Debt Counseling
Debt

Debt Counseling, Credit Card Debt, and Retirement

Some seniors use credit cards as a way to fund their travels in retirement, while others use them just to get their basics needs met. By receiving debt counseling you can prevent the senior credit card trap in the future. Young people who talk to trained credit counselors often learn the basic personal finance rules that help them save for retirement. According to a recent article by thestreet.com, many members of Generation X and the baby boomer generation worry about a cloudy financial future due to credit card debt. Even if you are under the age of 40, you can adopt better savings habits now as well as eliminate debt with a debt consolidation approach.

Changing your view of Money

Experts say one reason credit card debt will darken retirement for many senior is the fact that people no longer view debt as “abnormal.” By accepting massive credit card debt as perfectly normal, you reduce the odds of living a debt-free life. Successful savers pay off their credit card balance each month while simultaneously putting money aside for the future. They don’t pay interest because they have money in savings to pay any unexpected charges. A certified credit counselor helps you crunch the numbers so you can also build up a financial cushion.

Feeling embarrassed about Debt

When you receive Christian credit counseling, no one will shame you for your financial situation. In fact, most people open to debt counseling experience a total release of embarrassment and shame attached to failure because they are making a bold move toward success. Experts say the stigma of being in debt no longer exists with half of the people older than age 40 saying credit cards are survival tools.

Escaping the Downward Spiral

When you have a lot of credit card debt, it quickly impacts your future. Someone who has $20,000 saved up for retirement can’t get ahead when they can’t pay off high interest rate credit cards. Instead of giving up, the positive solution is to consolidate debt at a lower interest rate. By the time you enter retirement, you could have zero credit card debt and tens of thousands saved in a 401(k) or Roth IRA.

If you are afraid of credit card debt in retirement, consider debt counseling. A debt management plan lets you avoid bankruptcy. Some seniors fall prey to predatory debt settlement scams and programs that promise you will be debt free tomorrow. With some hard word, education, budgeting, planning, saving and paying on a debt management plan, you can enjoy a brighter retirement. By the time you retire, your personal finances will be a blessing instead of a curse.

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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    Debt Consolidation
    Debt Consolidation

    Debt Consolidation and Credit Card Debt Responsibility

    Financial experts say some Americans are becoming more responsible with credit card debt. One of the secrets of taking responsibility for your consumer debt without going broke is to consolidate credit card debt at a lower interest rate. With the help of trained professionals at a Christian credit counseling organization, you can fulfill your obligations to creditors while enjoying your life with debt consolidation. According to a recent article by npr.org, the Great Recession changed some consumers’ financial habits.

    Stop the credit card carry over

    The National Federation for Credit Counseling reports that one-third of households move credit card debt from one month to the next. To get going with debt consolidation, you sign up for a debt management plan through a reputable credit counseling agency. Because you pay your monthly debt management plan payment, there is no credit card debt carried over from month to month.

    Streamline your Finances

    While engaged in debt consolidation, you will likely cease to use credit cards. If you have never managed finances without credit cards, the practice will strengthen your resolve to stay out of debt and find other positive ways to finance your lifestyle. Some ideas include saving up money in an emergency account, contribution to a Roth IRA and selling items you don’t need when you need cash. When you complete a debt management plan, consider owning fewer than three credit cards. Pay off your balance each month while continuing good savings and budgeting habits.

    Spending less, but living more

    When you feel spiritually and emotionally enriched, you are less likely to seek material possessions to fill a void in your life. In the fall, many families spend money on back-to-school shopping. A survey by Deloitte discovered consumers plan to cut back on back-to-school spending. Even though a debt consolidation plan often frees up more money in your budget, you will feel happy without overspending. Budgeting and prioritizing helps you separate the back-to-school shopping necessities or needs versus the wants.

    Other ways to become more responsible with your finances is by dividing your money up between different goals. Some people put 10 percent aside for charity. Other people make sure they save at least 10 to 30 percent for retirement or the future. You have complete power over how you spend and save. By paying your debt back and avoiding bankruptcy and debt settlement scams, you protect your family and financial future.

