Spearheading Student Loans

Jun 28, 2013 by

Avoiding Student Loan Default

graduating with debt

On average, over half of graduating college students has at least $30,000 in student loans. When you apply for student loans, the monies that you’re granted almost seem like play Monopoly money. However, when you graduated college, it is real money that you are obligated to pay back. Default occurs when no payments have been made on a student loan for 270 days. Defaulting on a student loan can have long-lasting, negative impacts on your financial future. Here are a few tips on how to avoid student loan default:

  • Make sure you understand your responsibilities regarding your repayment obligations.
  • Always borrow for college expenses only.
  • Keep all records, including signed forms, canceled checks and letters.
  • If you change your school, address, phone number or name, notify the lender.
  • Keep credit card debt to a minimum.
  • Maintain a spending plan that meets your monthly income.
  • Consider making nominal student loan payments while you’re still in school.
  • If you have difficulty paying off your student loan timely, seek help right away.

Debt Counseling Services

If you do have problems paying your student loan, you can seek help with a debt counseling or student loan consolidation service like this example. The financial counselors at a debt counseling service can give you advice. You may qualify for alternative payment plans. With an income sensitive payment plan, your monthly payments can be adjusted based on your total monthly gross income. There are also graduated payments plans and extended payment plans. With a graduated payment plan, the monthly payment is lower at first and then increase over time. Extended payment plan allow students with loans over $30,000 to pay over a 25-year time period.

At a debt counseling service, your counselor can also advise you about deferment, forbearance and consolidation. Deferment will allow you to postpone your student loan payments if you qualify for disability, unemployment or economic hardship. An economic hardship can also qualify you for forbearance. With consolidation, you may be eligible to consolidate your student loans for easy payment. Often, consolidation reduces your monthly payment.

The important point is to get help when you need it. Don’t wait until you begin to fall behind in your monthly obligations. With debt counseling assistance, your counselor can also help you develop a monthly budget to stay on top of your financial obligations. Many financial counseling services also offer free workshops and educational programs for money management and tips on how to stay on a budget.

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Attack Debt with Professional Help

Jun 2, 2013 by

Credit Counseling Services

Having financial difficulties is always a stressful situation, but taking advantage of credit counseling services can turn your financial life around. There are many credit counseling agencies that can provide you with advice on how to manage money, pay off debt and sign up for debt consolidation plans. Many of these agencies also provide financial workshops, educational materials and plans for budgeting. Reputable agencies will also openly provide you with information about their services without you having to provide any personal information. Your goal is to select the right agency for your needs. It’s always smart to interview several credit counseling agencies and develop a potential list.

Indicators of a Good Credit Counseling Agency

Here is a list of some tips that indicate whether a credit counseling agency in New York like Credit Guard is a good pick:

  • The credit counseling agency should be non-profit.
  • The agency you select should have credible accreditations.
  • The financial counselors at a credit counseling agency should be certified by an independent organization.
  • The agency should have at least seven years of experience.
  • The agency should be a member of reputable trade associations.
  • If you can’t afford the agency’s fees, they should be willing to waive them.
  • The potential agency should be bonded and licensed to do business in your state.
  • You should be provided with a written budget based upon your personal financial circumstances.
  • Counselors should spend a reasonable amount of time for your consultation session. The rule of thumb is at least one hour.

The Process

Once you’ve selected the agency that meets your criteria, you’ll be assigned an individual financial counselor. This person will review your financial circumstances in detail and help you develop an effective, strategic budgeting plan. If needed, they may recommend a debt consolidation or debt management plan. Under these plans, your financial counselor will prepare a proposal for your creditors and negotiate to lower monthly payments and interest rates. You make monthly payments to the agency, and they distribute the monies among your creditors. As long as you select a good agency, it’s an effective strategy for getting out of debt. It’s also a great way to avoid annoying calls from creditors.

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Simple Mistakes that Keep Your Creditors Happy

May 29, 2013 by

erase your debt with debt consolidation

Credit card companies are businesses, and as businesses, they’re in it to make money. As you may imagine, they make most of their money when cardholders carry balances from month to month, paying a significant amount of interest over time. But, there are other ways credit card companies make money, and the money they make from these avenues can be considerable. What’s more, they’re all based on the following simple mistakes many cardholders make over and over again:

