Archive for the ‘Reducing Debt’ Category

Concerned About a Lawsuit Ruining Your Credit?

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Lawsuit Funding can help you pay bills so your injury doesn’t kill your credit score.        Avoid bad credit during lawsuit

Are you concerned about the effect a reduction in income could have on your credit score if you’re unable to pay bills on time while waiting for your lawsuit to settle? Are you already late on payments to creditors and looking for a way to avoid defaulting, or possible repossession? If so, you may be a good candidate for litigation funding to cover your bills while you wait for the completion of your case.

 

A poor credit score can take a major toll on your financial well-being for years to come, making it more difficult to obtain credit for a vehicle, home purchase, or household loan; and making every dollar you borrow more expensive due to a potentially increased interest rate on your debt. When faced with this situation during the process of a lawsuit, you have several options available to you. Here are several steps you can take immediately to get back on track, and keep your credit score in check:

 

  1. Contact creditors to discuss options
    1. Some lenders may allow you to put payments on hold for a short period of time, or even cancel your accounts to secure a lower interest rate.
    2.  If you haven’t contacted creditors yet, this is a good first step to getting back on track.
  2. Pay at least the minimum amount due on all debts
    1. This is probably not the time to be concerned with paying larger amounts to reduce your overall debt. If you’re having financial trouble, see if you can adjust some household expenses to at least pay the minimums due on all accounts.
  3. Consolidate debts where possible to reduce monthly repayment expenses
    1. You may be able to transfer credit card debt to a lower interest card, or consolidate student loan debt to get a lower payment and fewer payments due.
  4. Look into presettlement finance options to get cash now
    1. If you’re unable to make ends meet, and unable to pay the minimum amounts due to creditors while your lawsuit continues, then you should review your options for lawsuit financing. This can provide much-needed support to help keep your bills, and credit score, in check while you navigate through your case. Contact a representative at PSFinance today to discuss your options.

 

Get out of Debt. Tips You Can Use.

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Anytime is a good time to put your financial house in order. Or at least in better shape. And in these tough economic times, doing so is more important than ever.

Here are some practical ideas to help you reduce debt, and in so doing, reduce the stress that comes with carrying that debt.

Step 1: Setup a Family Budget

  1. It’s usually the little expenses that add up. While you may already have accounted for things like your mortgage and car payment in your monthly budget, you may be spending hundreds on items and services you aren’t aware of. From ATM fees, to a few extra dollars at the grocery store, to takeout lunches at work, these $2-$10 costs can really add up.
  2. For a full month, write down everything you purchase, and ask your family to do the same. At the end of the month, review your expenses and figure out what can be eliminated or reduced. Chances are, you’ll find the cash you need for steps 4 and 5.

Step 2: Check the Facts

  1. Get a free copy of your credit score at AnnualCreditReport.com. Be sure to verify the accuracy of all information, and follow-up with any creditors that have recorded incorrect information.
  2. View the payment and balance history of each account. Can you find areas where you could reduce debt by making increased payments, or eliminate debts faster?

Step 3: Contact Creditors & Make a Plan

  1. For any accounts with high interest rates or those that you could pay off faster on a different payment schedule, contact the creditors to request an interest rate adjustment. Be sure to have your credit report & score in hand when you make the call, and ask to speak with a supervisor if you are unable to reach an agreement.

Step 4: Pocket the Change

  1. Small change can really add up over time. To start building your savings account and reducing credit card debt, put aside a little extra cash everywhere you can. Pay in cash and save the change and small bills in a jar at home, and have a small amount from each paycheck automatically deposited into your savings account. Over time, you’ll see your bills shrinking and your savings growing, while you won’t feel the pinch of the extra payments.

Step 5: Increase Your Payments

  1. Now that you have a clear understanding of your interest rates and remaining balances, you’ve reduced rates wherever possible, and you’ve found some pockets of additional cash from reducing expenses and adding to your savings, it’s time to jumpstart your debt reduction.
  2. Starting with the highest interest credit card, try doubling your payment each month, or at least adding $20-$50 to each payment. By increasing your payment, you’ll pay off the debt much faster (possibly a few years faster) than if you continued making minimum payments. Once the card is paid off, you can move those higher payments to the card with the next highest interest, and so on until all debt is paid off.

