Saturday, December 30, 2006

History of insurance

In some sense we can say that insurance appears simultaneously with appearance of human society. We know two types of economies in human societies: money (with markets, money, financial instruments and so on )and non-money or natural economy (without money, markets, financial instruments and so on). The second type is more ancient form than the first. In such type of economy and such type of community we can see insurance in the form of helping each other. For example, when your house is fired down, the members of your community come and help you to build new one. The next time, when the same thing happens to your neighbour - you must go to help otherwise, you will not get help in the future. This type of insurance survived till nowadays in some countries where modern money economy with its financial instruments are not so widespread (for example countries on the territory of the former Soviet Union).

And now we will speak about insurance in modern sense (insurance in modern money economy, insurance as a part of the financial sphere). Early methods of transferring or distributing risk were practiced by Chinese and Babylonian traders as long ago as the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE respectively. Chinese merchants traveling treacherous river rapids would redistribute their wares across many vessels to limit the loss due to any single vessel capsizing. The Babylonians developed a system which was recorded in the famous Code of Hammurabi, c. 1750 BC, and practiced by early Mediterranean sailing merchants. If a merchant received a loan to fund his shipment, he would pay the lender an additional sum in exchange for the lender's guarantee to cancel the loan should the shipment be stolen.

Achaemenian monarchs were the first to insure their people and made it official by registering the insuring process in governmental notary offices. The insurance tradition was performed each year in Norouz (beginning of the Iranian New Year); the heads of different ethnic groups as well as others willing to take part, presented gifts to the monarch. The most important gift was presented during a special ceremony and when a gift was worth more than 10,000 Derrik (Achaemenian gold coin weighing 8.35-8.42) the issue was registered in a special office. This was advantageous to those presented such special gifts. For others, the presents were fairly assessed by the confidants of the court. Then the assessment was registered in special offices.

The aim of registering was that whenever the one who presented the gift registered by the court was in trouble, the monarch and the court would help him or her. Jahez, a historian and writer, writes in one of his books on ancient Iran: "... and whenever the owner of the present is in trouble or wants to construct a building, set up a feast, have his children married, etc. the one in charge of this in the court would check the registration. If the registered amount exceeded 10,000 Derrik, he or she would receive an amount of twice as much."

A thousand years later, the inhabitants of Rhodes invented the concept of the 'general average'. Merchants whose goods were being shipped together would pay a proportionally divided premium which would be used to reimburse any merchant whose goods were jettisoned during storm or sinkage.

The Greeks and Romans introduced the origins of health and life insurance c. 600 AD when they organized guilds called "benevolent societies" which acted to care for the families and funeral expenses of members upon death. Guilds in the Middle Ages served a similar purpose. The Talmud deals with several aspects of insuring goods. Before insurance was established in the late 17th century, "friendly societies" existed in England, in which people donated amounts of money to a general sum that could be used in case of emergency.

Separate insurance contracts (i.e. insurance policies not bundled with loans or other kinds of contracts) were invented in Genoa in the 14th century, as were insurance pools backed by pledges of landed estates. These new insurance contracts allowed insurance to be separated from investment, a separation of roles that first proved useful in marine insurance. Insurance became far more sophisticated in post-Renaissance Europe, and specialized varieties developed.

Toward the end of the seventeenth century, the growing importance of London as a center for trade led to rising demand for marine insurance. In the late 1680s, Mr. Edward Lloyd opened a coffee house which became a popular haunt of ship owners, merchants, and ships’ captains, and thereby a reliable source of the latest shipping news. It became the meeting place for parties wishing to insure cargoes and ships, and those willing to underwrite such ventures. Today, Lloyd's of London remains the leading market for marine and other specialist types of insurance, but it works rather differently than the more familiar kinds of insurance.

Insurance as we know it today can be traced to the Great Fire of London, which in 1666 devoured 13,200 houses. In the aftermath of this disaster Nicholas Barbon opened an office to insure buildings. In 1680 he established England's first fire insurance company, "The Fire Office," to insure brick and frame homes.

The first insurance company in the United States provided fire insurance and was formed in Charles Town (modern-day Charleston), South Carolina, in 1732.

Benjamin Franklin helped to popularize and make standard the practice of insurance, particularly against fire in the form of perpetual insurance. In 1752, he founded the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire. Franklin's company was the first to make contributions toward fire prevention. Not only did his company warn against certain fire hazards, it refused to insure certain buildings where the risk of fire was too great, such as all wooden houses.

In the United States, regulation of the insurance industry is highly Balkanized, with primary responsibility assumed by individual State insurance departments. Whereas insurance markets have become centralized nationally and internationally, state insurance commissioners operate individually, though at times in concert through a national insurance commissioner's organization. In recent years, some have called for a federal regulatory system for insurance similar to that of the banking industry.

In the State of New York, which has unique laws in keeping with its stature as a global business center, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has been in a unique position to grapple with major national insurance brokerages. Spitzer alleged that Marsh & McLennan steered business to insurance carriers based on the amount of contingent commissions that could be extracted from carriers, rather than basing decisions on whether carriers had the best deals for clients. Several of the largest commercial insurance brokerages have since stopped accepting contingent commissions and have adopted new business models.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Traffic Accident

No Win No Fee Claim Compensation


There’s a pretty high traffic accident rate involving pedestrians all around the world. Of course, the blame is not always the car driver’s. But even when it’s the other way around, the persons who are involved in these clashes as pedestrians have a tendency to put the blame on themselves, which is not always the case. Usually a collision between a pedestrian and a car involves great injuries, of course, not for the car. If you have gone through such a situation and think you are not to blame for what happened, you really have to know your rights. Because there’s a big possibility you can claim.


Usually, cyclists suffer from injuries due to the fact that the cars involved in traffic don’t see them. Riding either motorbikes or simple bikes, cyclists are one of the most vulnerable categories of vehicles which participate in traffic. A big number of all the accidents involve a passenger car crossing over a cyclist’s path and thus provoking a collision. The cyclist may often suffer serious injuries due to the lack of protection from the outside world.


Because of the ever increasing number of cars worldwide each year, car accidents are bound to happen more frequently than ever. The main causes for car accidents seem to be driving under the influence and losing focus while driving because of distractions like cell phones. The sad part is that most of these accidents can be prevented with just a little bit of driver common sense.

Now what happens if you get involved in an accident that was someone else’s fault? You try to keep your concentration on the road ahead, you go in normal speed limits, and still you get crashed by a reckless driver. This is a very frustrating scenario as it seems that sometimes is just a matter of bad luck. And a traffic accident can have dramatic consequences upon the life of a person or an entire family.

Here’s where the traffic accident claim comes in. Right after the accident, you need to do a few things. First, you need to gather as much evidence as you can from the accident scene. And I’m talking about things like: the other car driver’s details (address, phone number, etc.). Then, see if there are any witnesses and do the same with them. If you’re lucky enough and have a photo camera with you, take pictures of your car, emphasizing the damage it suffered. Also, take pictures of the other car involved in the accident and of the accident place. Write down the weather conditions present at the time of the unfortunate event. Try not to discuss anything to the other party involved in the accident, leave that to your lawyer. Finally, contact the police.

When you get home, the first thing you need to do is to find a good attorney who has vas experience regarding traffic accident claims. He will take the case from there. He will examine your evidence and appoint a medical examination, if you haven’t already done that. Medical examinations need to be made regularly, on a time basis established by your attorney. This is a must because not all the long-term repercussions of your injuries can be foreseen right after the accident.

Usually, in accidents which do not have serious consequences, an agreement is reached between the two parts without the need to go to Court. Your attorney will do everything is in his powers to get you a compensation for every bruise you suffered. Along with that, you will probably get compensation for things like: the damage your vehicle has sustained, the damage your other properties have suffered, your medical expenses, even your phone bills. Money reward is the least anyone can get when suffering a traffic accident, and this is made in the form of the traffic accident claim.

The quest of finding a good specialist is not that hard. There are many good companies that have very well trained attorneys who will gladly help you on a no win no fee basis only. Either a work accident or an automobile accident, you name it, it doesn’t really matter as long as you are able to prove that the accident was entirely another party’s fault. Still, there’s a psychological factor that make accident victims who are entitled for a claim decide not to pursue the legal actions required. This is either because they are afraid of the repercussions at the workplace, or the simply try to avoid going to Court. The fact of the matter is that unless a very serious accident happened, your case will probably not have to go to Court.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Personal Car Financing

It is not that difficult to own a car now; car loans have made dreams approachable. You can apply for car loans that suit your financial status. Have bad credit or no credit? You’re not alone. Nearly 25 percent of all car buyers can’t qualify for standard financing options.

Yet, many people apply for car loans as now finance acquiring has become an easier procedure and suits the requirements of many. Availability of easy loans has no more remained a problem as there are various online organizations that fuel your procedures even if you are categorized as having “bad credit”. The finance availability procedure can be customized in accordance to your requirements, your financial status, etc. Many companies specialize in helping people with bad credit to get the car they have their hearts set on.

Some guidelines are provided by the companies who ease the burden of your loan acquiring messed-up procedures. Legal papers, your identity proof and a few other documents need to be stacked, in order to complete their formalities.

As for instance, the your income details become a major requirement as that is the basis of your loan being granted by the company you have opted for. In accordance to most of the companies an income of about $1500 per month or $8.66 per hour draws as a necessity for a full-time employed person.

