There are huge differences between the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) both politically and culturally. But there are also many similarities, too, especially when it comes to personal finance.
For example, a personal loan from HSBC in the UAE is much of a muchness with its American counterpart, whether the lender is HSBC or any other major multinational bank. Successfully applying for an unsecured loan is based on a range of lending criteria, including credit and employment history.
A personal loan is most often used for the purchase of small items such as a computer, or to pay for a vacation or unexpected expenses such as a wedding. The loan is paid back over a fixed length of time, maybe three to five years typically. The interest rate is set at the beginning of the loan term and remains fixed throughout. Because of the riskier nature of the loan, interest rates tend to be higher compared to a secured loan, for example.
The UAE is perhaps different from many other countries in the Middle East in that personal banking is more highly developed and accepted. In Egypt, for example, only about 10% of citizens have a bank account. Year-on-year, the situation is improving there as the availability of personal banking increases and becomes better understood. However, there’s still a long way to go.
Consumer debt is a problem both in the US and the UAE. Recent UAE Central Bank figures suggested UAE residents owed more than $100 billion on mortgages and personal loans, a three-fold increase on 2006. Credit cards, too, have grown in popularity and availability with the number issued put at something well over two million. Not bad for a country with a population of just under eight million. Surprisingly, though, most transactions in the UAE still involve cash, not plastic.
In the US, meanwhile, latest figures indicate Americans are making a real effort to pay their monthly bank card balances on time. According to the American Bankers Association (ABA), bank card delinquencies – missed repayments – fell to an 18-year low as consumers strengthen their financial base amid economic uncertainty.
During the third quarter of 2012, says the ABA, bank card delinquencies dropped to their lowest levels since 1994, falling 18 basis points to 2.75 percent of all accounts and well below the 15-year average of 3.89 percent.
James Chessen, ABA’s chief economist, attributed the improvement to consumers’ ongoing efforts to better manage their finances.
He said, “Consumers are paying close attention to their finances as they continue to pay down debt in an uncertain economy. The conservative approach consumers have taken to credit over the last several years has allowed them to better manage their debt and better position themselves for the future.”
The ABA defines a delinquency as a late payment that is 30 days or more overdue. For borrowers having trouble paying down debts, ABA advises taking action – sooner rather than later – to solve debt problems with the following tips:
Talk with creditors – the sooner you talk to them, the more options you have.
Don’t charge more purchases until your problems are solved.
Avoid bankruptcy – it’s a short-term solution with long-term consequences.
Contact Consumer Credit Counseling Services at 1-800-388-2227.
Or check out the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the nation’s largest financial counseling organization.
Part of the crazy idea behind the trillion dollar coin stems from a loophole that technically, does allow a way around the debt ceiling should political talks stall. In a fiat system as our own, going into default makes no sense when you have the printing press known as the Federal Reserve. More to the point with the trillion dollar coin idea, we can technically, just mint a platinum coin for $1 trillion and pay off portions of our debt. You can technically mint 16 or so of these coins and pay it all off. Of course this would cause massive rampant inflation since this would be as explicit as you can get to actually printing real money versus other actions the Fed and US Treasury have undertaken. The trillion dollar idea is simply a way to bypass any political roadblocks that may occur in the current debates. It is a thought experiment and as crazy as it sounds, this is no crazier than merely going into default when you can print your way right out of the debt. Of course the cost is and will always be, inflation.
Some details on the idea of the trillion dollar coin:
“(Wired) If the president uses such a coin to bypass intransigent Republicans who refuse to raise the debt ceiling, or even if he merely uses the possibility of such as leverage in negotiations, it will underline how ad-hoc online communities, like the anonymous international band of commenters to which Beowulf belonged, are increasingly able to move their ideas from the fringes into the middle of political debate. It’s one thing for bloggers to help bring down a Mississippi senator or to embarrass a presidential frontrunner, as they have in years past; it’s quite another for commenters to re-engineer the funding of the entire federal budget.
Their initial ambitions weren’t nearly so grand, to hear Beowulf tell it. (Though Beowulf’s real name is relatively easy to discover online, he spoke to Wired on the condition that we leave it out of this story.)”
It really has come down to talking about trillion dollar coins!
If you think driving in the US is dangerous, you are right. Russia has some pretty bad driving as well. For all the new and modified technology, there is still only so much that can be done when it comes to protecting drivers. First, you have to be motivated to drive safely. Next, with faster cars and better technology, people tend to forget how dangerous driving a car can be. The perception of safety is not always the same as actual safety. This is problematic and will cause problems for many people. Young drivers of course have the poorest track record because of lack of experience and also the inability to assess risk. There are many common things to do to increase your chances of safety including being a defensive driver and also wearing your seat belt. Besides lowering your insurance rates, this is good for your health.
Most dangerous countries to drive
This is an interesting info-graphic regarding driving safety around the world: