Auto Repair

How to Find Value in No Load Mutual Fund Investing

How to Find Value in No Load Mutual Fund Investing

What are you thinking when it comes to your no load mutual fund selections? Are you saving pennies and sacrificing dollars?
Are you spending your time looking at expense ratios, analyzing Morningstar ratings and searching for funds with low fees and no 12b1 charges? If you are like most people, you know these things in and out. You’ve spent hours evaluating them, and your chosen mutual funds cost little to purchase and maintain. But they still don’t perform to your hopes and expectations.
So, why is this happening? Because this kind of investing focuses on cost as opposed to value.
Investors with this philosophy have usually interviewed numerous advisors. But instead of trying to find someone suitable with a sensible approach, they only want to know who has the lowest fees. That’s like going to the cheapest auto repair shop and getting the best price, but your car still doesn’t run well.
Then there are the investors who call or email me wanting a recommendation on a no load mutual fund. They want one with no 12b1 charge, but they completely ignore the issue of how the fund might perform.
Both these kinds of investors spend their time trying to save pennies and in the process they are losing dollars. Instead of falling into the penny wise, dollar foolish trap, here are some ideas that will assist you in evaluating the end profit rather than just the short term saving.
1. Shift your focus from penny pinching to looking at the big picture: What can a mutual fund or an advisor do for you, not how much does it cost? Why? If you buy a given no load mutual fund at the right time and it gains a tidy 15% for you over a 6 week period, would you really care about the costs? If a mutual fund—or an advisor for that matter—can give you superior performance and an increase of several percentage points over your bargain price pick wouldn’t you pay an extra 0.25%?
2. Consider finding a fee-based investment advisor who uses a facts-based methodology and has a track record indicating those kinds of returns. For example, in my own practice I used a trend tracking approach to get my clients into the market on April 29, 2003. Plus, our research and homework led us to recommending funds that gained anywhere from 11.50% to 22.00% over the following 6 week period. How did you do during that time? Do you think any of my clients care whether one of these funds has a small 12b 1 charge? Or whether they have the lowest expense ratios in the industry? I know they don’t.
The bottom line is to look at costs as balanced by performance and that’s where you find value. Then seek true value not simple savings, enjoy healthy dollar-level returns and don’t sweat the pennies.

Auto Repair

What To Look-Out For When Purchasing A Used Car

What To Look-Out For When Purchasing A Used Car

It is always wise and advisable to do a detailed inspection of any used vehicle or auto parts that you opt and plan to purchase, BEFORE executing the transaction and any money exchanges hands.

Advertisements and sales-talk about the car, that might have lured you in or grabbed your attention might be misleading, misrepresentation, even untrue. Some of the toted features and promised quality may not really present, even performance claims, enhancements or exaggerations are quite commonplace and pervasive in this market as well. You will be well-served to diligently be on the look-out for them.

Here are some examples of what to pay attention to in your pre-purchase vehicle or parts inspection:

I. Vehicle Exterior: do a walkabout and note the paint-job and detailing on the car

1 Look for scratch-marks and other dents.

2 If you are unable to detect any and/or suspect a new finish, ask when and why the car was painted.

3 Hiding rust and imperfections are quite common.

4 Check the bumpers and wheel wheels checking for dents, body filling and/or signs of rust or decay.

5 The underside might yield the most of this problem.

6 You might be able to infer from these aspects mentioned above, that if there are problems on the out or underside, they might also just be inside the vehicle as well.

II. Vehicle Angles, as well as the Vehicle Interior: check all angles of the vehicle, top to bottom, tip to tail, rear, front, sides and even underneath the vehicle.

1 Any inconsistencies or signs of major repair, could be cause for concern.

2 Try to cover all the details and detailing.

3 Look for outright and lingering sign of damages.

4 Stains, tears or exposure, even sun damage might be noticeable on the upholstery and interior of the vehicle as well.

5 Try and spot all these tell-tale signs prior to your purchase.

III. Vehicle engine: always remember that a clean engine does not necessarily mean that all is good and well.

1 Take a much closer look and notice all details that has to do with the functioning of the vehicle

2 Two obvious places to look, would include the exhaust manifold (check for rust here) and the ass well (check for oil leaks or residue here).

3 Checking the dipstick for oil is essential as well. Ensure that you feel no particles in it when rubbing your fingers against it. If present, it may be indicative of some related engine problems and even wear and tear, aging or breakdown over time.

4 Physically starting the engine, listening carefully to the revs and even taking it for a test drive is advisable as well.

