How to Monitor Your Credit Report – The Advantages and Disadvantages of Three Different Strategies

Although there seems to be much greater awareness now about the importance of checking our credit reports periodically, many people still aren’t sure about exactly how to monitor their credit. In this article, I will identify three different ways in which consumers can monitor their credit, and I will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of these three ways.

The first credit-monitoring strategy would be to request all three of your credit reports at the same time. As you are probably aware, you can get a free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus. (You can claim your free reports by logging on to annualcreditreport.com, which is the official web site supported by the credit bureaus.) The key advantage of getting your three credit reports all at the same time is that you can directly compare them for inaccuracies and inconsistencies. Another advantage of this approach is that you can monitor your credit for free. Also, this approach involves a minimum amount of time, as you would be requesting and then reviewing your reports only once each year. The main disadvantage of this approach, however, is that you will not be eligible for another free credit report for 12 months. Thus, it would be a full year before your next opportunity to identify any inaccuracies or suspicious activity on your report. If you wanted to check your credit a second time during that year (which you most definitely should do), you would have to pay for your three reports. Another disadvantage of this approach is that the free credit reports do not typically include your credit (or FICO) score. The three major credit bureaus will be happy to sell you that piece of information, of course, as will any number of other web sites.

The second strategy would be to order one of your free credit reports every four months. The key advantage of this strategy is that it would allow you to monitor your credit report throughout the entire year, and again, you can do so for free. Additionally, you would have the opportunity to identify any changes or new information on your credit report at four-month intervals, rather than only once a year as in the first strategy. The main disadvantage of this strategy is that you would not be able to immediately compare all three reports at the same time. This means that it might be four or eight months before you recognize any discrepancy between the reports from the different bureaus. A second disadvantage is that this strategy would require you to remember to request your credit reports at three different times each year.

The third strategy is to have your credit report monitored for you by subscribing to one of the many credit-monitoring services. The primary advantage of this strategy is that these services will monitor your credit for you at all three credit bureaus. This is ideal for individuals who do not have the time or the inclination to do so themselves. Another advantage is that these services monitor your credit on a daily basis and alert you about any inaccuracies or unauthorized activity. In this regard they offer superior protection against identity theft, as you could be notified almost immediately of fraudulent activity. The key disadvantage of this strategy is that you will have to pay anywhere from $60 to $180 per year for this service. A second disadvantage is that different companies provide different levels and quality of service. Therefore, it is advisable to shop around and compare various services that are available before signing up for any of them.

Clearly, each of these three methods of monitoring your credit has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Each consumer must decide for him- or herself which of the three methods is most agreeable to him or her. What is most important, though, is that you do monitor your credit regularly.

Improve Fuel Economy – Over 30 Ways to Increase Your MPG and Save Money on Gas

There are two major categories in fuel savings:

  • driving habits
  • vehicle maintenance/upgrades

First, DRIVING HABITS:

