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How to Delete Index.dat Files – Completely Erase Internet History

For those of you who are concerned about your privacy and don’t want any other users who have access to your computer to know what sites you’ve been visiting online, need to know how to completely erase internet history. You see you do not fully clear your internet browsing history when you clear the private data, cookies, browsing history etc. using your internet browsers lame privacy tools. In order to permanently delete the records of sites you have visited, pictures you have viewed, videos you have downloaded, or even emails you have sent online, you need to know How to delete Index.dat files. These files are hidden system files that keep a record of every single website and action you’ve performed online and if anyone gains access to them they can see exactly what you’ve been online. So by now I think you would’ve realized the importance of clearing index.dat files and since Microsoft doesn’t provide any utilities to delete index.dat files.

I’m going to show you how in this article.

Index.dat files are used by Microsoft to record information about internet sites that have been visited and details of cookies being stored on your PC. Whenever you visit a website on the net; the URL address, images viewed, time of visit, and other web page contents are all saved to your hard drive. There is no clear explanation as to why Microsoft needs these files but the primary reason is that the contents can be opened up quicker from your hard drive if you re-visit the same page again. One example of its use is when you type in the first few letters of an address in the URL bar that you’ve already visited and the full address quickly comes up, now this is great if you can’t be bothered re-typing the address but it’s a huge invasion of personal privacy if someone else is using your computer.

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of fully searching internet history or has heard about the existence of index.dat files will be able to know exactly what you’ve been doing online. So if you are worried about your privacy then you must learn how to delete index.dat files immediately, before someone else gets a hold of them.

Now I’m afraid erasing or clearing index.dat files is no easy task and it is virtually impossible to accurately delete all the files using manual deletion methods. The reason being, index.dat files are critical system files and are constantly being used by internet explorer and Windows all the time so you cannot simply drag and drop them in the recycling bin. You may be able to remove them using MS Dos if you are using Windows Me, Windows 98 or Windows 95 and then find and delete all the index.dat files one-one. However This is method is pretty complicated and vulnerable to errors as Windows usually stores more than one copy of index.dat and finding them all when they are located in hidden directories can be difficult. If you are using Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000 or Windows NT this tactic won’t work at all and you will need some help.

Because Microsoft hasn’t provided any utilities to easily delete index.dat files and also considering the fact they are near impossible to erase using manual methods, third party software designers have created programs specifically to erase index.dat files. Usually known as index.dat viewers or index.dat erasers, these programs are easily able to locate all index.dat files and quickly remove them, all at the click of a few buttons. Personally I use a program called Privacy Guardian 4.1 to completely clear my internet browsing history; it is able to fully secure my privacy by ensuring all traces of my online Internet and computer activity are permanently erased and unrecoverable.

So if you wondering how to completely erase your internet history then you must know How to delete Index.dat files. They cannot be deleted easily by manual methods and I must recommend you grab a good Index.dat eraser if you wish to delete index.dat files and fully secure your internet privacy. The good news is that most programs offer a free download so you can remove these files today at no cost. I can guarantee you will feel a lot better and be letting out a strong sigh of relief when you know you actually deleted all your internet browsing history permanently.

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How Do Equity Indexed Annuities Stack Up?

Sales of equity indexed annuities (EIAs) have grown considerably in recent years. These products are positioned as simple investment vehicles that enable the investor to participate in market gains but offer protection from market losses. In reality, these are complex investments and because salespeople are paid large commissions for promoting these products, it’s difficult to get an objective opinion on whether they are right for you.

How Do Equity Indexed Annuities Work?

EIAs produce an investment return that is tied to a market index, most commonly the S&P 500. Each product has a minimum guaranteed return (currently, 1% is common) and a cap rate, which is the highest annual return the investment can generate (currently, 8% is common). Consequently, an EIA with these common parameters would generate the same return as the S&P 500 of that return was between 1% and 8%. If the S&P 500 produced an annual return of less than 1%, the EIA would guarantee 1%. Similarly, if the index produced a return greater than 8%, the annuity would be capped at an 8% return.

Further, EIAs have participation rates that commonly range from 70% to 100%. For instance, if the index increased in value by 10% during the year, an EIA with an 80% participation rate would produce an 8% return (80% of the index’s 10% return).Also, it is important to note that minimum guarantees, cap rates, and participation rates can change at the whim of the insurance company.