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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      Credit Counseling
      Credit Counseling

      Credit Card Debt vs Credit Counseling

      Before opening up a new line of credit or applying for an additional credit card, weigh the risks. Many consumers do not realize they inadvertently hurt their credit scores by making financial missteps. According to a recent piece by CNBC.com, it is a risky time to carry new credit card debt due to the potential interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. By receiving credit counseling, you figure out an intelligent method for cutting debt and staying out of debt. A trained and certified Christian credit counselor fills you in on the bigger picture as it relates to credit scores, a workable budget and savings goals.

      Paying more in interest

      If you don’t resolve your credit card debt, you could end up paying more in the form of interest payments to your creditors. People who consolidate debt with a debt management plan enjoy a lower interest rate. According to CNBC, the Federal Reserve data shows consumers’ credit card debt now totals about $900 billion. The number is about 3 percent higher compared to last year.

      Feeling the squeeze to pay the minimum

      Most people realize they will not get out of debt for a long time unless they pay more than the minimum on their credit cards. If you take out more credit card debt or fail to come up with a plan to reduce debt, you could feel financial pressure just to pay the minimum balance. A new survey by Prosper showed only 37 percent of people pay their credit card balance each month while 15 percent pay the minimum due.

      Rolling over credit card debt

      When you get credit counseling, you don’t just learn how to live below your means. You also come up with a debt management plan so you know your credit card debt will be gone within a certain number of months or years. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling found most consumers roll over $2,500 in credit card debt every month. If the Fed does follow through with the promise to raise interest rates soon, the debt on $2,500 becomes more expensive in terms of interest owed.

      Other risks associated with taking out too many credit cards include dealing with late payments or credit card delinquencies. Also, you could end up with no money leftover every month to save for retirement or other financial goals. You can avoid bankruptcy and debt settlement scams by talking to the trustworthy credit counselors with Christian Credit Counselors. We look forward to providing credit counseling so you can build wealth and live a life with financial peace. For more information on credit counseling, please contact us.

      Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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        Budgeting, Christian Credit Counselors, Consumer, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Finance, Money Management, Personal Goals

        Budget Boss

        Budget Boss: Command Your Finances by Creating and Monitoring a Budget

        Looking for a way to improve your financial situation and set yourself up for financial success in the future? Christian Credit Counselors, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) with a mission to provide free financial education to individuals and families both locally and nationwide, is now offering a free, online webinar entitled Budget Boss: Command Your Finances by Creating and Monitoring a Budget. Christian Credit Counselors is committed not just to helping people get out of debt, but providing them with free resources and education to STAY out of debt and live a life of financial freedom.

        The Budget Boss webinar will teach you the importance and benefits of a budget. It will walk you through the steps of the budgeting process including setting goals, evaluating assets and expenses, creating a budget, and monitoring a budget. In addition, it will show you how to use a budget to create wealth by decreasing spending and increasing income. Finally, it will give you suggestions on how to avoid common roadblocks as well as helpful budgeting resources. Whether you feel like you are drowning in debt and don’t know where to start in finding a solution or you simply want to set up a budget to save for your first car out of college, this webinar will serve as a great tool in creating and monitoring a budget so you have the knowledge and skills to make the best financial decisions for your future.

        Click on the video below to view the webinar.

        Click here to download the free handout:

        When you are done with the webinar video you can also take a quick survey by clicking the button below:

        If you have questions or would like more information, email education@christiancreditcounselors.org or call 1-800-557-1985 ext. 131.

        Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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          Debt Counseling
          Debt

          Debt Counseling Boosts Financial Literacy

          Even if you are no longer in school, you can still learn helpful financial lessons and improve your “grade” in personal finance through debt counseling. According to a recent article by nerdwallet.com, 2 out of 5 Americans say they would earn a C, D or F if someone graded them on their personal finance knowledge. The article cited a survey on financial literacy. If you have more credit card debt than you can comfortably manage or are barely able to make the minimum payment on credit cards, consider lessons many people learn from their credit card debt. A certified and trained credit counselor will work with you one-on-one to educate, inform, guide and teach you about budgeting and boosting your credit score.

