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Archive for December, 2011

The Rules Of Debt Collection

Written by Toi Williams on Dec 30th, 2011 | Filed under: collections

We have all heard the horror stories of debt collectors harassing debtors to the point that they cannot take it anymore, but many people do not know that there are rules governing debt collection that all debt collection agencies must adhere to or face severe penalties.  If a debt collection agency that is contacting you is breaking any of these rules, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission for a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  You may be entitled to financial compensation and damages due to the actions of the debt collection agency.

No Misrepresentations

A debt collection company is not allowed to misrepresent who they are when they contact you.  They cannot claim that they are from a credit monitoring bureau, an attorney’s office, or government agency if the information is not completely true and honest.  They are not allowed to claim that any document sent by them is a legal document if it is not.  If they are asked, they must state their name, the company that they work for, and the reason for calling the individual.

No Verbal Abuse

The representatives of collection agencies cannot use abusive or profane language when they are contacting a debtor about a debt that they are attempting to collect.  Obscene language, threats of violence or bodily harm, and even threats of arrest are prohibited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and can result in the company being fined a significant amount of money for each occurrence investigated by the Federal Trade Commission.  If a debt collection representative becomes verbally abusive on the telephone, hang up and report the incident as soon as you can.

Verification Requests Must Be Honored

If you do not believe that the debt is valid, you can request that the debt collection agency send you verification in writing that you owe the money that they are attempting to collect.  This information must be sent within five days of the request and should include a description of the debt, the total amount owed, and the steps that can be taken to dispute the debt if the person believes that they do not owe any money or if the information provided is inaccurate.


Prepare Yourself Financially For Emergencies

Written by Toi Williams on Dec 30th, 2011 | Filed under: mindset

If you are unprepared when an emergency occurs, you may find yourself having to resort to expensive debt to handle the problem.  This can quickly lead to financial devastation and great difficulty repairing your finances for years to come.  It is better to prepare yourself financially ahead of time so that you can handle any emergency that occurs without having to resort to borrowing money from anyone.  Here are some steps that you can take to prepare yourself.

Start A Savings Account

The best thing that you can do to be prepared for financial emergencies is to start a savings account and begin diverting money into it from your paycheck.  This will provide you with a financial cushion that can be used when unexpected expenses arise that are more than your regular paycheck can handle.  Having the savings available will ensure that you do not have to use a credit card to handle the issue, where interest charges and financing fees can cost you tons of money before the balance is paid off.

Keep Financial Records

Keeping accurate financial records will help you keep track of how much money you are spending and whether spending can be cut anywhere to provide more money for saving.  All financial transactions into and out of your bank accounts should be noted with the date, the amount, and a label for the transaction.  Tracking your transactions shows you where money is being wasted so that you can formulate a plan to turn those wasted dollars into saved money.

Create A Budget

Creating a budget will help you get a handle on your finances quicker than any other method of financial management.  The budget should include all of your expenses for the month and the amount that you are paying for each expense.  This will decrease the risk of you overspending in any category and may even identify areas of saving that you did not identify before.


Avoid Wasting Money On Overdraft Charges

Written by Toi Williams on Dec 28th, 2011 | Filed under: saving

Overdraft charges are one of the most expensive bank charges that can be levied against a checking account and cost consumers billions of dollars every year.  It has been estimated that nearly 25% of checking accounts experience an overdraft at some point over the course of a year and the fees average around $35 per occurrence.  Avoiding overdraft charges is not impossible and by following a few simple tips, you can ensure that no overdraft charges will be charged to your account.

Keep An Accurate Checking Ledger

Keeping track of the amount of money available in your account is the best way to avoid being charged an overdraft fee because you will always know how much money is in the account.  All deposits and withdrawals should be noted in the checking ledger, including any purchases made using a debit card, and the ledger should be balanced regularly.  Many people choose to balance their checking ledger at the end of every day because it only takes a few minutes of time and it is always up to date.

Add Some Additional Padding To Your Account

Another good way to avoid overdrafts on your checking account is to add two or three hundred dollars to the account that is not reflected in the checking ledger to pad the account.  Adding this additional money will come in handy if a paycheck is delayed and automatic payments are withdrawn from the account or if a transaction is missed in your checking ledger.  Act as if this additional money does not exist and do not plan to spend it for purchases.