5 Performance of the engine and the handling of the car are your tell-tale signs here.

6 Check all brakes and features thoroughly as well.

Auto Repair

Learn How To Repair Your Hard Drive Problems Fast

Learn How To Repair Your Hard Drive Problems Fast

Since computer users are human, the user can be the primary cause of computer failure. And we operators of our computers are in most cases but that, we operate the computer but know very little concerning software and hardware components and peripherals.

Since this is the case, you should ASSUME NOTHING when diagnosing any computer problem. We diagnosed a new PC with a video display problem. After briefly looking at the video card it took a while to see that the video card was not pushed into the adapter slot completely.

Even though I looked at the card, I failed to check it thoroughly. This cause me to spend more time on troubleshooting that was not needed.The thought of a hard drive failure strikes terror in the heart of every computer user.

This is because a hard drive failure may lead to invaluable data loss. Here are the most common procedures you should perform when you experience hard drive failure.

General Hard Drive Troubleshooting

The hard drive can display problems such as “retry, abort, ignore” or “cannot read sectors” while operating. This is an indication that there may be bad or unreadable spots on the drive. Reformatting and reinstalling the operating system can normally correct this problem. This will cause you to loose all data on your drive so it is important to always have a good backup of yourfiles daily.

There are good good utilities you can purchase that can repair hard drive problems without destroying data. The utility Spinrite is a good utility and only cost $200.00 which is a good price if you want to avoid the hassle of reformatting the drive and restoring the operating system. Here are some general hard drive problems you should start from and we’ll be more specific later.

Use Operating System Utilities

First you may be able to correct those bad spots and errors from your hard drive by performing those PC maintenance in the operating system. Windows has Disk Defragment and you should run disk defragment after running Scandisk since scandisk will need to fix any problems it finds. After scanning the drive and defraging the files, run Disk Cleanup to ensure all junk files have been delete.

Check Drive cables and connections

If there is on indication that the drive is receiving power (you don’t hear that familiar clicking noise or the drive light is no working) check the 4 wire connector coming from the power supply.

If the connection is secure, you can remove the power supply connector and do two things. You can check to see if there is voltage with a multimeter. But its much faster to connect another 4 wire connector to the drive to see if the drive works. There are normally extra connectors from the power supply or you can use the connection to the cdrom drive to test for voltage from the power supply.

If the connection indicates no or very little voltage (4 volts or less) from the power supply, the power supply may be going bad. Now check and double check all connections, especially if you are someone else have recently worked inside the computer.

If the drive will not boot up…?

Boot the computer with your bootable DOS disk. If you don’t have one made, STOP and make one NOW by clicking on Start, Settings, Control Panel, Add and Remove Programs and Startup Disk.

Try to access drive C: by typing DIR C: and press Enter. If you see the directories on drive C: try to make the drive bootable by typing sys a: c: and press Enter. The system files should be restored and the drive may be restored to boot on its own.

If this fails, you may have to reformat and partition the drive with the setup utility that came with your drive or computer.

If the Drive boots but hangs up at boot…?

Turn the computer off, open the system unit and disconnect the ribbon cable at the motherboard end. Turn on the PC AND You will get an error message that the drive is bad and in most cases will go into your BIOS. Change the hard drive type to AUTO and shut off the computer.

Reconnect the ribbon cable and see if the hard works properly. The drive settings should be restored and should operate fine.

A hard drive that fails to boot up may also have a bad controller. If the controller is mounted on the hard drive, there is not much you can do except replace the drive.

Auto Repair

Delivering Great Customer Service – 10 Tips

Delivering Great Customer Service – 10 Tips

It almost goes without saying that good customer service is essential to sustaining any business. No matter how wonderful a job you do of attracting new customers, you won’t be profitable for long unless you have a solid customer retention strategy in place – and in action. It’s the actions that count – not what you say you’ll do, or what the policy says. People will remember what you or your employees have done – or not done.

One of the key components of an effective retention strategy is exceptional customer service. Not just good service, but memorable service. Today, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever and companies that fail to deliver, risk losing market share.

10 Tips for Delivering Good Customer Service.

1) Treat me like a somebody. It’s been years since that Midas muffler commercial aired, but the “I’m a somebody” phrase can still be heard from time to time. Why? Because regular customers expect (and deserve) to be remembered. As one woman summed it up, “You don’t need to remember my name, or what I order, but do acknowledge that I’ve been there before.”

One of the best examples I’ve ever seen of this is at my local coffee shop. One day I noticed that the young man behind the counter greeted some people by name and, even if he didn’t know their name, he knew what they usually ordered. As I waited for my tea (he’d already placed my ‘two milk on the side’ on the counter without me having said a word), I asked him why he said, “See you later” to some customers, “See you tomorrow” to others, yet always said, “Have a good week” to me. The smiling, friendly reply? “Because you only come in on Mondays and Fridays”. As I thanked him, I thought to myself, “Wow. He won’t be here long”. Unfortunately, I was right.