  1. Anticipate, use your brakes less, and don’t accelerate quickly. Look far down the road ahead, even if “far” is a city block. Get into turn-lanes smoothly and early: avoid accelerating to get in front of traffic. Anticipate stops or slow-downs ahead and take your foot off the gas: try to coast much more than you brake. Additional coasting distance saves fuel and extends brake-pad life. Remember: he who leaves stoplight quickest pays more at pump.
  2. Use Cruise Control. It saves fuel and speeding tickets. But it’s not just for cruising. The “Resume” button can give you decent acceleration without wasting fuel.
  3. Overdrive and gear selection. If your automatic has Overdrive, use it. If you have a manual transmission, shift early to keep engine rpm’s lower and always use the highest gear for highway cruising.
  4. Slow down. As you increase speed above 60 mph, wind resistance increases rapidly as a percentage of total fuel consumption. Typically, every mile over 60 mph costs you ~1% in fuel economy.
  5. Carefully consider your route and the time of day: traffic flow is a huge factor. For example, say that along your interstate travel route, the space between vehicles averages 3 to 4 car lengths… typical of traffic in many large cities. If it’s stop-and-go, fuel economy will be bad. But if traffic is moving smoothly and fast (at 60 – 80 mph), then fuel economy can be superb: those rushing vehicles create a jet-stream of air that dramatically reduces wind-drag losses. Up to 30% gains are possible. For maximum fuel economy, follow a larger vehicle and use cruise control. Also keep in mind wind direction: if the wind blows strongly from the right and you’re in the right lane, you’ll get NO break in wind resistance from vehicles ahead.
  6. Plan and Combine errands to make fewer trips. Think like your great-grandparents did. Plan meals and grocery shop once a week to once a month: just make a list of other errands during the week, plan your route, and do it all in the same trip. Arrange with other parents to carpool or pick up the kids for you. Such planning may seem like work at first, but it frees up time, helps you relax, and can improve your average fuel economy by 5 to 15%. It can also cut your average weekly miles by 20% or more. Total dollar potential: save 10-35% of monthly fuel costs. How does this help fuel economy? During the first several miles while warming up, the engine and transmission are not operating efficiently. This is why city fuel economy can drop dramatically in cold weather, when it can take 10 miles for the engine and transmission to warm up. Automatic transmissions in particular can be power hogs when fluid is cold, and manual transmissions can feel like you’re shifting in molasses. (Hot/cold temperatures are one of many reasons to use a full-synthetic 100,000-mile transmission fluid). So, combining two or three trips into one reduces the miles you drive, and also gets you better fuel economy.
  7. Use air conditioning wisely: – Keep your windows rolled up at speeds over 40 mph: the air turbulence around the window makes the air-conditioning cheaper than the fuel-economy penalty from additional wind-drag. – Turn off the air and roll down windows at speeds under 40 mph in the summer heat: the additional wind-drag is cheaper than the air-conditioning. Fuel economy impact? ~ 1-5%.
  8. Buy fuel wisely. Ok, this isn’t actually improving your fuel economy, but here are some tips to save fuel money. Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning fill-ups will normally save you money: those are typically the lowest prices of the week. Also, filling up in the morning when the fuel is cooler will get you a few extra cents of fuel. So your best time to fill up is — on average — Wednesday morning. Don’t “top off” your tank: you risk losing fuel to the station’s vapor-recovery system, giving them back some fuel you’re buying.
  9. Use a good fuel additive at fillup. Injectors with excessive deposits have poor spray patterns that can cost you 2 to 15% in fuel economy. Those deposits are caused by poor quality fuel. Since ’95 the EPA has required all gasoline to have deposit-control additives. But about half of all gasoline on the market is lowest additive concentration (LAC) gasoline, which barely meets the regulation and contributes to excessive deposits. What can you do? First, if your vehicle is designed for premium gas, and you’re using it, your injectors may be fine: most premium fuels include higher additive levels that are effective at keeping injectors clean. However, what if you don’t use premium? Use “Top Tier” detergent gas — if you can find it — because this new fuel classification meets the 2004 GM/Honda/Toyota/BMW deposit control standard. If you don’t need premium and Top Tier isn’t available, you probably need an additive. BEWARE: there are many mousey fuel additive products that generate nice sales profits but do little for your vehicle. Find a good one that will actually clean your injectors, keep them clean, and (for diesels) lubricate your fuel pump. Our website suggests fuel additives that we know do the job with quality, for a fair price.
  10. Lose some weight! Clean out your vehicle’s trunk (and maybe the back seat). Tools from that weekend project two months ago is costing you fuel! Every 200 pounds in your trunk costs you roughly 1 mpg.
  11. Don’t drive! Carpool, occasionally ride a bicycle or walk, telecommute for part of your work-week, or take public transportation.
  12. Shift your work-hours to avoid gridlock. Stop-and-go traffic is hard on fuel economy. Arrange traveling to/from work when traffic flow is running smoothly at the speed limit.
  13. Minimize idling — idle smart: Engines only need 10 seconds for warm-up before driving (30 seconds if below zero). Idling your engine more than a minute typically costs more fuel than re-starting it. So avoid drive-through lines at banks and fast-food shops: instead of sitting in line, park and go inside. BUT, when you must idle with an automatic transmission, put the transmission in Neutral or Park while you’re waiting: this will cut fuel usage at idle by 10-40% depending on the vehicle and the transmission temperature. (With manual transmissions, use the brake to keep from rolling back – not the clutch. That saves fuel and extends clutch life.)
  14. Park in the Shade: The hotter the fuel tank gets, the more gas you lose to evaporation.
  15. Smart vacation thinking: If your vehicle is a gas guzzler, consider renting an economical vehicle to drive on vacation. With a discounted week-long rate at better fuel economy, the rental might pay for itself. If you lease your vehicle, using a rental vehicle will also lower your total lease miles.
  16. Keep a log of your mileage and fuel. By monitoring your fuel economy and driving habits, you can see the cost impact of changing your driving style, and you can spot the poor fuel economy that is often a first-alert to maintenance issues. In addition, as you make changes to improve fuel economy, you can measure the exact results (averaged over five or more fill-ups for best accuracy).
  17. Second: vehicle MAINTENANCE & UPGRADES. These areas often get skipped in recommendations on getting better fuel economy. That’s unfortunate because they can have huge impacts. Most fuel economy improvements fall into two general categories:

  • decrease friction in the vehicle’s drivetrain (engine, transmission, differential, wheel bearings, tires);
  • make it easier for air to flow through the engine, anywhere from the air intake to the exhaust tailpipe.

These are the same areas that performance-enthusiasts change to get more horsepower. I spoke with a Lexus mechanic who has won awards for his modified 2003 Dodge 2500 pickup with the Cummins turbo-diesel engine. He was surprised that with his many thousands of dollars in horsepower upgrades, he was getting about 23 mpg even with large tires and higher ground-clearance. “Every time I increased the power, the fuel economy improved.” No surprise to me: except for tires and suspension, he increased his truck’s efficiency with every power upgrade.

  • Keep your engine tuned up. If you have a dashboard service-engine light on, you’re likely wasting fuel. Example: bad Oxygen Sensors are a classic problem that can cost you 5-15% in fuel economy. Overall, poor engine tuning and lack of maintenance can decrease fuel economy by 10-20%, or more.
  • Inflate your tires to their optimum: HIGHER pressures than “normal”. Read carefully. You need EVEN road-contact pressure (equal across the tread) to maximize everything: tire life, fuel economy, bad weather traction, and best overall handling and cornering characteristics with increased road safety. Probably over 85% of car tires on the road are under-inflated, and this costs money in fuel and shorter tire life. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires.

    “Experts” generally (wrongly) define the “proper” pressure as the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. That’s what the government says. That’s what most service shops follow. Unfortunately, that’s seldom correct in your and my vehicle tires.

    Fact is that OEM wheel/tire combinations for most passenger cars and light trucks are designed by the TIRE manufacturer for even tread pressure on the ground when inflated to between 35 and 42 psi [pounds per square inch]: that optimum inflation range is much higher than the recommended 28 to 33 psi that are in many owner’s manuals or on door-jamb labels.

    If your tires normally wear the tread off the shoulder before the center of the tread, then your tires ARE under-inflated.

    So how much air pressure should you use? Visit our full online Ultimate Fuel Economy Guide for important details.

    Impact? By our conservative estimates, most vehicles are riding on tires that are 8 psi low, costing about 3% in fuel economy.

