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Archive for July, 2009

The Correct Way To Report Cases Of Identity Theft

Written by Toi Williams on Jul 30th, 2009 | Filed under: scams

Experts estimate that cases of identity theft can cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars annually and the damage doesn’t stop with the loss of the person’s money.  People that have become victims of identity theft also must deal with trying to remove the fraudulent accounts and charges from their credit record and take steps to prevent the theft of their personal information in the future.  It can take years for a person to repair the damage from a single instance of identity theft, which is why it is so important for a person to know the correct way to report cases of identity theft.

The First Step
The first step in reporting cases of identity theft is to review your credit report for any unauthorized accounts that may have been opened in your name.  Although you may realize that you have exposed your personal information and made it easily available to identity thieves, you will never know the total extent of the damage that the thieves have caused without obtaining a copy of your credit report.  The credit report will list all of the accounts that have been opened in a person’s name, making it easy for the person to determine which companies they need to call to close fraudulent accounts.

There is a government-authorized website that will allow a person to obtain one credit report from each of the three main credit reporting bureaus for free each year.  That website is AnnualCreditReport.com and the free credit reports can be obtained by typing your information into the online form and verifying your information to the program.  Within a short period of time, you will be able to view your current credit report online or can have a hard copy of your credit report mailed directly to your home.

The Second Step
The second step in correctly reporting cases of identity theft is to report the identity theft to your local law enforcement agency so that there is a criminal record of the theft.  Although it may be difficult for law enforcement to find a criminal based on a single instance of identity theft, most identity thieves steal information from a number of different people, increasing the chances that they will be caught.  Having an open criminal case that contains all of the information about the identity theft and the accounts that were opened in your name will help in the prosecution of the criminal when the criminal is caught.   

The Third Step
The third step that should be taken with cases of identity theft is to alert the credit bureaus that your personal information has been compromised.  The credit bureaus can remove the fraudulent accounts from your credit report so that the fraudulent accounts do not hurt your credit score.  The credit bureaus can also help you monitor your accounts in the future to make sure that no other accounts are opened in your name by the identity thieves.  Following these three steps as soon as you believe your personal information has been compromised can help you regain your financial security more quickly and limit the amount of damage that can be caused by cases of identity theft.


Three Things To Think About Before Buying That Home

Written by Toi Williams on Jul 28th, 2009 | Filed under: Uncategorized

A home is often the most expensive purchase that a person will make in their lifetime, involving years of perseverance, sacrifice, and dedication to make every payment on time until the home is fully paid off.  Because this is such an important purchase, many people focus on every nuance of the financial aspect of the purchase but can neglect some of the other important clues that can indicate whether purchasing the home is a bargain or a mistake.  Here are some of the most commonly overlooked items that should be researched and considered before choosing to purchase a particular home.

What Is The Neighborhood Really Like?
One mistake that many people make is assuming that the state of the neighborhood at the time of day or time of year when they first express interest in the home is the way that the neighborhood will be all of the time.  They fail to take into account that people are more active around the neighborhood in the summer than in the winter and on weekends more than during the weekdays.  You would hate to purchase a home in a neighborhood only to find that there is much more activity than you would be happy dealing with on a regular basis.

How Much Will It Cost To Repair The Home?
Another mistake that many people make when choosing a home to purchase is to purchase a home with many exotic cosmetic features that make the home more attractive without taking into consideration how much it would cost to repair these features if any damage were to occur.  Although many structural items on the home are covered by insurance, many cosmetic features are not covered unless the person pays an additional premium for specific insurance riders.  If the cost to correctly repair the special features of the home is more than you would be able to handle comfortably, then you may be better off purchasing a home with more common, less expensive features.

What Are The Traffic Patterns Like?
One of the biggest complaints that many people have about their new home is that it is nearly impossible for them to get to where they need to go at certain times of the day.  The traffic patterns around a home may be a deal breaker if there is a great deal of traffic congestion during rush hours or during specific times.  For example, if there is only one route out of the neighborhood to main roads and thoroughfares, then there is a good chance that most people in the neighborhood will be using this route to get to work in the morning, leading to traffic jams and wasted time each weekday morning. 