The finance applicants should have been working for at least a year with the same employer, preferably 2 years are considered as an added advantage so as to ease the procedures. Also, the applicant’s balance should be cleared, bankruptcy should not be the applicant’s status feature; if the due payment is about a year old, and cash payment clearance turns out to be a necessity.

These indirect car loan lenders are far lenient as compared to the direct lenders as they miss out some of the tough norms, that of the “bad credit” criteria. More the work simplified, a cost lies behind it. Various indirect car loan lenders have their own rates as it is their volition. A survey of comparing these rates has to be done by the applicant before borrowing money in order to avoid repenting after the deal is done. It is imperative that the applicant carefully reviews the terms of his car finance before entering into an agreement with the car lender.

Another factor coming into picture is the duration of repayment of the loan acquired, number of installments, etc. For example, you may get lower monthly payment rates over 3 years than over 2 years. However, the total finance charges over time are higher over a longer term.


Disability Insurance

Do We need it?

Your career is a direct result of hard work and a substantial investment of time and money. Doesn’t it make sense to fully protect it? A disability could render you helpless by taking away the one thing that you need to safeguard all of your assets: your income.

Home, auto, life, and health insurance are certainly valuable investments, but failure to couple them with disability insurance will jeopardize your full financial security. For example, health insurance might cover the potential fiscal pitfalls of the medical bills that result from a disability, but the rest of your financial obligations are not going to come to a halt. Vehicle payments, mortgages, insurance premiums, and even savings for the future are all important expenses that cannot be ignored just because you are disabled. Unfortunately, the chances of becoming disabled might be greater than you think.

According to the 1994 Statistical Abstract of the United States, in the course of a year, odds are that 1 in 10 people between the ages of 25 and 64 will suffer a disability. When comparing that ratio to the odds of being victim of a house fire (1 in 122); injured in an automobile accident (1 in 160); or even of death (1 in 117), the advantage of disability insurance is clear. A February 2000 article in the New York Times reported that 1 in 7 people between the ages of 35 and 60 will become disabled for five years or more.

Despite these glaring statistics, many people still take a substantial risk by ignoring the benefits offered by a disability insurance policy. In 2000, a survey by The Consumer Federation of America and The American Council of Life Insurers found that 82 percent of people do not have long-term disability insurance or believe their coverage is inadequate.

The alternatives to disability insurance all carry a degree of risk or have some sort of drawback. Social Security benefits are difficult to qualify for and the disability must prevent you from working in any occupation. Worker’s compensation benefits are limited and only cover job-related sickness or injury. Other options—relying on savings, family, and/or friends—are not guaranteed and have considerable downside.

Guard your assets—don’t leave yourself vulnerable by neglecting to protect your income.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

How to Profit on a Softening Real Estate Market

Interest rates are rising, home values are declining, and the areas hit hardest by the softening real estate market are the same as those that profited the most from the previous years’ housing boom. The Florida real estate market epitomizes this shift in trends, showcasing a change far more dramatic than in other areas of the nation. Just recently a prime spot to sell property for profit, South Florida is becoming a buyer’s market as supply has outnumbered demand.Property flippers will be hurt the most as their short-term investment properties will decline in value during their previously intended holding time. But experts predict that other real estate buyers will not face such dire consequences.

Although the market has softened, real estate experts still see the potential for successful investment. Sellers can still make significant money when selling property, but now the standards are higher. Since there is an abundance of available property, competition is lower, and buyers can take their time when making a decision on where to invest. They will inspect homes more thoroughly and take more time to carefully weigh their options to ensure that they spend their money wisely in a market where they cannot just get rid of an unsatisfactory property.

Experts also see a bright side to the cooling real estate market. Since investing in the decelerating market is a more risky process than investing in a rapidly appreciating market, fewer amateurs will feel confident enough to invest in real estate, filtering out the market to be predominantly filled by professionals. With fewer investors, housing prices will increase at a lower rate, making housing affordable once again. Leaving the market dominated by real estate investment professionals creates an upward trend that can benefit buyers and sellers alike and encourage more amateurs to become educated about real estate investing—not just capitalizing on an economic fad—and make smarter investments that can benefit the entire market.

Also, even though the investment market is down, there is no indication that interest in South Florida in general is decreasing. Lower investment returns do not dissuade people from relocating to Florida. Neither the climate—ever so popular with northern-dwelling retirees—or the beaches will be affected by a softening real estate market. And multi-billion dollar attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios will lose their tourist appeal because of a lull in home sales. As Florida’s climate and atmosphere has been prescribed as a cure for medical maladies, there is definitely room for the real estate market to recover.


Monday, December 25, 2006

The Market of Securities

A security is a document that evidences specific claims on a stream of income and/or
to particular assets. Debt securities include bonds and mortgages. Ownership securities include common stock certificate sand the titles to marketable assets. In addition preferred stock is a hybrid security which entitles its owner to a mixture of
both ownership and creditorship privileges.

Debt, according to the dictionaries, is a condition that exists when one person owes
something to another person .the dictionaries go on to explain that security is a paper
that is given as a pledge of repayment ,or as evidence of debt or ownership. These definitions suggest that the phrase debt securities must refer pieces of paper that
evidence certain parties owe something to certain other parties.

Investors buy securities in order to earn to earn interest income from the security .that is the investor lends money to the borrower who issued the security. But the investor
expect to have the loan rapid with interest. There are many different kinds of marketable debt securities .they pay different rates of interest, they are available in different denominations, they have different length of time until they come due for repayment.

Dictionaries explain that things which are liquid flow freely from one place to another
without being significantly compressed or exchanged . Following this general definition, money is the most liquid of all securities because it is readily acceptable
at its face value in markets everywhere . Essentially, money is a perfectly liquid asset
that flows freely from hand to hand without losing any of its value in the process .money is more liquid than, say long-term bonds ,which have uncertain market
pieces that can deviate significantly from their face values and thus can be difficult to convert back into the amount of money which was paid for the bond .thus bonds may be an illiquid investment ,especially when they are not traded in active markets .highly
marketable securities that have short terms until they mature and involve little or no risk of default are said to be moneylike and are called money market securities .

Negotiable certificate of deposit are called negotiable CDs in the financial world are
receipts from a federally insured commercial for a deposit of 100,000 usd or more
with special provisions attached . One of the provisions is that the deposit will not be
withdrawn from the bank before some specific maturity date. Negotiable CDs are bought and sold in active secondary markets similar to the way treasury bills are traded.

BANKER,S ACCEPTANCES are written premises to repay borrowed funds which borrowers give to banks then if the potential borrower takes down the loan (that is actually borrows the money )the lending bank is said to accept the banker’s acceptances. later if the lending bank wants to withdraw the money before the loan expires, it sells the written promise to repay the loan (that is the banker’s acceptance) to another investor . banker’s acceptances may be resold to any number of new investors before the loan comes due and is repaid ;there is an active secondary market in these moneylike pieces of debt .

COMMERCIAL PAPER refers to the short promissory notes issued by blue cheap corporations. commercial paper is a form of unsecured corporate borrowing that typically has an original maturity of between 5 to 270 days, with 30 days the most in common .most commercial papers are bought by institutional investors, especially money market mutual funds, but non financial firms and state an local governments also buy significant amounts .commercial papers does not have much of a secondary market.

FED FUNDS the common name for federal funds loans are the overnight loans between commercial banks. Fed funds are simply bank reserve loaned from banks with excess reserves to banks with insufficient reserves. The interest rate on these
1-day bank loans are called the federal fund rate.

REPURCHASE AGREEMENTS are commonly known as repos are devices that
are usually used by security dealers to help finance part of their multimillion dollar
inventories of marketable securities for one or few days .repos that last longer than overnight are also in common . These longer term repos are called term repos and can span 30 days.
TREASURY BILLS are extremely liquid short term notes that mature in 13, 26 or 52 weeks from the date of issue .the treasury usually offer new bills every week selling them on a discount from face value basis .furthermore, T-bills are issued only on a "book entry" basis - the buyer never actually receives the security, only a receipt.

CERTIFICATE OF INDEBTEDNESS are issued at par (or face) value .later after they
are issued ,certificates are traded in the market at prices which vary minute by minute. certificate usually bears fixed interest rate. The fixed interest rate is printed on the certificate and never varies .it is called the COUPON RATE.

TREASURY NOTES are similar to certificate of indebtedness except with regard to
their time until maturity , T-notes are bonds that typically have a maturity of from 1 to 7
years. They are marketable debt security that pays coupon interest semiannually, just like the certificate

Euro-dollar loans are also sometimes called petrodollar loans, Asian dollar loans, or hot money flows .all these terms refer to large, short term loans which are dominated in dollars. These loans are usually arranged with banks with large international operations.

Treasury bonds differ from notes and certificates with respect to maturity. They generally run from 7 to 30 years from date of issue to maturity. Another significant difference is that some issues are callable at time prior to maturity.
Repurchase agreements are commonly known as repos. Repos are devices that are usually used by securities dealers to help finance part of their multimillion dollar inventories of marketable securities for one or a few days. In repo transactions the investor is essentially making a short –term loan to the securities dealer that employs part or all of the securities dealer’s inventory as collateral for the loan.
Repos that last longer than overnight are common too. These longer term repos are called term repos and can span 30 days, or even longer sometimes. These repurchase agreements, especially the term repos, are marketable securities that are actively traded by telephone calls between the money market trading desks of different banks and brokerages across the United States.