Other Important Factors

As mentioned previously, salespeople are handsomely compensated for selling EIAs. To protect the insurance firm from paying a large commission to a salesperson only to have the investor sell the annuity, these products have a surrender charge if the investors sells within a certain time frame, which can be as long as 10 years. This surrender penalty can be as much as 10%. Thus, liquidity is severely limited with these investments.

EIAs offer tax-deferral, meaning an investor doesn’t pay taxes on investment gains until the annuity is sold. This tax-deferral is similar to the benefit offered by a 401(k) or IRA. However, unlike investments in a 401(k) or IRA, investments in an EIA don’t reduce your current income or tax bill when the investment is made. For this reason, many financial planners encourage their clients to maximize contributions to other tax-deferred vehicles before considering an annuity.

It’s important to note that most EIAs only count equity index gains from market price changes, and exclude any gains from dividends. Since you’re not earning dividends, you won’t earn as much as if you invested directly in the market. For example, the S&P 500 earned 15.1% in 2010, but 2.3% of that return came from dividends which would not be included in an EIA.

Lastly, the guaranteed return on an EIA is only as good as the insurance company that gives it. While it is not a common occurrence that a life insurance company is unable to meet its obligations, it happens. Information about the financial strength of insurance companies can be found on the SEC’s website.

Investment Return

Suppose a 45 year old with a 40 year investment horizon was looking for an investment that offered impressive returns with relative safety. Would an EIA be a good choice? Let’s consider a $10,000 investment in three unique options: an investment in the S&P 500, an investment in a conservative diversified portfolio* consisting of 75% bonds and 25% stocks, and an investment in an equity indexed annuity tied to the S&P 500. For illustration purposes, let’s assume the annuity has extremely favorable conditions: a 100% participation rate, a 3% minimum guarantee, and a 10% cap rate. Further, let’s give the EIA the benefit of the doubt and assume it includes the portion of the S&P 500’s return due to dividends, which few EIAs do. All and all, this annuity is significantly more favorable than any real product you are likely to find. Since the investor intends to live another 40 years, let’s look at what would have happened to these three $10,000 investments during the last 40 years, starting in 1970.

As you would expect, the $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 grew the most over 40 years, to $495,551. However, this investment endured significant volatility, losing as much as -37% in one year. Clearly, this investment is too risky for an investor willing to endure only a small amount of risk. Alternatively, the $10,000 investment in the diversified 75% bond, 25% stock portfolio grew to $433,838 — still an impressive return. However, the largest loss this portfolio suffered in a calendar year was -6% (1974), which might be tolerable to an investor with a low risk tolerance. Finally, while the equity indexed annuity with unrealistically favorable terms never gained less than 3% per year, our $10,000 investment only grew to $195,479. What if we consider an EIA with more realistic terms: 100% participation rate, 1% guarantee, and an 8% cap rate? Our $10,000 investment would have grown to only $103,767. Clearly, when comparing an EIA to investing in a diversified portfolio with a conservative ratio of bonds to stocks, an investor benefited of accepting a small amount of volatility in their portfolio.

ity indexed annuity without full knowledge of the product? Annuities have a “30-day free look” that enables you to surrender the product free of charge within 30 days of signing the contract. If you recently purchased an EIA, speak to a fee-only financial planner immediately to ensure the product was right for you. If you decide the annuity wasn’t what you thought, a fee-only financial planner can help you exercise your free look provision and find an alternative investment that is more appropriate.

Indexed Universal Life Insurance For Retirement Income

When designed properly, indexed universal life insurance can be a great savings vehicle for investors who have a good ability to save. Indexed universal life or IUL, is a type of permanent life insurance that allows a policy holders to build a cash value. The cash value can be invested in a fixed account that often has a guaranteed minimum interest rate or the owner can derive their returns based on several different equity indexes.

There are several crediting methods that can be used to generate returns on the cash inside the policy. The most common method I see is an annual point to point calculation based on the return of the S&P 500 with a cap rate that protects your principal and limits your upside. When you pay your annual premium, the insurance company deducts some of the premium for state taxes, cost of insurance, and a sales load. After the fees are taken, most of your money goes to the insurance company’s general account and a small portion buys derivatives on whatever index you select.