By examining these three items before deciding which home to purchase, the person will have a much better chance of finding a home that they will be happy with for a long period of time.  It is a proven fact that the longer a person lives in a home, the more money they save and the more equity they build in the home so it is very important that the person finds a home that they will be comfortable living in for many years.


The Importance Of Reviewing A Debt Relief Program Evaluation

Written by Toi Williams on Jul 27th, 2009 | Filed under: debt relief

Many people are turning to debt relief program evaluations for information on the best types of programs available from different companies today.  When choosing a debt relief program, it is important to compare several different programs to ensure that you are getting the best program available.  By reviewing a debt relief program evaluation, you take the guesswork out of comparing the programs, helping to find the best debt relief program for your needs and saving a great deal of time.  These evaluations can be found in a number of places and the information from several different evaluations can be used to compile the best account of the programs available today.

The Features Of The Program

A debt relief program evaluation generally focuses on a specific set of features for the program that is being evaluated.  These features are standard from program to program and the differences between the features will help the person decide which debt relief program is right for them.  One item that the evaluation will focus on is the charge for the program, which is very important because it indicates how much money the person will have to pay for obtaining the program and any assistance that is associated with the program.  Charges vary between different types of programs and a person may be able to get a better price from another company.  By carefully reviewing a debt relief program evaluation, people will be able to avoid falling for a program that charges a very high price for helping to repair the person’s debt.

Charges Associated With The Program

Another item that a debt relief program evaluation will generally focus on is any additional charges associated with using the program.  Many people are stunned at the number of charges that some companies can come up with, often charged to the person without any prior notification.  These charges can include account set up charges, paperwork charges and charges for calling lenders on the person’s behalf.  The best debt relief programs will not subject their users any of these additional charges and instead will focus on helping the person repair their debt as quickly as possible.

Using a debt relief program evaluation to compare different programs before choosing which program to use will help a person find the right debt relief program for their needs.  Using these evaluations will also help a person avoid some of the common pitfalls that can occur when a person agrees to start a program without prior evaluation of the requirements.  Many people have found that using debt relief program evaluations to search for the best programs on the market can be extremely beneficial in the long run.


The Benefits Of Debt Reduction

Written by Toi Williams on Jul 23rd, 2009 | Filed under: debt relief

Debt reduction has become the goal of thousands of people across the nation.  People have found that accumulating debt carries a heavy price in today’s economic environment and as interest rates rise and credit becomes tighter, carrying the debt costs even more.  The only way to find financial freedom and begin rebuilding savings is to reduce your debt as quickly as possible.

Keep More Of Your Paycheck
One of the biggest benefits to debt reduction is that you will not have to set aside a large chunk of money for paying for past purchases and the interest attached to the debt.  For many people, paying off past debts reduces their monthly income by a significant amount and prevents them from paying for the things that they want or need at the time.  Once you have reduced your debt, you will find that you have much more disposable income to save or spend on other items.

Stop Wasting Money On Interest Payments
Another great benefit of debt reduction is that you will stop accruing interest on the debt, which is a large portion of the amount that you will be paying to eliminate the debt.  As long as you have a debt to pay, the lender will continue to add interest to the balance of the debt, creating a cycle that can be very difficult to break.  Credit card debt is the worse for creating an endless cycle of debt because of the high interest rates that are associated with the credit cards. 

Reduction Of Stress Levels
People that do not have a great deal of debt or have reduce your debt often experience less stress due to the financial matters in their lives.  Money matters and high amounts of debt are one of the greatest causes of conflict in the home for people across the nation, causing arguments and even divorces for people that cannot find a way to manage their debt effectively.  The reduction of the amount of stress in your life from attempting to manage large amounts of debt is a great reason to reduce your debt as quickly as possible.

Many people do not believe that debt reduction is possible and do not even try to eliminate their debt because they believe that they will be fighting a losing battle.  It is possible to reduce your debt and remain debt free for a significant period of time if the person is serious about taking the steps to eliminate their debt.