U.S. Government Securities
Government securities represent the amount of indebtedness of our governmental bodies. The owners of securities are creditors; the governmental bodies and debtors. United States government securities are of such high quality that their yield is often used as an example of a default-free interest rate.

Nonmarketable Issues
Approximately 30 percent of the public debt consists of nonmarketable issues. These can not be traded in securities market; they are not transferable; they can not be used as collateral for a loan; they can be purchased only from the treasury and they can be redeemed only by the treasury.

Marketable Issues
These issues make up 70 percent of the federal debt. They are usually purchased from outstanding supplies through a dealer or broker. However the purchaser may subscribe for new issues through any one of the twelve Federal Reserve banks in the United States.
The holder of marketable government securities stands to gain not only from the interest
Paid on these bonds, like the owner of nonmarketable bonds, but also from the price appreciation (higher selling price that purchase price), unlike the owner of nonmarketable bonds. The bid-and-ask prices for these marketable issues are published daily in newspapers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Treasury bills are extremely liquid short-term notes that mature in 13, 26, or 52 weeks from the date of issue. The treasury usually offers new bills every week, selling them on a discount from face value basis. Further more, T-bills are issued only on a “book entry” basis—the buyers never actually receive the security, only a receipt. The treasury agent records the purchasers, transactions and issues receipt to the Treasury bill buyers instead of an actual T-bill security.

T-bills are never sold at a premium over their face values—only at a discount. The discount to the investors is the difference between the price they have paid and the face amount they will receive at maturity.

Certificate of indebtedness are issued at par (face) value. Later, after they are issued, certificates are traded in the market at prices which vary minute by minute. Certificates usually bear fixed interest rates. The fixed interest rate is printed on the certificate and never varies—it is called the coupon rate. The coupon rate tells what percent of the certificate’s face value will be paid out in two semi annual coupon interest payments each year.

Treasury notes are similar to certificate of indebtedness except with regard to their time until maturity. T-notes are bonds that typically have a maturity of from 1 to 7 years. They are marketable debt securities that pay coupon interest semiannually, just like the certificates. The treasury issues T-notes periodically, and some issues are currently outstanding and are traded actively.

Treasury bonds comprise about 10 percent of the federal debt. Bonds differ from notes and certificates with respect to maturity; they generally run from 7 to 30 years from the date of issue to maturity. Another significant difference is that some issues are callable at times prior to maturity. If the bonds are selling in the market above par, their yield to maturity is calculated to the nearest call date. If they are selling at a discount, the yield to maturity is calculated on the basis of their maturity date. The yield to maturity is a compound average rate of return calculated over the bond’s entire life.

Municipal Securities

The bonds of states, counties, parishes, cities, towns, townships, boroughs, villages, and any special municipal corporation tax districts (such as toll bridge authorities, college dormitory authorities, sewer districts, ad infinitum) are all referred to by security traders as municipals. They include the obligations of state and local commissions, agencies, and authorities as well as state and community colleges and universities.

Federal laws provide that the income derived from the obligation of a political subdivision be exempt from federal income taxes. This tax exemption applies to the coupon interest income, but not to any capital gains which may be earned, from municipal bonds. Thus, munis, as they are commonly called, are widely held by wealthy individuals and partnerships whose income may be taxed at the high personal tax rates.

The interest on municipal bonds can be paid in two ways – by giving a check to the bond registered owner or by cashing in the coupons attached to a bearer bond as they come due.

General obligation bonds often referred as to full faith and credit bonds because of the unlimited nature of their pledge, general obligation securities originate from government units that have unlimited power to tax property to meet their obligations and that promise to pay without any kind of limitation.

Limited obligation bonds the term limited obligation bonds is applied when the issuer is in some way restricted in raising revenues used to pay its debts. Revenue bonds are the most significant form of limited obligation. The distinguishing aspect of such bonds is that they are entitled to the revenue generated only to the specific property that is providing service for which rates or fees are paid. These bonds are widely used to finance municipally owned utilities, such as water works, electricity, gas, swage disposal systems, and even public swimming pools.

Municipal bonds pay income to their investors in two forms—interest payments and capital gains (or losses). They are just like the marketable U.S treasury bonds in this respect.

Bonds Issued By Corporations
Essentially a bond is what is commonly called an "I owe you". More particularly, a bond is a marketable, legal contract that promises to pay whoever owns it a stated rate of interest for a defined period and then to repay the principal at the specific date of maturity. Bonds differ according to their term concerning provisions for repayment, security pledged, and other technical aspects. They represent the formal legal evidence of debt and are the senior securities of the firm.

The Indenture, or deed of trust, is the legal agreement between the corporation and the bondholders. Each bond is part of a group of bonds issued under one indenture. Thus, they all have the same rights and protection from issuing company. Sometimes, however, bonds of the same issue may mature at different dates and have correspondingly different interest rates.
The indenture is a long, complicated legal instrument made up of careful worded phrases containing the restrictions, pledges, and promises of the contract;The trustee also takes any appropriate legal action to see that the terms of the contract are kept and that the rights of the bondholders are upheld. Because the individual bond holders are usually not in a position to make sure that the company does not violate its agreements and because the bondholders can not take substantial legal action, if the firm does violate them, the trustee does assumes these responsibilities.
Bond interest is usually paid semiannually, though annual payments are also popular. The method of payment depends upon weather the bond is a registered or coupon bond. The interest on registered bonds is paid to the holder by check. Therefore, the holder must be registered with the trustee of the bond issue to ensure proper payment. The registered bonds can be transferred only by registering the name of the new owner. In contrast, coupon bonds have a series of attached coupons that are clipped off at the appropriate times and sent to a bank for collection of the interest.
If the coupon interest is paid to whoever may happen to be the bearer of the bond without checking to see who is its registered owner, the bonds are called bearer bonds. The ownership of bearer bonds may be transferred simply by physically handing them over to the new owner.

Coupon Rate ;The coupon rate is the interest paid on the face value of a corporate or a U.S. treasury bond. It is one fixed dollar amount that is paid annually as long as the debtor is solvent. (Corporations, income bonds or adjustment bonds are the only exceptions.) The coupon rate is decided upon after the issuing corporation's investment banker has taken into account risk of default, the credit standing of the company, the convertible options, the investment position of the industry, the security backing of the bond, and the market rate of interest for the firm's industry, size, and risk class. After all these factors have been taken into account, a coupon rate is set. With the objective that it will be just high enough to attract investors to pay the face value of the bond. Later the market price of the bond may change from its face value, as market interest rate change, while the contractual coupon rate remains fixed.
Generally, the higher (or effective rate of return, as it is also called), the riskier the security. Yield rather than coupon rate is more significant in buying bonds. If the bond is selling at a discount, its market price is below its face value. In this case, the yield is higher than the coupon rate. If it is selling at a premium, the market price of the bond is above its face value. In this case the coupon rate is higher than the yield.

Maturity Maturities vary widely. The actual term to maturity of a new bond issue
changes after the bond is issued because as long-term bonds come closer and closer to their maturity dates, they become medium-term and then short-term bonds. Nevertheless, a bond is usually grouped by its maturity that existed on the date the bond was newly issued. Short-term bonds are any bonds maturing within 5 years. They are common in industrial financing and may be secured or unsecured. Medium-term bonds mature in 5 to about 10 years. If the bond is originally issued as a medium-term bond, it is usually secured by a real estate, or equipment mortgage, or it may be backed by other security. Long-term bonds may run 20 years or more. Capital heavy industries with long expectations of equipment life, such as railroads and utilities, are the greatest users of these forms of bonds.

Call Provision A call provision may be included in the indenture. This provision allows the debtor to call or redeem the bonds at a specified amount (above par) before maturity date. The difference between the par value of the bond and the higher call price is called the call premium. The call provision is advantageous to the issuing firm but potentially harmful to the investor. If interest rates should decline, it may be wise for the firm to call in its bonds and issue new ones at the lower market interest rate. This action, however, leaves investors with funds they can invest only at the lower interest rate.

Sinking Funds Sinking fund bonds are not special type of bonds but just a name given to describe the method of repayment. Thus any bond can be sinking fund bond if it is specified as such in the indenture. Sinking fund bonds arise when the company decides to retire its bond issue systematically by setting aside a certain amount each year for that purpose. Sinking fund bonds have been in common in industrial financing that involve some risk because risky debt issues are more attractive to investors with a promise of faster payments.

Serial Maturities Serial bonds are appropriate for issuers that wish to divide their bond issue into a series, each part of the series maturing at a different time.

Secured bonds
The most important classification of corporate bonds is whether they are secured or unsecured. That is, what security, if any, has been pledged to help pay investors if the company should be unable to live up to its obligations, or should default?
If the indenture provides for a lien on a certain designated property, the bond is a secured bond. A lien is a legal right given to the bond holders, through the trustee, to sell the pledged property to obtain the amount of money necessary to satisfy the unpaid portion of interest or principal. Pledged security is naturally used to make the bonds more attractive to investors by making them safer investments.