  • Watch your tire choice. Replacing your tires/wheels with wider and/or taller ones may look awesome, but keep in mind that your choice could have a 1 to 3% penalty in fuel economy… or even more in extreme cases like “monster truck” tires/wheels.
  • Switch to best-quality synthetic oils and filters throughout your drivetrain: engine oil, transmission fluid, differential gear oil and wheel bearing grease. This advice — to use the best synthetic lubricants — is rarely heard, yet it’s an easy area to save money. You save in routine maintenance costs, long-term maintenance costs, time-in-the-shop, and of course in fuel economy. But unfortunately it’s not a simple area to understand. So here’s a brief primer on synthetic lubricants:

    The number of vehicle owners turning to synthetic engine oil has increased dramatically, because consumers are learning that synthetics are better than petroleum products in every way, BY DESIGN. More vehicle owners are beginning to realize what the OEM’s and quick-lubes don’t want them to know: that full synthetics can cut wear rates in half and outperform traditional oil for up to 35,000 miles between oil changes.

    But consumers don’t realize THREE KEY THINGS:

    First, that the benefits of synthetics extend to every lubrication area in the vehicle. For example, most transmissions fail because their transmission fluid has failed, either because the fluid hasn’t been changed frequently enough, or because the fluid overheated. Synthetic fluid helps hugely to prevent transmission problems, and naturally saves fuel at the same time.

    Real life: My ’94 Taurus SHO got 10% better fuel economy with engine oil and transmission fluid change, my ’02 Sierra 2500HD Duramax truck got 8% better fuel economy with just synthetic engine and differential fluids, an acquaintance picked up over 20% on a 37 foot gas-engine motor-home, and my friend Phillip’s 1999 Olds Silhouette van picked up 20% just by changing to synthetic engine oil — saving him over $600/yr in fuel.

    In other words, for most vehicles, high-performance synthetic lubricants are one of the simplest and best changes that you can make to improve fuel economy — yet it’s rarely mentioned! One reason is because it’s brand dependent. Most people will get 2 to 12% improvements in fuel economy, IF they use one particular brand of lubricants, but less or no improvement with other “synthetics”.

    Second, not all “synthetics” are real PAO synthetics. Today, in fact, most are fakes because the lubrication industry has agreed that it’s OK to deceive you. (Our site explains how to tell a true synthetic from a petroleum “synthetic”.)

    Why do you need real PAO synthetics, anyway? Because in every way they perform better than petroleum products — by design — and because they are uniquely able to save you the maximum amount of money with 25,000 and even 35,000 mile drain intervals, while other “synthetics” are designed for 7,000 to 10,000 mile use, to maximize petroleum-oil-company profits out of YOUR pocket.

    Third, not all real synthetics are the same. As a Mechanical Engineer who has worked for years in automotive, and done extensive research (see About Us on my site), I live in the everyday world of real results and have developed some strong recommendations based on data and verification with personal testing. In fuel economy, for example, ASTM standardized fleet testing results with one company’s synthetic lubes in commercial vehicles shows an average 8.2% improvement in fuel economy vs the common big-name commercial lubricants. (See this data on our site.)

    Few companies will show legally-binding data based on standardized (tightly defined) test parameters like this, because independent testing on their products will not produce favorable data to support their product claims. In comparison, hundreds of ASTM 4-ball Wear Test results in independent laboratories over years have shown that one company’s lubricants are consistently designed to reduce frictional wear and internal fluid-friction losses to a greater extent than even most synthetic lubricants. Friction reduction translates directly to better fuel economy and much longer-lasting vehicles.

    You want data from respected independent testing laboratories? Ahh — so you know marketing claims are worthless! We have overall comparative testing data for many specific oil blends, including Mobil 1: ASTM testing by independent laboratories. While all the oil companies run these tests, generally only one company publishes significant data, while the others rely on vague performance claims and clever marketing slogans. Beware: test results against generic “competitor A, B, C” are legally meaningless. But published/advertised test data against named products is legally binding, with huge lawsuit potential from competitors.

  • Improve airflow AROUND your vehicle:

    – Loaded roof racks or cargo pods can cut 5% or more off your fuel economy. A cargo rack that slides into a trailer hitch allows you to carry extra stuff, still get into your trunk, and use less fuel.

    – Sunroof air-deflectors can be handy, but do cost you a bit of fuel. Removing the air deflector might save 1/4 to 3/4% in fuel economy.

    – Consider adding a truck bed cover, either soft-type or hard-shell, to get a 1 to 2 mpg boost. What about dropping your tailgate to travel, or replacing the stock tailgate with an “air gate” net or louvered tailgate? They’re not as reliable: results depend on vehicle aerodynamics, bed length, and what you do (or don’t) have in the truck bed.

    – Reduce air turbulence under your vehicle: “Off-road” packages with protective underbody “skid plates”, or “ground effects” styling packages can add 1-4% in fuel economy. The downside? The vehicle may be more difficult to service.

    – Adding an air deflector to the roof of your truck/SUV when towing will also add 1 to 3 mpg by reducing trailer wind-drag. But it can also reduce your non-towing fuel economy by about the same amount if it’s still in position on the vehicle when you’re NOT towing.

  • Improve airflow into the engine. This can happen in several stages of increasing complexity, but the first place is the air filter, where air enters your engine. If your filter is dirty, that reduces fuel economy — up to 10% in the worst cases. However, there’s a conflicting problem. Conventional filters should NOT be replaced before the OEM’s recommended interval or they will increase your engine wear rate: they rely on the “dust cake” buildup to achieve effective filtration, which unfortunately causes a pressure drop that reduces fuel economy.

    Easy Improvement: Replace your air filter with nanofiber filters born from military/aerospace technology. (Just released in 2005 with worldwide patents, and reasonably priced.) You get pressure drop nearly as low as an oiled gauze filter while filtering out 100% of wear particles down to 3 microns (for real). Clean with an annual tap/shake/vacuum. No warranty problems.