Affordable Auto Insurance Is More Important Than You Think

Written by Toi Williams on Jul 20th, 2009 | Filed under: saving

Affordable auto insurance is a very important part of today’s driving culture.  The consequences of not having auto insurance can be dire, so getting the best auto insurance at the best price should be the goal of every licensed driver.  Every person that drives a vehicle should have the ability to find the best auto insurance policy for their needs at the best price they can find.  By taking the time to carefully choose the policy that is purchased, the person will have a good chance of finding a policy that provides adequate coverage at a price that will not cause a financial hardship for the driver. 

Displaying Proof Of Insurance

One of the most important things for any licensed driver to have is proof that they are carrying adequate auto insurance for the vehicle that they are driving.  In recent years, the importance of auto insurance has risen so much that some states require everyone driving in their state to have auto insurance to be driving legally.  Other states send out random summons to individuals with state issued driver’s licenses requiring them to show proof of auto insurance to continue driving legally.  If an individual in these states is caught driving without adequate auto insurance, they can face fines, loss of their license, and even the loss of their vehicle and registration.  This makes the ability to find affordable auto insurance very important to drivers all over the country. 

Finding Affordable Auto Insurance

Affordable auto insurance can be found in a number of different ways and each way may provide different results to the people that are searching.  Different auto insurance companies can charge the same individual different prices for similar auto insurance policies so some companies may have more affordable auto insurance policies than the others.  By taking the time to do compare auto insurance policies before deciding which one to purchase, the person may be able to get a much lower premium price for their auto insurance policy.

Finding affordable auto insurance does not have to be a difficult undertaking as there are a number of different places available for online auto insurance comparisons.  These online websites allow consumers that are interested in obtaining cheap auto insurance or getting the best price for a specific type of auto insurance policy to find the prices charged by several different auto insurance companies for similar policies.  By seeing the features and prices of policies available at several different auto insurance companies at the same time, the consumer will have the ability to make a better decision about which auto insurance policy they should purchase.


Payday Loan Stores – What Everyone Should Know About Them

Written by Toi Williams on Jul 19th, 2009 | Filed under: payday loans

Payday loan stores are present in many different locations across the nation advertising financial relief for people that may not have any other options for obtaining the loan that they need.  Payday loan stores are one of the most controversial businesses of the last two decades, with supporters claiming that they provide an essential service that is needed by the lower income community and opponents claiming that the businesses prey on people that can least afford it.

Where Are Payday Loan Stores Located?

Payday loan stores can generally be found where the population is less affluent because here is where most of the people that seek their services can be found.  At first, many payday loan stores opened near military bases because the majority of the people in the area were living on low military wages.  A great deal of service members fell into an endless cycle of debt due to constantly receiving payday loans and a new law was passed prohibiting payday loan stores from giving a payday loan to members of the military.  This law does not stop the payday loan stores from giving a payday loan to any other member of the nation as long as they have a valid ID and can produce a paycheck stub. 

What Issues Are Associated With Payday Loan Stores?

The biggest issue associated with a payday loan is the interest rate that is charged for these short-term loans.  The interest rate associated with a bank loan or credit card is between 5% and 10% annually.  For people with low credit scores or a shaky credit history, the interest rate for a credit card may be as high as 28%.  The interest rate charged for a two week loan from a payday loan store averages between 400% and 800%.

It is estimated that an average person using a payday loan store averages more than 7 payday loans each year, with the majority of the payday loans occurring one after another.  This indicates to researchers that many of the people that rely on payday loans are unable to repay the original amount within the time period determined by the company and have to take out a subsequent payday loan, either from the same location or from a different company, to cover the charges for the last payday loan.  In this way, many payday loan recipients find themselves paying a great deal of money in fees to the company with very few options for getting out of the cycle.

Many experts agree that payday loans are not a good idea for a significant percentage of the population and that the interest rate is astronomically high for the services provided.  There are several states that are trying to pass legislation that caps interest rate for payday loans at a much lower interest rate, often as much as ten times less than what the payday loan stores are currently charging.  Payday loan companies are saying that an interest rate cap will put them out of business but legislators argue that no other company is charging such a high rate and they still manage to stay in business and make a profit with their products.  As the debate continues, it will be interesting to see which view is adopted as being the correct one.


