Christian Credit Counseling
Christian Credit Counselors

Christian Credit Counseling to Boost Your Credit Score in Retirement

When you retire, you no longer have earned income. Many retirees wonder how they can boost their credit score when they no longer work. Having a good credit score helps retirees interested in getting a car loan at a low-interest rate or even buying real estate as part of a plan to downsize. By receiving Christian credit counseling, you learn how to improve your credit score no matter what your age or stage in life. According to an article by fool.com, you never know when you might need a high credit score to qualify for an insurance policy, loan or credit card. If you decide to consolidate your debt as part of a debt management plan, you will likely cease using credit cards until you have paid off all your credit card debt.

Paying bills on time

One way to make sure you pay your bills on time is by setting up automatic bill pay through your bank. You can set up an automatic payment plan for your monthly debt management plan as well. Paying bills on time is one of the keys to improving your credit score. A Christian credit counselor is trained and certified so you know you’re getting accurate and helpful information about debt repayment strategies.

Reviewing your credit report

As you grow older, your credit report has more time to grow as well. Unfortunately, your report could contain multiple errors and inaccuracies. Study your credit report. Experts say one in five credit reports contains errors. Talk to a credit counselor about what your credit report reveals and what action steps you can take to correct and improve.

Paying off small loans

If you have a small car loan or other personal loan, consider paying it off with money from savings or a tax return. Paying off small loans or debt will improve your credit utilization ratio.

Asking to increase your limit

Just because you ask to increase your credit limit doesn’t mean you need to use the extra money. If you still have a job, consider getting your credit line increased to improve your credit score. Keep in mind your credit score will only go up if you don’t actually use the extra credit available.

Another good idea is to hang onto old credit cards even once you pay them off. If you enroll in a debt management plan, you rely on a credit counselor to negotiate a lower interest rate. Closing credit cards often lowers your score. At Christian Credit Counselors, we work with consumers of all ages to help them budget, save, plan and eliminate credit card debt. For more information about boosting your credit score when you are no longer working or while still employed, please contact us.

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Debt Counseling
Debt Consolidation

Debt Counseling and ‘Exit Counseling’ Helps College Students

After graduating from college students, many young people now receive exit counseling to understand their responsibilities as it relates to student loan debt. Recent college graduates also carry quite a bit of credit card debt. By receiving debt counseling, you can often boost your financial knowledge so your personal finances improve. According to one article by wkyc.com, recent college graduates enter the job market with a better chance of getting hired as U.S. employers say they intend to hire 5 percent more compared to last year. At the same time, the students have record debt. With debt counseling, you find out how to budget, plan and pay off credit card debt so you don’t go into default with other loans. Seven in 10 college students acquired debt. Credit card debt is rarely considered “good debt,” especially when you don’t pay off the balance every month.

Learning lessons of life

An article by journalgazett.net points to a national survey of college students that showed 71 percent did not learn about credit and debt while in school. Also, students gave their schools an average grade of a ‘C’ in terms of getting them ready to manage credit card debt and personal finances once they graduated.

Taking advantage of opportunities

Just as you take advantage of good job offers, you can take advantage of the opportunity to enroll in a debt management plan. A debt management plan allows you to consolidate your credit card debt into one monthly payment. Some college students with student loan debt pay off as much credit card debt as they can during the 6-month grace period when they don’t have to pay on their student loans. Whether you owe college loan debt or not, you can prevent financial stress by dealing with credit card debt.

Boosting your credit score

Another important part of debt counseling is learning how to boost your credit score. When you have a high credit score, you receive a lower interest rate on loans. Most graduates want a car or a home. Lenders expect borrowers to prove their credit worthiness with an acceptable credit score. Once you are out of college, a credit score is more important than your college grades in most cases.

At Christian Credit Counselors, we help people of all ages with debt counseling. Christian credit counseling offers consumers a positive path for paying off debt. In many cases, consumers pay off debt 80 percent faster compared to less effective debt repayment strategies. For more information about debt counseling, please contact us.

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Credit Counseling
Credit Counseling

Credit Counseling: The Best Debt Advice for Different Age Groups

Financial counselors have a lot of experience helping people of different age groups make positive changes to their behavior so they become financially stable. No matter what your age, financial stability is likely a high priority. According to an article by bankrate.com, people of all ages with credit card debt get ahead by seeking credit counseling. When you receive Christian credit counseling, you often feel financial burdens disappear due to sound and practical advice. Experienced credit counselors share their best tips for people of any age who want to fix their credit.

Taking care of bills in your 20s

By paying your bills on time, you avoid collection calls. Experts point out if you take care of your bills by paying them on time, your credit score takes care of itself. For those who are already behind or feel overwhelmed by high credit card debt, another great option is to sign up for a debt management plan. A credit counselor talks to your creditors to work out a plan that often reduces your interest rate and lets you get out of debt significantly faster. In your 20s, focus on paying your bills on time and following a budget. Tracking expenses and handling daily living expenses with a realistic budget protects your credit score in the long run.