    Intermediate: The next thing to look at is the air-filter box design. Many OEM’s have a restrictive flow-path going into the air-box (to reduce engine air-intake noise, or to reduce water intake if you drive through a foot or two of water), including lots of internal stiffener ribs. Sure, the improved strength from ribs may enable you to stand or kneel on the air-box, but they often cause pressure-drop and turbulence.

    There are two improvement routes: an aftermarket air-induction system, or DIY modifications.

    The best route is to look at replacing the entire air-intake box and filter with an aftermarket “air induction” or “air intake” kit.

    Caution: oiled gauze filters won’t keep out many wear particles, so they produce high engine wear-rates. Plus, excess “tack oil” can cause reduced fuel economy and trouble with warranty coverage at many dealers. Choose wisely — go for the OEM certified nanofiber solution if one is available for your vehicle, because nanofiber air filters are the best technical and economical compromise between no filter at all and a restrictive stock filter. The minimum intake choice should include a two-stage dual-density oiled-foam filter: far better than oiled-gauze. If you can’t get at least that in an aftermarket air induction system, then we recommend skipping it: upgrade to a nanofiber air filter, and consider modifying the stock air-box as we outline on our website.

    Advanced: see our site for these details.

    Our easy, intermediate-level and advanced airflow improvement suggestions can realistically net you from 2% up to a maximum 8% improvement in fuel economy.

  • Improve airflow out of the engine: Install an aftermarket exhaust system. These have larger diameter pipes and larger, less restrictive mufflers. My point isn’t to get louder, but to reduce “backpressure” losses which cut down on horsepower, torque and fuel-economy. Since increased noise is typical, and some systems are intentionally designed to be loud, you may want to shop for the exhaust sounds you do or don’t want.
  • Upgrade to a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Careful. Companies and sales people want to make money on your vehicle switch, so watch out for your best interests. First, price matters. You have to save a lot of fuel to pay for a big difference in vehicle price. Paying hybrid premiums to get more fuel economy probably won’t begin to pay you back before you sell the vehicle. Second, real-world driving shows many hybrids don’t live up to their mpg hype. (See our surprising comparison in the online detailed version of this, between hybrids and turbo-diesel vehicles.)
  • Finally, be cautious in your search for improved fuel economy: don’t waste money on fake fuel-economy improvements. Many products are total fakes or hugely exaggerated. Most companies tiptoe around those realities, but I don’t. So here’s the truth:

    – Most “oil additive” or engine “metal treatment” products are or will be embroiled in lawsuits in a number of states. If an oil additive claims a fuel economy improvement over 1%, forget it. Lubrication Engineers explain that oil is a highly engineered chemical package, and that if you want better performance you must buy better oil. Base your choice on published, standardized ASTM test results. That’s the best and cheapest way to get better lubrication performance.

    – Fuel treatments/additives and catalysts? 2-15% gains are available, with the biggest improvements for vehicles with a long diet of cheap LAC (Lowest Additive Concentration) fuel. Question the cost vs value. The answer is Yes to some good ones, No to some poor ones, and “why bother” to a lot of them. Question who to trust, and research what you buy.

    – A mechanical or electronic aftermarket product? Fundamentally, if it isn’t actually improving airflow through the engine/exhaust, it’s probably NOT going to boost fuel economy. Our site has specific “improvement” examples that WON’T save fuel.

  • Turmoil of World Economy – A Blessing In Disguise?

    In the recent months I have literally received hundreds of emails which have requested that I speak or write about the current state of our economy. I was particularly asked what my opinion is about acquiring precious metals and living independently of the grid. Regarding the latter, I have personally taken steps to be energy-independent by installing solar panels. We also have our own water source and grow our own foods; and for the winter months we use a small greenhouse to provide some essential foods. Being a vegan/vegetarian, this makes it easy to be nearly self-sufficient with regard to food.

    If at all possible, I recommend that people move away from areas of high or dense population to more rural areas where they have access to arable land and clean, natural water. If that’s not possible, try to find a small piece of land where you can grow your own food. Many people now convert their lawn into a vibrant vegetable garden.

    Many years ago, I had predicted the emergence of what I call the ‘spiritual economy,’ which is to evolve from the ashes of our current, purely materialistic economy. I perceive the massive decline of our economy and the imminent collapse of the hollow values that uphold it (largely debt-based) as an inevitable step to birth the new, love-based, life-promoting economy where everyone will benefit from the generated waves of prosperity, not just a select few.

    We are collectively transitioning out of an unsustainable state of existence where we rely on things like fiat paper money that is being printed faster than we can think; medications that are designed to make us sicker by the minute, so that we will spend more money on trying to regain our health; foods that are nutritionally worthless and make us crave and overeat them even more; water that is poisoned by the super-toxin fluoride, hormones, plastic particles and radiation from dumped nuclear waste material. We irradiate our food with microwaves and our brains with radio waves emitted from cell phones and other high tech devices. We stop talking to each other because it is more fun to send text messages, day and night, and to be entertained by video games and an endless number of TV programs.

    We let ourselves be hired for pay and then pay part of what we have earned to a hired organization called the ‘government’ that somehow has assumed the role of dictating how we can and cannot live our lives. This government is allowed to use our money to run a Ponzi scheme that accrues a tremendous amount of debt that can never be repaid. To keep the scam going, the masses are forced by law to pay into it (taxation) without getting much in return, except a progressive destruction of the economy, the bankrupting of the housing market, an ever-expanding sickness industry that promises cures but kills more people each year than those who die from all other causes of death combined, and endless wars that have nothing to do with protecting us against an invading enemy, except to provide or secure access to foreign oil, gas, water and other natural resources that make the most wealthy even wealthier.

