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How NBC Started

May 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham

It was November of 1926 when NBC first aired a radio program from the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. It was the product of three large media groups: Radio Corporation of America (now known as RCA), American Telephone and Telegraph (now known as AT&T), and Westinghouse Electric (which would become CBS/Viacom).

It was David Sarnoff, the general manager of RCA, who facilitated the creation of NBC and became its sole owner by 1930. Sarnoff wanted to build a vast information network, but NBC found a lot of popularity with shows like Amos N’ Andy and The Jack Benny Program. It also owned “The Blue Network,” which it was forced to sell in 1943. The FCC feared a monopoly, so NBC sold off the undervalued asset and The Blue Network became known as ABC.

CBS and NBC were bitter rivals for a period. In 1948, NBC had a small crisis when its rival network made a talent raid. They took George Burns, Gracie Allen and the stars of the Amos N’ Andy Show amongst others.

But NBC was not down and out. It began television broadcasting with the World’s Fair in April of 1939. That kicked off a coast-to-coast bid to be on the sets of every television owner in America. A goal they all but reached by 1951.

Though NBC pioneered innovations like color TV, and had great success with stars like Milton Bearle and Sid Ceaser, they perpetually came in second place beneath CBS. NBC has always been the leader in technology though, helping the FCC to adapt color television as the standard and introducing taped broadcasts to its repertoire.

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Twitter page.

Review your credit report carefully

April 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Many make a mistake of thinking credit score and the credit report are same. But they are two different things. You are entitled to a free credit report once a year from each of the three main credit reporting agencies; Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Your three digit credit score or commonly known as FICO score may not be free with your credit report and depending on the provider, it may cost you to obtain a score.

Your three digit score may vary depending on the credit score company. A lower score could impact a loan interest rate. Your score fluctuate and keeping your financing well healed will help you to maintain a good score. Your payment history, use of debt, inquiries, mix of credit and age of credit determine the score.

You need to obtain a copy of your credit report from one of the reporting agencies we mentioned above. One strategy is to obtain a report once every four months from each of the provider. You need to review your report for accuracy and take immediate actions to correct any mistakes. Your score is based on your report and any derogatory comments from collection agencies and other credit providers may impact your FICO score.

A Brief History of Deposit Insurance

April 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Phineas Upham

In response to what Roosevelt called “undermined confidence on the part of the public,” and the general rush on assets that followed, he asked most state governors to suspend all banking activity in 1933. By March 3rd of 1933, there was hardly a bank open to do business. Roosevelt’s banking holiday was just the beginning of the much broader polices that created the FDIC program.

The FDIC provides deposit insurance on a banking transaction. That means that a customer can deposit, as of 2013, $250,000 dollars and expect that money to be returned on hand when requested. The organization also supervises certain financial institutions, inspecting them for soundness.

Additionally, the FDIC is called upon to manage failed banks.

The program is not given any federal funding. The money for FDIC comes from the banks that pay for it, except for credit unions which have their own agency. FDIC insurance is taken for granted today, but it played an important part in the economy of Depression era America.

At the time, banks were routinely run of their money and often yielded less than the deposits they took in. Few banks were spared from runs, and Roosevelt used FDIC programs to try and restore some faith in banking.

Until 2005, it was not possible for the FDIC board to readjust their rates for inflation. That put legislators in a tricky position, as they had to continually revisit the issue and raise rates accordingly. The FDIC Reform Act of 2005 gave the agency the power to consider inflation every five years. In this way, insurance is routinely raised to cover potential amounts the average customer is likely to make in his lifetime.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his LinedIn page.

Understanding charges and fees for credit cards

March 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Credit cards are riddled with charges and fees. Before getting a credit card understand what fees and charges involved and how they work. Not just the fees, many come with perks too. Compare all your options before choosing the right card.

Many credit cards carry an annual fee. They may waive it for initial couple of years like during the financial trouble time within the last few years and some comes with no annual fees. Look for a card with no annual fee but be aware that they may have other fees that we describe below.

Your credit limit comes with a cash advance which may be one half or some other amount of the total credit limit. In order to access your cash, the issuer normally charges one time fees and cash advance interest rate may be higher than your purchase interest rate.

I have one card that the issuer showers me with convenience checks more often before and after the holidays. They may offer lower interest rate to use them but the offer is limited to a time period. They may also charge one time fees for using them and rate may be different for purchases and paying off other bills. Understand how they work before using.

American’s taking up debt is on the rise again

February 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Since the last spike in record debt in 2007, Americans using debt for all kinds of financial and other activities are on the rise again. Just in the last quarter of 2013, more than $241 billion debt has been taken by Americans, according to some government reports. These debts include mortgages and Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC), student loans, auto loans, credit card uses and others. 30 something borrowers are the biggest group of users of debt and student loan being the highest debt segment for them followed by auto loans. Those who are over 60 appear to reduce their debt load more than any other age group.

