money 08 click here

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