Let’s say that the insurance actuary believes that they can earn 5.27% on their pool of investments. They would invest $95 of your $100 in their general account expecting that it one year, the $95 would grow to $100. This is how they can guaranty your principal. The $5 in my example would buy derivatives that could make up to a certain return or they could expire worthless if the index you chose has a negative year. The costs of the derivatives help determine the cap rate or the maximum that you can make per year. Most companies have a 10-15% cap rate on the S&P 500 index currently. If your insurance policy has a 12% cap rate on the S&P 500 and the index does 30%, you will have 12% credited to your account for the year. If the index does 5%, you will make 5%. If the index loses 20%, your return will be zero for the year. You do not receive the dividends of the indexes you invest in.

Principal Protection

Some people are very critical of the fact that IUL limits their upside. There is no free lunch. In order to protect your principal, you have to give up some of the upside. These critics point out that because of the cap rate, IULs would have earned between 5-8% per year over the last few decades during a time when the S&P 500 has averaged 9-11%.

I agree that it is possible to make better returns IF you are willing to stomach the risks of owning an all stock portfolio and my experience has taught me that very few people are able stay invested when the financial world is in a panic. The latest study from Dalbar was recently released and it shows that the average equity investor has averaged 3.79% over the last 30 years while the S&P 500 has averaged 11.06%. Even worse, the average fixed income investor made .72% per year, which is only 1/10 of the return of the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index.

Because it is so hard to stick with an investment plan that does not appear to be working, I think a percentage of the population would be better off in a product like IUL that limits their gains, but provides principal protection that helps them sleep better at night.

Creditor Protection

Texas law states that the cash value in your life insurance is protected from creditors. This is a very important feature for people in the medical profession and business owners. Money held in your bank account or brokerage account is generally not protected. This may not seem like a benefit to you, but consider the fact that a home owner and tree trimming company were successfully sued for millions of dollars because an oak tree fell on the current Governor of Texas in 1984 rendering him paralyzed. I didn’t know I needed to worry about the trees in my yard bankrupting me until I learned this.

Did you know that when you sell your car, you can be held liable for tickets and criminal and civil liability if the new owner doesn’t change the title of the vehicle to their name? It is important to go to the tax office with them or submit a vehicle transfer notification to the DMV right away. The more experience I have under my belt, the more I realize how risky life can be.

Tax Benefits

The cash value inside indexed universal life insurance grows tax deferred and if designed properly can be pulled out as tax free loans that don’t have to be paid back during the insured’s life (the insurance company uses some of the death benefit to pay off the loan). The only return that really matters is what you keep after taxes and after inflation. If you are in the highest Federal income tax bracket of 39.6% you are now subject to an extra 3.8% Medicare surtax on investment interest under the Affordable Care Act. If you make 6% inside your tax deferred IUL policy, that is a 10.6% tax-equivalent yield for the highest tax bracket.

In addition to tax deferral, you can pay zero capital gains tax by borrowing against your cash value. You can borrow to buy your next vehicle, for a real estate down payment, or to fund your child’s college. You can choose to pay these loans back or potentially never pay them back. Page 27 of the 1990 GAO Report to the Chairman clearly states “If a policyholder borrows the inside buildup from his or her life insurance policy, the amount borrowed is considered a transfer of capital, not a realization of income, and, therefore, is not subject to taxation. This reasoning is in accord with tax policy on other types of loans, such as consumer loans or home mortgages.

Diversification

Stocks and safe government bonds often have low to negative correlations. There are very few years where the US stock market and US government bond market both lose at the same time. However; many take comfort knowing that in down stock markets, they can pull money from their insurance policy that has principal protection. This can be a very useful tool when one considers the risk of the sequence of returns when distributing money in retirement. Pulling money from stocks in a year like 2008 can seriously hamper one’s ability to maintain their standard of living during the rest of their retirement.

There are also times where the US stock market is a lousy long term investment. The S&P 500 hit 1552 in March of 2000 and was at the exact same level 13 years later because of the tech wreck in 2000-2002 and the Great Recession in 2008-2009. This was an ideal environment for indexed universal life insurance because your principal was protected during the crashes and the crashes made stocks cheap where they had a good chance of going up and hitting the cap rates on the IUL policies. During long term bull markets (like 1982 to 2000) you would expect a capped IUL policy to do worse than the return of the US stock market.