Is it a sign of confidence in the economy that it is rebounding or something else? Experts are all over the map. Some say even with record use of debt, delinquencies especially mortgages are declining. Mortgage delinquencies stand at 3.9 percent at the end of 2013 and foreclosures are also on the decline. Bankruptcy filings appear to be levelling off. All are good signs of strengthening economy. However, there are other areas of the loan spectrum that are not so bright spots. Student loan defaults are at record 11.5 percent.

An Identity theft could ruin your financial health

January 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Your FICO score is more than a number and it reveals your financial capabilities including your credit worthiness. Many creditors and landlords use it to determine whether they want to extend credit or rent an apartment for you to line. Many prospective employers are also increasingly using your credit score and your credit information before they offer you an employment. When an identity theft occurs, chances are that your credit score will be compromised and you may also be held liable for some of the charges.

When an identity theft occurs, the victim may face difficulties using available credit in open credit accounts. New charges that a victim is not responsible will increase the monthly minimum payments that are due putting victims into financial difficulties. On the other hand, thieves could use your personal information to empty your bank accounts. Identity theft could easily move beyond your bank account and credit cards and onto other aspects such as your telephone and utility accounts. If you suspect an identity theft, cancel your credit card accounts immediately and work with your creditors to get relief. File a theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and a theft report with your local law enforcement agency.

New rules to help borrowers especially retirees qualify for a mortgage

December 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Article submitted by Debt Declaration.

Qualifying for a loan especially for a mortgage loan seems harder these days. But many of us would like to refinance or even take a new mortgage in order to take advantage of still lower interest rates. Typically lenders look at your income in order to assess your ability to pay back the loan. This becomes an issue especially for retirees. A change in under-writing rules that took place recently may help for some who are trying to qualify.

Freddie Mac now allows assets in nest egg such as 401(k) and 457 plans, annuities, and IRA plans to be counted for qualifying for a new mortgage or refinance. They are called “asset depletion rules.” One requirement is that the borrower must be fully vested including no early-withdrawal penalty in the asset. Lenders use guidelines provided by loan guarantors to calculate the asset’s monthly share towards the loan payment. These will be added to dividends and Social Security and pension payments to come up with monthly income of the borrower. Still the borrower will be subject to down payment requirements for the loan such as 30 percent down payment or equity in the property. Check with your lender for details.

New rule to help borrowers

October 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In order to qualify for a new mortgage to buy a home or to refinance an existing home loan, a borrower needs to prove to the lender that he or she or together they have adequate income and be able to repay the loan over time. This has been a problem for many retirees who are receiving a retirement or Social Security benefit but has adequate savings for collateral for a new or refinancing an existing mortgage. Many would like to take advantage of the historically low mortgage interest rates. A new rule change that went into effect in spring 2011 will help many with a substantial nest egg to overcome the situation.

Freddie Mac that guarantee many mortgages now allow lenders take funds in retirement accounts to qualify for a new mortgage or to use it when considering an existing mortgage for refinancing. Assets that will qualify under the new rule include IRAs, 401(k) funds, 457 funds, annuities, and lump-sum distribution accounts. Lenders will calculate funds in these accounts as well as monthly Social Security benefits, dividend income, pension distributions and other retirement payments when calculating how much to lend. One problem with this approach is lenders may require larger down payment such as 30 percent.

A fresh look at paying off credit card debt

September 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Interest rates on many consumer loans are at a historic low. But it is not true for credit card debt. Interest rates on credit card debt could vary, but stay between 10 to 30 percent and most paying at the higher end. Here is a fresh look at paying down your credit card debt.

1. Understand how they work
They are designed to spend your hard earned and yet to be earned money. They can keep you in debt for a long time or if you don’t plan, for forever. It can trap you with an everlasting minimum payment. Understand how bad the word “revolving” is and try to break the habit.
2. Develop a plan of attack
Arrange your credit card debt from highest interest to lowest. Concentrate paying off balance with the highest interest rate first because it can save you money. Make sure to pay at least the minimum payment of cards as well. Once you paid off the highest interest rate card, store it away and move on to the next.
3. Curtail your habits
Treat your credit card as your emergency fund and use it only in an emergency. You should not charge your day to day expenses on your credit card.

Why you need to be vigilant on your credit report

August 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Theft of credit information is becoming a problem in the U.S. Most vulnerable are the older generation. This makes a compelling reason to be vigilant on your credit report. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the credit reporting agency once a year. Stagger it throughout the year and obtain a report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

What to look for in your credit report? According to the Federal Trade Commission one in every five report contained an error. The American Credit Counseling reports that 15 percent found charges listed in their credit report that doesn’t belong to them.

Identity theft is becoming an epidemic in the U.S. It is a more compelling reason to check your credit report periodically. In 2012, more than 19 percent of persons over the age of 60 became victim of an identity theft according to the Federal Trade Commission.

If you are facing difficulties with paying medical bills and co-signed student loans for your kids and grand- kids, you may want to check your credit report to see any impact. Before applying for a new credit card or an auto loan make sure to check your credit report for errors because it can affect your interest rate.

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