Here is the key to your Financial Toolbox

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Making The Tough Choices

Sometimes it seems like such a struggle to get along carrying so much debt. At some point you have to realize you need just to sit down and analyze your situation. If you are new to this blog in the past entries we have set the groundwork to help you do this. This blog is new and it will not take to much time to catch up so going back to the first entries may be a good idea. As this blog goes on we are going to get to the specifics of the topics we have covered to date and we will be referring back to these pages you are reading now. We are also going to cover the A to Zs of getting back on your feet and living a debt free life. You may think I am going through these topics rather quickly, but knowing some people really need help and need it fast we wanted to get solutions out so they can be looked at and implemented as quickly as possible. Day to day you get frustrated by the runaround from the people in the financial industry that seem to have there own agendas in mind instead of offering you solutions. We want to bring solutions right to your computer screen so you can decide what is the best action for you. If an advisor is not willing to give you options how are you going to know you are taking the best route to recovery? In the last entry I had told you the route I took twelve years ago. While being satisfied with the help I received I thought the result could have been better considering the loyalty and the time spent paying back my debts. We all have to know this is going to be a long process and you have to be disciplined to get a good result. This is where I hope this blog can give you hope and comfort. We know this blog is not going to be for everyone, but for the ones that follow by reading and participating in this blog you are taking the first steps to solving your debt problems and should be congratulated for being honest with yourselves and taking action. You will find as this blog goes on a feeling of comfort as your debt disappears and you gain wealth instead of debt. For those of you that want to stay with this blog bookmark this page because there is going to be more Finding Financial Freedom to come.

Dealing With the Calls and the Mail

It was twelve years ago and sometimes it seems like yesterday when I was declared legally blind. For me as a heavy equipment operator I didn’t only loose a career that I enjoyed I lost my main source of income. It just wasn’t like I could just get a job anywhere. Landscaping and park construction was all I knew. My heart goes out to everyone that who has lost their jobs in this current economic decline, a physical condition or any other cause. I can recall what it was like when I could not pay my bills any longer. My saving grace was that my wife’s career was starting to blossom. I still cannot forget those original days after my regular work had ended. The phone calls and the mail made it seem like creditors were terrorizing us. It was unrelenting the mail and the phone calls. At that point knowing how to use a computer for me was something I had talked about instead of using as a source of convenience. So I proceeded to do all my research the old fashioned way in contacting help by phone and public transportation. You can only imagine how slow that process was. But the problem was dealing with debt was not the only thing I had to overcome. It was all the other problems associated with my glaucoma I had to deal with at the same time. There was no mercy from those creditors as they were determined to get payment. I can still remember my wife sitting up in bed in the middle of a dead sleep and shaking because of the constant pressure and what we were going to do about the debt problem. At that point I had contacted Consumer Credit Counseling after reading the ad on a bus going to a part-time job I had just gotten just a few weeks earlier. I was still dealing with creditors until the week before Christmas when finally my first payments made their way to my creditors from Consumer Credit Counseling. I had contacted Consumer Credit Counseling in early November and it took over a month and a half to stop the calls.

If you are going to deal with your debt yourself we can only suggest an e-Book called Stop Creditor Harassment. In Stop Creditor Harassment is information and form letters in a PDF format so you can fill out and send the letters necessary to your creditors to stop their overwhelming correspondence. You can find Stop the Creditor Harassment at help with -debt rights. Keep in mind as long as debt collectors know they have the right to call you they are. The longer it takes for you to quiet them the nastier they get. Forget the number on threatening them. The only thing to do is being nice, and take action. If you feel you can deal with the harassment hang in there but if you want some space to work out solutions Stop Creditor Harassment is a great source to start with. Put yourself in a position to protect your rights. The creditor and debt collectors have employees and lawyers protecting their rights you should do the same. Stop Creditor Harassment gives you what you need to deal with your creditors and your rights. Just remember after you file with your creditors to stop the unnecessary correspondence you only have a short time to implement a payment plan, settle your debt, or hire a lawyer and file for bankruptcy. Even if you consult a lawyer you have as fast as the lawyer works to file your paper work to quiet the debt collectors so you may want to start ahead of your counsel and give yourself some peace of mind.

Contemplating Bankruptcy

Some people believe that filing for bankruptcy is a quick bailout. The process only happens as fast as you can get your case into Civil Court. Usually three to six months. In the mean time you have constant reminders from your creditors to settle your debt. Even after bankruptcy you have constant reminders when you go to apply for credit. It may be obtainable but at what cost? This process goes on for ten years and if you have financial difficulties within those ten years you cannot file for bankruptcy in the ten years from the date of your bankruptcy. If you straighten out your credit and pay on time it takes seven years to get your credit back into acceptable shape. if you work your credit solutions out with your creditors yourself. However, your credit score and report improve by each month you pay on time without default. Right now it may seem like a harder course to take but you will get better results faster if you can avoid bankruptcy. If there is any way possible for you to pay back your debts without bankruptcy no matter what any one tells you, you will save yourself years of possible agony. With bankruptcy you will not get a good rating after the ten years are up. You still may have to work on your credit rating for some time to get your credit rating from fair to good adding more time to your total recovery.