Arbitrage

When you withdrawal money from your brokerage account or 401(k) and spend it, the money is no longer invested and working for you. This is not the case with indexed universal life insurance. When you borrow from your policy for retirement income, the insurer is lending you money and using the cash value in your policy as collateral for the loan. This means that you could have a $200,000 loan at 5.5% interest against the cash value in your IUL policy. If over the course of your loan, your policy averages a 6.5% rate of return, you are making a 1% rate of return on all the money you spent to live on.

The chance of being able to make a small spread on what you have borrowed and the downside protection of the product could potentially allow you to withdraw a higher percentage of your cash value per year than you could from volatile investments that don’t have principal protection. I ran an IUL illustration on a 37 year old male who had an average return of 6% per year until age 65 and found he could borrow 4.8% of the cash value in the first year of retirement and continue to increase that initial amount by 3% each year until age 100. In simpler terms, the arbitrage and principal protection may allow you to pull $48,000 indexed for inflation from $1 million dollars of cash value in an IUL.

4.8% is a lot higher than most financial planners would be comfortable pulling from a traditional portfolio. One of the most common amounts planners consider safe to pull from your investments is 4%. This has even come to be known as the 4% rule. Retirement Researcher, Wade Pfau, recently estimated that retirees should consider pulling only 2.85% to 3% initially from their investments. That would mean you should only pull $30,000 indexed for inflation from a million dollar portfolio. If Pfau is correct, having a maximum funded IUL for retirement could be a nice addition to your retirement.

Death Benefit

The last benefit of saving into index universal life policies is to remember that you are buying a life insurance policy. If you pay one month or year’s premium and die prematurely, your heirs could literally have a 1,000% return on the money you invested. If this unlikely and unfortunate event happens, life insurance is the best thing that you could possibly have invested in. And the best thing about life insurance is it is tax free to your heirs.

I also like how many IUL policies have a free accelerated death benefit rider that allows you to take a portion of your death benefit while you are alive if you are terminally ill. You could use part of your death benefit while you are alive to take your family on one last vacation or to pay for a long term care facility.

Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage to IUL policies is that they usually have 10 to 15 years of surrender charges or fees to get your money out. You need to fully understand the product and be committed to it. The products also front load their costs and most illustrations that I run at 6% don’t break even until year 7 to 10. Therefore, it is usually a bad idea to apply for a policy and cancel it early on.

The second disadvantage to IUL is that the cap rates can and will change throughout your ownership of the policy. Many policies only guarantee a minimum cap rate of 3% or 4%. As mentioned previously the cap rate is a function of the cost of buying derivatives. Volatility was very high in 2008 which made derivatives more expensive. I did not see any companies dramatically drop their cap rates at that time and don’t see this as a huge risk. If for some reason your IUL dropped cap rates near the minimums, you could change to a different index crediting method or you could invest your cash value into the fixed account for a period of time.

Lastly, life insurance illustrations always show guaranteed values and non-guaranteed values. It is very likely that we continue to operate under the non-guaranteed assumptions, but if Ebola killed massive amounts of people or AIDS became airborne, all insurance companies can raise their charges for insurance and administrative costs after receiving approval from your state. In this rare event, life insurance contracts would be considerably less attractive than policy owners were expecting.

Conclusion

IUL is not right for everyone. If you design a policy that buys the least amount of insurance to get the maximum amount invested, you can add diversification to your portfolio, have tax flexibility in retirement, and make attractive after-tax returns. If you would like to see what it would look like to save into an IUL, please give me a call. We can determine the amount that you want to commit towards saving into a policy and then find the right one for you based on your health history. Because I am independent and not beholden to one company, I can shop all IUL carriers to find the best option that meets your needs.

Solar PV – The Smartest Investment For 2011? And You Get Free Electricity!

A 10% tax free, index linked income for 25 years, guaranteed by the Government that’s environmentally friendly and provides free electricity.

When you install a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system at your property you can now earn around 10% per annum tax free guaranteed by the Government for the next 25 years. Solar PV is the amazing investment and environmentally friendly opportunity that was introduced by the UK Government in April 2010. This is when the ‘Feed in Tariff’ (FiT) was introduced to increase the rate you get paid for the microgeneration of electricity at your premises.

The FiT is index-linked for the next 25 years making it inflation proof. In the context of the Spending Review in October it is one of the few areas where there is real certainty to invest your money safely and wisely for the future with exceptional, tax free returns.

In setting out to stimulate consumer demand for microgeneration (the production of clean energy on a domestic scale), the Government have set the FiT very high for a limited period. This means that only households and commercial enterprises that complete their installation before March 2012 will qualify for the highest rate tariff.