    Our planet and her inhabitants are at the brink of extinction. What politicians and economists refer to as healthy economic growth is now fiction. Huge amounts of fiat money are being moved from one hand to another, from one organization or company to another, from one country to another, but all this just means that someone gets wealthier while another becomes poorer. A truly health economy benefits everyone, not just a selected few.

    Today’s so-called ‘economic growth’ is now largely based on fixing problems. For example, the sickness industry is undergoing a massive growth that funnels vast amounts of money into the hands of a few corporate giants while impoverishing those who happen to fall ill. Health insurance premiums go up as more people get sick. Drug companies make sure to produce medicines that don’t cure anyone, but just suppress symptoms of disease for a little while; their continued prosperity depend on a steadily increasing number of repeat customers. Insurance companies thrive in times of calamities. More people sign up for flood and wind insurance after they see others’ homes being destroyed by floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

    Food shortages are increasing and food prices are rising. The rest of the foods that don’t go up in price are heavily subsidized by the taxpayer’s money. Massive bailouts of failing banks that make money off others in distress are further eroding the value of the currency and, therefore, the economy. Clever Wall Street investors spend a lot of money to make a lot more money, all out of thin air. But someone is going to lose whatever they win. Taking the entire economy into consideration, there is no real benefit in shifting wealth from one entity to another.

    Creating poverty, which sows the seeds of crime, is a very lucrative business that serves ‘economic growth’. We spend billions of dollars each year on incarcerating people and keeping them there. It costs $40,000 – $60,000per year just to house and feed one prison inmate. In the US, we have over 2,000,000 prisoners. That’s a staggering $80,000,000,000 being ‘invested’ in the economy. In addition, the US has spent $1.2 trillion on wars since 2001, money that could have easily eradicated the most severe poverty on the entire planet.

    Economic growth that is measured by how much money is being spent on creating or maintaining social-economic problems is economic regression, not economic progress. And there is a natural limit to such economic regression. The gap between the rich and poor widens by the minute and it a just a matter of time before the masses will revolt to assure their own survival and that of their families. The more we waste our energy and resources on controlling or fixing problems, the more likely we will have to face even more of them. As the old saying goes, like attracts like. We can forget about reaching the end of the current recession so that everything can go back to ‘normal’. What’s considered normal is not good enough anymore. Humankind deserves to move on.

    The imminent collapse of the world economy is but a necessary, albeit painful, step toward restoring a sense of value and humaneness in our world affairs. We are not here to compete with one another, but to work together through service and sharing our gifts and resources. An economy that is based on competition is destined to destroy itself. Enriching ourselves at the cost of others is a recipe for disaster. Greed interferes with the delicate balance that exists between the energies of giving and receiving, or supply and demand.

    To make it through the transition from the current state of economy to the next, we need to cycle back to the more stable and reliable currency backup system that has been in place for hundreds of years. This proven system was abandoned many years ago in order to funnel massive wealth into the hands of a few, while impoverishing the rest of us through massive debt creation. People who are in debt are obviously indebted to those who so generously offer them a loan. You relinquish control over your life when you accumulate debt. Now that the masses are spending more money than they own, almost the entire country is enslaved and controlled by those few who issue the debt (loans against interest) and own it.

    Precious metals should have remained the backbone of all currencies and economies. Once this backbone was broken, the monetary system became subject to the massive manipulation and chaos that we are now faced with. President John F. Kennedy attempted to steer the US back to self-autonomy by abandoning the Federal Reserve and taking over the printing and circulation of gold-backed currency. His assassination quickly put a stop to it. Today, the trillions-and-growing national debt makes it impossible to salvage the economy. Bailouts of banks and large corporations merely postpone the inevitable economic bankruptcy and make it more traumatic, if dire, for everyone involved.

    For the new economy to emerge, the old economy must be dismantled and decentralized. Every person must be able to create her or his own small economy for a balanced exchange of real goods, services and values to take place in our communities and worldwide. The old barter system, where something of true value was exchanged for something else that had value, must be reinstated in order to achieve decentralization and put an end to the power of those who control the money.

    In truth, no one has power over us unless we allow it. We need to know that we do have choices, however difficult a situation may seem. Insurmountable difficulties have a great purpose; they force us to change course. For example, more and college graduates who are unable to get work in the cities are moving to rural areas where they either find work at existing food farms or lease a small piece of land where they can grow their own food. Many of them are now making a very good living of selling fresh foods to the local communities and they actually feel very good about what they do. Growing and sharing food is a time-tested recipe for happiness and peace of mind.

    Paper money has no more value than the paper it is printed on, and it is subject to devaluation when more of it is printed or circulated. Thus, selling debt is a quick way to destroy the value of economies. Zimbabwe is very good example of a dysfunctional economy, and we are following in her footsteps. The greediness that fuels Ponzi schemes, such as the privately run Federal Reserve banking conglomerate, is endless. But without our participation in their gambling house, they cannot last long.

    Instead of fighting the current system and blaming others for the now self-destructive economy, we can all step out of it and dismantle the very foundation of the debt-based economy. One simple piece of advice can go a long way, and it goes like this: don’t spend money you don’t have. If you have extra money, don’t spend it all, but create a nest egg that consists of gold and/or silver. By doing so, you literally own something of lasting value that is inflation proof.

    It is not important how much worth precious metals have in comparison with the US dollar, for instance. The same silver coin that bought you a gallon of gas 40 years ago will still buy you a gallon of gas today or 10 years from now, if we still have gas by then. Precious metals cannot be devalued. If you decide to own gold or silver, I recommend keeping it rather than buying more fiat money as its ‘value’ increases. The more people who follow this advice, the faster and more smoothly the inevitable collapse of the debt-based economy can occur.

