Debts Solutions Tips

Your Credit Score

How well do you know your credit score? Do you even know your credit score? Have you hit the limit on your credit cards and started missing payments? If your response was yes to one or more of these questions you can end up having bad credit.

Clearing Your Debt

The very first step you can take for clearing your debt is by taking the help of a credit counselor, as it is one of the most common for clearing your debts. The credit counselor will suggest you an appropriate idea on how to manage your debts and credit, after investigating your financial state of affairs. He provides you suggestions such as a personalized relief plan, provides you with proper budgeting plans, as well as instructs you on proper use of your money.

You can also adopt one of the successful ways for clearing your debts. Through a credit counseling service, you can go for a debt management program if you are not getting an appropriate solution for clearing your debts. You can reduce your interest rates on your debt by adopting a debt management plan, as here the counselor on your behalf negotiates with your creditor on interest rates. You are required to pay the monthly payment for clearing your debts, once you opt for a debt management plan the credit counselor decides upon your monthly payment thus making your task quite simple.

So now you can distribute your payment among the creditors by paying the approved monthly amount to the agency. So by adopting a debt management plan for clearing your debt you can invite many benefits like, the interest rates monthly will get reduced, extra charges and late fees are not there, and no more distressing calls from the creditors. Therefore, overall it is the best and suitable plan for clearing your debts.

Debt Options

You can also go for debt consolidation which is like debt management. Then it is debt consolidation loan. In a debt consolidation loan, you can clear all your debts by taking a loan from the lender or financial institutions.

Debt settlement is another solution for clearing your debts. If you are not able make your monthly payments towards clearing your debts, then you can go for a debt settlement plan. Even here the debt settlement company starts negotiating with your creditors to reduce the debt amount. A debt settlement plan helps you in clearing your debt faster and that too is an easier way. It saves you from further legal actions and lawsuits.

The last option that you can use for clearing your debt is declare bankruptcy. You can select this option only when you are facing severe debt problems. In this you need to file your bankruptcy by taking the help of an attorney. By opting for bankruptcy it becomes difficult for you to qualify for future loans as it ruins your credit history.

You can also try clearing your debts on your own by opting for a self repayment plan.

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    Debt and the Help You Need

    Dealing with Debt Reality

    Are you struggling with your bills? Everyone has problems paying bills from time to time. And most everyone will be late paying a bill at least once in their lives. When this happens it is not always the end of the world. However, for some people being late is an every month occurrence due to their finances. And regardless of whether it is because they simply do not have the extra income anymore or because they have over extended themselves, they will find that a good consumer credit counseling service can help them get their lives back on track.

    Are you a newly single parent or young adult out on your own for the first time and having trouble juggling your debt? You will find that while unsecured debt is quite easy to obtain, it can be a lot harder to pay back. From credit card debt to old medical bills, these are the ones that make your finances scream. But do not let them get you down as there is help out there for you. When you go and get consumer credit counseling you will learn that not only can they help you create a great budget and plan for your finances, but they can also help you get all your debt consolidated into one easy to pay bill. In fact, while most people think of these counseling companies as a way to fix their problem, they forget that they are also there to teach you how to not get into trouble in the first place.

    Consumer Credit Counseling

    A really good consumer credit counseling service will make sure that you know how to budget your finances in the future so that you do not get in debt again. This is the number one way to stay out of debt. If you have a fixed budget and financial plan that you always adhere to then you should not have to worry about many of the unsecured debts. But as mentioned above, these counseling services are also there to help get you out of your current debt.

    The way that these companies are able to help besides setting up a budget is they are able to work with your lenders to come to certain agreements. For some this may mean a consolidation of your bills with one lower monthly payment and most often even a much lower interest rate. Or it may just mean that they work with the lender to lower your interest rates and your principal balance. It really is that simple when you find the right consumer credit counseling to help you out.

    Getting Debt Help

    In the end what it is important to remember is that you are not alone and that there is no shame in getting help. All too often people that have been on their own paying bills for years will either feel that such services are for younger people or that it is just too embarrassing to ask for help. Don’t fall into this line of thinking when it comes to your financial future. Get your consumer credit report today and get back to life.

