Credit Cards, Debts, Negotiations, & Settlements | | Page 11

Category : Credit Cards, Debts, Negotiations, & Settlements

Home»Archive by Category "Credit Cards, Debts, Negotiations, & Settlements" (Page 11)

Three Reasons To Keep Track Of Your Credit Score

Americans are not unfamiliar with being labeled or referred to by a number. When you are born you are given a social security number, and this number will follow you for the rest of your life and be used on things like filing taxes and applying for loans. As you get older there are other numbers that become associated with your identity, such as a driver’s license number, student ID, or employee badge number. One of the most important numbers that impacts your life as far as your finances are concerned is your credit score. Your credit score is looked at when you apply for credit and can dictate what type of loan terms you are offered.

Your credit report contains information about what debts you have, your payment patterns, whether you have filed for bankruptcy, and whether you have any money judgments against you. Depending on these, and some other things, your credit report comes down to a final credit score. Three reasons it is a good idea to keep track of your score are:

  • The better score you have the lower interest rates you will be offered when applying for loans.
  • Your auto insurance rates depend in part on your credit score. For drivers with higher scores, lower insurance rates are available.
  • Renting an apartment or car may come down to your credit score. A lower score is an indication you are a risk, and a landlord may not feel comfortable taking the chance the rent will go unpaid.

You work hard for your money, so you should also work hard to make sure your credit is in good standing. If you believe there is an error on your credit report you can ask to have that error removed. We have experience disputing notations on credit reports, and helping our clients to clean up their credit. Callus today if you have questions about your credit and how it impacts your daily finances.

For more information about credit scores, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

 

 

Avoid Overspending With This Top Ten List

Even the best plans can go astray, and if you have a budget that has been working there may come a time when you “fall off the wagon”. Perhaps you needed to help bail out a friend or family member from a bad investment, or have received a traffic ticket or increase in homeowner’s insurance. Whatever event has come up that has caused your budget to go out of whack, you can take comfort in knowing there are things you can do to get back on track. One solution is to consolidate debt, or to file bankruptcy. Still yet you may be able to avoid overspending altogether with a little planning.

Ten tips to avoid how to overspend, so you can stay on track and on budget, include:

  • Plan your expenses, and then stick to your plan. Before you go shopping, even for necessities, make a list of what is needed. Clip coupons for items on your list and do not deviate from your plan.
  • Plan how much you will pay for an item, and make sure the expense is in line with your budget. If you cannot find what you need at the price point you are comfortable paying, wait. Many times you can find the same thing a week or two later on sale.
  • Shop around for the best price. This goes for everything from groceries, to clothes, to loan rates.
  • Avoid using credit when possible.
  • Put a portion of your paycheck in savings every month.
  • Do not make purchases when you are in an emotionally charged state, whether that state is one of happiness or depression. Severe mood swings can alter your ability to make rational choices about expenses.
  • Do not shop out of boredom. Find another activity to fill your time, and you will probably forget all about a purchase you wanted to make.
  • Buy only what you need
  • Find ways to fill your time with people and experiences rather than with things. You might be surprised how much fun you and your friends have taking on a DIY project instead of going out to the movies or dinner, you will save money and make memories all at the same time.
  • Ask for discounts when buying items, especially if the items is a floor model, slightly irregular, or the last one in stock.

If you are in financial trouble, call us for help. We will look at your circumstances and offer solutions. Sometimes the best answer may be bankruptcy, and other times it might be to negotiate with your lenders for more favorable terms.

For more information about bankruptcy and debt management, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

 

 

Three Keys To Coming Up With A Budget That Works

Sitting down and making up a budget is just about as much fun as doing your taxes. But having a budget and finding ways to stick to it, are necessary parts of life if you want to have a healthy financial bottom line. Many times when a task seems too hard, it becomes easier with a little research and after you get started you may wonder why you ever put it off initially. This is true of writing that term paper you didn’t want to write while in school, preparing for a presentation at work, and even developing a financial plan that fits your income and financial goals.