Saving for retirement in your 30s

By the time you reach your 30s, you should have at least 10 percent of your income going into a retirement account. If credit card debt stands in the way of retirement savings, pay off your debt as quickly as possible with a debt management plan. Although retirement savings does not affect your credit score, it does help indirectly. With a Roth IRA, you essentially have an emergency savings account that you can tap instead of running up credit card debts in a tight spot.

Assessing goals in your 40s

Credit counseling gives you an opportunity to assess your goals. It is important to figure out where you have been and where you are going in the context of your current lifestyle. A credit counselor helps you figure out your wants versus your needs as it relates to savings and paying off debt.

Paying off debts in your 50s

By the time you reach age 50, you should catch up on retirement savings goals and pay off debt as quickly as possible, experts say. It is a lot easier to live on a fixed income in retirement with no credit card debt. You are never too old for credit counseling. In your 50s, if you aren’t able to pay your credit card bills in full each month, consult with a credit counselor to consider debt consolidation.

At Christian Credit Counselors, we focus on debt consolidation as a way to help our clients get out of credit card debt. To boost your credit score and alleviate stress related to credit card debt, please contact us.

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Uncategorized

College Student Saving: Making the Most of Your Money this Summer

By: Brittney Frost

It is finally here. One of the most exciting times of the year for students has arrived: SUMMER! However, this excitement is more than just enjoyable weather. For current college students, it means either having a well-deserved break before the fall semester starts again or diving into more classes. No matter which situation pertains to you or your family, this season can be a transition of locations, housing, classes, employment, and life in general. As with any transition, it is important to make a financial plan so that you can save and make the most of your money! Use the helpful tips below to financially prepare for the changes that summer may bring for students:

  • Weigh the academic and financial benefits of summer classes. Speak with an advisor in the Academic Office on campus to see if summer classes benefit your overall academic plan for graduation. If so, visit the Financial Aid Office to learn about your options and eligibility for scholarships or student loans. Researching all options will help you better manage your money.
  • Create a summer budget. Budgeting will help you save money in any situation. Make sure to factor in your income, student loan amount (or lack thereof) as well as your Cost of Attendance, which includes textbooks, housing, transportation, and food. If your expenses exceed your income, then adjust your budget by looking for an extra summer job or cheaper housing. For help creating a budget, contact Christian Credit Counselors at 1-800-557-1985 or visit christiancreditcounselors.org for budgeting resources.
  • Look for summer jobs. Search employment websites for summer jobs at local businesses, summer schools, tutoring centers, etc. Explore options of working on campus as part of the Federal Work Study Program (visit your campus’ Financial Aid Office or studentaid.ed.gov for more details).
  • Consider living at home. If your family situation and home location permits you to live with your parents, this may help reduce your summer cost of living and could even help you save money for the fall semester so less student loan is needed. Moreover, I’m sure dad will love having you around for Father’s Day when June 19th rolls around! In fact, according to Richard Fry’s article for Pew Research Center, in 2014 living with a parent was the most common living arrangement for young adults ages 18 to 34 for the first time in more than 130 years due to postponement of marriage, unemployment, and falling wages. (Read full article here.)
  • Use student loan money wisely. Your student loans are meant to be used for costs relating to your education (tuition fees, books, supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses). According to a poll conducted by Google Consumer Surveys on behalf of Student Loan Hero, approximately 1 in 5 American students graduating this year who have debt said they used their student loans to pay for frivolous things such as vacations, eating out, and entertainment. Don’t let this be you. Stick to the necessities! (Read full article here.)

No matter where your educational plan takes you this summer, research your options, make a budget, and use these resources to help you financially conquer the transition!

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Activities, Budgeting, Consumer, Coupons, Finance, Freebie, Goals, Holiday Tips, Personal Goals, Saving

Thoughtful Money-Saving Ways to Celebrate Dad

Showing Dad you love him doesn’t have to mean sending him on an expensive golf vacation or buying him a new camera. The special day should be all about connecting with him, and there’s no better way to do so than by spending some quality time together. Here, we’ve rounded up meaningful activities you can do no matter where you live or what budget you have — all the activities are free or cost very little. Cheers to being fun and frugal with Dad!

Pack a Picnic
Picnics are for spending quality time with loved ones, and that certainly includes Dad. Take time to pack snacks you know he’ll like, and head to the park for a day of sun and making memories.
 
Play Tourist
Make like a tourist and see sights in your own city that you often overlook. If Dad grew up there, he might even share some stories of his younger days around the block.
 