Sign Up For Low Balance Alerts

Many banks have added low balance alerts to the services available on their websites.  This service sends you a text or email when the balance of your checking account falls below a certain threshold, alerting you that you need to make a deposit and restrict your spending until there is more money in your account.  The amount of the threshold is chosen by the account holder when they sign up for the alerts and can be set for amounts ranging from $50 to $500.


Keep More Of Your Money With These Common Sense Tips

Written by Toi Williams on Dec 25th, 2011 | Filed under: saving

There are many ways to waste money every day, but using some common sense to manage finances can go a long way towards securing your financial future.  Taking a small amount of time to think about what you are doing and plan the best course of action will prevent you from making simple money mistakes that will cost you dearly over time.  Here are some common sense tips to follow in your everyday life.

Don’t Be Lazy

Laziness will cost you much more than you think over the course of a year because you are paying for the convenience of immediate gratification or the convenience of having someone else do your tasks for you.  Taking your clothes to a cleaning company will cost you 5 to 10 times more than doing your own laundry at home or at the Laundromat.  Eating out raises the cost of a meal to triple or quadruple what you would have paid to buy the ingredients and cook the same meal at home.  Take the time to do tasks for yourself and keep the money you would have paid to others in your bank account for your own needs.

Think Before You Act

Simple mistakes like parking in the wrong spot or not putting enough money in the parking meter can be very expensive when you receive a ticket for the action.  All fines received for mindless actions should be classified as wasted money and avoided as much as possible.  These unnecessary expenses can be easily evaded by being careful and taking the time to think about your actions before performing them.

Take Advantage Of Discounts

Using the discounts found on many everyday items can save you thousands of dollars every year.  From using buy one, get one free coupons on everything from shoes to groceries to purchasing new clothing from the clearance racks, there are hundreds of different ways to use discounts to save money.  People that take the time to review the discounts found in their areas may be able to buy everything they need for at least 25% less than the person who does not take advantage of discounted items.


What Are Your Biggest Money Drains?

Written by Toi Williams on Dec 24th, 2011 | Filed under: mindset

Most of us have things that we spend way too much money on, often without even realizing it.  These money drains pack a huge wallop on our wallets and cost us thousands of dollars each year that would be better saved or spent on household necessities.  Here are some of the biggest money drains and how you can repair the leaks.

Eating Out

Eating out can be much more expensive than you realize.  The cost of an average meal in a causal restaurant is generally 5 times as much as you would have paid to purchase the ingredients at a grocery store and cook the meal yourself.  On top of that, you pay a premium for drinks and have to tip the wait staff for bringing you your food.  If you are trying to save money, limit the number of times that you eat out to the minimum possible and cook at home as much as you can.

Gasoline

The cost of gasoline has increased dramatically over the last decade and commands an increasing share of household budgets as the price continues to rise.  Saving gasoline is saving money, so planning your traveling to save as much gasoline as possible will save you a lot of money over the course of a year.  Consolidate trips so that all of your errands can be done in a single session and purchase items as close to home as possible to avoid unnecessary traveling.

Entertainment

It is very easy to overspend on entertainment items with so many options available.  It is important to keep the amount of money spent on entertainment in perspective and limit your spending so that you do not go over budget.  There are many ways to save money on entertainment including renting a movie to watch at home instead of going to the movie theater, canceling a premium cable package and choosing a basic package instead, or going to see local bands instead of buying tickets for national concert tours.  By shifting your entertainment habits, you can save money while having the same amount of fun.


How To Keep Your Credit Under Control

Written by Toi Williams on Dec 18th, 2011 | Filed under: credit cards

Keeping credit under control can be difficult for anyone, regardless of how much money they make.  Credit can be used to your benefit or abused to your detriment depending on the actions performed with the credit card.  Here are some simple tips for keeping your credit under control and your finances secure.