Luckily, we have done some of the research for you and this should make getting down to business about a budget a little easier. Three keys to coming up with a budget that works for you include:

  • Identify the amount of money you make every month, and how much of it you have to spend on living expenses. At first the best idea is to write down all of your expenses, even the ones you think you can do without. Once you see, on paper, where you money goes every month you will be able to start making adjustments.
  • Don’t forget to include unexpected expenses such as car repair and maintenance, and the monthly cost of any semi-annual or annual insurance policies.
  • Include a part in your budget that allows you to save for emergencies. This is sometimes referred to as creating an emergency fund and it is important that when used the event is an actual emergency. Going on a vacation or buying something new does not constitute an emergency.

You should also remember to take into account any amount you tithe each month or give to charity as well as the expenses associated with extracurricular activities. It is also a good idea to have a catchall category of “miscellaneous”. This gives you a little breathing room so you are not tempted to spend outside of your budget. You also need to be realistic and look for expenses you can eliminate. For many this means brown bagging it a few days a week, or renting a movie rather than going to the theater. Whatever works for you, find it and do your best not to deviate from your plan. If you do find yourself in dire straits and in need of financial help with your bills, do remember that you have choices. Call us to find out what to do if your budget has gotten off track and you need help finding a fresh financial start.

For more information about money, debt management, and budgets, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you, which could include bankruptcy or other workout plans with your creditors.

 

 

How Much Debt Is Too Much?

Everyone seems to have that one friend or family member who always seems to be struggling financially. Whether it is from student loans, credit card debt, or making investment missteps; it is easy to fall into financial traps that are hard to get out of if you do not have a plan. But the amount of debt one person carries without worry may not be the same for the next person. The way finances are handled on a daily basis is a personal issue, but if you are not able to pay all o of your bills then it is safe to say you have too much debt. If this is your situation, there are ways out from under the overwhelming burden of owing more money to creditors than you can repay.

The most popular way to eliminate debt is to file for bankruptcy. Consumers have two choices when seeking the protection of bankruptcy, as follows:

  • Chapter 7: this type of bankruptcy filing is like a liquidation of unsecured debt. Your credit card debt will be eliminated in its entirety during a Chapter 7 case, which gives you some freedom and flexibility in your budget. When you no longer have to make monthly payments on credit card balances that seem to go nowhere, you can take that money and save it or put it towards secured debt like your house or car.
  • Chapter 13: this type of bankruptcy filing is like a debt consolidation. In a Chapter 13 you will have to repay at least a portion of your unsecured debt, and still pay on your secured loans if you wish to keep the collateral. A Chapter 13 can last for up to 5 years, and during that time you will make a plan payment to the Chapter 13 trustee and he or she will distribute payment to your creditors.

There is no real number than can be identified as “too much debt”, the answer is personal. The bottom line is if you are not able to make ends meet every month, you need relief. We can help, call us today to find out how.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

 

 

Two Problems With Forgetting To Save For The Future

We understand it can be hard enough to pay your bills as they become due, much less put some money aside for retirement. But if you fail to save for the future you might be setting yourself up for working longer than your health allows, or you could find yourself having to go back to work after having retired. Many employers offer a retirement plan, and this makes it easy to save for the day when you can stop punching a time clock. But if your company does not offer a 401(k) or other plan, you should take matters into your own hands and start putting some money aside today, for tomorrow.

US News and World Report highlights some of the reasons why saving for retirement is so important. Among the reasons cited are the facts that social security is dwindling, personal savings accounts are not earning at a fast enough rate to cover the gap between what you have in a retirement account and what you will need to retire with comfort, and the rate of inflation means you can expect to pay more for things when you retire than you pay now. If you are not able to put enough away for your future, you can face several problems when retirement times arrives. Two of these problems include:

  • Sacrificing on basic needs such as health care, housing, and food. Without enough money saved for your future you will find that you have to be frugal at a time when your focus should be on other things.
  • Moving in with your grown children in order to pay all of your bills and meet your financial needs as you age.

These possibilities should be motivation enough to find ways now to have a comfortable retirement. If you are having a hard time paying all of your bills as they become due, take steps now so your financial future can be bright. We can help, by offering solutions to your financial crises and looking for ways to help you budget your money. Call us today to learn more.