Saving For College? 3 Plans To Consider.

Friday, December 31st, 2010

For many Americans, the cycle of debt is starting earlier and earlier in life. With college tuition, room and board, and various expenses incurred over 4 years in school, students are often left with mountains of debt before they even start their first job.

To stop this cycle of debt before it starts, here are some great plans to start building that college savings program years before the kids have to think about which classes to choose.

Traditional Savings Plans

They say it takes a village to raise a child. So therefore when you are faced with requests from family members and friends asking what toy to give your child for their birthday and other holidays, you can ask for help contributing to their education. A few gifts of $10 or $20 from several people a few times a year can really add up over 18 years, when saved in high-interest accounts.

When your kids are young, it is a great time to start putting aside a small amount each month towards their education. While it may feel like an added expense at the time, you’ll be thanking yourself in a few years that you didn’t have a need to clean out your 401k to fund their tuition.

Non-Traditional Plans

529 Plans

These tax-saving investment plans are a great way to save for tuition at a high-interest yield. There are no age or income restrictions, so you can virtually jump into these programs at any time prior to your child entering college. Here is a comparison of some of the best-performing 529 plans for your review.

Reimbursement Plans

These plans are similar to credit card miles/points programs. Simply register your credit and debit accounts on Upromise.com, and each time you make a purchase from one of their partner retailers (including Best Buy, Target.com, and Bed, Bath & Beyond), you’ll receive a percentage of money back toward tuition payments, a 529 plan, or an existing, eligible student loan.

Tax Incentives

Tax breaks can often be as good as cash in hand. If you are currently making tuition payments, you may be eligible for The American Opportunity and/or Lifetime Learning tax credits. Once you receive these credits, it is usually best to reinvest the cash value into your existing college savings account to cover current or future expenses.

Getting Out of Debt: 5 Easy Ways to Get Back on Track

Friday, October 1st, 2010

When you’re overwhelmed by a mountain of debt, whether due to a loss of income, excessive spending, or medical expenses, it can be very difficult to figure out how to get climb out of debt. While you probably can’t tackle it all at once, you can take small steps right away that will get you on your way to being debt-free. Below are a couple tips to get you started.

Don’t take on any new debt.

  • The revolving cycle of debt may cause you to use one credit card to pay another, take cash advances to pay bills, or use credit cards to cover daily expenses after your checking account has been depleted by paying bills.
  • Each of these activities will continue to dig you deeper into debt. In order to stop the cycle, you will need to budget your expenses and determine what you can, and can’t afford. If the resulting “can’t afford” pile consists of necessary expenses and bills, try contacting your creditors to explain the situation and temporarily reduce your payments and/or interest rates until you can get back on your feet.

Choose one bill at a time to pay off, and pay double the minimum every month.

  • By focusing on a single bill that you can pay off, you will be able to achieve a short-term goal that will not only free up more money every month to pay off other debts, but will make you feel like you are getting somewhere and not just spinning your wheels.

Look for new sources of income.

  • This is a great time to clean out your basement, attic, or closet, and uncover the items that may have resale value. Whether you host a yard sale, sell clothes on consignment, or offer more valuable items in an online auction, you may be able to generate a small savings account that will help you get back on your feet. But whatever you do, be sure to not spend this money on any new purchases. It should be used to pad a savings account or pay off debt.

Find the leaks and plug them.

  • Write down everything you spend for a week, and determine where the leaks exist in your budget. Maybe it’s a morning coffee or take-out lunch at the office that can be brought from home. By determining where your money is actually going, you will be able to develop a real budget and cut those costs that add up over the months and years.

Invest in Yourself.

  • In addition to making a strong effort to pay down existing debt, you should also focus on putting 5-10% of every paycheck into a high-interest savings account that is somewhat out of reach. By keeping your savings out of sight, you will be less likely to spend it.
  • In case of emergencies, you’ll be able to pull funds from your savings account, and not continue to build up the debt that you are working so hard to reduce.

For more tips on reducing debt, increasing your savings, and creating a budget you can stick to, check out these resources from Suze Orman and CNN Money.