          Understanding future consequences

          Some people fail to realize the debt they take out at an earlier stage of life can easily affect their opportunities later in life. If you ruin your credit score by declaring personal bankruptcy when you are in your late 20s, you will likely have a difficult time buying a home in your early 30s. Having too much credit card debt often affects the debt-to-income ratio used when qualifying for a home. Credit card debt also affects your ability to afford rent, a car and miscellaneous expenses. By receiving debt counseling, you lay the foundation for a better financial future.

          Setting priorities and goals

          Another benefit of debt counseling is receiving clarity about your priorities and goals. According to the nerdwallet.com article, it is important to understand how buying low priority items you don’t value often prevents you from affording purchases that hold more importance or meaning. In other words, it is not smart to use credit cards to fill up your home with a lot of stuff you don’t even value.

          Achieving a life, not a lifestyle

          If you used credit cards to achieve a certain lifestyle, you could be missing out stability and security in life. It is not smart to use credit cards to impress other people only to sacrifice your own financial security as credit card debt spins out of control. With credit counseling, you learn how to manage your life instead of faking a lifestyle. Many people decide to consolidate debt so they pay off their debt in a set number of months. When reaching out for debt counseling, ask about how a debt management plan makes it easy for you to fulfill your financial responsibilities.

          Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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            Christian Credit Counseling
            Christian Credit Counselors

            Christian Credit Counseling and Your Money

            Some people have a negative attitude about money even though managing personal finances benefits family and the overall society. According to a recent piece by time.com, there are 10 characteristics of people with zero debt. When you get Christian credit counseling, you might not adopt all 10 habits immediately, but you begin a transformation that results in a debt-free life. By consolidating credit debt and enrolling in a debt management plan with the help of a trained Christian credit counselor, you people more like those people who seem to have complete control of their finances. The article by time.com points out it is never too late to achieve financial freedom, which is the goal of the accredited counselors at Christian Credit Counseling. While there is no one trait that makes a person financially successful, there are several characteristics of debt-free people worth adopting.

            Becoming more detail-oriented

            One positive characteristic of people with a positive relationship with money is attention to detail. With Christian credit counseling, you pay attention to every penny that you spend. You know exactly how much you’ll owe each month for a debt management plan payment to creditors and how much you’ll have to spend on different bills and priorities.

            Earning dividends instead of owing

            People who owe a lot of money in credit card debt sacrifice future earnings. When you consolidate debt as part of credit counseling, you lower the amount of money you owe in interest. With the money you save, you can invest so that you earn dividends, profits or interest for a wealthier future.

            Making practical decisions

            Experts say people who are prudent with money are pragmatic. They avoid brand names to save money. They aren’t interested in impressing others.

            Other important debt-free habits include living within your means or becoming more self-reliant and believing in personal responsibility. When you enroll in a debt management plan, you take responsibility for your credit card debt. Through Christian credit counseling, you pay back your creditors as part of the debt management plan. Although the pursuit of material possessions is not inherently evil, debt-free people tend to live simple lives that don’t require material excess for happiness.

            At Christian Credit Counselors, we don’t judge our clients. Rather, we provide a safe and positive place to receive debt counseling and other education and services. We help people get out of debt quickly and with no stress. For more information about Christian credit counseling and how it can change you life, please contact us.

            Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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              Credit Counseling
              Credit Counseling

              Credit Counseling, City Living, and Debt

              Whether you live in a city where people have the most credit card debt or are struggling with personal debt in a city where people live below their means, you can benefit from credit counseling. A recent report by The Washington Post named the cities where people carry the most credit card debt. If you live in a city where the cost of living is high, you could consider moving to a less expensive city. However, if you want to stay put, there are other ways to get the help you need without relocating.

              Managing your debt

              According to washingtonpost.com, most credit counselors say your monthly credit card bills should make up 15 to 20 percent of your income or less. If you owe more than 20 percent of your income just to pay the minimum balance on credit card bills, consider credit counseling. A certified and trained credit counselor will help you enroll in a debt management program so you consolidate debt and lower your monthly payment to something more manageable. On top of that, you end up paying less in interest payments when a credit counselor talks to your creditors about lowering the interest rate.

