Category : Credit Cards, Debts, Negotiations, & Settlements

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What Is an Emergency Fund Exactly?

Unfortunately, according to a recent study, about 70% of Americans cannot afford a $500 unplanned expense.  There are plenty reasons why people do not have money in their savings accounts such as low income, medical bills, financial mismanagement, etc.  However, if at all possible, you should try to build an emergency fund so you can handle the inevitable unexpected expense.

How to Prepare for the Next Recession

Usually, when people hear the word recession, it sends all types of feelings and chills down their spine. The economic definition of recession that contains all about how there has been a drop in the overall economic activity of a nation visible in the gross domestic product isn’t really interesting to a lot of people. What people typically understand as recession is a drop in the value of money and of course the amount of time it takes for individuals to make it back to the point where they can comfortably pay their bills. Probably due to the amount of companies that lay people off or the significant drop in their income.

Holiday Debt

The holiday season is here and everyone is looking to have a good time with family and spend a ton of money they do not have or intend to keep track of. While it is imperative that you do treat your relatives and friends to a good holiday, you should do this in an affordable way. About 43% of Americans are due to get in debt in this season and to a lot of them, these debts are inevitable. A survey shows that a lot of them during this season suffer from depression and anxiety because they feel pressured into gift giving and hosting dinners and buying tons of stuff. In this article, we will discuss holiday debt and its effects.

Fast Ways to Improve Your Credit Score in 2020

There are plenty of reasons why someone could have a low credit score.  It seems like it takes a lifetime to raise it because things like age of credit, on-time payments, credit inquiries, and more take a lot of time to fall off or improve your credit report.  However, there are some ways to quickly improve your credit score if you take an active role in rehabilitating it.  2020 could be the year you overhaul your credit score

Not All Student Loan Debt Is Created Equal

Student loan debt is often thought of as just something everyone has to deal with.  For most Americans, attending college means having student loans, but does everyone have the same opportunity to get student loans?  What’s more, does everyone have the opportunity to get the best interest rates?  You may be surprised to know the truth about student loans as they pertain to minorities in the United States.

What Is the Deserve Credit Card Platform?

Recently, the Deserve platform successfully raised a whooping $50 million, thanks to some big-time investors. Since the inception of the Deserve credit card platform, it has been successful in raising large amounts of money for different projects. However, before we delve into this amazing success of the Deserve company, it’s important to point out what exactly the platform is about. Even though, the Deserve platform has become popular for offering credit cards, a lot of prospective clients do not know exactly what the platform is.  If you happen to fall into this category, then you’re in luck, as this article will be all about the Deserve Credit Card Platform.

3 Ways to Use Your Tax Return

Let’s be honest, if you are eagerly awaiting your tax return, you are not planning to spend it on the right things.  Too often people get a chunk of money they usually do not receive at any other time in the year and their eyes light up.  If you are really excited to get your refund this year, it is doubtful that you plan to pay off credit card debt, take care of healthcare-related expenses, or pay down your car loan.  Read on to find out why you should do exactly those things.

PLEASE Use Your Tax Refund to Pay Down Credit Card Debt

If there is one good thing you do with even a portion of your tax return, make it credit card debt annihilation.  You would be hard pressed to find a loan with a higher interest rate than that of a credit card.  Use this year’s tax refund to reduce the savage interest payments you make every month and lower the principal balance.   The average tax refund in 2017 was about $3,000.  The average credit card debt was approximately $6,375.  If you are average, you could save yourself a lot of money in interest payments by cutting that debt in half.

Medical Expenses

The most common debt on a person’s credit report is that of medical expenses.  Medical expenses are the number one cause of bankruptcy.  Medical debt is often passed around from collector to collector until something is done about it.  Every day people are hassled and sued for medical debt worth less than $1,000.  If this is you, please use your tax refund to pay it off.  Negotiate with the collector and save yourself some money, but most importantly, improve your life by stopping the phone calls and snail mail associated with this sort of debt.

Pay Down Your Car Loan

Maybe you have always had a monthly car loan payment and you do not know what is like to exist without one.  Let me tell you, it is possible, and it is SWEET.  Imagine a world where you get paid and you do not have to fork over 25% of your paycheck.  Take your tax refund and pay off even a few months of your loan term.  Down the road, you will be so happy you did.  This will save you from paying expensive interest if your rate isn’t great.

Paying off debt with your tax refund is one of the best things you can do for yourself (albeit not fun).  If you are ready to take your debt seriously but you do not know where to start, contact Elias Dsouza.  Elias can help you plan and negotiate the elimination of your outstanding debt.

Is Refinancing Your Home to Pay off Credit Card Debt a Good Idea?

Having credit card debt is just a way of life for most people in America.  However, there may come a time when those people are ready to be free of the burden.  People with credit card debt that own a home or have equity in their financed home often look to their home equity for a way out.  This can be a great tool, but sometimes a refi leads to a higher monthly payment.

Why Would Someone Choose to Use Home Equity to Pay off Credit Card Debt?