As soon as you are installed you are locked into the index linked scheme and its benefits for the next 25 years. This includes the annual cash benefits of the FiT, free electricity and knowing that you are reducing your CO2 footprint.

So what are the catches? There aren’t any. Your installation needs to be carried out by an MCS qualified installer in order to claim your 10% tax free, indexed linked, 25 year income that’s guaranteed by the Government.

The roof needs to be southerly facing and shadow free for most of the day. The panels are mounted onto the roof using a hidden lightweight aluminium framework. The DC electricity produced by the panels during daylight hours is converted to AC by an inverter. This will usually be in the loft space or near your electricity supply.

Finally, a meter measures the amount of electricity that your system generates (in the same way that your current meter measures what you use and are charged for today). A typical installation will involve two installers and a qualified electrician working at your house over a couple of days. It is a straightforward job with most of the work taking place outside.

The highest rate FiT is 41.3p per kWh and applies to systems up to 4kW in size. This is typically four times the price paid for electricity from the grid and is paid regardless of how the electricity is used and even if you don’t use any of it.

On top of the FiT, you add the value of electricity that you have saved by using some of what you’ve generated. Finally there is an income called the Export tariff which is calculated as 50% of the electricity that you generate being fed back into the grid.

If any of this sounds complicated, it really isn’t; once your installation is completed, the Solar PV system is connected seamlessly to your present electricity supply and your new meter is ready to calculate how much electricity you have generated and what your annual revenue is.

And there are a range of investment options depending on what return you are looking for. From wholly owned systems through shared ownership and even free systems, where you rent your roof for free electricity, the options are many and varied.

Glycemic Index Vegetables

Vegetables are known for their ability to maintain good health. Low glycemic index vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. It is recommended that you eat least 2 -3 servings of low glycemic vegetables per day. Vegetables should be eaten in moderate amount.

Low glycemic index vegetables can cause a moderate rise, in sugar levels, the blood system. There are two main types of vegetables, including low and high GI vegetables. High glycemic index vegetables can increase the glucose level in the blood beyond the optimal level. Vegetables with high index scores include legumes, and starchy vegetables. Examples of starchy vegetables include potatoes, yams and etc. When you know the index rating of each vegetable, you will be able to control the sugar level in the blood efficiently. In addition, your body will be resistant against diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Eating lots of vegetables will enable you to maintain a healthy weight.

Low glycemic index vegetables are also rich in fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate. However, the stomach cannot digest fiber and because the stomach cannot digest fiber, it cannot increase the glucose level in the blood system. After you eat a food, the stomach will break down the carbohydrate into glucose. Glucose can increase the level of insulin in the body. Insulin can increase the energy of the body and makes you active. After you have used up the energy, the excess insulin will be stored in other organs such as muscles and the liver. When there are no more places to store the glucose in the organs, the body will then store the excess glucose as fat in other parts of the body.

By eating vegetables, you can maintain an optimal weight because they have a low amount of carbohydrate. It is important to have low glycemic meals every day. A single low GI meal cannot lower the glucose level in the body efficiently. Eating vegetables can burn off the excess fat in your body. Vegetables can eliminate the high lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood, again helping you to have a healthy body.

If you want to find out the exact glycemic value of each vegetable, you must reference the GI food chart. You can find free information on low glycemic index vegetables on the internet. Many websites offer index rankings for different ranges of vegetables. Some websites provide more comprehensive GI information than others – look around. Therefore, you should visit a variety of websites so that you can compile the most comprehensive vegetable GI list.

Free Business to Business Directories

Ok so I have written about some of the best B2B directories, they all offer services at a price but can provide great results for your company. I have detailed probably what I would consider to be the ‘big’ 4. There are many more available but weather they are worth looking at is a decision I will leave for you. However not all directories make you pay for your advert, there are a few out there that offer their services for free. One thing you have to remember is that these directories simply can not provide the same coverage as the paid for ones, but considering they are free they do work fairly well. Also remember when advertising you are not limited to one place, spread your advert out across different directories to receive more coverage.

Free Index
This is one of the most popular free directories, not as large as the paid for directories but still boasting around 20,000 companies and 1.2 million visitors a month Free Index works well considering it is free. Their service is free of charge and they promise not to send to any spam. It takes about 2 minutes to set up a free small advert and is a good start to getting your name out there.