              Living below your means

              Again, if you can’t live below your means in a more expensive city, consider moving a half hour to an hour out of the city and commuting. If you can telecommute, it could add up to significant savings. According to the report by creditcards.com cited by The Washington Post, people in Washington, D.C. had the highest credit card balance of about $5,000. However, the study also took into account how much money people make in various cities. For someone living in San Antonio, it could take 16 months to pay off a credit card balance assuming a 13 percent interest rate and monthly payments equivalent to 15 percent of your salary. Other cities named as having people with high credit card debt included Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, San Bernadino, Portland, Los Angeles, Tampa, Phoenix, San Diego, Houston, Sacramento, Pittsburg, Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Seattle, Boston and San Francisco.

              Learning to budget

              By receiving credit counseling, you don’t just get started with a debt management plan. You also take the time to budget. Most people have thought about budgeting, but rarely take the time to organize all of their bills, prioritize, plan and crunch the numbers for an actual budget that is realistic. A credit counselor works with you on your budget so you have someone to bounce off ideas and concerns.

              Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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                Christian Credit Counseling
                Christian Credit Counselors

                Credit Counseling, Paying Off Debt, and Building Wealth

                Reducing Debt and Building Wealth

                One of the most common financial conundrums people have is whether to pay off debt or save for retirement and other goals. With Christian credit counseling, you learn how you can pay off your credit card debt while also building wealth. Paying off debt is a top priority for people who want to have financial freedom and reduce stress. With the help of a certified and trained credit counselor, you learn about a debt management plan which lets you dig out of debt 80 percent faster than a lot of other methods. Simply put, a debt management plan is an agreement between you and your creditors that involves a fixed monthly payment to satisfy the credit card debt you accumulated to that point. With Christian credit counseling, you have trustworthy counselors who go to the negotiation table on your behalf to secure you lower interest rates as well as forgiveness for late payments. By receiving credit counseling, you also figure out how to prioritize.

                Paying your creditors

                Although some people say to “pay yourself first,” the best strategy for getting out of credit card debt is to pay your debt management plan monthly bill before allocating money for savings goals and paying for other necessities and bills. The idea of paying yourself first is that you will put money aside for savings before tackling debt or daily living expenses. In most cases, you can afford to put a percentage of your income into an emergency account. However, that percentage is ideally flexible until you complete your debt management plan. Once you are out of credit card debt, you will likely contribute significantly more to a retirement and other savings accounts. If your goal is to get out of debt, make paying off creditors your top priority.

                Maxing out tax-deferred accounts

                To get the most for your efforts, make every effort to maximize a tax-deferred or tax-free retirement account. If you receive matching funds from your employer for a 401(k) or other company-sponsored retirement account, take advantage of the free money. You can build wealth more rapidly by knowing how to get the most money back on your tax returns in the form of tax credits and tax deductions.

                Setting up a budget

                With Christian credit counseling, you can enjoy working with trained counselors who don’t judge you, but support you on your journey. It is exciting to finally have that spiritual revelation that God wants you to manage your money properly and will support you in building wealth to care for yourself and your family. As part of your budget, you will create a small nest egg for temporary hardships while simultaneously paying off credit card debt through a debt management plan. Even if you can’t fully fund all tax-deferred retirement plans while paying off debt, you can make it a future goal for your budget.

                Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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                  Debt Counseling
                  Debt

                  Debt Counseling – Five Tips for a Fresh Perspective

                  When you feel hopeless about your credit card debt, it is common to have an outer environment that reflects your inner turmoil. By getting a fresh perspective with debt counseling, you overcome the signs of financial neglect such as unopened bills, disorganized purses stuffed with crumbled up receipts and tags left on clothing or other impulse purchases. A certified and trained credit counselor gives you that support and upbeat guidance you need to get a better attitude to face that bank account balance, credit card bills and tax returned that you did not yet file. To get back in the driver’s seat with your financial life, take a few concrete steps toward a better future. If you don’t know where to begin, start with a free consultation with a certified and trained credit counselor.