2) Be polite! Too frequently company representatives ask customers for file information without saying “Please” or even being polite. It is not acceptable for a service rep to simply bark out, “Account number?” And it is never acceptable for a service rep to insult a client.

Six weeks ago there was a problem with my home internet account – which is with a phone carrier I have used my entire life (and, as you know, this kind of loyalty to a phone company is almost unheard of these days). In all that time, I have never been late with a bill payment to them. There is a long and ugly story here, but the short version is that a) the problem was on their end and b) before they realized where things had gone wrong, their rep was extremely rude. When I asked him to please change the way in which he was addressing me, he snarled, “Well whadya expect? If you’d pay your bills on time you wouldn’t have this problem.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. In fact, if I’d just read this account (instead of being on the receiving end), I wouldn’t have believed the story. What’s worse is that although the company later apologized, their senior management seemed to feel that this was not an isolated incident.

A 2005 survey conducted by Schulich School of Business MBAs suggests that this kind of problem exists in over 30% of companies, and costs them hundreds of millions of dollars in lost customers (and revenues) each and every year. Don’t let your company end up one of these statistics.

3) Thank your customers – like you mean it. When your employees conclude a transaction, they should thank the customer with a smile and a sincere “thank you for … completed by whatever is appropriate for your business”. Too often, customers received a rushed and barely civil “Thanks-Have-a-nice-day-Next”. With large purchases, the verbal greeting should be followed up with a hand-written card – not just because it leads to increased referrals (which is does), but because it is the correct thing to do.

Oh, and by the way, the word “Sure” is no way to respond when a customer thanks you. To many people in many parts of the world, this is dismissive and suggests you don’t care. The correct phrase is “You’re welcome”.

4) Appearances do count! According got two independent pieces or research, nearly 90% of customers form an impression about how competent and reputable your company is based on what they see when they walk trough your doors.

Preserve me from auto-attendant hell. Customers are becoming increasingly annoyed and frustrated with having to sift through a multitude of options and press numerous buttons – only to be told that the desired service can only be obtained through the company’s website. Worse is when the auto-attendant uses voice recognition – but doesn’t ‘recognize’ your voice. People want to connect with human beings; they don’t want to listen to a long list of prompts. For hints on how to use auto-attendants effectively, please read “The top 5 new things people expect for good customer service” on our webiste.

5) Do what you say you will… when you say you will. The expression “Under promise, over deliver” may have become somewhat hackneyed through over use, but is still germane. One of the quickest ways to lose customer confidence is to not follow-through, or to be late delivering a service or product, without notifying the customer in advance, determining whether or not the delay will impact the customer and providing an alternate solution in the interim if necessary.

One of the best examples I ever experienced of a company doing it well happened with Toyota. There was a problem with my RAV4 and Toyota couldn’t repair it easily. I was driving a loaner, but had planned to go camping with my kids. It was our summer holiday and it had been planned for months. When Toyota couldn’t repair my vehicle in time, they rented an SUV for us to use – without me having to ask. I have since purchased another vehicle from this dealership and recommended it to 6 others who have purchased from them. Coincidence? I think not.

6) Surprise the customer from the time to time. When it is possible to provide an extra level of service, do so. Whether it’s an unexpected complimentary dessert in a restaurant, or an upgrade that has not been requested, these special gestures go a long way towards engendering customer loyalty and to winning you new customers. It has long been known that on average, a dissatisfied customer will tell 10 – 16 others, but people who have had an unexpectedly good experience also recount their stories.

7) Provide “full” service. When Successories sends out its framed prints, it includes the hooks and a small levelling device. There’s a remote control toy vendor near me who includes the batteries. “My” gas station dispenses free coffee with gas on weekday mornings. A drive-through drycleaner in northern Ontario opens early and hands you the morning paper with your order. Small things, yes. Greatly appreciated? No question.

I spoke to each of my local retailers and learned that in each case, their sales – and profits – have enjoyed double digits increases since they introduced more comprehensive service. Think about what you can add to help make things easier for your customers. In some cases, by looking at what else it makes sense to sell, you can even add a new revenue stream while improving the perceived level of customer service provided.

8) Mea Culpa. When you have made a mistake, admit it and set things straight. When customers have a complaint – listen, truly listen. Then apologize and take corrective action. In many instances, the very act of listening (without interrupting) can be enough to diffuse the situation and make the person feel worthy as a customer. Then ask the customer how they would like you to resolve the situation. In most instances, your client will come up with something reasonable – and often less costly than a solution you might have proposed.