Browse Books
Whether it’s at a local bookstore or public library, you two can get lost for hours surrounded by books. Discuss which genres are your favorites and why, buy one another a favorite book, or take home the same book so you can start your own book club for two.
 
Take a Cooking Class
Get ready to roll up your sleeves for some quality cooking time with Dad. Many culinary schools and even locals will open up their doors and homes to teach you how to make a delicious meal at a fair cost.
 
Play Mini Golf
He doesn’t have to be a big golfer (or a middle schooler) to appreciate the fun that comes with a good game of mini golf. Other similar and budget-friendly ideas include bowling or hitting the batting cages.
 
Watch Home Movies
Break out those VHS tapes collecting dust in your drawers and take a trip down memory lane by watching homemade movies with Dad. You’ll not only get to see how much you’ve changed, but you can also poke fun at Dad’s camera skills.
 
Tour an Art Gallery
You’d be surprised at how many art galleries — and even big museums — open their doors for free or offer discounts. Bond with Dad while strolling past beautiful paintings and sculptures.
 
Go For a Hike
There’s nothing like some fresh air and scenic views to enjoy the day. If Dad is someone who likes to hike a lot, ask him to take you on his favorite trail.
 
Go Wine Tasting
You don’t have to travel to the vineyards of Napa to enjoy some wine tasting with Dad. Do so right at home by looking up wine bars and clubs that typically offer samplings at an affordable cost.
 
Learn Your Family History
It’s not very often that we sit down with our parents to learn about their upbringings. Take this time to go through old family photos or mementos with Dad; ask him about his grandparents and to tell you all that he knows about your family’s genealogy.

By: http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Cheap-Father-Day-Ideas-30636652

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Budgeting, College Debt, Consumer, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Debt Consolidation, Finance, Goals, Holiday Tips, Money Management, Personal Goals

Stop Her Before She Shops Again

Originally posted at Christian Post February 5, 2016.

chuck-bentley

Dear Chuck,

I have a friend who is a non-believer and an impulse buyer, especially on-line. If I suggest to her that she cut up all her credit cards, I’m concerned that such a plan leaves her without a tool that she will sometimes need. But my fear is that she will also use this one credit card to continue buying things she doesn’t need. How I can help her stop buying things online that she doesn’t need? Help!

A Worried Friend

Dear Friend,

What a blessing it is for your friend to have a Christian in her life who cares about her, prays for her, and wants to help her get free from the bondage of impulse spending. Without help, she will likely suffer the consequences of excessive debt and continual stress.

One of the reasons so many of us struggle with spending is that it feeds something in our hearts, a need that we try to fill with things. Impulse spending or compulsive shopping, especially when it involves going into debt, is often driven by our emotional state. We shop to try and make ourselves happy.

I had a friend who went through several job interviews for a significant promotion. The day it was announced that he did not get the promotion, he left the office, drove to a car dealership and purchased a brand new car – that he could not afford. It was totally out of character for him. He told me later he was trying to cover his disappointment with something he thought would make him feel better about himself. The opposite happened. He grew to resent the car as he made payments month after month and eventually sold it for a significant loss.

The process for really getting free from this habit begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ, who first loved us, who died for us and who can teach us how to put the things of this world into perspective. Before you ask her to cut up the credit card, try a different approach that gets to the real root issue. I recommend that you meet face to face and talk as friends about having a relationship with our Savior. Let her know that you care and want her to experience the freedom you have found in Christ.

Without help, it will be difficult for your friend to let go of the kinds of desires that advertisers twist to get us to buy their products. She will remain vulnerable to trying to meet her emotional needs through stuff, with or without the credit card in her hand.

And then, rather than trying to talk her out of credit cards, let’s talk about budgeting. According to Gallup, two-thirds of Americans don’t budget. Your friend may find that she can understand how her spending is hurting her if she sees how it impacts her bottom line, and Crown can help. There are some great tools for creating a simple budget. And there are people trained to help you with a debt management plan, such as a Crown partner, Christian Credit Counselors.

You’re right that credit cards, in this economy, are often a necessary device. I’ve written about the right way to use a credit card in an earlier Ask Chuck column, but one important tip for all card users is to pay off your balance each month. That way, you have the use of an important tool without the burden of debt.

One of the things that you might be able to do to help your friend grow spiritually as well as in financial maturity is to invite her to share a Bible study with you, and maybe a few other friends, which examines what God says about money. This will provide a less stressful way to begin a conversation about money, about life and about why we make some of the choices that hurt us. You can learn more about that here, but the bottom line is that your time, invested in your friend, could change her life for eternity.

The real peace she needs is found in 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

Credit cards can be a problem for many of us. But that debt is small compared to the greatest debt we have in our lives: the debt of the penalty for our sin that only Christ can repay. Start with Jesus … the rest will follow.

 

By: http://blog.crown.org/impulse-shopping

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