    The collapse of the current economy is a prerequisite for the love-based, spiritual economy to emerge, just like the blossoms of an apple tree must die to give way to producing the life-giving fruits. The principles that have run our economies so far are outdated. Corruption is rampant. As the old proverb goes, we need a new seed in order to yield a new crop.

    At a time when money determines everything that has some value, we can no longer expect to evolve in a meaningful way. Catastrophes like those we have witnessed or experienced in recent months, weeks and days serve as reminders that our material possessions and jobs can vanish at a moment’s notice. We are also learning that by destroying our natural environment, we are also destroying our livelihoods. When love becomes the measure of value, not money, economic hardship will vanish and the environment will be treasured and respected.

    Making money, alone, does not create lasting happiness and love, but love and happiness can certainly bring about lasting abundance in life. We have now reached the extreme of the pendulum of superficiality and the pendulum must swing back to fathom the depth of our spiritual essence.Although acquiring precious metals helps to bring about this transition, this should only be a means to achieve an end.

    Different Strategies For Being More Motivated

    Have you ever had that time you just needed a way to get through a day or just get given the piece of information you need that fits with you? We have all been in a place where we just want to be uplifted and move on from our present state, we do not want to be that negative, down unhappy person. We are trying hard to make everyday a day for us. Another wonderful day fill of opportunity.

    We are all so different it is no wonder then that our answers are all different. Deep inside ourselves we find a way to get in touch and get motivated.

    For one person motivation could be that perfect song that cheers you up on your off day, for another it could be holding a new born baby. It could be listening to your favorite audio or sitting reading a great book. The list of motivators goes on and on, no way is wrong nor in the same breath right.

    When you are seeking the motivation you need in your life, evaluate what lifts your mood already what gives you a cheerful day. Look upon your greatest day and feel it. Feel what it was that helped you get there.

    What is for one, is not perhaps the next persons motivation no one is to judge what is going to help another.

    It is a bit like saying we all will bring up our children exactly the same way, it just does not go that way as we are all from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, ways of life and we all are so different yet unique & beautiful in our own ways.

    To find your motivator is to think of your perspective which would be different for each individual. It could be a day that went well, what happened in that day? Think of what you have done differently perhaps to start that day? Think of what it was that made you smile What was it that made you laugh? What was that feel good moment? Special occasion? Achievement, success, reaching a goal.

    Now that you have found your Motivator, tune into what you need to be motivated. Did you need a day that was organized? Did you need a good nights sleep? Was it that you had no issues crop up or is it you just felt them differently.

    Now that you have analyzed what you did, what you needed, go and rinse and repeat and fill your days with more of what gets you tuned into what makes you feel good. If you can take away any of the parts that got you down or perhaps think of them differently you are in charge of your motivation.

    It could apply to a business day, a mothers day at home, a retired person enjoying their retirement or just a young person doing a normal school day.

    You are in charge of your motivation, fill your life with what you need, only you know what is your motivator only you have the answer.

    Poker Sit and Go Report: Every Table is Different and Requires a Different Strategy

    You may have heard that playing in single table sit and go tournaments requires due patience to wait for solid starting hands. The concept here is that when you do get a big hand – that is when you are going to double up, thus working your way into the money.

    If you have played any more than a few sit and go tournaments, you must surely be aware that the above scenario rarely works out to the point where you can consistently make money. If you have one implied overall strategy for all sit and go tables, you will be leaving money on many of those tables for your competitors.

    Each sit and go table has its own persona and chemical make-up unlike any other. You could even have the exact same players, sitting in the exact same position at two different tables, and have a remarkably different jive and outcome.

    This all begs the question of how to adjust and take into account these different factors. In consequence, it is still prudent to play conservatively during the early rounds, but consider this quiet time as your profiling session. Some software, like  can help you with this but you can speed things up as well, by carefully watching each hand, and the hole cards of your opponents. You can do this by checking the hand history, but holdem indicator actually retrieves that information for you automatically.

    If you see one player limping in early position with J8s, then calling a late position raiser, you have a fair idea immediately, that he is an elephant or maybe even a monkey. If by the 3rd hand in you have AJos in late position, and the board shows 2h Js 6c and you are heads up against that same player, there is simply no need to be patient here, I would run him to the river trying to get as many of his chips as possible. In this case, a blanket, one-size-fits-all strategy would have cost you opportunity chips as you wouldn’t even have even come in with a hand like AJos in the early rounds.

    This doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon a tight strategy, but it does mean that you must use the early rounds to identify opportunities. Opportunities can arise in a number of ways besides hand strength. Where position and profiling are considered, your timing is critical, but the early stages often present cheap flop situations with hands like suited connectors, Ace and King X suited, and 2 paint cards.

    When playing hands like these, you should be in late position or at an obvious tight table, and the flop should work well for you. Most importantly, you need the inner strength and patience to get away from the marginal hands in the early stages of a tournament. So getting in cheap is one thing, getting out cheap is quite another. The point here is, keep your options open and look for opportunities outside of any strict formula you have been following.

    Information On Different Strategies Involved In Stock Option Trading

    The stock market is a brilliant place to improve your earnings and to multiply your savings. There are a number of investments that you can make to help you earn a lot of money. Stock options or equity options are a type of investment that connects you directly to the asset or business. In big corporations, senior employees are given the choice to invest in the company itself. This investment is in the form of stock options.

    Because these are like any other kind of investment there are a number of different strategies that can be implemented to get good profits. The risk spectrum for this kind of trading strategies is covered completely to appeal to the most conservative to the most daring. In the end what you need to decide is which kind of investor you want to be – one who wants to hedge the investments made or one who is ready to speculate and take high risks. But whichever type of investor you want to be, it all comes down to profits. That is the ultimate goal really. To make profits what you need to do is to monitor the ups and downs of the stock market and choose a strategy that is devised to match the condition of the market.

