How Does Prosper Deal With Deadbeats?

For those of you who don’t know Prosper is a personal lending investment service. People come to the site looking for loans and you as the investor can choose to fund a portion of those loans for a share of the interest paid on them. What makes tprosper lendinghis appealing to you as the investor are the returns. While traditional bank accounts are paying around 1%, Prospers loans can yield anywhere from 5-12% depending on the amount of risk you are willing to take. 

I have been a Prosper investor for almost 18 months and the experience has been great.  I have invested into 39 different loans and my annual return is just shy of 10%. Prosper has done a solid job of making process of finding and investing very straight forward and the layout is simple and easy to understand. Once a month I  deposit funds and I invest that and the payment money from my existing loans into new loans.

As I said everything has been running very smoothly until one day it happened. Someone didn’t pay. For over a year everything was great and then I look down my  list of “current” loans and saw a delinquency. I’m not going to lie, it was concerning. Of course I knew such a thing was possible, you could even suggest inevitable, but I had gone so long with out a problem, then boom. I contacted Prosper about this issue and they responded with the list of actions. Here is an outline of their collection process:

  • 1-15 days: Prosper will make calls and send emails to the borrower.
  • 16-20 days: Prosper engages with a collection agency to collect on the delinquent note. A late fee is charged at day 16, 46, 76 and 106 days past due and is passed on to the Investors.
  • Delinquency reported to Experian and Transunion on a monthly basis at 31 days past due until the loan is charged-off.
  • 121+ days: The loan is charged-off and sent to an external charge-off collection agency.
  • Collection Agencies will charge fees (up to 40% any recovered funds, plus legal fees and expenses) for any recovered funds.  Investors in a delinquent Note will have these fees deducted from any recovered funds on a pro-rata basis.  If no funds are recovered, Investors do not pay any collection fees.

Fortunately for me, the late loan was paid up in a matter of days. It appears to have been just a simple error. Since then none of my other loans has been late. This reassures my confidence in Prospers screening process. Delinquent loans are bad for business. When I saw a late payment it alarmed me, if it went unresolved I might pause my investment in the site. I am sure this is a common reaction.

To their credit Prosper has and continues to do an excellent job. I recommend their service to anyone who is looking to create a passive income stream and has the extra capital to risk.

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The PiggyBankBuilder Wednesday GiveAway Has Returned!

Our giveaway used to be a regular feature on this site. I took a break from the giveaway last Summer when I bought my home. Now I have decided to bring it back.

The rules are simple you can earn entries several ways and in the case ofridays gb 821f tweeting you can earn entries daily. The prize is a $25 Friday’s Gift card, depending on your appetite this should cover two people for a nice evening out. The contest ends in one month and one winner will be selected using a randomizer. Best of luck to all of you!

 

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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio Challenge – First Month Results

The third year of my educational investment portfolio has completed its first month. Understandably I am hoping to avoid a repeat of year one’s failures and build on year two’s successes. The markets have been very choppy and mostly down in 2015. Since 3 out of 4 stocks follow the market I fully expected my portfolio to be red. Let’s look at my results:

  • Krogers (KR) – Purchase price – $63.53, number of shares 23. Current Price: $69.68 a gain of $141.45
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $46.76, number of 32. Current Price: $41.28, a loss of $175.36
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $15.11, number of shares 99. Current Price: $16.47 a gain of $134.64
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $10.82, number of shares 138, Current Price $10.07 a loss of $103.50

success2015So after the dismal January my fictitious portfolio is up $2.77! Woo Hoo! I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the market fell pretty hard and my balanced portfolio has thus far weathered that storm. If the market should turnaround and resume its climb I believe that I am positioned to do well. If it continues to slide I hope that silver will be my saving grace.

Which will it be? Is this a much needed correction or will the troubles in Europe damage the global economy? Entering its sixth year this bull market is very old and everyday I read something about the economy that gives me concern. Ever since the market crashed in 2007 I have been wary and wrong. Only time will tell.