I have seen instances where bankruptcy has helped people but for me that was only birds eye views of what a family member and a friend went through. With a family member, and sometimes you know how that goes, you only get the parts of the story that they want you to hear. What happened with my friend was back in the early nineteen eighties, after he was laid off from a local tire plant. In both cases their lawyers advised them of one thing. No matter what else you default on do not fall behind in your mortgage payments. As a result both families got to stay in their residence and they got to keep their homes. When you file for bankruptcy there are three different chapters or laws commonly used to file under that basically tells you which of your possessions you can keep and what becomes part of a settlement. Forget the high dollar imported automobile as it will go with the bankruptcy so get ready to drive a regular used car as just an example of what may be the first things that will be seized. How you file depends a lot on your personal or business status. Another thing to keep in mind there are the three different ways to file but there are two types of bankruptcy, which are voluntary and involuntary. Involuntary is when creditors call for your assets in Civil Court and at that point a judgment is rendered against you. You want to avoid this at all costs because all your property is in jeopardy. Voluntary is where you have the most control over your assets, leaving you in better control of the results of any judgments. We will go on more about that in the future. In the mean time it is best for you to speak with a lawyer about what your bankruptcy options are. In help with – debt rights we have the forms to file for bankruptcy yourself however this is one instance that we may insist you consult a lawyer and not try to handle a bankruptcy on your own.

If you have been with this blog for the few weeks this blog has been making steady entries you know that a lawyer is going to want you to get your paper work together. It may be a good idea to revert back to Getting Started portion of this blog for help. If the law firm you choose hires an accountant for you this can get very expensive. You may not have to pay your creditors but you will have to pay the lawyer so keep that in mind when preparing for your visit to the lawyer. Also do not get upset when he or she asks you to reference and give him or her more information. I say this because it can get a little more personal than is comfortable for you. Just work with your lawyer and be patient. I know this from a different situation I was in dealing with my disability coverage recently. For those of you that have your paperwork together try to find someone to recommend to you a good lawyer. Referrals on lawyers seem to be the best and may leave you in the most comfortable position to take action. Finding a lawyer can be exhausting. You can look through the phone book or Legal Match can help you. Legal Match is a multiple-listing website that will help you get in touch with a lawyer in your area to help you with your specific needs by filing out a form. You will find Legal Match in help with - debt rights. For all you that have a busy schedule this may be a good option. Just make sure no matter what you do, you do not settle for second best and be comfortable with who you use. More on bankruptcy later, as we get more information I will post it on this blog as a special entry.

Next week we are going to talk about how we can shop online with a few online shopping solutions. With the Holidays coming, and with the season of hope we want to give to you solutions for hope. Also for people that are short on cash we are going to look at an e-Book video and audio to help you raise some cash to deal with many of the problems you are facing. You will be surprised on what you can do to start raising some money and you can start right from home by starting small. All with little or no money down and I am going to repeat no money down. Noting works like cash when you are in need.

Keep in mind if you can do it yourself or if you need some help it is here in this blog for you. Just stay disciplined and confident, and let’s all become Financially Free Together Forever.

A Promised Update To This Entry

We found Better Bankruptcy as a significant source for more bankruptcy information. As you go through this website Better Bankruptcy has different articles about themselves and the different types of bankruptcy. Better Bankruptcy also keynotes some of the signs in which you should contemplate bankruptcy. We here at Finding Financial Freedom will support any decision you should make only you know your situation. However, we at Finding Financial Freedom still urge you to look at all the options before declaring bankruptcy. Ten years can be a real life changing challenge and there are many alternatives in the entries, on the sidebar and at help with – debt rights. We will still be here for you to help you with other services, suggestions and solutions here at Find Financial Freedom no matter what course you take.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Finding Help

If you are new to this blog you may want to go back to the beginning and catch up. Since this is a new blog itself catching up will not take that much time. As we go on I will remind everyone that this Blog is a guide to services and not one professional wanting you to look only into one service. For some of you may just want to clear up some nagging debt, while others may have a serious debt situation. The only reference point I want to bring up is that this blog contains referenced material to help you come to an educated decision with more than one option. There is no easier way to this than to bring the information to you in one place.