                  Completing a Financial task

                  One way to get a fresh perspective on your financial situation is to complete a financial task from start to finish. As part of debt counseling, you will learn to create a budget. Take the time to complete the task by gathering together all of your fixed and flexible expenses as well as discretionary spending desires.

                  Reviewing your Taxes

                  If you have already filed your taxes on time, review the situation. If you didn’t file on time, make that a financial priority. While you won’t pay back taxes through a debt consolidation program, you do need to know how any IRS payments will fit into your overall budget. Until you do your taxes or review your current year’s tax situation, you won’t know how much to put aside for the IRS.

                  Organizing and Cleaning

                  Even though it does not seem that sanitizing a kitchen or bathroom relates to personal finances, it is just one way to help clear your environment so you lose that feeling of hopelessness. Having an uncluttered home or apartment helps you find missing papers or bills. Once you locate some of your bills, get all your account numbers gathered together for your debt counseling session.

                  Setting your priorities

                  You could get a fresh new perspective on debt by setting priorities. Once you focus your attention on your high priorities, you feel gratified by the progress. It is easier to save up for a home, for example, if you stop wasting money on low priority issues such as movies out on Saturday.

                  Getting out of denial

                  Some people deal with debt by simply denying they have a problem. Unfortunately, those people also end up feeling stressed. By facing your debt with debt counseling, you gain peace of mind as well as practical and concrete strategies for improving your financial situation.

                  A debt management program can solve many of your problems by giving you a lower interest rate and allowing you to repay your debt up to 80 percent faster than other methods. You will gain that fresh perspective with one consolidated monthly payment.

                  Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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                    Christian Credit Counseling
                    Christian Credit Counselors

                    Cutting Credit Cards – The Credit-to-Cash Transition

                    It’s one of the most exciting moments of your life. You’re tired of using one credit card to pay off another. You can no longer bear the intense pressure building within your chest each time the electric bill collides with a credit card bill in the mailbox. You’ll never again feel financially helpless because you’ve decided to stop the madness.

                    This is the day you cancel your credit cards. You’re so proud of yourself, and you can’t wipe the smile off your face. Armed with a sense of empowerment gained from Christian credit counseling, you see a future of financial peace ahead of you.

                    Taking a step like this is exciting, but there are always hard times to come when you make a drastic life change. If you’ve been living on credit for years, it’s difficult to suddenly start living within your means without the plastic in your wallet screaming, “I got your back! Go on and splurge!”

                    A Moment of Panic

                    It will likely happen when your teenager selects the most expensive pair of shoes in the mall or when your colleagues suggest dinner and drinks at the most exclusive club in town. You walk toward the register with those expensive shoes or get excited about a fun night out, and then reality smacks the smile right off your face.

                    You don’t have that plastic card backing you up. The shoes are double the price you can really afford to pay. Your budget isn’t quite generous enough to accommodate the best after-work party in town.

                    It’s as if someone just whacked you in the throat with a hockey stick. You feel sick. You can’t breathe. You want to cry. This is the death of a credit card, and you’re having your first credit-to-cash panic attack. You don’t want to turn your colleagues down or ask your teenager to find a more affordable pair of shoes, but you now understand: If you don’t sacrifice now, you will have to sacrifice your peace of mind in the future.

                    You Will Get Through This!

                    These experiences are normal for anyone transitioning from a lifestyle of debt to a lifestyle of financial responsibility. Now that you know it’s coming, here is one tip that will help you survive this transitional period: think in terms of substitutions rather than eliminations.

                    You can’t afford routine after-work visits to that exclusive club, but can you make another suggestion to your group? Maybe you can take turns hosting the group at your homes once a week, or you can suggest a venue that’s more appropriate to your budget. You may find that others are relieved you made the suggestion. They may not admit it, but you’re not struggling alone.

                    We’re on Your Side

                    Another way to make this process easier is to invest your time in ongoing debt counseling. Just like a recovering alcoholic is more successful if they attend weekly AA meetings, your chance of enjoying financial success increases if you meet with your Credit Counselor and attend classes on financial topics.

                    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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