On paper, it may seem obvious that having a loan with a much lower interest rate (mortgage) is better than one with a much higher interest rate (credit cards).  People may consider this option because:

  • Credit cards often carry an interest rate 3 to 4 times higher than that of a mortgage.
  • Credit cards carry the stigma of “bad” debt.
  • Loan consolidation is often thought of as a good thing.

When Using a Home Refi to Handle Credit Card Debt Is a Bad Idea

Some experts say it is always a bad idea.  When you utilize a cash out refinance loan to pay off credit card debt, you convert unsecured debt (credit cards) to secured debt (mortgage/home equity loan).  Secured debt is linked to an asset.  If payments are missed and the bank decides to foreclose, they can take the home as collateral and sell it to offset debt.  Because it is unsecured, credit card debt can be forgiven or settled using a tool such as bankruptcy.

When Refinancing Your Home to Pay off Credit Card Debt Is a Good Idea

For a home refi to be a good choice, there are considerations: 

  • The “rule of thumb” when considering a home refi to offset any debt is to avoid it if the resulting refinanced loan value equals more than 80% of the value of the home.
  • If the resulting monthly loan payment is lower than the sum of the mortgage payment and credit card payment each month.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with debt or you are behind on payments, a debt restructuring could be the answer.  Before you make a decision regarding a home refinance, contact Elias Dsouza to discuss, bankruptcy, debt settlement, credit counseling, and much more.  Elias has been assisting people with credit card debt for over 15 years.

Common Mistakes People Make When They Are Sued by a Debt Collector

It is a shock when you are served a court summons and informed that a debt collector is suing you.  You feel like a bad citizen, a low life, you feel violated.  If you are notified that you are being sued by a collector, now is not the time to hide. Read on for tips on what to do in this scary situation.

They ignore the law suit

The absolute worst thing you can do when you receive a court summons is ignore it.  When a court is involved,it is not going away on its own.  You have a limited window of time to respond to the summons.  If you ignore the summons and miss court, you get what is called a default judgment. This means you automatically lose and have to pay the debt as well as court costs for the plaintiff.

They admit guilt

A decent person looks at a law suit like this and probably feels like they are in the wrong.  They think,“well, I do owe this debt”.  You cannot admit to the plaintiff that you are guilty. When you defend yourself in court (or an attorney defends you), you are saying the debt collector does not have the right to this debt.  Do not admit guilt.

They assume they have no rights

It is only natural to feel bad about owing a debt and being sued for it, but that does not give debt collectors the right to harass you day and night.  The FairDebt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created to protect you in situations like this.  The debt collector is not allowed to act like the mob.  They cannot threaten you, call you at odd hours, or deceive you in any way.

They think they cannot afford protection

If you are sitting there with a new summons in hand from a debt collector, now is the time to get on the computer and start shopping for an attorney.  Just like any other service,you often get what you pay for.  Do your research and choose an attorney that will go to bat for you and communicate with you throughout the process.  While it is possible to defend yourself in court, you should think about the repercussions if you are not secretly a law genius and lose your case.

If you are being sued by a debt collector, you need help.  If you let them, debt collectors will bully you and get as much out of you as they can. You need the skills and experience of Elias Dsouza with Dsouza and Strachan Lawgroup group.  Elias has been protecting people from debt collectors for 15 years.

Cyber Monday Scams and How to Avoid Them

One of the easiest ways to get your personal data stolen is online shopping.  Cyber Monday is one of the riskiest times of the year for credit card use.  Hackers and thieves gear up all year to prepare to hit retailers and gain the personal data of millions of unsuspecting customers.  What can you do to protect yourself or at least mitigate the damage caused by fraud?

Tip #1 – Search for Items on Websites Instead of Search Engines

Search engines can be misleading.  A good con-artist can create a link and send it up the rankings on a number of search engines like Chrome, Edge, and Bing.  You could click on a link that takes you to a fabricated page, takes you through the entire buying process, and steals your credit card information.  A good sign that a page is not real is the price.  If the price is ridiculously low even for Cyber Monday, take a look at the URL (the “www” address in the search bar) and make sure the address is correct.

Tip #2 – Phishing Email Coupons

If you get an email with a coupon from a store you NEVER visit online or in person, it is a good indication the email is fake.  Do not click any of the links and block the sender.  Most Cyber Monday deals do not require coupons.

Tip #3 – Do Not Purchase Anything Using a QR Code

Using the naked eye, it is impossible to determine a QR code’s validity.  Hackers have even been able to create an overlay containing fake QR codes and place them on top of real ones on official websites.  There are tools to help consumers avoid this problem.  Norton’s Snap QR Reader will scan a code and let you preview a website without actually visiting it (Android users can download it here and iOS users can download it here).

Tip #4 – Keep Track of the Payment Methods You Use at Each Site

If you know which card or other payment method you used to make a purchase, you can more easily narrow down which retailer was affected by a breach.  In addition, understand the protections in place for the payment methods you use.  If you use PayPal, know their fraud policies.  If you are using a credit card, understand how to make a claim and what their process is.

If you run into credit card or debt problems this holiday season, you may need the assistance of an experienced counselor and attorney.  Elias Dsouza has the skills and experience to get you back on track.  Contact Elias for a free consultation.