Expert Focus
This is another free directory that specializes in the advertising of manufacturers, so if it is a manufacturer you are looking for and want to put a small advert somewhere Expert Focus is worth checking out.

Free Solar Panel Schemes Explained

You may have seen recent announcements in the press regarding ‘solar panel giveaways’ from new companies offering to install photovoltaic panels on your home completely for free. Solar PV panels are known to be extremely expensive, so how on earth could a company offer them for free, and why would they do it?

The answer is relatively straightforward, the companies involved stand to make a considerable amount of money from the scheme. The key behind it is that installing photovoltaic panels under the feed-in tariff is a very good investment. Installing them on your home is especially good because the feed-in tariff pays the most money for small PV installations. Anyone deciding on where to invest their money should definitely look at getting a solar installation, it’s a tax-free, index linked investment that can be a great help to families and the environment.

Unsurprisingly for the UK economy however, where a good investment is to be found it doesn’t take long for the investment banks to come lurking. All of the free solar schemes offered are actually based on investment funds set-up by a well known UK investment bank. The fund is created to pay for solar installations on suitable UK homes, and then all the revenues from the solar panels go directly back to the bank. Some electricity savings are passed to the resident, but the big majority of returns go straight to the bank.

The second critical ingredient to this arrangement is the network of installers to design and install the installations. In the UK there are not a huge number of these installer networks. Behind each of these solar panel schemes is a different network such as the Mark Group and Eaga, firms which have over a thousand installers. They grew by doing boiler replacements and installation fitting for utilities such as British Gas. This arrangement means company who actually sells you the system is in fact a middle man between you, the bank and installer. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this, but its important to understand what is going on.

The other way of looking at it is that the investment banks are providing a service. Not everyone is in the position to invest 10k in a solar PV system and the ‘free solar’ schemes allow a wider range of people to experience solar energy and benefit from it. The arrangement means that the feed-in tariff payments go to the investment bank, but the savings in electricity bills at least are retained by the resident.

Overall these financing schemes will help to quickly grow the industry in the UK, but beware of how they work and know that you would make a lot more money if you self-financed. In Germany and other more mature solar energy markets, what you find is that ‘solar loans’ are widely available. This is the cheapest way of financing a solar installation. You just get a loan for however much you need in order to buy your system and pay it off with the feed-in tariff revenue. It means you still get to own the system and receive at least a portion of the feed-in tariff.

So if you would like solar panels but can’t afford to invest 10k over 25 years then getting some sort of financing is a good idea. It might just be worth waiting for better financial products rather than lining the pockets of investment bankers however.

How To Make A Family Tree For Free In The US

I have to admit it, I don’t have much money. I have plenty of enthusiasm when it comes to making a family tree, but I’m not a millionaire. I make a salary, but there isn’t much left after rent and food. So, when I first started making my family tree, I was determined to make it without spending anything. In actuality, I wound up spending a lot more than nothing. In my eyes, it was more like a fortune, but to be honest, I think it was worth it. What I’ve learned about my family is priceless and the adventure isn’t over yet. It makes it possible for me to go to my job and not complain (much); because I have something else in my life. I have spent protracted periods of time talking to various people, and I know how to make a family tree with zero cost, but and this is where the big but comes in, it depends on where you are starting from. I was starting from ground-zero, so I had to spend something to find out stuff.

If you live in the United States, you will discover that it is not that easy to finish a family tree without spending something. One of the biggest reasons it is harder to accomplish is that United States records are done at the local level which means that the county is in charge and at times it even goes down to the parish level. Secondarily, there is no central repository; therefore, no central records that you can check details unless you are willing to part with some of your hard earned money. You probably can’t afford to go to every location to physically check the records so you will have to rely on the local records office to provide you with copies. Copies cost money, and you’re off and running up the family tree bill.

With that said, when researching your family tree, you need to prioritize. You know it’s going to cost you something, but realize that the largest expenditure generally comes from purchasing certificates related to your family. Record holders and government agencies can charge anywhere from $15 to $30 per certificate depending on type and location of purchase. Pricing is taken care of at the state and county level so it is varied and subject to change at any time.

Generally, marriage, birth and death certificates in the United States were available from the late 19th century onwards, so you are going to have to do some heavy duty research to find documents farther back. In addition it was only at this point was there any requirement imposed to store records and prior to that it was catch-as-catch can. Many folks just didn’t see the need to let anybody know about births, deaths and marriages in their family, preferring if they recorded it at all, to put it in the family Bible rather than some official agency.

