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Are you looking for A FRESH START?
The Complete Credit Repair Kit is your first step in taking control of your financial worries. Written for the millions of consumers who have low or inaccurate credit scores or who have filed for bankruptcy, this guide offers easy-to-follow advice on cleaning up your ...
Ready-to-Go Forms with Step-by-Step Instructions at:
Are you looking for A FRESH START?
The Complete Credit Repair Kit is your first step in taking control of your financial worries. Written for the millions of consumers who have low or inaccurate credit scores or who have filed for bankruptcy, this guide offers easy-to-follow advice on cleaning up your credit report, improving your credit score, lessening your debt, and coping with financial difficulties. This updated third edition features information to help you survive difficult economic times, including overviews of the latest laws and programs established to protect consumers and homeowners, as well as new tips on paying off student loans, reducing expenses, and negotiating medical debts.
In hard times, it is more important than ever to be armed with knowledge about your rights. You can take charge of your financial situation, no matter how dire it may seem, and discover solutions that will get your credit back on track.
Learn How To:
*Lessen your debt
*Negotiate with your creditors for lower payments
*Understand what your credit score means
*Understand your rights in regard to the Credit Card Act
*Modify your mortgage payments with programs such as the Home Affordable Modification Program
*Consolidate student loans
*Get changes made to your credit report
*Prevent identity theft
*And much more...
Brette McWhorter Sember is a retired attorney and mediator who practiced law in New York. Her practice included consumer issues, bankruptcy, and Better Business Bureau mediation. She has taught classes about credit and debt for online universities and community education programs and frequently writes about credit and debt issues. Sember has authored over 30 other books and her work has appeared in over 200 publications. Her website is BretteSember.com.
Excerpt from Chapter 1: Assessing Your Situation
You have already decided that your financial situation either needs help right now or soon will. Buying this book was an important first step in getting a handle on and solving your financial worries. The first thing to do is remember not to panic. No matter how bad things are, there are steps you can take to improve your situation.
To really know how to solve your problems, you must first understand the details about your situation. Knowing that you do not have enough money to pay all your bills, that your credit report is unfavorable, or that you were denied credit is not enough information. You must sit down with all your financial records and all your bills and get a clear picture of what you have, what you owe, and what you can do about the rest. This can be very hard to do if you are certain you're not going to like what you will see. However, you have to bite the bullet and face reality. It is also important that you understand how the law applies to the different kinds of bills you have. Taking some time to understand the details about your finances will enable you to take steps to fix your problems and avoid problems in the future.
Debt-The American Way Debt is a huge problem in our society. Even our government is deep into debt. We have developed a culture of debt. It is completely acceptable in the United States to have large amounts of debt. In fact, you are expected to. You are not really an adult until you have a car payment, a mortgage, and several credit cards. And no one seems to realize that you should pay off your entire credit card balance each month and not let that balance continue to addup. While some debt can be useful and even important, having too much can simply overwhelm you and your finances. It is time to stop thinking about debt as something acceptable and common, and instead come to grips with the fact that it may not be healthy for you, and find ways to control it. Use debt when it makes sense, but never let it control you.
It's a Fact:
The average U.S. household carries $8,000 in debt on their credit cards and has 12.71 credit cards. There are 1.3 billion credit cards in use in the United States at this time. Forty-three percent of U.S. households spend more than they earn each year. And the dramatic increase in personal bankruptcies is a red flag that Americans have too much, take on too much debt, and fail to pay off their debt.
Debt is too easy to get-as evidenced by the home foreclosure crisis-and too hard to pay off for most people. Until we as a culture change the way we think about and manage debt, it will continue to plague many people.
Debt is a problem faced by every age group in the country. Children are affected by debt when it affects their parents. Young adults are at high risk for debt problems because very little is done to educate teens about how to manage money and debt. Students go to college and find themselves on their own for the first time, often with a credit card available for use, with no experience in using it wisely. College students also take out student loans and find themselves unable to make payments when they first enter the workforce. Young married couples and new parents find that mortgages, car payments, and credit card bills can soon become overwhelming. Middle-aged people often take out home equity loans, finance little luxuries, and face debt overload. Even the elderly are not exempt as they face high medical expenses, low set incomes, and rising costs. Debt has permeated every aspect of our society.