    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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      Identity Theft

      Identity Theft and How It Works

      Identifying Identity Thieves

      According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft ranks number one on the list of top complaints, with credit card fraud being the most prevalent type. Criminals usually commit identity theft to get money, goods, or services, as well as to obtain documents such as false drivers’ licenses, birth certificates, social security numbers, or visas. It can be devastating for consumers because of the long-term damage it causes. Knowing how the thieves get your information will help you protect yourself.

      Identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information, including:

      · Looking in Dumpsters.

      They rummage through trash looking for bills or other papers with your personal information on it.

      · Skimming.

      They get credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.

      · Phishing.

      They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages online to get you to reveal your personal information.

      · Changing Your Address.

      They divert your billing statements to another location by filling out a “change of address” form.

      · “Old-Fashioned” Stealing.

      They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access to this information.

      Common Types of Identity Theft

      · Credit card fraud 25%
      · Phone or Utilities fraud 16%
      · Bank fraud 16%
      · Employment-related fraud 14%
      · Government Documents or Benefits fraud 10%
      · Loan fraud 5%
      · Other 25%

      Security experts predict that these crimes will only increase as electronic transactions become more and more common.

      For more information, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft .

      If you find you are struggling with credit card debt, please contact a credit counseling company today.

      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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        Finances and Your Options

        Payday Loan Facts

        You have probably seen the ads on the radio, television and the internet. You may have even received ads in the mail. They refer to payday loans, which can come at a high price.

        If you are not sure that you are ready to take a payday loan, there are other options for you to think about in regards to handling your finances. Payday loans are great given specific circumstances, but taking them out frivolously can be dangerous. If you are having problems with your finances in general, a payday loan will not help you there.

        Check cashers, finance companies, and others are making small, short-term, high-rate loans that go by a variety of names: payday loan, cash advance loans, check advance loans, post-dated check loans or deferred deposit check loans.

        Typically this loan involves a borrower writing a personal, post-dated, check to the lender for the amount he/she wishes to borrow. The company gives the borrower the money minus the fee.

        Fees that are charged for payday loans are usually a percentage of the face value of the check or a fee per amount borrowed, for instance for every $50 or $100 loaned. If you happen to extend or rollover the loan, you will pay extra fees for each extension.

        Under the Truth in Lending Act, the cost of payday loans – like other types of credit – must be disclosed. Among other information, you must receive, in writing, the finance charge (a dollar amount) and the annual percentage rate or APR (the cost of credit on a yearly basis).

        These loans are great for specific circumstances. This would include emergency bills that are otherwise going to be charged late fees or to prevent certain services from being turned off.

        Perhaps you are going to be charged huge late fees to a creditor if you don’t make your next payment. But this next payment falls in-between your paychecks. If this is your situation, then it is wise to know that you can pay the loan back when you get your next payday.

        Otherwise, if you are too broke to pay your bills, then you need more financial help that a payday loan can give you. Auto repairs are another situation when a payday loan can help. But unlike traditional lenders, payday lenders don’t need to know why you are borrowing the money.

        Alternatives to Payday loan

        There are other options. Consider the possibilities before choosing a payday loan:

        When you need credit, shop carefully. Compare offers. Look for the credit offer with the lowest APR – consider a small loan from your credit union or small loan company, an advance on pay from your employer, or a loan from family or friends.

        A cash advance on a credit card also may be a possibility, but it may have a higher interest rate than your other sources of funds: find out the terms before you decide. Also, a local community-based organization may make small business loans to individuals.

        Compare the APR and the finance charge (which includes loan fees, interest and other types of credit costs) of credit offers to get the lowest cost.

        Ask your creditors for more time to pay your bills. Find out what they will charge for that service – as a late charge, an additional finance charge, or a higher interest rate.

        Setting a Budget

        Make a realistic budget, and figure your monthly and daily expenditures. Avoid unnecessary purchases – even small daily items. Their costs add up.