  • Over-limit fees: A long time ago, it used to be that your upper credit limit – that is, the amount of credit allowed with your card – was the maximum you could spend, and any money charged over that amount would be denied. This is not so today. If you make a charge that exceeds your credit limit by just a small amount, your card will likely go ahead and approve it. That’s when over-limit fees kick in, and they can really add up. While new laws require cardholders to opt-in to an over-credit allowance, if you don’t opt in, transactions that exceed your balance will always be denied.
  • Late payment fees: While you’d think creditors would want all their cardholders to pay on time, in fact, having some card users who pay late – and who tend to do so multiple times – can be extremely profitable for card companies. Assuming the cardholder “catches up” with their payments, they’ve paid both the accruing interest on the late amount and also a late fee – often about $35. What’s more, a missed payment can trigger a big increase in the card’s interest rate, which means the creditor will collect a lot more money on future unpaid balances. From a creditor’s perspective, all those factors make missed payments the gift that keeps on giving.
  • Letting teaser rates expire: This is common among individuals who use balance transfer offers to move balances from card to card in order to take advantage of low rates. Let one of those teaser rates expire, and the amount left on the card will be subject to a much higher rate, often charged retroactively to the date the card was opened.
  • High interest rates: Today, even people with less-than-perfect credit can usually get a card with some credit card company. Although these companies consider those with poor credit to be riskier than those with good credit, they make up for that by charging high interest rates – often between 20 percent and 30 percent. Many card companies even have cards for consumers with very poor credit, meaning they have more opportunities than ever before to cash in.

Understanding credit management, debt and finances in general can be difficult, but it’s not hard to see that credit card companies only make money when you’re in debt. To stop supporting these companies with your hard-earned cash, pay down debt as quickly as possible by avoiding the danger of debt consolidation loans with debt and credit counseling experts who are ready and able to work with creditors to reduce rates and fees and set you up with an affordable monthly payment plan. Then, you can start funneling all that money you had been spending on fees away from creditors and towards your own bank accounts.

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Make Saving Money a Year-Round Event

May 21, 2013 by

Studies have shown it takes about a month to really establish a habit that “sticks,” and, as luck would have it, each year has 12 months of roughly 30 days each. That’s 12 opportunities to learn new behaviors that can make you a financially savvier and happier person. So, get out your calendar right now – no matter what month or day it is – and commit yourself to a dozen changes to make your life better.

January: Make a resolution to get smarter about your finances. Sign up for a credit counseling program to get the financial tools and guidance you need to make smart financial and credit decisions in the coming year. Credit counselors can help you establish a plan to pay back debts and take control of your financial life, and investing in a credit management program is a great way to give yourself a fresh start in the New Year.

February: Valentine’s Day is a great time to look for inexpensive ways to treat yourself and the ones you love: games and puzzles, nights in with a special video or an evening with a family scrapbook are all possibilities. This month, remind yourself that love does not equal money.

March: Get a jump-start on spring cleaning by getting rid of old papers and bills that are outdated. Get some folders to organize the papers you’re keeping, and consider investing in an inbox and outbox to keep bills and mail organized.

April: It’s tax time. Use what you learn from this year’s return to adjust your withholding for next year. Both tax software programs and real, live CPAs can provide you with tax-saving guidance, so take some notes.

May: Planting a garden – even just a few herbs or tomatoes in pots – can help you save a little money on groceries and also help reduce stress. Or, grow flowers to provide a bright spot on gloomy days.

June: Plan a “staycation” for this summer. Instead of looking for fun in a faraway location, make a list of things to do near home. Save money on plane fare, gasoline, car rentals and overnight accommodations, but plan to embrace a vacation vibe by going out to eat and visiting local attractions.

July: Declare your independence from debt by enlisting in a debt consolidation program to ramp up your payment plan, cut your interest rates, reduce fees and significantly shorten the length of time required to get out of debt.  Look for ways to get out of debt at http://www.creditguard.org/help-yourself-get-out-of-debt/.

August: This is a great month to take advantage of back-to-school sales on supplies you can use for your office. Look for file folders, labels and binders to help you stay organized and keep you working towards your goals.

September: Continue your investment in yourself by enrolling in a class at a local community college or even online; choose something that will enhance your existing work skills, or branch out into a new area that might help you increase your earning potential.

October: Stores and other businesses are gearing up for the holidays, which means it’s a great time to consider taking a part-time job, so you can pay cash this holiday season. Put extra cash earned towards paying down debt even faster.

November: The cool fall weather is a great time to be in a warm, fragrant kitchen, and Thanksgiving is a great time to polish up those cooking skills that can save a lot of money compared to eating out or ordering in. It’s also a good month to stock up on baking supplies for holiday gifts of cookies, breads and other edibles.

December: Plan a low-cost holiday season by making some of your gifts. Look for websites with recipes, craft ideas and even print-your-own labels to make your gifts personal and meaningful. Don’t forget to take some time to toast yourself for your positive efforts towards better finances!