Mortgage bonds
A bond issue secured with a lien on real property or buildings is a mortgage bond. If all the assts of the firm are collateral under the terms o the indenture, it is called a blanket mortgage. The total asset need not be pledged, however; only some of the land or buildings of the company may be mortgage for the issue. They can be first, second, or subsequent mortgages each with its respective claim to the assets of the firm in case of default. A first mortgage is the most secure because it enjoys first claim to assets. A mortgage bond may be open-end, limited open-end, or closed-end, or may contain an after acquired property clause.
An open-end mortgage means that more bonds can be issued on the same mortgage contract. The creditors are usually protected by restrictions limiting such additional borrowing. The open-end mortgage will normally also contain an after acquire property clause, which provides that all property acquired after the first mortgage was issued, be added to the property already pledged as security by the contract. A limited open-end mortgage allows the firm to issue additional bonds up to a specified maximum (for example, up to 50 percent of the original cost of the pledged property). A closed–end mortgage means no additional borrowing can be done on that mortgage.
Collateral Trust Bonds
When the security deposited with the trustee of a bond issue consists of the stocks and bonds of other companies, these newly issued secured bonds are called collateral trust bonds. Since the assets of holding companies are usually largely in the form of stocks and bonds of their subsidiaries, holding companies are the main issuers of these bonds.

Unsecured bonds
Debenture bonds, or more simply, debentures, are unsecured bonds. They are issued with no lien against specific property provided in the indenture. They may be seen as a claim on earnings and not assets. This is not to say that the bondholders are not protected in case of default but, rather, that they are general creditors.

Subordinated debentures
Subordinated debentures are simply debentures that are specifically made subordinate to all other general creditors holding claims on assets. These other creditors are usually suppliers of financial institutions that have granted credit and loans to the firm.

Bonds with special characteristics
Several types of bonds have special characteristics of bonds plus some special distinguishing characteristic. These types of bonds are given special names. For example, if a mortgage bond is secured so that it covers only part of the property of the firm or only a specific section of a railroad, it is called a divisional bond.

Direct lien bonds These are special bonds secured by one piece of property such as a railroad terminal, dock, or bridge. Such a bond might then be referred to as a terminal bond or bridge bond. If two or more companies own the property that is securing the bond, such as a railroad bridge, it is called a joint bond.

Prior lien bonds These are bonds that have been places ahead of the first mortgage, usually during the recognization of a bankrupt firm. Only with the permission of the first mortgage bondholders can prior lien bonds be issued, taking priority over the first mortgage claim on asset.

Junior mortgage bonds These bonds have a secondary claim to asset and earnings behind senior mortgage bonds. Because it is poor public relations for an issue to bear the title second mortgage, these issues typically have names such as refunding mortgage or consolidated mortgage.

Commercial Real Estate

How to Ask Your Discovery Questions

In order to make a successful commercial real estate investment you need to know the right questions to ask and the right way to ask them. Since purchasing commercial real estate is a negotiation between the buyer and the seller (and probably their prospective brokers), it is important that you, as the buyer, are prepared. Asking the right questions could help you avoid owning an underperforming asset.

Remember, both parties are trying their best to get what they want, but their goals are diametrically opposed. The seller is trying his or her best to get the highest possible price, while the buyer is trying just as hard to get the property for the least possible amount of money. There’s an old saying in the business: “All sellers are liars, all buyers are thieves.” While I don’t believe in either scenario as a way to do business, those commercial real estate investors who are able to create a win-win transaction will enjoy huge advantages over their more combative competition. And the key to doing that is in your questioning technique.

Finding and creating these win-win deals isn’t easy, but making them happen is the basis of successful real estate investment. In many ways, finding the best deals boils down to knowing which questions to ask and is one of the most important of all real estate “secrets.”

The key is to ask plenty of open ended questions of either the seller or his agent and to not accept a simple “yes” or “no” answer. If you ask an open ended question and get a yes/no answer, your immediate reaction should be to follow up with additional open ended questions! Obviously, if you keep getting yes/no’s to your questions, it may be time to find a more cooperative and serious seller.

Some of the leading questions smart real estate investors use include:

• What can you tell me about this piece of property?
• What makes this particular property a good investment?
• What is it like dealing with the city?
• Tell me about your tenants … neighbors … city, etc.
• What can you do to help me get into this property?
• What financing are you willing to carry?
• What are your neighbors like? Or “how easy are the adjacent property owners to
• eal with?
• How quickly do you need to close? Why?
• Why are you selling the property … now?
• What is the existing financing? How can it be assumed?
• What are the down payment requirements?

While the straightforward approach and strategy generally works the best, many successful real estate investors have also found success at using the “Columbo Technique.” For those of you too young to remember, Columbo was a dumpy-looking fictional detective who always seemed a couple of cents short of a dollar. However, he had this process where he’d get up to leave after seeming to conclude his suspect interviews and would say something like: “Oh, Mr. Jones, one more thing …” And that question would usually catch the perpetrator off guard. I suggest trying it during your discovery process. It can be very enlightening!

You’ll need to develop your own list of questions as you do more transactions and I suggest even rehearsing them or incorporating them into some form of due diligence checklist. The bottom line is that the better you question, the better your deals will be.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Invest wisely in government foreclosures

Investing in real estate properties has become on of the hottest business these days. People are earning well and making their living by investing wisely in real estate properties. If some one of you also wishes to earn your living by investing in this business, you have various options to invest your money in. Keep on reading this article and I tell you how to invest wisely in government foreclosures. Government foreclosures are a well-known option from the wide field of real estate.

Government foreclosures are put under HUD foreclosed homes and VA foreclosed homes. You can choose a HUD home from a list of government foreclosures. This home can be purchased for a much cheap price than the actual price. If you are choosing a property from a list of government foreclosure homes, you may get rid of paying a big amount to a real estate agent. And from this you have stated saving money that means earning money.

Let me define the government foreclosed home for your convenience. A government foreclosed home is the property that is repossessed by the government bank/ institution as the home owner defaulted on paying loan. After repossession this property goes on a sale or auction. Everyone is welcome here to walk in and place the bid. The bidder who places the highest bid gets the property.

Investing in government foreclosed home can provide you with healthy profit as you buys the property for a much lesser price than the actual cost. After some time this property can be sold out for a higher price. If you are good at mathematics, you can calculate the profit.

Start to look for government foreclosures. There are many resources that may help you getting a huge list of government foreclosures. This may be an online or offline resource but they are experts in this business. Get in touch with these guys because it is their business to take a collection of foreclosure listings for their customers. You can find regularly updated foreclosure listings from these guys.

You can find here not only the list of government foreclosure but pre foreclosures, auctions, bank foreclosure, HUD homes as well.


Friday, December 22, 2006

What to Look for in a Mortgage Broker

There are thousands upon thousands of licensed mortgage brokers in the United States. They represent private banks, public banks, investors and lending institutions both large and small. However, all mortgage brokers are not created equal. Here’s what you should look for:

1. A top mortgage broker will communicate the ins and outs of the mortgage process. A good broker will not spring surprises on you in the form of extra or hidden costs. They will take the time to clearly lay out what steps need to be followed in order for them to best serve your needs. You should have at least an approximated timeline for how long your mortgage application will take before you hear a decision back.

2. A top broker will always be available. Your broker should not be difficult to get a hold of. If you leave your broker a message then you should be receiving a return call within the next couple of hours. You should not feel as if you are not an “important client” of your broker and get second rate treatment.

3. A top broker is concerned with more than just “selling you”. You should not ever get the feeling that your broker is just telling you what you want to hear so as to win your business. A good broker should tell you the pros and cons of potential options and be honest, upfront and straightforward with you. You should be able to expect objective and independent advice. You shouldn’t feel as if you are under any type of pressure to say “Yes” or choose a particular program.

4. A top mortgage broker is helpful. Yes, this seems like an obvious one but finding the best loan program to fit your needs can involve a certain amount of pressure at times and you want someone helpful and friendly to assist you – not someone who will slow you down and add even more pressure to the situation.

5. A top mortgage broker works with more than just one lender. If your broker is limited to working with only one or two lenders then they will definitely struggle to serve your best interests as their options (and yours in turn) are severely limited.

Hold all mortgage brokers to the highest standard in helping you secure a home loan or commercial loan. Speak with a top Florida mortgage broker and compare multiple lenders. Do your research and the mortgage homework you put in now will pay off in the future!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

All About Mortgage Refinancing

Refinancing your home is essentially a second mortgage, and is often referred to as such.
People refinance their homes and take out second mortgages for many reasons: a lower interest rate on their home, large medical bills that need to be paid off, credit card balances, student loans and other high-interest debt. Refinancing can save hundreds of dollars a month that can be put towards other, pressing expenses.