        Also, build some savings – even small deposits can help – to avoid borrowing for emergencies, unexpected expenses or other items. For example, by putting the amount of the fee that would be paid on a typical $300 payday loan in a savings account for six months, you would have extra dollars available. This can give you a buffer against financial emergencies.

        Find out if you have, or can get, overdraft protection on your checking account. If you are regularly using most or all of the funds in your account and if you make a mistake in your checking (or savings) account ledger or records, overdraft protection can help protect you from further credit problems. Find out the terms of overdraft protection.

        If you need help working out a debt repayment plan with creditors or developing a budget, contact your local consumer credit counseling service. There are non-profit groups in every state that offer credit guidance to consumers.

        These services are available at little or no cost. Also, check with your employer, credit union or housing authority for no- or low-cost credit counseling programs.

        If you decide you must use a payday loan, borrow only as much as you can afford to pay with your next paycheck and still have enough to make it to the next payday.

        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

          Finances and Your Financial Future

          Online Credit Counseling

          Living in the US may be an absolute dream come true, but it doesn’t mean that its residents are protected from financial hardships. If you’re a consumer, it doesn’t matter where you live – slipping into debt is much easier than many think. If you’re worried about where you stand, need some help getting prearranged, or are worried about the future – enrolling in free credit counseling can help give you the piece of mind you need. Sure, you can spend hours researching tips and tricks online about how to better manage your finances, but none of this advice is catered to your specific situation.

          Outcome of Credit Counseling

          When taking part in credit counseling services, experienced credit counselors will work with you to decide where you stand, where you’re going, and what to expect. By carefully examining where your money goes each month, you’ll be able to put together a practical budget for your lifestyle. Not only will free consumer credit counseling benefit you now, you’ll get helpful advice that you can put into practice right through your entire life.

          If you’ve already slipped into debt, you may feel absolutely helpless. Even though you may not know where to turn next, there are resources available to people that can help them understand where they stand and give them practical advice about where to go next.

          Debt Management

          Debt management services can not only help you get out of debt but your life will change in many different ways. You’ll better your credit score, end the collection calls, save money on credit card interest, and most importantly – avoid bankruptcy.

          Although the changes you’ll experience are huge, taking the first step isn’t. Enrolling in a debt management program doesn’t put you in a judgmental environment like many debt-stricken consumers fear. Instead, you’ll be working and learning in a safe and accepting environment. Debt management counselors want nothing more than to see you back on the right financial track.

          So whether you’re interested in just better managing your finances or you’d like to end the collection calls once and for all, take the first step to a more secure financial future. Paying off the bills takes money, but the piece of mind you’ll receive after doing so is absolutely priceless.

          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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            The Failing Economy and Slow Job Growth

            Economists and Economic Predictions

            A panel of economists on Tuesday predicted several more years of pain for the United States, agreeing unemployment will remain high far longer than 2014, when White House and congressional economists have predicted a jobs improvement.

            The panel — including Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, Harvard’s Martin Feldstein and Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius — agreed that policymakers have failed to adequately stimulate the economy, and that more needs to be done.

            “It’s going to take many years before you get back to anything approaching full unemployment, and 2014 is probably too early,” said Hatzius, speaking at a conference held at the Newseum in Washington. The conference was sponsored by the left-leaning think tank and advocacy group Demos.

            Some on the panel predicted unemployment will tick upward before it heads lower. And Feldstein predicted that housing prices could fall even further, especially as more underwater homeowners give the banks the keys to their homes, increasing the supply of available ones.

            “When that happens, it hurts consumer confidence and it makes it much harder for people to move where the jobs are,” Feldstein said. “Then, I think (consumers) have to stay and suffer it out, and can’t move where they have a better chance of getting a job.”

            They talked about how the sputtering U.S. recovery compared with the long recession that Japan suffered through in the 1990s.

