What would Jesus think about … bad credit?

  Money is the root of all evil, or so that’s the popular saying that permeates our collective conscience.  Really the accurate saying is more akin to “The love of money is the root of all evil.”  But how do we reconcile this saying with the current economic climate? First, some facts, money is referenced in the bible in more than 800 verses.  Jesus talked more about money than love.  It only goes to show you that money is simply too important a topic to be ignored.  If it was this important for Jesus, you can betcha it is this important to us, and should be for you too. But does the discussion of money belong in Sunday’s message from the pulpit.  Well according to this article from Dave Ramsey, it does. According to the article 7 out of 10 families are living paycheck to paycheck.  This tough problem, it is contended, is a major factor in the appallingly high divorce rate.  In fact, according to the article “Over half of marriages end in divorce, and money problems top the list of reasons time after time.” The advice given, the church needs to address the issue head on by discussing money matters with the four classes of parishioners.  Those that are worried, those that are watchful, those that are wise and those that are wealthy. What do you think about the discussion of money matters in church?  Let us know. For our take on divorce and bad credit read...

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Pay off your credit cards, lose your house?

One of the things we hear on a recurring basis from our clients, is that someone has suggested that they take out a home equity loan or line of credit to pay down the costly credit card debt that they have mounted.  In many cases this is in fact sound advice, however it is not without its risks. There are a number of positives associated with this strategy.  First, a home equity loan or line of credit is generally, significantly less expensive than the credit card debt that you are using the money to pay off.  In many instances, the balances on your credit cards are being carried with an interest rate of greater than 20 per-cent, and in many cases now greater than 30%.  This is VERY expensive debt.  In comparison, a typical home equity loan or line of credit in today’s market carries an interest rate significantly less than 10%.  This may allow you to pay down the total in a significantly shorter period of time, even if you continue to maintain the same monthly payment. Another benefit of a home equity loan is the ability to write-off a significant amount of this interest on your taxes.  This in many instances is a huge benefit bringing down the actual cost of the loan even farther.  This write-off is not available for credit card interest. However, even though the benefits may be significant they are not without risks.  The primary risk is the potential for losing your home.  When you take out a home equity loan or line of credit you are taking out a secured loan.  In essence, in order to secure their loan to you the lending institution will require a legal guarantee from you that if you do not pay them pursuant to the terms that they have the legal right to foreclose on your home and sell it to satisfy your obligation to them.  This is a significant risk and must play an important factor in your decision making.  Do not take this lightly. So while a home equity loan or line of credit may be a good option to pay down costly credit card debt, it is not without risks.  Make this decision as you would with any other important financial decision, with great care and taking all the pros and cons into consideration. For more information on home equity loan basics, here is a great breakdown from the Wall Street...

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Your insurance premium went up? Better check what’s on your report.

We’ve been telling our clients for years, your credit score and bad credit may not just affect whether you get that loan, or what interest rate you’re going to be charged, it is increasingly being used in non-lending capacities. The two biggies that are often discussed are insurance and employment.  Insurance companies have made the deicision that your credit score has a correlation to how big of a risk you are.  Therefore, the lower your score the higher your premium.  Worst of all, they don’t even know why there is this correlation, they just believe it and you end up paying for it whether it’s fair or not. Employers may also evaluate your score as critically as they may evaluate your references, and guess what, bad credit equals no job.  Seems like a catch-22 to us, how are we supposed to work on improving our credit and raising our credit score if we can’t get a job. Additionally, as the credit bureaus look to increase sales of credit reports, you can bet that more and more sectors are going to be pitched on the idea that your credit worthiness and history is a direct reflection with how you’ll perform in a totally unrelated areas.  In our experience working with more than 25,000 clients we have found that this is increasingly true, and a primary reason for retaining our firm to help them with their credit repair. But, don’t take our word on it, here’s what the Wall Street Journal recently had to say about it: “A growing number of companies — many of them having nothing to do with the business of offering credit — are also scrutinizing the data on those reports to decide whether to do business with you, and how much to charge.” To read their article click here. Of course this is a topic that we frequently discuss, here is a link to another article that we wrote regarding your credit score range and what it means to you....

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Deliver your way to debt free? This guy is.

Mmmmm Pizza!  I love it, you love it, we all love it.  But what about that guy who shows up at your house in 30 minutes or left does he love it?? Well for Jeff Kosola, the answer is a resounding yes!  You see Jeff and his wife amassed more than $100,000 in debt and were buried with collection calls, threats, and a tearing apart of their family.  Jeff’s answer, deliver pizza.  May seem super simple, but here is one example of how making a sacrifice and taking action really pays off. By delivering pizza Jeff and his family anticipate that they will be debt free (except for their mortgage) by August 2011. Makes me want to say, “Would you like pepperoni on that?” “According to the blog, the Kosola family has plowed through nearly 35% of their debt, and the goal is to be debt-free, except the house, by August 2011.” Read more of Jeff’s story here....

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Retailer “Discounts” are Lies! Didn’t we already know this?

Raise your hand if you’ve been sucked in by the hype.  You know, get this shiny new TV for not 50% off, not 60% off but 75% off.  It seems this pitch has become the norm, but are you really getting that big of a discount? Well several California district attorneys don’t think so and they’re attacking the retailers in court to prove it.  Their first victim – Overstock.com. The lawsuit alleges that Overstock, and allegedly other retailers artificially raise the “regular” price, just so that they can claim an outrageous discount even though the “discounted” price is exactly the same as you would pay at just about any other retailer at the non-discounted rate. Well take that big retailers looking to sucker punch us.  I’ll guess we’ll have to keep an eye on the developments in this case to see if we can get a real discount in the near future. “Several California district attorneys filed a civil lawsuit against Overstock.com last week, claiming that the site deliberately misleads customers about the depth of its discounts. In particular, the lawsuit alleges that the company inflates its reference prices. . .” Read more about how several California disctrict attorneys are fighting fake...

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Tipping?? – Who’s got money to tip?

The holiday’s are barrelling down on us like a runaway freight train.  It’s tough enough to figure out how much to spend on those adorable nieces and nephews, but what do you do for those that are there to help make your life easier throughout the rest of the year. Making it more difficult is that most of us are dealing with at least a little bit less this year than in the past, but, we need to show our appreciation and give thanks to those that have helped us throughout the year.  But just how much thanks can and should you give? It turns out that tipping is down quite a bit.  In fact the average tip is almost 20% less than it was in 2007… and that’s OK.  The important part of tipping and giving in general is to do it with a gracious and thankful heart and just do what you can.  Heck Even the spokeswoman of the Emily Post Institute agrees: “Overall, holiday tipping is really a way of holiday thanking and if you just don’t have as much money then you tip what you can,” Post said. Click to read more on How much should you...

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