How Can I Prepare Myself For Unexpected Financial Emergencies?

Written by Toi Williams on Jul 18th, 2009 | Filed under: debt relief

Financial emergencies can happen at any time to any person any where.  Whether it is a costly repair to a home that is not covered by insurance or a medical bill for an injury or illness, a financial emergency can cause devastation to the personal finances of the people that are not prepared for it.  Often, the people that are least equipped to deal with the issues caused by a financial emergency are the ones that are carrying large amounts of debt and have very little in savings.

The Importance Of Reducing Your Overall Debt

When you have a large amount of debt, you will have limited options available for handling any type of financial emergency that comes along.  If all of your credit cards are maxed out because of debt, you will not be able to access additional credit to pay for the costs of resolving the emergency situation.  If all of your disposable income is going towards paying off the balances and interest for your accrued debt, you will not have any savings available to pay to handle the issue.  People in this situation find themselves in a terrible position where they can either accumulate more debt at an astronomical interest rate or wait to resolve the problem and hope that it does not become any worse before they have the opportunity to deal with it.

Debt reduction is very important to being able to handle any emergency effectively because the person will have options that they will be able to evaluate to find the best solution for their needs.  For small problems, they may be able to use their savings to handle the problem quickly and effectively before the problem becomes a larger issue.  For big problems and financial emergencies, they will be able to evaluate their options and decide on the best route to take for solving the issue, whether that would be using a larger percentage of their savings or borrowing the money that they need at an attractive interest rate.  For people carrying a large amount of debt, none of these options would be available.

Being able to handle any financial emergencies that arise will give the person greater peace of mind and reduce their stress levels because they will not be constantly worried about what they will do if an issue occurs that will cost more money than they currently have access to.  The feeling of control that comes from knowing that minor emergencies will not be financially devastating is well worth the time and effort that it will take to reduce your debt.


Questions to Ask Your Realtor When Buying a Home

Written by admin on Jul 17th, 2009 | Filed under: Uncategorized

When buying a home, the questions that you ask your realtor are extremely valuable. Your realtor is assisting you with what will perhaps be your greatest financial asset, so it is important to be sure that the decision is in your best interest. The following are questions you should ask your realtor before and after you hire them.

Questions You Have to Ask

  • How long have you been selling homes? – While some newer realtors are just as proficient at selling homes as their more experienced colleagues, you may want to opt for those that have been working in the business for a longer time. Seasoned realtors tend to move more quickly and can help you focus your efforts in a more efficient manner.
  • How can I get in contact with you? – Find a realtor that can be reached in a variety of ways- email, phone, cell phone, office, fax, etc.  Since realtors are often running from place to place, you need to be able to get into contact with them when you have immediate questions or concerns that need to be answered.

  • Are you a full-time or part-time realtor?– Look to choose full-time realtors that are devoted completely to real estate as they tend to have a better understanding of what you need from them.  Realtors working part-time might not have the best idea of client’s needs and/or the nature of the market.
  • Are you going to represent me or the seller? – Make sure you look for a realtor that is going to solely represent you in order to get the best guidance into the process. Be cautious about choosing a realtor that also represents the seller, as they might push you in certain directions that may not be the most beneficial to you.
  • What are the costs involved? – Be sure to get any quoted prices in writing before you actually begin working with a realtor. This will help to ensure that you are only paying for what you agreed to, and protect you from being hit with undisclosed fees after the sale is done. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your realtor questions you may have concerning financing matters such as loans and mortgage rates as they can often help.
  • How long does it usually take to find a home for a client? – Finding out the answer to this question is often a good way to determine the efficiency of the realtor. A good realtor should be able to listen to the client’s requirements and needs and then quickly find an appropriate match.
  • Will you be showing me listings from other companies or just yours? – Again, this is a question that will show you how objective the realtor will be with your real estate needs.  If the realtor is good, you should be able to see a wide range of properties that appropriately fit your specifications.