Before refinancing, it's imperative that you shop around for the best deal possible. Research the market and find out what percentage the most current interest rates are at. If they are higher than or similar to your existing interest rate, wait until the market lowers to refinance. According to most mortgage experts, the best time to refinance is when the market percentage is at least 2 or 3% below the current interest rate on your home.
To put it into perspective, let's take an individual who has a 7% interest rate on their current mortgage, which is at $400, 000, payable over a term of twenty years; they are paying $3101 per month. Then the market drops to 3% and they refinance. They save $800 a month, and their total becomes only $2218 per month. The payment would be even lower ($1,686) if they extended the second mortgage to thirty years. From this example, you can see that refinancing your home can be an excellent way to save money and take a lot of stress off your pocketbook.
A couple of the most common rate options for refinancing your home are the fixed rate refinance loan and the adjustable rate mortgage loan. If you're looking for a steady, slower fixed rate, consider a fixed rate loan. A fixed interest rate is ideal if you plan on being a long-term homeowner. This loan is typically spread out over a period of fifteen to thirty years and comes with a fixed interest rate that never changes, making it ideal for a family or individual who plans on long term habitation.
However, if you plan on selling your home within five years or so, you may be best off choosing an adjustable rate mortgage. This entails paying off your house quicker, as well as higher house payments, but it also saves you more money in the long run because you're paying less interest than you would on a ten or twenty year loan. Keep in mind, though, that an adjustable interest rate does rise and fall with the market, so it entails somewhat more risk than a fixed rate loan. To this end, make sure you talk to your lender in depth about this option and the market trend in the next couple of years.
If you decide to refinance your home, use common sense and do your research. There are many good rates and many good lenders, so take the time and find the one that best suits your needs. A great place to look for lenders and compare rates is the internet; there are a number of helpful sites with tools like mortgage rate calculators to help you get an idea of your options. Most online lenders also offer a free consultation, so don't hesitate to get a bunch of numbers and call.


Monday, December 18, 2006

How To Save Money With Auto Insurance Quotes

Auto Insurance Online Quote Advice

Getting an auto insurance online quote is one of the cheapest and quickest methods to obtain a car insurance quote. It also offers more options to consumers who can access several auto insurance companies, carriers and brokers, conveniently from the comfort of their own homes at any given time.

To get the auto insurance online quote, you’ll first need to visit the official website of your chosen auto insurance company. Most auto insurance sites provide an online template form for you to fill out, and any information that you enter in the application will have an impact on the final quote. So it’s best to review and revise what you have typed and avoid errors that can adversely influence the auto insurance online quote, and receive a cheap online car insurance quote, along with the most accurate approximations of the policy you’re applying for.

In addition to the required personal information such as name, address and contact numbers, the cost and coverage of the insurance policy will be significantly dependent on the information you give out, including your age, gender and marital status. For example, auto insurance companies are very alert when doing business with single or younger drivers who are more likely to indulge in reckless driving, disregard for traffic rules, etc. So the cost of the premium you have to pay for the auto insurance policy may be higher if you’re under 25 years of age. However, insuring younger drivers on safer, non-performance cars and less powerful vehicles may allow you to receive a cheaper auto insurance online quote. Also remember that the Make, Model and Year of the automobile are also important factors taken into consideration by auto insurance companies when they calculate rates. Expensive and high performance automobiles such as supercars require more extensive repairs after a crash, so they are more likely to cost you more on insurance.

Tips on Obtaining a Cheap Auto Insurance Online Quote

1. Look for several types of auto insurance quotes regularly

2. Take into account the value of your car/automobile in comparison to the amount you’re paying for premiums when making decisions such as "liability only" insurance.

3. A simple 6 hour defensive driving course can save you up to 10% on your auto insurance premium

4. Many auto insurance companies will give you a discount for multiple auto insurance policies. If you’ve used one agency for different types of insurances such as life, home, fire, etc, us the same insurance company for you auto insurance

5. Remember that higher deductibles result in lower insurance premiums

6. Maintain a healthy credit rating because auto insurance companies take into account your current credit score as part of their calculation

7. Prepare yourself with valid reasons why you are at lower risk, such as safer vehicle, clean record of driving, anti-theft alarms etc.


Seven Tips To Help You Control Health Insurance Costs

The issue of health care touches the lives of virtually everyone. As a result, there are very few people unaware of the ever-increasing health care costs. Many of the factors responsible for this “crisis” – for example, new technologies – cannot be controlled by the typical health care consumer. Nevertheless, there are some actions you can take that will help reduce your out-of-pocket expenses, without risking the well being of you and your family.

First, with the vast majority of health insurance plans utilizing networks of participating doctors and hospitals, it pays to stay within this network. Insurance companies are able to negotiate a discount with these participating providers, which translate into fewer out-of-pocket expenses for you, the insured. When you go outside your network of providers, you do not enjoy these savings and will almost certainly incur greater costs.

Second, choose generic drugs whenever possible. It has been reported that the pharmaceutical industry spends more than $2 billion advertising more expensive name brand drugs. In many situations, you can save significant money by using the generic version of a drug. The next time your primary care physician writes a prescription for you, be sure to inquire about any generic options.

Third, only go the emergency room for emergencies. For non-emergency care for such things as a cold or minor sprain, consider using an urgent care facility. Of course, if you have any doubts about the severity of your condition, go the ER. Nevertheless, keep in mind that most health insurance plans charge higher co-pays for emergency room care than they do for an office visit or urgent care.

Fourth, follow doctor’s orders when it comes to medication. Not refilling a prescription in order to save money in the short run may very well cost you more long term. Indeed, if you fail to continue with your medication as prescribed by your doctor, you may develop a much more serious medical ailment requiring more expensive medical care or even hospitalization.

Fifth, for outpatient surgery, look into using an ambulatory surgery center. Such freestanding surgery and diagnostic centers, that are not a hospital or run by a hospital, typically charge less than hospitals for tests such as MRI’s, CAT scans, and bone density scans. Of course, before using one of these facilities, make sure that it is within your network and that the test or treatment is a covered benefit.

Six, if you suffer from chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, ask your doctor about home testing and monitoring devices. Home testing, in close coordination and reporting with your primary care physician, is cheaper than in-office testing. The next time you visit your doctor, ask whether such testing might be an option for you.

Lastly, in terms of health-related costs, one of the best ways to same money is simply by taking better care of yourself. With this in mind, many health insurance plans offer programs designed to help keep you healthy, and often save you money at the same time. These may be disease management (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, asthma) as well as preventative programs. Preventative programs may include weight loss, stopping smoking, and stress management.

As a health care consumer, it may seem at times that there is absolutely nothing you can do to gain some control over the spiraling costs of health care. While there are factors that cannot be controlled by the average consumer, in this article we have discussed seven actions that you can take immediately to help control costs. It may also pay to consult with your Human Resources department, or your health insurance agent, to discuss additional ways to help rein in your out-of-pocket health care expenses.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

History of Insurance

Condition of Life insurance in Nepal:-

History of general insurance in Nepal goes back to B.S.2005(1948 A.D.). Right from 1950 A.D.,a number of companies started their operation in General insurance. Presently 15 companies are transacting general insurance business. But start and growth of life insurance has been very slow.

Life Insurance Corporation of India started life insurance business in Nepal but its function was mostly confined to Kathmandu city.

LIC stopped its operation in 1972 A.D. Life insurance business was taken over by Rashtriya Beema Sansthan in B.S.2029 after its incorporation on B.S. 2024/09/01 (16-12-1967 A.D.) and by National life and General Insurance Company in B.S.2045(1989A.D.) after its incorporation on B.S.2043/02/19 (2-6-1986)A.D.

The insurance activities were regulated by Insurance Act 2026(1969). The Act and the regulations were modified and new Insurance Act and Regulations were enacted in 2049(1992). Beema Samiti observes and regulates the insurance activities in Nepal as per the provisions of Insurance Act 2049 and Insurance regulations 2049.

Even though the performance of RBS has been impressive, the reach and density of insurance has been very low even in comparison with the insurance density in developing nations.

The life insurance premium Income for nine years from F.Y.2051/52 to 2059/60(Rs. in crore) was as under.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sad Love Story

One day as Yasin left his apartment block to go to work he noticed a beautiful Turkish girl collecting her mail from the mail boxes in the lobby. He was hoping she wouldn’t notice him because he was very scruffy. He was on his way back to the fishing boat he worked on. He had only one hour free that day and he had run home up the mountain to his mother’s house to see her and eat his dinner with her. The journey up the mountain took 20 mins, if he walked fast but only 15 minutes back down again if he ran. This left him just 25 minutes to spend with his mother and eat his dinner. He did not have time to shower and change his clothes.

Yasin tried to walk past the girl before she noticed him. Too late! ‘Selam Yasin’ she said and looked away from him shyly. He was amazed, how did she know his name? His face went very red and he stopped to look at her. ‘Selam’ he replied. ‘She laughed. ‘You don’t recognise me?’ she said. She busied herself with her letters and only stole quick shy glances at him. ‘Nnno’ stammered Yasin. ‘I’m sorry.’

I’m Hazret.’ she said. ‘Did you forget me already?’ The penny dropped! She was the daughter of a neighbour. She had been away to university and Yasin did not remember seeing her for a long time. She had changed from a skinny girl with crooked teeth into a real beauty.

Yasin felt his face grow even more hot. She was very beautiful and there he was standing before her in his holey jumper, which to be honest smelt strongly of fish. He was also painfully aware of the big cut on his face, where a rope on the fishing boat had slashed across his face a couple of days before. He smiled at her and she smiled back…(although she was very shy and did not look at him for too long).

The next weekend Yasin had several hours rest from work. The engine had broken down (again) and he could not work. This meant no money until it was mended, but at least it also meant his could spend some time at home with his mother. He went down to the mail boxes hoping to catch sight of Hazret again. He was disappointed that she was not there, but when he went to collect the letters from the box, there was a tiny piece of paper in there. There was a mobile phone number on it and the name ‘Hazret’. Yasin felt very happy. With his heart pounding he went up to his apartment and used the very last of his credit on his mobile phone to text her. He just said only ‘Hello Hazret. How are you? This was the start of their romance.