For more information about money and budgeting for the future, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

 

 

Three Tips To Help Make Ends Meet

Chances are, even if you have recently been given an increase in your hourly rate or base salary, you are still having a hard time making ends meet. This is because the economy is not at its best right now, and there are too many to count who have either lost their job or been forced to take a position that pays less than their full earning capacity. It can be stressful to see more money going out the door every month than is coming in, and when that happens you have to find ways to stretch your dollar. It can be hard, but if you are able to come up with a budget that works you will find that not only are you able to meet your obligations but you may even be able to put some money aside for a rainy day.

One way to free up some extra cash and focus on paying the debts that matter most, like your secured loans for your house and car, is to seek the protection offered by bankruptcy. You have choices when it comes to filing bankruptcy, and can opt for either a liquidation type of case or a debt consolidation. There are requirements that must first be met, and if you are not happy with the option that fits the facts of your case after having your circumstances reviewed, you can start to look for ways to cut back and save. Three tips for coming up with a budget that makes your ends meet include:

  • Negotiating lower interest rates on high rate credit cards. Many credit card lenders will work with you to lower your interest rate, which means a lower monthly payment. If your lender is unwilling to talk to you about a lower rate, you should eek the assistance of debt management attorney. A qualified attorney will work with your lenders for you and work towards results that mean lower payments for you and a chance to clean up your credit.
  • Cutting out extras, or at least scaling back on items considered luxuries. Taking your lunch to work rather than buying every day (or even just every other day) will help you to save on your monthly expenses.
  • Shopping around for the best rates and fees on things like auto insurance and cell phone service.

If you have exhausted your options to get creative with your budget, you do still have options. Call our office today to find out what will work for you.

For more information about budgets and debt management, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

How The Upcoming Election Will Impact Your Finances

The upcoming presidential election is drawing a lot of attention, most of that attention is focused here at home but the entire world is waiting and watching to see who takes his or her seat in the Oval Office this fall. The candidates for both parties are taking extra special care to make their positions known, as well as making sure we all know what their opponents’ plans include. This type of politicking can lead to confusion for the voters, never knowing who to trust or what to believe. And with so many issues up for debate that will have an impact on your daily life, it is important to know where those in the hunt stand. For many Americans the most important issues include homeland security, immigration, and the economy. Of these topics it is a safe bet to say that the economy takes first place among what matters most to the voters. But what does all of this mean for you personally, and for your bottom line financially?

A business magazine has this information to offer about what you can expect for your finances, depending on who is elected:

  • Programs to handle the growing student loan debt in the country are being proposed. If you owe student loans you might want to consider taking a look at each candidate’s position on this issue.
  • Your income tax rate is subject to change depending on who is elected, and with this type of change can come a different dollar amount on your weekly paycheck. Some plans will increase what you currently pay to Uncle Sam while others offer some relief.
  • Small business owners will also feel a financial impact depending on who moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

These important issues will be decided come November, and regardless of your political affiliation it is critical you exercise your right to vote. If you have strong feelings about certain issues you should do your research and vote in a way that makes sense for you. If you have questions about finances and need help with a budget or working out payments with creditors, we can help. Call us today to find out more.

For more information about how to handle overwhelming debt, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Will The Oil And Gas Industry Wind Up Broke?

Gas prices at the pump in recent weeks have been some of the lowest our country has seen in years. For drivers who are overextended financially, these lower prices are a welcome break to the days when gas was inching up towards $5.00 a gallon. But lower gas prices are not good news for everyone, and for those that make their living in the oil and gas industry, the financial woes may be just beginning. Several companies have had to resort to massive companywide layoffs recently, and this does not bode well for the economy.

Corporate layoffs are not a new or novel way for companies to try and save money before things turn from bad to worse, but when these layoffs happen the effect is far reaching. One of the most recent layoffs was at Devon Energy in Oklahoma City. The work force at the oil and gas giant has nearly been cut in half, and the impact of this act could mean the following:

  • A rise in unemployment, which leads to a larger number of consumers being unable to pay their monthly bills.
  • A decrease in consumer spending, which impacts workers from all sectors. When goods and services are not being purchased because a large portion of the population is unemployed, retailers and other service providers eventually begin to feel the financial pinch as well.
  • The stock for these companies will continue to drop, which means the companies themselves may end up broke. If this happens, it makes any kind of meaningful rebound all the more difficult.