    These strategies or tactics are categorized into 4 major groups that will work on different types of markets –

    • Vertical Spread – in this tactic you buy and sell the stocks at various strike prices in various contract months. The trading is done such that the risk of one stock is offset in the other.
    • Ratio Spread – in this tactic short and long securities are bought in imbalanced numbers. This inequality in the numbers helps to offset the risk.
    • Delta Spread – in this approach the deltas of the options are taken into account. The delta of the stock bought is divided by the delta of the stock written and a neutral position is acquired.
    • Credit Spread – in this approach the stock that is sold is in a position close to the market and the stock that is bought is in a position further away. In this approach both the positions are in the same direction.

    There are also variants of some of these tactics, each breaking down to make it easier for you to make your desired profits. The plethora of strategies in this kind of trading makes the stock option trading the most sophisticated investment method.

    Different Strategies in Internet-Based Marketing

    The large volume of online businesses and advertisements make it seem hard to imagine that e-commerce is relatively very young. Many of the current online platforms that are popularly used by marketers are less than ten years in existence.

    For example, Facebook was only launched in 2004 as a campus-based social network. Within eight years, Facebook users increased to almost one billion users from a few hundreds when it was launched. The great advertising potential of this social networking platform raked in multi-billion profits for the company. It also made the founder, Mark Zuckerberg richer by US$ 9.4 billion. The platform also continues to help bring significant profits for many small businesses online.

    It is now estimated that more than US$ 200 billion is being spent on online marketing. The amount is expected to steadily increase as competition becomes tougher. Virtually all companies, large or small, are vying for attention online. Securing a place in the search engine results page is a very valuable strategy. It can determine the difference between success and failure, between profitability and bankruptcy. This is especially true for startup enterprises that are highly dependent on online presence.

    Just like offline or traditional marketing strategies, online marketing strategies have the same three basic purposes. These are initiating pubic awareness, creating desire, and prompting consumers to act. Listed below are the main categories of online marketing.

    Display advertising – This is perhaps the most visible type of online marketing. It is straightforward but oftentimes expensive. Just like traditional offline banner or billboard ads, display advertising online relies on graphic design, words or slogans, and proper placement. These can be prominently and strategically placed on various websites so that they can be seen by large number of internet users. These banners range from simple text boxes to animated ads. All of them have clickable links that lead to the company websites being promoted.

    Search engine marketing or SEM – This type of marketing is actually a comprehensive strategy that may incorporate other strategies online. The main purpose of this strategy is to improve the ranking of a website when displayed in the result pages of search engines. The use of contextual advertising based on specific keywords or keyword phrases are commonly utilized. Oftentimes it involves paid advertising in the search engine websites. Pay per click advertisements are commonly used. Extensive search engine optimization techniques are also implemented.

    Search engine optimization or SEO – As part of the SEM strategy, SEO techniques focus on natural or algorithmic search results that are not based on paid advertisements. Articles with specific keywords are commonly used to improve ‘organic’ search results. Several web 2.0 platforms such as blogs are also utilized for this purpose.

    Social media marketing – As mentioned earlier, this type of marketing strategy utilizes the convenience of various social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. This strategy often targets specific demographics and implements viral techniques.

    Email marketing – Email is perhaps the oldest form of online marketing. It is very effective when used strategically. However, the abuse of this direct marketing approach is oftentimes associated with spamming and scams.

    Referral marketing – Otherwise known as tell-a-friend approach is basically a word of mouth strategy that can utilize emails, social networks, forums and chatting to spread the word. It relies on social influence in a close-knit group of friends or acquaintances. Satisfied customers have the tendency to refer their friends.

    Affiliate marketing – Very few marketing strategies offer opportunities for third-party endorsers and even customers to earn. This strategy works by attracting those who are interested to earn extra cash by serving as affiliate partners or agents. It simply involves putting a link or advertisement on a website of a participant. The affiliate gets paid certain percentage per referral who is converted into customer or client. Hence, this is an incentive-based marketing strategy.

    Inbound marketing – Offering e-books, online services and software applications for free seems counter-intuitive. Nonetheless, it is very effective when done properly. It is all about titillating prospective clients or customers in trying specific products for free but on limited conditions. This strategy aims at establishing a loyal clientele base.

    Video marketing – Many people mainly use the internet for entertainment purposes. One of the simplest strategies to attract the attention of online users is through videos that are directly or indirectly connected to specific products or websites. Oftentimes, popular amateur but viral videos are useplace advertisements.

    Take a Different Strategy and Keep it in Strict Confidence

    A company should not take the same strategy taken by the competitor in business. Sun Tzu wrote “The Arts of War” about 500 B.C. in China and insisted the importance of the strategy to defeat the weak while avoiding a battle against the strong. In most cases, however, a company plays safe and follows its bigger competitor using the same strategy. It intentionally or unintentionally ignores the factors that make the strategy of the competitor successful and presumes that the strategy taken by the competitor will also be effective to it without careful consideration. As a result, it unknowingly attempts to attack on the strength of the competitor.

    It is important to know that specific products of each company make its strategy work well. Not only visible products, such as equipment and apparatus, but also invisible products, such as technological strength, sales forces, developmental power, and service capability, vary with the company. In the subprime lending disaster, you can say that every company involved took the same strategy seeking big profits and fell into an abyss together. It is an honor for a company to have its strategy imitated by another company, but the competitor’s strategy is the worse strategy for a company that imitates it. Any strategy does not work as soon as it is known to your competitor.