Use Debit Cards Instead Of Credit Cards

Many people use their credit cards for their everyday purchases and even bigger purchases, such as when there are bulldozers for sale. because they do not like carrying cash with them.  This is great if you are only charging what is absolutely necessary and you are paying off your bill in full each month, but unfortunately this is often not the case.  If you would prefer to use a card instead of cash, use a debit card linked to your checking account so that you do not overspend and do not increase your debt.

Pay Your Bill On Time

A missed payment on a credit account can have several consequences that are all bad for your finances.  First, you will incur a late payment fee of $25 or more for missing the payment date, even if you are only late by a few hours.  The second consequence is usually a significant increase in the interest rate on the credit card with the missed payment, often rising by 10% or more.  The missed payment may also be included on your credit report, which could lower your credit score with each occurrence and increase the amount you will have to pay for credit in the future.

Put Credit Card Charges In Your Checking Ledger

Paying the entire credit card balance in full each month is very important for keeping your credit under control.  To ensure that you have enough money at the end of the month to pay off the entire credit card bill, deduct your credit card purchases from the balance of your checking ledger as if you had already pulled the money out of the account to pay for your purchases.  This will help you keep track of your spending on your credit card and reduce the chances that you will not have enough money to pay the entire balance when the bill for the credit card is due.


Getting The Best Mortgage For Your Financial Situation

Written by Toi Williams on Dec 14th, 2011 | Filed under: loans

Home loans are very expensive financial instruments and it is very important for the potential homeowner to find the best mortgage for their financial situation.  To find the best home loan, there are several things that you should keep in mind.  Not all mortgages are created equal and the differences can either cost you a great deal of money or save you a great deal of money.  Knowing which loan is the best will take research to determine, but once you know which one is the best one for your financial situation, you can rest easy knowing that you will be saving a great deal of money on your home loan.

The best mortgage available to you will usually depend on your personal situation and previous credit history.  What may be the best loan for one person may not be the best loan for another person that has a higher credit score or less negative information on their credit report.  It is important to understand that mortgage interest rates are based on the individual’s credit score, which can vary greatly from person to person.  The credit score and credit history is used to determine an individual’s credit worthiness and their ability to repay the money that they have borrowed.

The best mortgage will have appealing features and a loan amount high enough to get the home you desire.  The best loan will have the lowest interest rate for the longest amount of time with the highest loan amount.  The features offered are different for each situation, based on different credit histories and varied debt amounts.  The amount of money that can be secured with the mortgage also vary based on income and the value of the home being considered.

It is very important to read all of the terms and conditions associated with the loan to make sure that the interest rate is reasonable and the fees attached to the loan are fully disclosed.  The best mortgage will have low fees and a low interest rate, and preferably will not have any prepayment penalties built in so that you can pay off your mortgage as quickly as you can.  You do not want to have to pay a great deal of fees for originating the loan or be surprised by high closing costs costing thousands of dollars.


Completing A Car Title Pawn Online

Written by Toi Williams on Dec 13th, 2011 | Filed under: loans

There are several online lenders available that will allow a person to do a car title pawn in order to obtain money for other necessities.  The application process may differ from provider to provider, but the information needed to complete the application is often the same.  Items needed include the make and model of the vehicle, the current mileage, the VIN, and all applicable insurance information to prove that the vehicle is insured.

If the amount of insurance held on the car is inadequate, the lender may require that you purchase additional insurance for the vehicle before the loan is approved.  This protects the lender in the event that you default on the loan, as the lender will become the owner of the car used as collateral for the loan.  Once the loan has been repaid in full, the lender has no further claim on the vehicle and the owner can do as they like with regards to insurance.

When submitting an application for a car title pawn online, the information from the car title must be submitted as well.  The lender will require that the car title is clear and free of any liens against the vehicle.  The vehicle must be completely paid off and the owner must be able to verify legal possession of the vehicle.  After all of the information has been submitted and verified by the lender’s representative, you will be contacted to let you know whether your application has been approved or denied.

The entire process of applying for a title pawn will generally take less than an hour from initial information gathering to approval.  The amount obtained can range from $100 to $5,000 depending on the amount requested by the borrower, the lending limits of the lender, and the value of the vehicle being used as collateral.  There are no credit checks involved and the approval rate for these loans are high.