 

***Please not that I am not and investment advisor.Please consult your investment advisors before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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Made in the U.S.A. Monday – The Tide Is Turning!

PiggyBankBuilder has been highlighting American made products for almost two years now. I personally started consciously buying “Made in America” stuff almost seven years a go. When I first told people about my goal they were very skeptical, many people still wrongly believe that “we don’t make anything anymore” or that “American made stuff is junk”. Unfortunately too many people still hold this view, but it is slowly starting to change.

About six months back I stated to notice that it was easier to find American made products for my articles. In stores I also began to notice more “Made in the USA” labels and stickers on products. Now remember I have been on the hunt for the better part of a decade. If they were there all along I would ave seen them.  I honestly believe that stores are recognizing the value of our products and the fact the people want to buy them.

My “ah ha” moment came right before Christmas last year. I was researching a few products for my weekly article and I stumbled on to this page. It is the “Made in America” section of the GE website. As I am sure you are aware GE has been and remains one of the biggest companies in the world. For them to take notice for this trends and embrace domestic manufacturing suggests that the public is calling out for these products. Here is a quote from their page:

“By investing over $1 billion dollars in new plants, equipment and technology, insourcing the manufacture of many of our new products and upgrading employee training, we have recommitted ourselves to making great American-made appliances, and, in the process, created over 21,000 new American jobs–3,000 at GE and 18,000 at our U.S. suppliers.”

Insourcing! Is that even a word? According to my spell check it isn’t. If a giant like GE is looking to bring those jobs back just imagine what other companies are doing? Now customers looking to buy American can select from an impressive list of refrigerators, ranges, wall ovens, dishwashers, washers, dryers, and hot water heaters. 

Five years ago many people speculated that by this time you would not longer be able to find and American made appliance. As we can see today they were wrong. American made is growing and we should all do our best to help it continue to succeed.

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Tonight’s MVP is Going to Disney World. I Just Want a TV.

In early December I tried unsuccessfully to buy a 4K TV. I built what looked like was an amazing deal and shortly after ordering I discovered that it was in fact a total bait and switch rip off.  As you can imagine I was very disappointed, but retro tv 1I came away from the experience a little wiser. Here are the take aways from my journey thus far:

  1. Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s are legit. I’ve always thought that these two retail holidays were more flash than substance, but in my TV  buying experience they are the real deal. In my current situation the TV that I have been following the closest, the “Samsung 8550 55 inch TV” the Cyber Monday price was $1400. A few days later it popped up to $1600 and then oddly enough $2000. Presently its sitting at $1700. If I pulled the trigger weeks ago I would have saved myself  a lot of time and headaches.
  2.  Prices are going to Drop. Several stores and websites that I have called are offering a price matching offer until today. That means if I bought a TV last week and another recognized retailer is selling it for less they will refund me the difference. All of them picked today as the cut off point. That tells me that after the lights fade on the Super Bowl prices are going to drop big time.
  3. Out with the Old and in With the New. For some odd reasons TV’s have model years, like cars. Retailers are stocking the shelves with their 2015 models and want to push out their 2014 sets. I find this puzzling, does anyone care if they have last years TV? Could they even tell? Do TV’s change that much year to year? When all is said and done it doesn’t really matter, what does is that prices on previous model year TV’s usually drop greatly in an effort to get them out the door.
  4. President’s Day is the Pinnacle of TV Sales. Depending on a huge variety of factors Black Friday and Cyber Monday might only win the silver medal in retail discount savings game. I certainly hope so.

So when tomorrow arrives I am hoping it brings some amazing TV deals with it. As always I will share my results with you, fingers crossed.

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Made in the U.S.A. Monday – Pad and Quill Bella Fino Case

Everywhere I turn I see new iphone 6’s popping up. Back in the 2000’s everyone wanted a smaller phone, now we have made a complete 180. People essentially seem to want small tablets that also double as phones. I tend to agree with this idea, every year I use my phone for more and more tasks and the bigger screen will certainly aid in that effort.