Thirteen years ago after starting a small contracting firm I was falling into debt after having problems getting paid from contractors I had completed work for. I should have known that working for contractors was a slow pay industry and they were borrowing the money from me instead of a bank. At first this was great money but it was seasonal work. Between the seasonal work, start up costs every year and the slow pay the good money eventually turned to debt and after a while it was not even a living anymore, while making it a struggle to pay all the bills that came due. To finalize everything when I had turned forty I was diagnosed with Glaucoma, and twenty days later I was declared legally blind. At that point I knew I would never drive a car let alone a truck or operate equipment again. With the help of a friend I liquidated my equipment but I still could not pay off a large some of the unsecured debt and all I had was a part time job. The part time job was all I could keep if I was to receive disability. I was declared legally blind in October twelve years ago, and my disability benefits did not start until the following April.

At this point I had contacted Consumer Credit Counseling. We worked out my budget and the counselor had determined it would be impossible for me to pay the payments they had set for me. Then I explained that my wife was working and we had worked on our own budget and shown the counselor a copy of the budget. With the Counselors figures we came down with a different determination and I had managed to get into the program.

You can easily see with my situation, how you may have gotten into your situation. We all have good intents of repaying the money but circumstances can alter your plans. This does not mean you are a dead beat or any other thought a debt collector may have. But you have to accept the fact that you signed a contract and that is where they have you when you cannot fulfill the obligation. What we all have to take home from my situation is that situation could have been avoided by better use of unsecured credit. The bottom line is that no matter what credit you use, you have to follow a plan to pay back your debt and stick to it. You will always in one way or another be held accountable for what you borrowed. It took me a little less than five years but I did pay the debt back with the help of Consumer Credit Counseling.

You would expect after completing my obligation to endorse Consumer Credit Counseling. It may work for you but this is where you have to decide. When I started with Consumer Credit Counseling it was a free service all I had to do is send the payment. The payment had to be a cashier’s check or a money order only they did not accept automatic payments or debit cards. That did not seem to be a big obstacle; however by the time I completed my payments Consumer Credit Counseling had added a processing fee to my payments. They also say they are not for profit. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have expenses they have to pay. This just means they have pay their expenses like office space, stationary, advertising, employees and the executives. When you figure the costs in operating anything even a nonprofit agency, you still need to look at your options to make sure you are doing what is right for you. Just because Consumer Credit Counseling is nonprofit does not mean they have the best product or service for you. The last issue I would like to bring up about Consumer Credit Counseling is, for almost five years I had paid every payment on time and the credit rating I had was only a fair credit rating because I had used that service according to the Credit Bureaus. I thought I should have gotten a better rating for being faithful to the obligation. However if you feel you can’t afford or do not want to pay upfront fees for help this could be a good resource for help. You will pay a fee for processing your payment as you go and that may end up more expensive than paying an upfront fee.

There are companies out there that specialize in debt management, credit repair, loan modification, and mortgage solutions. It is not a bad idea to look into these companies. For more information go to help with - debt rights and you will find the companies we endorse. D W Scott Financial is a company with debt and insurance resources as well as investments and financial planning. D W Scott Financial also has a very comprehensive website with good information about them as a company and how they can help you. MACs is another source to look into. MACs stands for Mortgage and Credit Solutions. In this site you can find different programs to help you with your Mortgage and Credit Solutions. As an extra feature in the MACs website there are other programs to help you rebuild your life as well as your credit report and credit score. Both programs are well worth your time in checking into. There is a third company and they offer just debt relief. Without all the bells and whistles of the other two debt settlement companies just to keep it simple Empire Debt Relief may be another option. There is one point we need you to remember, Empire Debt Relief only settles credit card debt. Lets face it dealing with debt is agonizing and keeping it simple with Empire Debt Relief may be right for you at this time. All three services have free consultations.

Now saving the best for last in our research we stumbled over this gem that we believe will work best for those of you that have a debt issue instead of a debt problem. This program, which is an online debt service that helps you personally settle your debt. Debt Goal is more of a membership site that helps you settle your debt faster without affecting your credit rating. They do this by making your money work to your advantage in paying down your debt. Debt Goal is true do it yourself debt management. To me Debt Goal is as good of a product as the Debt To Wealth Series or would work well with other debt management e-books and credit repair services, in helping you rebuild your credit score faster. Self-management means that you can leave an emergency credit line open while you are paying off your debt. Just remember that is an emergency account only or you are defeating your own cause! All these e-Books, services, and memberships are offered in help with - debt rights.