Every day Yasin sent her texts. When he was home from work they met by the mail boxes. He took to cleaning the balcony for his mother hoping to catch a glimpse of her on her own mother’s balcony (which were happily in sight of each other). When three months had passed, and they had secretly kissed in the communal garden one day, Yasin decided that he was in love. He told his mother and text Hazret that he loved her very much. She text him back and told him that she loved him too. Yasin could not remember a time in his whole life when he had been so happy. He told his mother that he wanted to marry Hazret. She was not surprised, she knew in that way that mother’s do, that her son was in love and she was very happy also. She wished once again that her husband was alive and that she had more money and more standing in the community, but she did what she had to do and she invited Hazret’s mother over for tea. She spent all week cleaning her already spotless home and got the best china out for the occasion. She spent more than usual in the supermarket that day and all morning making cakes and pastries. She was determined that Hazret’s mother would be impressed with her home and her hospitality.

Hazret’s mother arrived on time. She did not bring Hazret with her. She ate the cakes and pastries and they passed one hour together making small talk and polite chat. Then she cut to the chase.

‘She was sorry. She knew why she had been invited and she knew also that Hazret and Yasin were in love. But it was out of the question that this situation continued. There was another boy, in the army at the moment, but coming home soon, who was a much better prospect.’

‘Of but…’ said Yasin’s mother ‘they are so in love.’

‘It doesn’t matter said Hazret’s mother. Yasin and your family are no good for Hazret. You have no husband, you have no money in your family. Yasin is a fisheman and your eldest son a waiter. What have you to provide for my Hazret? Nothing. I am sorry, but that is the way it is. My husband, (she took great delight in saying - my husband - at every opportunity) has told Hazret that she is not to speak to Yasin again. My husband, has taken away her mobile phone so that she cannot text him again and we are sending her away to stay with her aunt in Ankara on Friday.’

She left. When she had gone, Yasin’s mother was furious, but sad. She knew that the woman had spoken the truth and this would always be the way for her sons.

When Yasin came home from work she explained gently to him and they both were angry and sad together.

When Yasin went to sleep that night, all he could think of was Hazret’s lovely face and how he would never see her again. How she would marry someone else who had more money, a better job and a family with a father. His heart was broken and he felt he had no future. Girls richer than him would not be allowed to marry him, and girls who were not as rich as him would have poor families to support. He would spend the rest of his life working eighteen or twenty hours each day, seven days per week to feed his own family and his wife’s family. He would hardly ever see his children. His only chance for happiness was to find a foreign girl whose family would not mind him being poor, who could help him get a visa to live in another country where he could earn good money, send some home for his mother and be able to live a good life. He would have to marry someone who did not understand his life, his beliefs, his religion. She would not understand his possessiveness or his jealousy which he had grown up to believe was normal. She would not understand his standards of cleanliness which he had instilled in him since he was a tiny child and she would not understand his relationship with his mother. She would not understand him too well and he would not understand her. He hoped that he could be happy in his life, his needs were modest.

Life was very hard...


Meaning of a to z

A - Avoid negative people, things and habits.

B - Believe in yourself!

C - Consider things from every angle.

D - Don't give up and don't give in.

E - Enjoy life today, yesterday is gone
and tomorrow isn't here yet!

F - Family and Friends are treasures,
enjoy their riches.

G - Give more than you planned to give.

H - Hang on to your dreams!

I - Ignore those who try to discourage you.

J - Just do it!

K - Keep on trying, no matter how hard it seems.

L - Love yourself first and foremost.

L - Make it happen!

N - Never lie, cheat, or steal.
Always strike a fair deal.

O - Open your eyes and see things
as they really are.

P - Practice makes perfect!

Q - Quitters never win and winners never quit.

R - Read, study and learn about everything.

S - Stop procrastinating!

T - ! Trust in yourself and never give up.

U - Understand yourself and understand others.

V - Visualize your dreams.

W - Want to enjoy life.

X - X-ccelerate your efforts!

Y - You are unique in all the world,
and nothing can replace you.

Z - Zero in on your target and go for it!!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

ABout Nepal

The Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal lies between India and the Tibetan Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, at 26o 12' and 30o 27' North Latitude and 80o 04' and 88o 12' East Longitude.

From the highest mountain on Earth - Mt. Everest (8848m.), known as Sagarmatha in nepali, to the deepest gorge in the world - Kali Gandaki , the topography of this country varies, covering an area of 147,181 sq. km. This country is a land of people belonging to diverse ethnic groups. The traditions, culture, and way of life of each group are all fascinating.

Whether you like to indulge yourself in a leisurely visit to historical monuments and religious shrines or experience an adventure through trekking, white water rafting, and jungle safaris, you have your own choice. Nepal is the perfect destination for high altitude adventurers, trekkers (both experienced and beginner) leisurely travellers and holiday makers.

Nepal has a world of mystical scenery and enchanting cultures for our esteemed guests, coming from far and distant lands. To enjoy a visit to this country remains an unforgettable experience for all.

Kathmandu Valley

The Valley of Kathmandu houses three cities - Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur}
all packed with both historical and religious monuments. A tour of these cities lets you travel back into Nepal's history, enjoying the artifacts and heritage of the Himalayas that is still alive and dynamic.
The co-existence of two great religions - Hinduism and Buddhism- encourages everyone to live in harmony, putting aside all worldly material differences. This valley houses seven World Heritage Sites (Cultural). Throughout the year the Nepalese celebrate one festival after another.

Each and every corner of the three cities offers you a variety of arts and crafts such as woodcarvings and metal crafts.

After a visit to Nepal, you will keep those beauties
preserved in your mind that the camera never can.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Traveling of Nepal

Day Trips Around Kathmandu Valley

Beyond the urban milieu of the three ancient cities of the Kathmandu Valley, there’s a wealth of culture and nature waiting to the discovered. Ensconced amidst the lush greenery are magnificent monuments that are specimens of artistic workmanship. The villages and small towns dotting the landscape provide charming glimpses of rural life. The Kathmandu Valley is not very big (about 20 by 25 km), and an explorer can combine a number of locations in a leisurely day trip. Given below are some destinations to make your day:


About 12 km southeast of downtown Kathmandu, a medieval village drones on in blissful oblivion like it has for centuries. Far removed from the urban bustle, Dhapakhel (Dhapakhyo) invites all those who seek peace and quiet and a fascinating scenery to go with it. Besides being a pristine nature sanctuary, the village is a popular pilgrimage spot as well. Its religious significance comes from Nagdaha, meaning serpent pond, which is situated here. This sacred pond attracts many devotees, especially during the festival of Nag Panchami (August 16). On this day, pilgrims throng the site to worship the divine serpents which dwell in the pond. The holy serpents are revered as protectors of the Valley and as rain-givers.

As far as scenery is concerned, there are few places in the Valley that come even close. You could get lost in the lush greenery all around; and the snow-covered Himalaya levitating in the skyline behind the Mahabharat hills makes for an enchanting sight. There are few tourists here (or local visitors for that matter) because of its total seclusion.

The road to Dhapakhel branches off from the Ring Road at Sat Dobato. From here it is a pleasant countryside drive with rice fields to the left and right. You meet farmers toiling in their fields and children grazing animals on the meadows. So, if you are looking for a real getaway, hire a car or grab a mountain bike and head for one of Kathmandu’s best kept secrets.


Ichangu Narayan is situated to the west of Kathmandu behind the Swayambhu stupa. It is one of the four main shrines of the Hindu deity Narayan that stand at the four corners of the Valley and protect its inhabitants. Hidden in the hills at a distance of about 11 km from downtown Kathmandu, the village of Ichangu offers a bit of religion, a bit of history and a lot of hiking.

To get there, follow the dirt road across the Ring Road from the Swayambhu bus stop. After passing a limestone quarry, the road turns into a trail leading you through scattered villages. Ichangu is reached after an exhilarating one-hour walk.

The temple of Ichangu Narayan (meaning Narayan of the west) is a two-roofed pagoda that dates to the fifth century. The shrine attracts many pilgrims, especially on the full moon day of August 26. This is "visit the Narayans day" when devotees make pilgrimages to all the four Narayan temples in the Valley. Even if you cannot make it on this special occasion, you should visit Ichangu to experience a part of Kathmandu that few tourists get to see.


Saturday, December 9, 2006



Nepal is home to ten World Heritage Sites, both natural, as well as cultural. Of the eight cultural sites, seven of them glorify the Kathmandu Valley. Visit all the cultural sites; Kathmandu Durbar Square, Syambunath, Pashupatinath, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Boudhanath, Changu Narayan Temple and Patan Durbar Square. Outside the valley, visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, followed by the first of the natural heritage site, Chitwan National Park and if you have more time, Sagarmatha National Park, home to Mount Everest.


Bring your sketchbooks, paintbrushes and cameras, whereas just about any place in Nepal will inspire artistic expression. A visit to any one of the temples or monasteries provides insight into religious life. Century old traditions are abound, as prayer wheel spin endlessly, the air is filled with sounds of chanting and the smell of burning incense and sidewalks are dotted with red powder from a daily ritual. Pokhara's Phewa Lake offers timeless reflections of the magnificent Machhapuchhre, while Chitwan National Park provides a dramatic change of scenery. A rhino emerging from the early morning mist, the Royal Bengal Tiger peeking through the thick jungle and the unique culture of the lowland people provide an array of wildlife, cultural and mountainscapes.