    Japan provoked a reckless war against the U.S. without notice in 1941, and it was knocked into smithereens in 1945. Putting aside the fact that Japan had no chance of winning in terms of military strength, it is important to know that the U.S. mostly knew Japanese strategies beforehand because they were too much faithful to the textbook. During the age of provincial wars in Japan (1467-1615), warlords worked out their own strategies and fought against their enemies with the strategy full of originality. The greatest warlord is Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), and both Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1536-1598) and Ieyasu Tokugawa (1542-1616) are his students. It is striking to know that none of the three warlords shared the same strategy.

    During World War II, headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Army was staffed only with the bright graduates from the military academy. They all were too faithful to the textbook to construct a strategy full of originality. In addition, they were too proud and gentlemanly. A high-raking official in the headquarters reportedly told “It is not gentlemanly to sneak a look at strategies that the U.S. keeps in strict confidence.”

    Forex Automoney – The Different Strategies Offered by This Signal Service

    As one of the premier signal services in the world, Forex Automoney has quickly grown in popularity and their indicactors are used by thousands of people from many countries.  As part of their membership benefits, the company has developed 3 trading strategies which help people receive signals that are right for their specific trading style.  This customization option has helped many people trade successfully but some have become confused by the different strategies and which one would be best for them.

    Today we are going to help you determine which of Forex Automoney’s strategies you should use.

    1.) Intraday

    Intraday is a strategy that is best for full time traders. Since the signals usually come in more than once per day, it’s best to utilize this technique on days when you have more time on your hands to spend trding Forex.

    2.) Daily

    The daily strategy can be equally used by full time and part time traders alike. While this strategy suits full time traders because of it’s flexibility, it also suits full time traders because the signals are still delivered everyday.

    3.) Weekly

    This strategy is best for part time or casual traders with wider spreads. Trading based on weekly signals takes much less time and the traders often open longer.

    When trading, always remember that, although Forex Automoney is a very accurate signal service, you have to follow their signals in order to maximize profit and diminish your chances of  loss. Try not to close a trade early or exit if you feel you have lost money, wait for the signal as real time profit draw downs  are an inherent aspect of trading in the Forex market, regardless of what system you are using.

    Different Strategies For Affiliate Marketing Online

    Considering yourself as a great resource for your business online is a great start, but there are other strengths and abilities together with different strategies for Affiliate Marketing that you must implement online, in order to provide value to your audience in your niche.

    Affiliate Marketing is attracting a huge number of people coming online to earn an income that may end up replacing their day job. If you are interested in this model of business online, you probably may like to know that it is one of the easiest ways to earn money online.

    Because there are so many people taking up Affiliate Marketing, you need to position yourself differently from the rest of the marketers out there on the internet. This way you can get a better following from your prospects when they see you being unique and authentic providing great value to them.

    For differentiating yourself as an affiliate, there are a number of things that you must do in order to outwit the competition and become the super marketer that attracts many subscribers and buyers for the products you promote.

    What happens when so many affiliates promote the same product or program? If you want to succeed and rise above the rest, being different and providing greater value than them will help you in attaining more followers and sales.

    As I said at the beginning of this post evaluating yourself is the very first thing to do in your quest to do Affiliate Marketing. Then, from there, you look for the areas that complement your qualities as a marketer. You are going to take account of your assets, tools in progress, ideas and projects to implement several streams of income to maximize your revenue.

    As you may realize, having only one income stream can be very risky, so it is in your best interests to create different income streams. These could be done out of the skills that you have already; for instance, if you are good at writing, you could implement an email marketing campaign to build your list of subscribers.

    This can be done by setting up an auto-responder campaign to attract subscriber’s names and email addresses, and then deliver to them a lot of value and establish a relationship to generate the ‘know, like and trust’ status. In time, out of this relationship, you can begin creating revenue for your business.

    The campaign through your auto-responder, is about a series of follow-up messages that you write for your subscribers to receive at intervals of time that you decide. One day apart, two days apart or whatever period you decide is best for your prospects.

    Your prospects are sent first of all to a ‘capture page’ that you create or that you get done for you, with the only option for your prospects to do, which is to give you their name and email address in return for something of value that you give them free. This could be an eBook, a video, a short training course or a review.

    One thing to notice here is that many affiliates operate simply by sending prospects to the sales’ page of the vendor and for you to be different now is to have your own capture page to ‘squeeze’ their details so they became ‘your subscribers’. This way you start differentiating yourself from the other affiliates.

    If you are good at audio or video creation, these skills can earn you big money when you make video sales’ pages to promote the products and services of your niche. On the other hand, if you could create your own products, this alone would put you in a different platform as an online marketer.

    Another strategy to differentiate yourself from other affiliates is to have your own website, from where you not only have them opting in, but also offering them other products and services to help them further. Your customers will then be able to come back to your website for further information or to simply buy more products and services.

    Imagine when they find in your site products they can not find in other websites, you then become special, a distinguished affiliate marketer that is a leader in your niche. Remember that in order to fully promote a product that you did not create, it is always best to buy the product yourself or, failing that, at least get a sample sent to you as an affiliate, from the vendor so you can study and review it and then recommend to your customers in a more ethical way.

    There are also great affiliate marketing networks out there that you can promote to earn 100 % commissions. Websites like Empower Network which have a tremendous following in the market place right now, that have a blogging platform ready for you to use, when you join for $25.00/month.

    Another powerful affiliate network is Pure Leverage which, again, pays you 100 % commissions and has a great blogging platform, a comprehensive tools suite and super marketing training, all for the grand total of $25/month. Superb value I hear you say.

    Anyway this assures you that not all the eggs are in one basket, so to speak, and your streams of revenue are being diversified all the time. Finally, if you do some of the things suggested above, you are bound to get better results in Affiliate Marketing.

    To your success

    German Calvo.