Three Bad Things About Bankruptcy

Written by Toi Williams on Dec 10th, 2011 | Filed under: bankruptcy

Bankruptcy may seem like an attractive option for relieving your debt problem, but there are many negative aspects to bankruptcy that are rarely considered when debating whether to file.  Bankruptcy is generally portrayed as a simple act of signing paperwork and watching your debts vanish while your credit score decreases for a couple of years.  Unfortunately, there are many other negative aspects to bankruptcy that you will experience when you decide to file.

Bankruptcy Remains In Your Credit History For At Least Seven Years

Although the process of filing for bankruptcy can be completed in a matter of months, the consequences of filing for bankruptcy can follow you for years.  A bankruptcy filing will remain in your credit history for a period of 7 to 10 years, allowing any creditor that pulls your credit report to see that you have filed for bankruptcy and evaluate the risk of extending credit to you.  Many creditors will not extend credit to an individual with a bankruptcy in their credit history.

Bankruptcy Filings Are Public Record

Filing for bankruptcy is a legal matter handled through the local court system of the area where you live, so after the bankruptcy is filed; it becomes a matter of public record.  This means that anyone searching for information about you will be able to see that you have filed for bankruptcy at some point in your life.  The information included in the public record will include your personally identifying information and the businesses involved in the bankruptcy filing.

Some Debts Are Not Discharged

While a bankruptcy filing can get rid of many of your debts, it will not erase all of the debts you owe.  Student loan debt cannot be discharged under a bankruptcy filing and unpaid income tax bills that are less than three years old will still need to be paid to Uncle Sam.  Medical bills, credit card debts, and most other unsecured debts can be discharged with a bankruptcy, but if you have these other types of debt, you may still have to pay plenty after you have filed.

One Good Thing About Bankruptcy

When other people go bankrupt, you can sometimes but some of their assets at great deals. This is also true for businesses. For example, many businesses have gotten great deals at Drilling Equipment Auctions and other business auctions.


Five Reasons to Avoid Payday Loans

Written by admin on Dec 9th, 2011 | Filed under: payday loans

You should already know to stay way from payday loans. But for those that don’t, the following is going to serve as a little reminder to never look to high interest loans. Simply put, it’s a death sentence to surrender your personal finances to these predatory lenders, even if it means neglecting mortgage loans. The following are five reasons to avoid payday loans at all costs:

The interest is a nightmare: Depending on what state your in (assuming you’re in a state even allows payday loans to begin with), the interest that’s legally allowed on these types of loans is astounding. Up to 400% interest can be applied to these loans, which is an atrocious and impossible interest rate for anyone in the position to take these loans out to begin with. If there’s anything that should keep you from taking out payday loans, it’s the fact that the outrageous interest is not worth the short-term benefits.

The credit boost isn’t worth it: Most individuals with limited credit have equally limited options when it comes to borrowing. Payday loans may seem like a viable method of attaining improved credit, but the limited amounts of borrowing and the risky nature of the loans themselves makes this not that great of an option for those attempting to improve their credit scores.

It’s better not to pay: Most people take out payday loans because they’re afraid of being late on a credit card payment or paying their utilities. While being late on a bill is never good, in the long run it’s probably better to skip some payments rather than take out a high interest loan. The penalties of a late payment are far less detrimental to your personal finance than the high interests attached to high interest loans.

Your susceptibility is calculated: If a payday lender approves you for a loan, then you should consider that as a red flag. You have to stop and think: these lenders have had all the time in the world to sit and calculate ways to take advantage of borrowers. No matter how seemingly safe their agreements may be, more than likely the case is that they are comfortably okay with you taking the money out, because they’re confident that they will wind up sucking huge amounts of interest out of you before the deal is done.

Alternatives exist: Whether it’s credit cards for those with bad credit or simply re-evaluating your spending, payday loans are not the only option in solving your immediate financial concerns. High interest loans ought to always be a last resort, and as a result you ought to be diligently making sure you’ve scanned all alternative options. Otherwise, you’re just making a bad situation that much worse.

Payday loans should always be avoided. There’s no way around it. Hopefully the aforementioned steered you in the right direction. Otherwise, you’re most definitely headed into the wrong one.