9) Listen to your customers. Conduct your own surveys and get feedback on what they like and don’t like – and take corrective action as required. Let customers know that their business is appreciated and that their opinions are important to you.

None of these suggestions takes a lot of time or money to implement, yet they can pay dividends in increased customer satisfaction and retention. The key, though, is to ensuring that employees understand the importance of their front-line role and get good training and supervision.

Auto Repair

Buying A Car With A Personal Contract Purchase Loan

Buying A Car With A Personal Contract Purchase Loan

If you are looking to buy a car but are unsure whether or not a new car is worthwhile, then you should consider the benefits of buying a car with a personal contract purchase loan. Using a personal contract purchase loan can reduce the amount of depreciation you suffer, and help you to get the car you want. Here is some more information about buying a car with a personal contract purchase loan.

What is a PCP?

A PCP, or personal contract purchase loan, is a personal contract for private individuals. It allows you to set a contract term with monthly payments for your new car. At the end of the term you can either purchase the vehicle fully or give it back to the contact provider.

Costs of a PCP

The costs of a PCP depend on the car you are buying, and how much deposit you can afford to put down. It also depends on the length of the contract, as well as other factors like maintenance requirements. However, the length of the agreement will usually last from 24-42 months, during which time you pay a monthly cost as a ‘rental’ of the vehicle.

Guaranteed future value

One advantage of a PCP is that you will get a minimum guaranteed future value agreed, so that you know how much you will have to pay at the end of the loan term to buy the car outright. You can either pay the guaranteed value and own the car, hand it back without any payments, or use the guaranteed value towards another new car.

Cheaper than many other methods

Apart from flexibility, the main advantage of a PCP is that you have fixed monthly payments that are likely to be lower than other forms of auto finance. Also, if you get a PCP with maintenance included you will not have to worry about large repair costs like you might with a used car. Also, depreciation is lower because you have a guaranteed future value.

Losing the car

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of a PCP is that during the contract term you do not actually own the car. You are simply leasing it from the provider, so if you should fail to make the payments the car can be taken away from you. Before taking out a PCP, make sure you can afford the repayments so that you will be able to keep the car you want.

Cheaper than a loan

Although PCP means you don’t own the car during the contract term, it is much cheaper than a loan for financing a car. Even if you get a very low rate, you will pay back more and the depreciation will be higher. If you are looking to buy a car and you don’t want to pay outright, then go for a PCP.

Auto Repair

Car Dealer – The Safety Measures And Benefits

Car Dealer – The Safety Measures And Benefits

Car dealers sell new cars and used cars. They offer maintenance services for the cars that they sell, sell spare parts and process warranty claims. The car dealers who sell used cars usually have cars from various manufacturers. The new car dealerships are usually franchises associated with one or two manufacturers. There are also places where dealership is merged. Thus a single owner controls a chain of dealerships from various manufacturers.

Almost all the car dealers offer financial services like loans and lease. In order to avail the car loan, it is necessary to know your credit score. Scan your credit report carefully before purchasing a car. The credit score helps you to understand the mount of interest that you will have to pay. Before visiting the car dealer, it is best for you to line up used car auto loan financing.

When you visit a car dealer know specifically the actual cost of the car that you are going to buy. Find out from the car dealer the actual amount that will be allowed for trade-in, and the details of finance contract. Never sign a contract before going through it carefully. Do not allow the car dealers to pressurize you into buying a car. If you feel uncomfortable with any part of the financing part, move out for a better option elsewhere.

The car dealers, by providing maintenance and repair services, bring the customers back to the showrooms to view new models. Since the internet offers opportunities to increase the profit potential, many car dealers have come up with online marketing services. You no longer need to visit from place to place to buy your car. With the help of online services, you can buy, sell new or used cars, interact with the car dealers, and schedule a service for the maintenance of the car.

The car dealer ensures that every car they sell meets their quality and safety standards. All the new and used cars are checked by a team of mechanics, and quality control managers. There are car dealers who ensure that you are fully confident with the controls of the new model before your drive out of the show room.

Online information his helped to boom the service of car dealers. People can now select from a wide range of new and used cars just by clicking a button, sitting in a comfortable atmosphere of their home. The online car dealers provide you with detailed information on each and every type of cars that they sell. You will get all the information you require on the color, model, accessories, size, and price of the car. This helps you in judging your budget and selecting one that will suit you and your pocket. You can even get the detailed direction of the car dealership from your home.