There are a multitude of healing activities you can do all within a close proximity to Kathmandu. In the hills surrounding Kathmandu, pass the days meditating in a Buddhist monastery, while resting your mind and body. Afterwards, immersed yourself in a yoga program, while participating in several treatments for the soul; reiki, massage, or Buddhist teachings.


A new concept in travel has finally come to Nepal. For years, travelers have come to the Himalayas to experience this unique culture firsthand, though it has always been difficult to really get to know locals and understand how they live. Now, in the western region near Pokhara, stay in an unspoiled village, living with a family, as a family member.


The lowlands of Nepal's Terai region are full of rare wildlife. Head towards the eastern region and visit the Koshi Kappu Wildlife Reserve for some of the best birding and waterfowl in the country. It is also home to the rare Gangetic dolphin and wild water buffalo. For an even wider look at wildlife, travel to the far-west to the Royal Bardia National Park, visited less frequently the Chitwan, though created to protect tigers and wild elephants.


Wedged between two massive countries, Nepal is a melting pot of ethnic diversity. Travel to the east, where you can visit the small hillside town of Dhankuta, home to Rais and Limbus. Trekking in the Annapurna region is a delightful experience while staying in Gurung villages. Further west in Jomsom, Thakalis and Tibetans share this area. Then head south to the terai, where Tharus live in the surrounding areas of most national parks. Kathmandu Valley brings together Newars, Brahmins and Chhetris, and many other ethnic groups. If you have more time, a trip to the famed Solu Khumbu region is the land of Sherpas. Together, they share a common bond, but separately, each have a very distinct architecture, dress, culture and lifestyle.


Nepal, the world's largest outdoor playground offers heart-stopping action on land, in water and air. A short drive from Kathmandu, just south of the Tibetan border, lies an oasis of canyoning in the most ruggedly beautiful terrain. Wedged strategically amidst a deep, narrow gorge over the Bhote Kosi river, is Nepal's only bungy jumping. Head west to Pokhara, a land of lakes and the eternal Annapurna range, where you can paraglide amongst the mountains, over small villages, with breathtaking views. Continuing the adventure further west brings us to the Karnali, Nepal's mightiest river. Experience powerful whitewater while traveling through pristine forests, view stunning waterfalls and rest upon deserted beaches.


Your father is drunk

To The Tune Of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Oh you better not shout, you better not cry,
You better not pout, I'm tellin' you why,
Daddy's home and I think he's drunk.

He's walkin' real slow, he slurs when he speaks,
I don't even think he's shaved in two weeks,
Daddy's home and boy is he drunk,

He spent most of our money on Johnny Walker Black
And then he took all of the rest and lost it at the track.

You better not pout, you better not cry,
I don't like that look in his eye,
Daddy's home and I think he's....
Daddy's home and boy is he.......
Daddy's home and he's really drunk!


Trekking in Nepal

trekking arrangements

There are different approaches to trekking in Nepal and the choice depends on time, budget, experience and personal preference.

Agencies provide essential logistical arrangement including porters, guide, cook, food tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, transport to and from trekking starting points, flight arrangement, permits, staff insurance and so on. These agents also provide a choice of itineraries and necessary information on trekking health care etc.

The cost of an all inclusive trek ranges from about US$ 25.00 to US$ 150.00 per person per day depending upon the quality of service, number of days and number of persons in the package. This style of trekking is relatively expensive compared to that of backpacking but a few extra dollars guarantees comfort and security, eliminates time consuming ordeal of organization and ensures a trouble free holiday. There are limited areas where a backpacking type of trek can be undertaken by an individual.

A companion/guide is helpful in the remote wilderness and is enjoyable to talk to on the trail. It is strongly advised to be overly cautious of free-lance guides or the services of any agency not recognized by government.

money matters

It is generally not possible to change foreign currency/travelers checks except in bigger cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Namche Bazaar, Jompsom, Salleri, and Okhaldunga. Consequently, when your in the mountains, cash is king. Change money in the city before your trek starts. Make sure to ask for small denominations (ones, twos, fives, twenties, fifties and hundreds - a 500 or 1,000 note will be useless).

Careful: Torn banknotes seem to be a superstitious item. Village people, and even people from the village that have moved into the city, refuse them. Use them for tips or donations to holy-pilgrims.

mountaineering adventure for non-climbers

For the more adventurous traveler, there are many minor peaks open for Alpine climbing under the Nepal Mountaineering Association. The climbing of these peaks is controlled under the rules and regulations formulated by this Association.

Most of these peaks require snow and ice climbing experience. Trekking Agents provide qualified and trained climbing guides to take non-climbers for convenience, safety and expected successes. By Himalayan standards, these are considered minor peaks, but in fact some of them provide relatively challenging snow and ice climbing of high standard, and more so in Winter.

The royalty for these peaks ranges from US $150 to US $300 depending on the particular peak for up to a 9 member climbing team.

See's Trekking: Areas: Trekking Peaks for a list of those currently open. For complete details about Peak Trekking, Mountaineering and Expeditions, visit our sponsor Adventure Thirdpole Treks and Expeditions.

tips and suggestions

During your trekking sojourn in the hills and the mountains of Nepal you should be aware and remember that you are traveling back in time and into the wilderness not usually frequented by many foreigners and away from normal policing. Although the people of the hills of Nepal are exceptionally hospitable, honest and friendly by any standards, the possibilities of some trekkers encountering bad elements who take advantage of foreigners cannot be eliminated. It would be wise to exercise the following basic rules as regards. Security and safety during your trekking:

*Trekking organized through recognized Trekking Agent ensures comfort and convenience, safety and security and greatly affords the unique experience. This approach to trekking not only prevents you from any unforeseen hazards and accidents but also provide educational information and rewarding experiences on the mountains, people and in rural Nepal

*All foreign nationals are required by law to pay their hotel, travel, and trekking agents bill in foreign currency. Exchange your money through authorized banks/money changers only. Insist on a receipt when exchanging your money and retain all exchange receipts with you.

*Littering mars the purity of environment. Avoid the use of non-biodegradable items as mush as possible. Your attempts to burn oddments and carry out the unburnable ones will be a great help in the efforts to conserve the environment.

*Avoid dispute with local people, most particularly when you are alone. Avoid drunkards and lunatics.

*Do not encourage beggars by giving them money or other articles.

*Be most economical with all fuel. Avoid hot showers which use firewood and discourage campfires. Avoid lodges using firewood and insist on use of kerosene for cooking to Trekking Agents.

*We strongly recommend that you take out a personal travel insurance to cover against illness, accidents, loss and theft of items and materials, travel alterations and deviations, rescues and evacuations.

*It is recommended not to travel alone in the remote areas while traveling in Nepal particularly in the case of females. If you do not have a fellow trekker as companion, you should not engage a guide/porter except through a third party who has responsibility for the person engaged.

*All the information mentioned here is subject to change, so do not forget to do your own homework.

information centers

*Department of Tourism, Tripureswor (near the national stadium), Kathmandu

*Nepal Tourism Board - NTB is a national organization established in 1998 and promote and market Nepal as an attractive tourist destination. NTB's office is located at Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu, Ph: 4256909 or 4256229.

*Kathmandu Environmental Education Project Trekker's Information Center, P.O.Box 495, Tridevi Marg , Kathmandu

*Nepal Association of Travels Agents - NATA, Lal Durbar, Yak & Yeti Plaza, Kathmandu, Ph: 4228787.

*Trekking Agents Association of Nepal - TAAN, Ganeshthan, Maligaun, Kathmandu, Ph: 4440920 or 4440921.

*Kathmandu Environmental Education Project - KEEP provides trekkers with information about responsible trekking and also has a travelers' information center in Thamel. Through slide shows, lectures, videos, and other activities staff and volunteers provide trekkers with information about promoting positive environmental and cultural interactions when trekking.KEEP is located at the Potala Tourist Home, off Tridevi Marg, and is open from 10 am to 5 PM daily expect Saturdays and major holidays Ph: 4410303


Friday, December 8, 2006

Trekking of Nepal

flights to remote areas

Flights by plane and helicopter into and out of the remote areas and airports are prone to cancellations and delays due to inclement weather. It is advisable to allow some layover days while planning a flight out of airports other than Kathmandu and Pokhara. When these flights are considered in the itinerary, it is also recommended to carry extra money to buy food and accommodations in case of delays. Agencies will not be responsible for these additional expenses or costs incurred from lost connections, so plan accordingly.

medical matters and advice

Trekking in Nepal need not be considered a risky affair as far as your health is concerned. Nevertheless, preventive measures such as a thorough medical check-ups and inoculations before you start trekking can save you from unexpected hazards. Since the remote places of Nepal are not supplied with necessities that are essential for modern medical facilities, and as the rescue and evacuation are measured in days, it is imperative to make a comprehensive First Aid kit consisting of basic drugs and accessories as part of the paraphernalia for trekking.

Various trekking guide books and the pamphlet published by the Himalayan Rescue Association give you detailed information on a complete list of medical supplies. These guide books are easily available in the bookshops of Kathmandu. In case of serious illness or injury, prompt evacuation to Kathmandu is the best remedy.