            “In fact, we’re not doing what the Japanese did, we’re doing it worse,” Krugman said, pointing out that the United States has a larger trade gap, a bigger surge in unemployment and is more quickly facing an exhaustion of the political will to act. “In the long run, we’re going to look at Japan’s lost decade as a success story compared to what we’re going through.”

            Federal Reserve Board

            The economists also suggested that the Federal Reserve Board could do more by buying government debt or other investments. The Federal Open Market Committee meets on Nov. 3 to discuss potential actions that could help the economy.

            But the panel predicted the Fed won’t have the will to take “risks” and buy enough Treasurys to make much of an impact on the economy.

            “The numbers needed to really move the needle a lot are very, very large, and there will be a natural bias toward caution,” predicted Hatzius.

            The group also debated tax policy as a means of fiscal stimulus. Feldstein talked about the importance for Congress to extend tax cuts before the end of the year, when 2001 and 2003 era tax cuts are slated to expire.

            “This is not the time for a tax increase,” said Feldstein, who said that doing nothing to extend tax cuts “seems like a disaster scenario.”

            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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              Retirement & 401k

              401(k) Facts You Need to Know

              Your Financial Future and Your 401(k)

              Millions of Americans threaten their financial future by failing to roll over 401(k) funds when they change jobs. Too many people see leaving a job as an opportunity to get their hands on the cash they’ve been saving for retirement, but you can do irreparable harm to your financial future by doing so.

              When you change jobs, you’ll have to make a decision about what to do with the money you’ve contributed to your employer’s 401(k) plan. There are three major options: leave the money in your former employer’s plan, take the money out, or roll it over.

              401K Options

              If your vested 401(k) funds total $5,000 or more, your employer is legally required to allow you to leave your funds in the company plan if you choose to do so. This may be a good option for you if you’re happy with the performance of your employer’s plan, it’s a bad time to cash out (you’ve lost money during a market slump, for example), or you have a waiting period at your new job before you’re eligible to roll your funds over into that plan.

              Your second option is to take the money out of the 401(k) plan and not roll it over into another qualified plan. If you elect this option, your 401(k) provider will first deduct 20% and send it to the IRS to be applied to your income taxes when you file your return at the end of the year. The taxes deducted may or may not be enough to cover your tax liability. For example, if you’re in the 10% tax bracket, you’ll probably get some money back, but if you’re in the 28% tax bracket, you may owe an additional 8%. If you’re under age 59 1/2 (or 55 in some circumstances), you’ll also owe an additional 10% in early withdrawal penalties.

              401K Withdrawal Penalties

              Here’s how the above scenario may play out: You’re in the 28% tax bracket and are under 55 at the time you leave your job. You decide to have your 401(k) balance of $100,000 paid directly to you.

              $100,000 – 401(k) Balance
              – 20,000 – 20% Withholding
              – 8,000 – Additional taxes (28% less 20% withheld)
              – 10,000 – 10% early withdrawal penalty
              $ 62,000 – Balance

              IRA Facts

              In addition to the federal income taxes listed above, you’ll also have to pay state income taxes on the amount you withdrew, leaving you with approximately 57% of your hard-earned money (assuming a 5% state tax rate).

              You can avoid paying current taxes and penalties if you roll the money into your new employer’s 401(k) plan or an IRA. This scenario may look like this:

              $100,000 – 401(k) balance
              -0 – Taxes withheld
              -0 – Additional taxes
              -0 – 10% early withdrawal penalty
              $100,000 – Balance

              You can set up an IRA at most banks or financial institutions or directly with most mutual funds or publicly traded companies. In most cases, this can be done easily online or via mail. Be sure to request that the money be sent directly to the new 401(k) plan administrator or IRA administrator to avoid incurring taxes. Rolling the entire amount over to another tax-deferred plan should provide you with significantly higher retirement funds, especially if you are many years from retirement. If you take the money out of a tax deferred plan, you lose the power of compounding the full amount over the years left until retirement, possibly costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

              So, if you’re faced with the decision of what to do with your retirement savings when you change jobs, remember: don’t throw away your 401(k)!

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