Privacy laws also play a part when you are trying to get copies of various documents unless you can prove that you are related to the person you are trying to track. Many times you will need to prove your link to the person in question, so before you get started you will want to talk to relatives about what you are attempting. They might have documents you can copy, reducing both costs and bureaucratic red tape.

One of the best record sources in the United States is the census and if your family is of a certain religion, the church. The census is pretty comprehensive and is chocked full of useful information. The church also tends to keep very detailed records of full families if you attend the same church for years.

Let’s face it. Nothing in life is free, and tracing your family roots is no exception. I will tell you there is actually quite a bit of information out there if you are willing to look, and there are many possible resolutions to the issues you might face when doing family tree research in the U.S. There are many sources of free info, but you will have to spend more time gathering the information. Sometimes, paying for a bit of documentation will make your life much easier.

One place that has a wealth of knowledge is The Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) – They house an extensive set of records relating to most countries, and more specifically to the United States that they have gathered from various churches and parishes. Much of this material is available for free at familysearch.org. They have birth, marriage and death records as well copies of the censuses for FREE! The amount of information outweighs the few drawbacks which are that things haven’t been fully transcribed yet. but as a good place to start, LDS is wonderful.

Cindy’s List – cyndislist.com/ – A huge resource of information, broken down by state and counties, with literally thousands of links. The only issue with this site is that it can be somewhat difficult to navigate. You can spend hours trying to find anything!!! However, if you don’t have gobs of money to spend, you will need to give up your time in research and sometimes frustration.

Please do a search for these in google:

Rootsweb – World Connect Project – Put in your ancestors name and hit the search button, and it will check millions of existing records and return the results.

HeritageQuest Online – Usually this site is only available via subscription, but your local library may have access for free. It includes census bureau results as well as vital statistics.

Interment.net – Free Cemetery Records Online – Over two million records are stored here taken from literally thousands of cemeteries around the world.

US Genweb – The original and largest storehouse for United States genealogy.

Ancestry.com – This website offers a free 14-day trial of their service.

USGenWeb Archives – Search engine that will go through every United States record without visiting each state’s website. Very timesaving, this is a very well-hidden service that is, as a result, under used by most people

US Social Security Death Index – Easy to use database has 64 million records of deaths that occurred after 1962. Searches return birth date, death date, residence and inheritor.

Ellis Island Records – Nearly half of all American immigrants arrived through Ellis Island, New York. There’s is easy access to ships’ passenger manifest records from 1892-1924. Original manifests and photos available.

Illinois State Archives – Free databases available from the Illinois State Archives, includes marriage records.

Castle Garden Online – Search by name and time period for immigrants who landed at Castle Garden between 1830 and 1890.

Geneanet – This 85 million name database is culled from free websites worldwide.

Michigan Genealogical Death Indexing System – 170,000+ Michigan death records are available from 1867 to 1897. It’s a free index.

Kentucky Vital Records – The Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics in conjunction with the University of Kentucky have transcribed three million state vital records for Kentucky.

Utah Census Search is a free search tool for the Utah Federal census – 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880.

GenCircles – Global Tree is a well-liked web location for searching and submitting family trees using GEDCOM files. Over 32 million surnames can be searched with cross matching to other trees possible.

Obituary Central – If you need death records for the United States or Canada, then the search tools at OC will make it a breeze.

Pennsylvania Digital Archives – The Pennsylvania Archives Records Information Access System houses over 600,000 digitized records.

Maryland State Archives – Free Genealogy Indexes – Maryland State Archives site has lots of great info on it.

Oregon Historical Records Index: This is a free index of surnames compiled from a first-rate list of documents held by the Oregon State Archives.

There are also loads of forums geared towards assisting in your search to find your ancestors such as Discover like minded folks who are willing to aid you in your search with tips, techniques and advise.

Is Our Understanding of the Glycemic Index the Answer to Obesity and Other Weight-Related Problems?

Now here’s some shocking statistics for you. Did you know that as many as 1 in 2 Americans is on a diet at any given time; that nearly 2 out of every 3 Americans are clinically defined as overweight; and 1 in every 3 American adults are so overweight that they are considered obese. And let me add just one other statistic to emphasize just how big a problem this is. It is estimated, according to SurgeonGeneral.gov that 1 out of every 8 deaths in America relate to a person being overweight.