Modern dentistry is unknown in the hills of Nepal, so it is advised to have a checkup before departure from home. Tooth fillings sometimes loosen in cold temperatures and at high altitudes, so it is recommended to have them checked.

physical fitness

All trekking demands a level of fitness that will enable one to put in a good day's walking, up hill and down. Most treks should not be taken to gain more than 500 meters in one day above 3,000 meters. There should be plenty of time during the day to cover this distance, so the physical exertion though quite strenuous at times, is not sustained. The best preparation for trekking is cycling, swimming, jogging, squash, tennis and long walks involving up and down hills. Good physical conditioning will certainly help maximize your enjoyment of your treks.

altitude sickness

Altitude Sickness, often known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a particularly important medical consideration while trekking in Nepal. Altitude Sickness means the effect of altitude on those who ascend too rapidly to elevations above 3,000 meters. Anyone may be effected by AMS regardless of strength or physical fitness. The initial symptoms of AMS are as following:
* Nausea/Vomiting
* Loss of appetite
* Insomnia/Sleeplessness
* Persistent headache
* Dizziness, light heaviness, confusion, disorientation, drunken gait
* Weakness, fatigue, lassitude, heavy legs
* Slight swelling of hands and face
* Breathlessness and breathing irregularity
* Reduced urine output

These symptoms are to be taken very seriously. In case of appearance of any of the above symptoms any further ascent should be reconsidered. More serious problems can occur which can even cause death sometimes within a few hours. The main cure for the Altitude Sickness is to descend to a lower elevations immediately. Acclimatization by ascending to no more than 300 to 500 meters per day above 3,000 meters and the proper amount of rest are the best methods for prevention of AMS.

Literature and pamphlet published by Himalayan Rescue Association (see Rescue Service below) consists of detailed information on AMS. The Central Immigration Office and all trekking agencies in Kathmandu distribute this pamphlet free of cost. Since these documents also give information on the list of suggested medical supplies for trekkers, it is a compulsory item for every trekkers' medical kit.

rescue service

Himalayan Rescue Association

HRA is a voluntary Nepalese organization registered with His Majesty's Government to run a mountain rescue service in the mountain tourist areas. The Association's major role is the prevention and treatment of mountain sickness. The association's medical research work is undertaken by a team of foreign doctors at present.

The Kathmandu office and Information Center of the HRA is located in Thamel. The HRA Information Center has expert and up to date information on all aspects of altitude sickness. All those intending to trek above 3,000m (10,000ft) are advised to visit the Information Center. Two Trekker's Aid Posts are listed.

Everest Area

At Pheriche on the main trail to Everest Base Camp, one day north of Thyanboche. This Aid Post is well equipped and staffed by two Western doctors during the main trekking season. Trekkers intending to go to Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp are advised to contact the Pheriche Aid Post.

Manang Area

At Manang village in Manang. The Aid Post is well noticeable and has a sign posted. Regular talks on dangers of altitude sickness are given here every alternate day during trekking season. The Aid Post is staffed by a Western doctor. Trekkers intending to cross Thorong La Pass and visiting the surrounding areas are advised to contact the HRA aid post either at Chindi or at Manang.

Medical Rescue and Transport Communication Facilities

1. Everest and Kanchenjunga Treks

A small hospital and airstrip at Jiri, Phaplu and Khunde (Syangboche). Similarly a medical facility operated by HRA is situated at Pheriche. There are also radio station at Chainpur, Khandhari, Taplejung, Phidim, Bhojpur, Terhathum, Dhankuta, Dharan, Illam, Chandra-gadhi, Jiri, Namche Bazaar, Thayangboche, Pheriche, Lobuche and Salleri,

2. Helambu, Gosaikunda, and Langtang Treks

Modern medical facilities are not available in the Helambu area. For Gosaikunda and Langtang, there is a government hospital at Trishuli Bazaar and a dispensary at Dhunche. There is also radio and telephone link to Kathmandu at Trishuli Bazaar. An airstrip is located near Kyangjin in Langtang Valley. The other two radio stations are on the Bhote Koshi at Rasuwa Gadhi on the Tibetan Border and in Dhunche.

3. Around Pokhara, Lamjung, Jompsom, Muktinath and Nanang

Pokhara has an all weather airport, telecommunication network and a modern hospital. District hospitals are located in Baglung, Bensishar, and Jomosom. There is a Trekker's Aid post run by the Himalayan Rescue Association in Manang. Additionally a small government dispensary at Hongde and Chame, the headquarter of Manang district, also serve both foreigners & locals. Airstrips are located at Jomosom, Hongde and Balewa of Baglung. There are radio stations at Chame, Kusma, Baglung, Beni and Jomosom.

There are also radio stations at Gorkha and Besisahar. A government hospital is located in Gorkha. The united Mission to Nepal runs a hospital at Ampipal of Gorkha.

4. Jumla and Rara

Airstrips are located in Dhorpatan, Jumla and Simikot. There is a government hospital and a radio station Jumla. A dispensary is run at Gumgadi.


Thursday, December 7, 2006

Nepal Trekking

equipment & what to bring

Your trekking agency will provide equipment like sleeping bags, foam mattresses and tents. All you need to bring is your personal gear. We've seen porters make in through mountain passes in flip-flop sandals while carrying loads for two travelers. Nevertheless, we want you to enjoy your journey so use the lists (and your porters' muscles) below as guides.

Minimal Requirements

* Lightweight walking boots. "Walk them in" prior to arrival in Nepal to avoid blisters.
* A pair of lightweight/heavyweight trousers are useful higher up in the mountains in the morning and at night.
* 1-2 pair of loose fitting long shorts/skirts.
* 2-4 cotton T-shirts.
* 1 lightweight long sleeved-shirt is particularly suitable for avoiding sun burn.
* A sunhat and ensure it has wide brim to cover the face and neck.
* 2 pairs of thin and 2 pairs of thick woolen socks.
* Underwear: normal quantity
* Swimming suit
* Water Bottle
* Sunglasses and strap
* Toiletries with large and small towels. Toilet paper can be bought in Kathmandu and some village in the mountains.
* Small headlamp and/or flashlight/torch with spare batteries
* Personal medical supplies - don't forget band-aids and twizzers
* Army-knife and sewing kit
* Sun-screen, sunblock, sun-tan lotion, zinc-oxide... get the picture? This is essential in the Winter when skys are clearest.

Winter Requirements

* Warm jacket. Fiberfill or down should be adequate. This is especially necessary during winter from December to February.
* Sleeping bag to -15 C or sleep sheet (if renting or agency supplied)
* Woolen shirts and thick sweaters. During winter months, December through February, These items are essential. Thick sweaters can be purchased in Kathmandu.
* Windproof/Waterproof trousers. Necessity on all treks going above 3,000 meters.
* Thermal underwear. These are excellent to sleep in at night. In the winter months thermal underwear are quite invaluable.
* A woolen hat to wear in the morning and at night. During winter it is an essential item.
* A pair of gloves. Leather with lining and woolen are best.
* Snow Glasses and strap
* Snow gaiters can be essential

Some nice add-ons

* Camera & Film
* A pair of slip-on shoes or sandals. To wear in the camp, in bathroom and toilet tent or when the boots are wet.
* A rain-proof jacket with hood or a poncho. Get the one that is guaranteed waterproof.
* A sweat-suit. Useful for wearing in camp and in the tent.
* Duffel bag or kit bag to carry gear while trekking.
* Daypack. This is a small backpack to carry personal requirement for the day e.g., to toilet items, camera, film, towel, soap, a book etc.
Spare boot laces.
* 2-4 large plastic bags to separate clean clothes from dirty ones. 6-10 smaller plastic bags to dispose garbage.
* Wallet and/or money belt with compartment for coins.
* Spare flashlight bulbs, candles and lighter to burn toilet paper.
* An umbrella is quite useful as a walking stick, a sunshade and for rain.
* Reading materials, game items, music, note book, rubber band, pen and pencil envelopes, a diary, a calendar, a pocket knife, binoculars (optional), A small pillow or headrest (optional) Thermarest (optional) - an inflatable sleeping mat, trekking map, adequate quantities of passport photographs.
* Duct-tape, superglue and small mirror can be handy
* Travel locks and chain to secure luggage and lodge door
* Hot-water bottle - unless your mate's comin' along

Unnecessary Items - reminder...

* Cell-phone, Pager, Lap-top computer, PDA, etc
* Radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, etc

Please Note: North Face and Pategonia type companies own the market in the USA, but many of the above mentioned items can be purchased/rented in Kathmandu and Pokhara. These high-tech companies and there products can make for a dreamy trekking experience when you learn what all thoughs pockets and fancy fabrics are really designed for.

Beware: Virtually all the brand name items in Nepal are Korean knock-offs. Shoes and sox are the essential items to bring from outside the country, if your in the Bigfoot category.

flights to remote areas

Flights by plane and helicopter into and out of the remote areas and airports are prone to cancellations and delays due to inclement weather. It is advisable to allow some layover days while planning a flight out of airports other than Kathmandu and Pokhara. When these flights are considered in the itinerary, it is also recommended to carry extra money to buy food and accommodations in case of delays. Agencies will not be responsible for these additional expenses or costs incurred from lost connections, so plan accordingly.