I still have my iphone 5s, but my contract will soon be up and I will have to decide which handset I want to be my sidekick in life for the following 2 years. One thing I will not have to decide is which case to buy. I have had my Pad and Quill wallet case for over a year now and I can’t say enough good things about it. Not only is it hand crafted in America, but it has stood the test of time.

I have dropped this case, jammed it in my front jeans pocket, or bounced it around in my cargo short pocket during the peak of the summer. Now it sits in my jacket pocket on these freezing NY winter days. Everywhere I go my phone and that case have been with me. The leather hasn’t cracked or ripped and the wood looks as good as the day that I bought it.

If you are the proud owner of a new iphone you would be well severed by one of pad pad and quill 12and Quills cases. Perhaps this “Bella Fino” case is your style. It comes in sever different color combinations, has room for three cards and a license, and includes a space for your money.

It sells for $59.99 and as far as I am concerned is worth every penny. Ditch your wallet and carry your life in one pocket. Buy an American made product that can handle what your life will throw at it.

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Made in the U.S.A. Monday – Sauder Carson Forge Technology Pier

Earlier in the fall I wrote about Ohio base furniture maker Sauder Furniture. Today I am happy to report thatpier I am the proud owner of one of their products. While I didn’t buy their clever little adjustable coffee table that I featured in the September article, I did purchase one of their technology piers. Having received and assembled the product I would like to share some of my thoughts.

  • Assembly – I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s a bear. I am a pretty handy guy, I can assemble most things with relative ease. I probably put in about 3 hours into this bad boy. You really have to bring your A game on this one and a second set of hand would be recommended. 
  • Quality – The reason it takes so long to put together is because it is so well made. The quality of the build and the detail set this piece part form many in this class. 
  • Value – At just over 100 bucks I think this piece occupies a very unique spot. The build quality puts it right up their with some of the higher quality furniture makers, but the price is in the particle board assemble your own category. So while it’s not an heirloom grade piece of furniture it stands head and shoulders above the Ikea crowd. 

I’ve had my technology pier for over a week and I am pleased with my purchase. Before this I had placed my printer on a shelf under my desk, now it is out and easily accessible. My technology pier looks so good I am now considered buying a matching Forge Desk. What can I say, buying American is contagious. 

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The 2015 PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio Challenge

This will be my third year conducting my educational investment portfolio. For those of you who are new to the site, I create a fictitious portfolio to demonstrate to my readers the potential of stock investment. In my first year I failed. Last year I gained about 12%. This year I aim to surpass that. 

Here are the rules, I have $5000 in fake investment money. I select four stocks and track their progress over the year. If I see an opportunity or suspect that a situation will change I will buy or sell a stock to take advantage of that situation.

  • Microsoft (MSFT) –  I am a big fan microsoftof this company and continue to believe that it was a bright future ahead. For many many years this company has been unfairly underestimated. The addition of their new CEO is a welcomed change and I believe will allow their share price to climb into the future. I still hold a 100 a share price target for this company. Purchase Price $46.76, number of shares 32.
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - It was once believed that BlackBerry’s days were numbered. Another victim of the Iphone. While this is still a very popularly held belief, a bbrygrowing number of investors see this company as either a turn around story or a potential buyout target. I think a $!5 price target is very possible for this stock and I am keeping it in my portfolio. Purchase price $10.82, number of shares 138
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – I have been wrong about silverssilver and it has cost me dearly. Yet I will still stubbornly hold on because I know that if I am right I will be handsomely rewarded.  Purchase price $15.11 , number of shares 99
  • Krogers (KR) - The only new edition for 2015. krogerThis is a solid growing company with a good reputation. Normally i would shy away from a stock that has run so much, but I can’t see a reason why they wouldn’t maintain their current trajectory. Purchase price $63.53, number of shares 23

So there you have my selection for the 2015 PiggyBankBuilder portfolio challenge. I think it offers a nice balance of risk as well as sound growth companies. I will also tell you that I plan to chase IPO’s this year. I will go into deeper detail as those events near. If you have any question please ask. Best wishes to all of you in 2015, I hope you have a healthy and profitable new year.