Just because everyone else is getting in over their heads with debt does not mean you should do it too. If you ignore your debts or avoid coping with them, the consequences can be tremendous-tremendously awful. First, you will find that you will be denied credit. You will not be able to get a car loan or a mortgage because you are carrying too much debt. Second, you will max out your current credit and be unable to use your credit cards. You will eventually find that your utilities are turned off, your car is repossessed, and your checks are bouncing. If you are a renter, you can be evicted. If you apply for a new apartment, the landlord can check your credit report and reject you based on poor credit. If you are a homeowner, your home can be foreclosed, leaving you with no place to live. Potential employers may get your credit report and choose not to hire you based on what it says. So, if you lose your job, you may not be able to get another one. Your creditors can obtain judgments against you, which will give them the right to seize your assets and take part of your paycheck. It is easy to quickly get in over your head with debt. The best plan is to fix things before they get this bad. It is easier to deal with your debt before these consequences begin happening. This scenario is frightening, but it does not have to happen to you.
How to Use the CD-ROM xi
Using Self-Help Law Books xv
Chapter 1 Assessing Your Situation 1
Debt-The American Way
Dealing with Debt Emergencies
Get a Clear Picture of Your Finances
Dealing with Your Emotions
Chapter 2 Becoming a Wise Consumer 29
Credit Card Usage
Shopping in Stores
Dispute Resolution Programs
Shopping from Catalogs or Online
Resolving Problems with Telephone or Online Merchants
Chapter 3 Credit Scores 45
How a Credit Score is Calculated
Why Your Credit Score is Important
How to Get Your Credit Score
How to Improve Your Credit Score
Chapter 4 Understanding Your Credit Report 53
Credit Reporting Agencies
Your Credit Report
Reading Your Credit Report
What Makes a Good Credit Report
Chapter 5 Changing Your Credit Report 77
Correcting Your Credit Report
Disputing After Reinvestigation
Adding Accounts to Your Credit Report
Adding a Statement to Your Credit Report
Suing a Credit Agency
Organizing Your Correspondence
Chapter 6 Reducing Your Debt and Improving Cash Flow 93
Prioritizing Your Debts
Dealing with Your Creditors
Dealing with Specific Types of Debt
General Negotiating Tips
Eliminating Debts You Do Not Owe
Options to Avoid
Dealing with Judgments and Liens
Closing Your Accounts
Chapter 7 Getting Help 127
Where to Turn
Agencies that Can Assist You
Other Credit Repair Agencies
When to Get a Lawyer
Chapter 8 Coping with Marriage, Divorce, and Debt145
Your Credit Rights during Marriage
Divorce is not a Debt Solution
Death of a Spouse
Chapter 9 Recognizing Identity Theft 155
Preventing Identity Theft
Dealing with Identity Theft
Looking at the Identity Theft Risk Realistically
Chapter 10 Creating a Good Credit Record 183
Understanding Credit Terms
Obtaining New Credit
Improving Current Credit
How to Use Your New Credit Cards
Choosing a Card
Tracking Your Cards
Name and Address Changes
Negotiation with Past Creditors
Scams to Avoid
Reducing Unsolicited Offers for Credit
Chapter 11 Budgeting 203
Why You Should Have a Budget
Creating a Budget
Making Changes to Your Budget
Paying Your Bills
Following Your Budget
Living on a Budget and Using Credit
Chapter 12 Facing the Future 213
Changing Your Outlook and Mind-Set about Money
Dealing with Changes
Dealing with Self-Esteem and Compulsion Issues
Educating Children about Debt
Appendix A State-by-State Resources 227
Appendix B State-by-State Criminal Law Statutes Regarding Identity Theft 251
Appendix C Forms and Letters 343
About the Author 423