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Benefits of Credit Counseling

Apr 21, 2013 by

help with debt

When you are in trouble with debt, you may be looking at multiple options to help address the problem. One of the most often overlooked procedures available is to work with a credit counseling company. Why would you want to engage in counseling to help you handle your debt problems?

Easy to Work with

When you get in trouble with debt, most of the time you didn’t do anything seriously wrong. You might have made a couple of bad choices that lead to the accumulation of debt. Because of this, you do not want to be talked down to or shunned by some kind of professional money manager. With counseling, you get to work with someone who knows what you are going through and does this on a daily basis. They will not judge you or tell you that you should have never been in this situation in the first place. They’ll give you the common sense solutions that you need to get out of debt and stay out of it.

Get One Payment

Another big benefit of working with a credit counseling company like Credit Guard is that you can get a single monthly payment to deal with. Instead of being stuck with five or six debt payments to keep up with every single month, you just pay once a month. This makes it possible for you to simplify your life and to get things back under control again. If you get some extra money one month, you don’t have to worry about where to apply it. Consolidating all of your accounts into one place has the potential to save you time and money over the long-term.

Save on Interest

When you decide to take this route, you can also plan on saving thousands of dollars in interest charges. Most of the time, when you pay off your debt on your own, you will pay full interest charges to your creditors. When you go through a counseling service, they can negotiate better interest rates for you to take advantage of.

With credit counseling, you can take control of your situation and stop worrying about the future.

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Think Consolidation: Debt Doesn’t Have to Run Your Life

Apr 3, 2013 by

When you take all of your unsecured loans and your debts, then bring them under a single title it is called a consolidation debt. It is a condensing of what you owe, to better help you manage and deal with your debt as a whole. As a service, debt consolidation is a common way to help even the most debt hardened households. They provide a host of tools and services that help you help yourself pay your way through your debt.

A tool that debt consolidation services use to help you blast debt away is the credit counselors that they have on their staff. Like many financing institutions, they have debt professionals to help guide you out of your deficit. Working directly with you, these credit counselors teach and show you how to better manage your budget, and ultimately, budgeting skills are what will stop run away expenditures in their tracks.

With a debt consolidation you are no longer bound to the mercy of multiple monthly payments, and as a result you will find that under a single debt your principals get paid much quicker. This is mainly due to the systematic and aggressive payment strategy that a consolidation can allow.

If you are instead, really struggling with making payments a debt consolidation service like the one offered here can help you there as well. Consolidators will often bargain, on their client’s behalf, to find a more payable payment plan. With these negotiations you may have lowered monthly payments, or a reduced interest rate. This is all to alleviate the hardships of being in debt on you.

In today’s world getting into a lot of credit card debt is very easy, but also never before have there been so many programs and services designed specifically to help you pay off your debt. You may also feel alone with your debt problems, but the truth is often very far from that. Help is no farther, usually, than a phone call or consultation away.

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How Credit and Debt Counseling Affects Your Credit Profile

Mar 19, 2013 by

your credit score is your identity

Your credit score can be used to establish your financial identity.

One of the major criticisms of the top three credit bureaus is how certain individuals are ignored.  A certain segment of the population cannot be accurately scored.  There needed to be a way to evaluate the credit worthiness of the candidate in need of access to credit who cannot be scored using other credit scoring models.  VantageScore developed a new model six years ago to evaluate consumers who could not be accurately scored previously.  The agency aimed to address a need in the market to consumers who were difficult to evaluate.

The VantageScore system was developed by TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.  The credit scoring model was developed by leading experts in credit and data risk management.  The scoring system was specifically designed to take into account the current economic conditions.  The model was designed to score with greater accuracy.  The model would improve accuracy across all of the major credit bureaus.  VantageScore’s newest model has been updated to consider the consumer’s rental, telecommunications and utility payment history.  The underserved community who was having a hard time establishing a credit history could now be scored under this newly updated model the company uses.

Whether or not a person’s focus is on improving a FICO or VantageScore, credit and debt counseling services may be beneficial.  The agency works with each individual to create a budget.  Personal finance challenges and goals are outlined in the consultation process.  Debt and credit problems are also evaluated during the consultation.  The counseling agency works closely with the person to help them build and establish their credit.  If they have debt problems, the agency may recommend a debt consolidation program to get things under control. As a result of the credit counseling, many clients who receive coaching are able to climb out of debt, build their credit profile and qualify for financing.

While the VantageScore is relatively new, the agency will become increasingly important when it comes to consumer debt and assessing the credit worthiness of individual.  While the VantageScore is different type of model to score individuals in underserved communities, it still places a great priority on the complete picture of the person’s payment history where credit is concerned.  A credit and debt counseling agency can help a person learn the skills and steps it takes to build credit and a strong future.

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