I think you’ll agree with me that these are absolutely shocking figures and in fact it was such a concern that way back in 2001, the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr Carmona, actually called for strong public health action.

But the problem is not just unique to adults. It’s a frightening fact that the problem is now spreading to our children. Such was the growing problem with child obesity that in July 2003, the Surgeon General gave a statement before the House of Representatives subcommittee on the growing problem. And the sad fact is that despite the spotlight focus on the issue, the percentage of people that is clinically defined as overweight and the number of people classed as obese, is growing every year.

While I have focused attention on US figures, which is at the top of the league table when it comes to numbers of overweight and obese individuals, it is not just a US health problem. The UK is quickly catching up and it seems that many other countries that follow in America’s footsteps, when it comes it eating habits, show similar signs of a growing problem every year.

In my pursuit to find out why there appears to be a growing epidemic around the world, I discovered some shocking truths about the food and the weight loss industries, some of these discoveries are revealed in a video I prepared earlier in the year. Its enough to make your blood boil!

The reason why I’m so angry and passionate on the subject of food and healthy eating is because our growing problem with weight loss and obesity is invariably due not to individual choice to over-eat or eat unhealthily, but more to do with the types of highly processed and fabricated food being churned out and labeled as healthy or low fat all backed with huge marketing budgets. Quite frankly its not any surprise that people are genuinely confused on what food is good for you.

In my book, the Glycemic Index At One With Nature, I set out the scientific reason in plain easy to follow language why following the glycemic index to eating food is probably the simplest and most effective method to permanent long-term weight loss and a healthier you. In fact low GI (glycemic index) food has grown in such popularity that there are now plenty of resources both on and offline for information, from general info on the glycemic index to lists of foods with their glycemic index values.

But let me be quite clear, the glycemic index of foods is extremely important not just from the perspective of losing weight, but also in getting us to understand the cause of a whole host of health related issues associated with obesity such as diabetes, arthritis, metabolic syndrome x, high blood pressure, heart disease and a host of degenerative diseases associated with excess weight.

So, before launching headfirst into the glycemic index food list, it’s important that you have at least a broad grasp of the glycemic index, how it works and how it can help you to achieve a healthier lifestyle. You can get a ton of free information on my specialist site on the Glycemic Index or search for my other articles on the subject.

Free Brokerage on Index CFDs – How Do CFD Brokers Make Their Money?

When anyone starts trading financial products for the first time, the trading costs involved are one of the most important criteria to consider. That is what makes trading index CFDs such a great product as they are generally commission free.

So the question most people ask is how can CFD brokers allow people to trade index CFDs commission free?

The reason CFD brokers allow you to trade index CFDs commission free is the fact that they have a spread on the index that you are trading. The spread is the difference between the first buyer and the first seller.

If we were to have a look at the Aussie 200 index for example the spread may be two or three points. The first buyer might be at 4000 and the first seller at 4002. As you can see there is a two point spread and so if we traded at one dollar per point then buying at 4002 and selling at 4000 would result in a two dollar loss. That two dollar loss is in effect your brokerage.

Trading Index CFDs with a small spread is critical

So as you can see there is no commission when trading an index CFD as in this example, but you will notice that if you got in and out when the market had not moved you would suffer a $2 loss. So whilst you may consider that you are getting the product commission free you are in effect being charged a small amount of brokerage. The great thing about this product is that the spread on an index CFD is usually kept to a minimum.

Free brokerage or $100 round trip?

There is no doubt that when you first starting out an index CFD at $1 per point is a brilliant option to consider. However, you can begin to see if you traded 25 contracts at 2 point spread your effective brokerage would be $50 to buy and $50 to sell making it a $100 round-trip.

Given the recent volatility of the Australian market and worldwide markets it becomes easy to see why one dollar per point is a very viable option. Even on the Australian market, which may move 100 points a day, at $1 per point you could be making or losing $100 a day.

Beware excessive overnight financing charges

The other reason CFD brokers are able to provide an index CFD commission free is that they charge an overnight financing rate which may be as high as the RBA rate plus or minus 4%. This means if you are holding an index CFD trade for a year you would be charged 4.25% +4% which equals 8.25% per annum calculated back as a daily rate. Always keep in mind that this financing rate is charged on your total position size which means it can get quite expensive allowing the CFD broker to pocket that finance.