 

***Please not that I am not and investment advisor.Please consult your investment advisors before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Finances in 2015

Day 1 of 365 in our new year. We are all setting our plans and goals, trying to turn our hopes into realities. Most people want to lose weight, some want to exercise more, somewhere on that list for many of us is “improve finances”. It can seem like a tricky one, kinda hard to gain a handle one. Eating better and exercising are pretty self evident. Managing your money,shrinking debt, not so easy. Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling. 

  1. Move your credit card debt to a 0% card. The average household has over $10,000 in credit card debt.slate That is a massive burden and the 20% interest rate is only making it worse. The road to debt free living leads through the 0% balance transfer. The interest cards alone on 10k in debt at 20% is $2000.00. With one simple step of moving it over you will save yourself almost $170 a month. That is money you could be using to dig yourself out of that hole. I would recommend the Slate card from Chase. It has no annual fee and a 0% interest rate for 15 months. It also has a no transfer fee which is very rare. 
  2. Switch or Bundle Your Insurance. A few year back I decided to ditch my old 1000 auto policy and shop around for a better one. I found a 700 policy and never looked back. A year later I got married and bought a house. We bundled our homeowners with our auto and saved even more, I went from paying over a grand to under 500 on my auto policy just by taking a few simple steps. 
  3. Renegotiate Your Cell Phone Bill. You can’t turn on a TV without seeing a commercial for one cell phone carrier or the other. Now I realize you might be in a contract, but if it’s near its end you have a lot of leverage and if you are going to bundle your plan with a family member all the better. I dropped my cell phone bill form $100 a month to $70, just by making a few calls. That was over a year ago and the switch has saved me almost 500 bucks! If youbillcutterzaren’t interested in the art of haggling you could hire someone like BillCutterz to do it for you. My buddy tried it and he was very pleased. 
  4. EBay It! You have too much stuff, we all do. If you are honest about it, you don’t need it all. Like that Xbox 360 that you haven’t played in years. Sell it and your library of games on Ebay. You might not get that much, maybe 100 bucks, but its money you didn’t have before. Not only will you get the cash but you will lose some clutter. 
  5. Work As a Secret Shopper. I’ve had some experience with the secret shopping app “Field Agent” logo FAand I was very pleased with the experience. Such an app could easy bring you a few extra bucks every month, perhaps hundreds of dollars a year.  

Everyone’s situation is unique, but if you pursued even one or two of these ideas the result could be very helpful. Best of luck to all of you in the New Year. 

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The PiggyBankBuilder Portfolio – 2014 Year End Results!

The second year of my educational investing portfolio is in the books and I can tell you that without even looking I have improved over 2013. That portfolio was closed down due to losses, so this years profitability is a great success. With mere hours left in 2014, let’s see how I did. 

  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $21.00 a gain of $206.72
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $47.47, a gain of $330.00 
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $15.65 a loss of $215.82
  • BlackBerry (BBRY) - Purchase price $9.25, number of shares 160, Current Price $10.88 a gain of $260.80

My year end results stand at $581.70 or just shy of 12%. winnerThis is almost in lock step with how the markets have performed. Much of my success was from OIH. I bought shares of it believing that prices would rise going into the  Summer, they did. I sold them when I began to read about declining oil prices, they did. My choice to get out of oil and into BlackBerry stopped any losses and locked in profits. Had I not done so I would be sitting slightly in the red. As Kenny Rogers once said “You got to know when to walk away”. 

As for Cablevision, I think it’s a great company with amazing buy out potential. Microsoft is in my opinion is a $100 stock and the decision to change CEO’s will see that prediction realized. Silver, oh silver, with all the turmoil in the world no one seems interested in the shiny metal. This is my second year being wrong about that. BlackBerry is a well run company and I suspect they may be bought at as well. 

So there it is, 2014 in the books, profitable. What does 2015 hold? Come back in a few days to find out. 

 

***Please not that I am not and investment advisor.Please consult your investment advisors before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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