Before we end this entry, it is Important to remember as you do your research you have to figure in all the factors in your situation. How it will affect your credit score and report? And what will it take to get my credit score and report back to acceptable once I have taken action? You have to consider that almost anything you do these days is dependent of your credit rating and report even when it comes to your career or in some instances auto insurance and other services you may need. Unfortunately you could be misjudged in getting a job, the job you may want or be qualified for with a bad credit rating and report. The most non-evasive way to deal with your debt is if you can settle your debt yourself. That is why I strongly recommend The Debt to Wealth Series, The Debt Solution and /or Debt Goal. If you have a good credit score and you are not overwhelmed by debt these might be the best solutions for you. There are other helpful e-Books in help with - debt rights look though the ads and see which may suit you. If you have a good credit score you may just want to seek a debt consolidation loan first. It can’t hurt and you may be surprised with a good result. America One maybe a good source you can check into for a debt consolidation loan. America One is a multy listing financing source. If you are just plain overwhelmed with a falling credit score some kind of debt settlement may be in order. If you have the threat of wage garnishment and so on, bankruptcy may be your only way out. Bankruptcy should always be your last option and we will talk about that next week.

In the next blog we will be looking at harassing phone calls and mail and how to deal with the issue. We will also get into bankruptcy the pros and the cons. As this blog builds we will also talk specifically, blog by blog on the different ways to pay off your debt along with the A to Zs about getting back on your feet. Lastly to get a credit report and monitor your credit scores you can go to Free Credit Score or My FICO Score available in help with - debt rights. With a little research and if you need it some help, you will see we can become Financially FreeTogether Forever.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Getting Started

As you go through all the upcoming information in this blog, I want you to know the format is going to be on the real human side (Lower Income, Blue Collar, Middle Management, or Middle Class) of debt and its effects. Professionals whether legal or financial are welcome to follow however, this blog will always stay in a format that everyone can understand. Professional terms will not go unexplained as they would in a courtroom or discussed by other professionals. I firmly believe that people should be led into a competent decision that can only come from exposure to multiple resources.

I have seen the ads, I have read the emails, I have gotten the phone calls, and it has sent my head spinning at the amount of professionals and services trying to get my attention. Consider this blog a safe haven if you have some serious financial problems. If people do not have other information that they can compare, how is anyone able to make a competent decision about their financial future? You can seek advice, but you and only you should make that final decision. Your financial future should be up to you not a lawyer or a sales person that has their interests in mind by influencing your decision. I also believe that those individuals will still have plenty of work from educated or well-informed individuals that are seeking their help, and the dishonest ones exposed. When people are desperate the vultures sure know how to lurk. We also want to make sure people are protected against scams. Be extremely careful of phone calls inquiring about your debt and interest reduction offers. Especially credit card interest reduction where they ask for money on the spot. You do not want to enter into anything without negotiating and a signed contract or agreement that you are confident with.

With all that said, lets get started. The first thing you have to do is get all your financial statements together. Separate all your statements into categories. Bank Statements, Mortgage Statements, Installment Loan Statements, Credit Card Statements, and so on. Do not forget any odd local taxes this always seems to come into play along the line. Get only statements from the last three months or more to make sure you cover everything. List monthly, your monthly income, your household expenses, your living expenses, your travel expenses and your debt. Do this for the past three to six months.

Now this is where the rubber meets the road! The Dept Solution is a reasonable download you can use as a guide, or I have one that is highly recommended. It’s The Debt to Wealth System. You have probably heard The Dept To Wealth System advertised on the radio or television. In this series of downloads is a series of seminars. You can view them or listen to the over and over. John gets right to the point of the problem with this informative, and entertaining series of downloads. There is also an easy to use workbook to get all your financial information together. If you already have The Debt to Wealth downloads refer back to them as they are very helpful. If you do not have a copy of either The Debt Solution Or The Dept To Wealth System you can get them at helpwith-deptrights.

The Debt Solution
is written by Brandon Schmidt who is Canadian and if there is a concern that the financial system is different than here in the US, but the concept is the same.The Debt to Wealth System written by John Cuummuta. John’s debt solving skills are concrete. However, These downloads may not be for everyone so there are more offered in helpwith-debtrights. What we are trying to do is get you to where you stand financially in hopes of giving you direction and start lifting your spirits. You also have to be able to figure out whether you have the ability to pay the debt. Not even John or Brandon can do that for you. John had the ability to pay you may not. Not having the ability to pay is not the end of the world. We are going to start talking about direction in the next blog. If you are having problems with excessive phone calls go to the Stop Creditor Harassment Guaranteed ad click on it and get if you believe it will help, offered in helpwith-debtrights. We will talk about the calls in the next blog briefly and then in more depth in the future. We are also going to talk in future blogs about the unemployed, how to get some liquid cash together for necessities and to pay down debt, with many ideas from A to Z to help make us Financially Free Together Forever!