It is important to keep the overall economic picture in mind when thinking about how losses at big companies impact society as a whole. While it is no secret those at the top made astronomical sums of money, and sometimes at the expense of lower paid workers or the public, when large companies fold the ripple effect can touch nearly anyone. If you are experiencing financial difficulty, whatever the cause, consider bankruptcy as a solution to your financial pains. Contact our office today to speak with a knowledgeable bankruptcy and debt management attorney, and learn how bankruptcy or another debt management plan can help you.

 

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. Our approach is individually tailored to meet your needs, so you can reach your financial goals.

What Is The CFPB And How Can They Help Me?

The inner workings of the United States Government are a mystery to many American citizens. There are agencies that handle just about every kind of issue, but just how those agencies benefit you as a taxpayer can sometimes be hard to know. By and large, the one issue with which most people seek assistance is their finances. This is especially true when the economy is in bad shape, and having somewhere to turn for enforcement of the ideals of fair play and equality can be beneficial. Consumer protection agencies have existed for decades, and they offer a wide range of help to those that have been wronged in the marketplace. One of the more popular agencies is the Better Business Bureau and if you have ever been the victim of unscrupulous business practices you may be familiar with this non-profit organization. Or, if you are a savvy consumer, you may consult the BBB before patronizing a store or other merchant, to see if there are any complaints against the company.

In the world of finance there exists an agency that was created to help ensure fairness in lending and practices related to lending. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is this agency. Here are a few background facts about the CFPB:

  • The CFPB strives to make sure the lending practices in place at major banks and institutions are clear. This means when you take out a loan, you should be given clear and easily understood information about your loan terms. If there are hidden fees or exorbitant rates being charged, there is a lack of transparency in the lending process and the CFPB can take action to enforce fairness.
  • The CFPB provides financial education to those in need, so smart decisions can be made about your money.
  • Abusive and harassing practices are prohibited, and if a borrower believes they are a victim of this type of lending pattern a complaint can be made to the CFPB in this regard.

You do have options if you have been targeted for a predatory loan, or are being harassed by a collector. Call us to find out what those options are, and whether the CFPB will get involved in your case.

For more information about debt and debt management and collection, contact our office at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We work with you to come up with solutions that work.

Three Tips For Suing Lenders

Banks and other lending institutions are a necessary part of everyday life, because unless you are one of the three lucky ticket holders of the largest Powerball jackpots in history, you need money to meet your daily needs. Most people are not able to pay cash for necessities, and thus take out loans to buy reliable transportation and put a roof over the family’s head. In most cases the loan officers and banks are helpful, and work with their customers to give them the best loan terms possible. But that is not the case in every instance. There are unfortunate situations where lenders take advantage of borrowers when writing loans, or even resort to harassment when trying to collect payments. These tactics are not only unwelcome, they are also against the law. If you have been harassed by a bank, or been the target of predatory lending, there are steps you can take to hold the bank accountable for its actions.

But, suing a lender can be a large undertaking. The banks are equipped with large legal teams, and in order to make the most of your case it is best to organize yourself before initiating a lawsuit so you are prepared for the battle. Three tips to suing lenders include:

  • Keep copies of all of your documents, and have an officer or director of the lending institution certify that the copies given to you are true and correct copies of the original loan or loan application.
  • Keep a diary of all communication with any bank representative, including the date and time of all phone calls and the name of the person providing assistance. You should also include a short narrative of the substance of your conversation, and follow up all verbal agreements with a written confirmation of what was discussed and any resolutions offered.
  • Keep a phone log of all calls you receive from any collector, and make an audio recording of any messages left for you.

Collection efforts are limited in time and scope, and a collector is not permitted to make threats or otherwise harass you in order to persuade you to make payments. As far as making a loan goes, there are certain rules and regulations that must be followed, and if they are not the bank can be liable for violating these laws. Once you have all of your evidence gathered, call our office and schedule an appointment. We will review your documents and other pieces of evidence, so an effective strategy can be developed for your case.

For more information about debt and debt management and collection, contact our office at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We work with you to come up with solutions that work.