  • Is your performance guaranteed? – You want to look for a realtor who will guarantee that they can find you a home.  If not, you should not have to pay for their services or you should receive a discount on other services.

Save Money By Comparing Auto Insurance Rates Online

Written by Toi Williams on Jul 14th, 2009 | Filed under: Uncategorized

Comparing auto insurance rates online is quickly becoming the most popular way for people to find out the prices of different types of auto insurance policies.  Looking for auto insurance information online can be accomplished in a matter of minutes and the person can review auto insurance policies from several different auto insurance companies at the same time.  Thousands of people shop online auto insurance websites each day to find the best affordable auto insurance that will provide the coverage that they need.

Finding The Right Website

When you compare auto insurance rates online, the first thing that you must do is find a good website to obtain your information from.  There are a number of different websites on the internet that can provide you with information about auto insurance policies that you may be interested in and each website may be geared toward a particular type of auto insurance policy.  There are also a number of websites that have information about a number of different types of auto insurance policies and will allow you to search for the exact policies that you are interested in.

Finding a website for obtaining auto insurance information is not difficult if you choose to use a search engine for your search as there are literally hundreds of websites on the internet that provide information about auto insurance policies.  The most difficult part of the process is being able to distinguish websites with good and accurate information from the web pages created by dishonest individuals and scam artists to trick you into divulging your personal information so that they can steal your identity.  A website that is being used to obtain auto insurance rates or used for auto insurance rate comparisons will not ask you for your social security number or any other sensitive information because that information not necessary to obtain a general auto insurance rate.

Finding The Right Policy

Once you have chosen the policy with the auto insurance rate in a range that you are interested in, it may be possible to apply online for that particular auto insurance policy from the auto insurance company.  In many cases, you can fill out the information on a single form on the auto insurance company’s website and submit it over the internet.  Once the auto insurance company has reviewed the information, they can return a confirmation that the auto insurance policy has been activated to your email address and send all of the necessary documents to your home through the mail.  This is one of the main reasons why so many individuals research auto insurance rates on the internet and conduct auto insurance comparisons online to find the best prices for the policies that they need.


Eliminating Your Debt Is Not An Impossible Task

Written by Toi Williams on Jul 13th, 2009 | Filed under: debt relief

Many people are finding that they owe lenders and credit card companies massive amounts of money that they are having a significant amount of difficulty paying back.  After years of trying to pay down these debts and seeing little result, some of these people begin to despair that eliminating debt is impossible and they will be paying on these debts for the rest of their lives.  It is possible to achieve debt elimination, but only if you are serious about taking the steps necessary to reduce and eventually eliminate your debt.

Reevaluate Your Financial Situation
People that want to eliminate their debt will have to take a long, hard look at their financial situation and discover the steps that they will need to take to bring down the amount of their debt in a way that does not compromise the financial future of their family.  The more debt the person is carrying, the longer it will take for them to completely eliminate their debt, but the time that it takes to accomplish this goal is well worth the results.  Whether it takes a few months or a few years, eliminating debt is an attainable goal for anyone that is willing to do what it takes to eliminate their debt.

Eliminating Your Debt Will Take Time
Eliminating large amounts of debt cannot be accomplished overnight, but with time and dedication it can be done.  As the amounts owed to lenders and creditors begin to decrease, these people find that the amount of stress they are experiencing decreases and they begin to believe that they can get a handle on their financial situation.  The relief that comes with being able to manage your finances effectively is one of the greatest feelings in the world.  Once the person obtains control of their financial situation, they will be better able to handle any other financial issues that arise in their life.

Do Not Lose Hope
The biggest reason that many people remain in debt is because they do not believe that their actions will truly impact their financial situation.  They may also believe that there is no way for them to eliminate the debt without drastically changing their quality of life.  The truth is that many people will be able to eliminate their debt within a reasonable period of time by making minimal changes to their lifestyle as long as they know the steps that they will need to take to accomplish their goal.  Eliminating large amounts of debt is easier than many people think and is not an impossible goal for anyone that is willing to take the time to reach their goal.