June 26, 2009

How can you avoid filing bankruptcy?

avoid bankruptcyBankruptcy – does anyone like filing bankruptcy? I believe none would want to even think of it. But strained circumstances at times force people to go for it. Debt is a part of life and we cannot actually avoid it. In this fast pacing life, we sometimes come under the burden of debt. We cannot help using credit cards. Loans are inevitable to purchase a car or a new home. With scanty money in hand, we may not pursue our dreams. Then we go for loans, namely home loans or car loans, to get them. We tend to overuse our credit cards. We also keep more than one credit cards at a time and while the time comes for payment, we forget the amount of payment for each card. In this way the creeper of debt grows up and when we realize that it has gone beyond our ability to repay, we consider filing bankruptcy. We then assume this is only way out to save us from not paying, which is utterly far from our capacity. But, I know that we all understand the negative and dreadful impact of filing bankruptcy in our life. We also realize how this will badly affect our credit. This may even shut all doors for our future plan to get a loan to buy a dream house. Nevertheless, at times, in the crunch plight of our lives, we are helpless and opt for filing bankruptcy. We think of the present and want to live for the time being. It hurts, doesn’t it?

I have found out two videos from YouTube, which elaborately explain how we can avoid going bankrupt and still manage to breathe fresh air in a suffocating condition of life. Enjoying watching them.

Look at the second one. It may look a little bit hilarious but this is also worth watching. Have a look at it and try to manage your financial life accordingly. You will surely not have to even contemplate to go for bankruptcy.

Hope you may be a little relaxed now. If you have any query, please get back to me at my email id. I would love to hear from you and would try to help you in not filing bankruptcy. Best of luck.
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June 21, 2009

You are retired and then......?

When you reach sixty, you feel like relaxing a bit and enjoying time with your family. A long span of your life you have spent in earning money and establishing yourself in the society and, now the time has arrived when you sit back and recollect those hard moments when you might struggle to make a penny. At some moments, you will smile and at some cases, you would be distressed to think what it took to bring your family up. Now you are retired and can spend a lot of time with your family. But all is not over. Is it?

A life after retirement is also a life and you still need to live it peacefully and gracefully. However, you may not work that much hard now and you might not be in a position to work again as well. Then, how will you maintain your daily chores with comfort and without any stress? At this period of life, you must not live under the fear of running out of money and losing your sleep over it. So, how would you make you comfortable?

First and foremost, get rid of your debt with whatever money you got after your retirement and with all the earlier savings. If you can successfully do it, you will have more sound sleeps. If it is not possible to clear all your debt, then do it in different phases. You will for sure feel more relaxed and happier after accomplishing this feat. Use your credit card wisely now. Remember, you may not have a back up to repay a lot of money in case you overuse your card. Use it to your needs only and try to make the full payment of the credit card bills on time. This will help you save some extra money and understand your credit more (devoid of all unwanted fees and additional charges). If possible, start your own business. Let it be a small venture, but it will be very good if you can really do it. This will help you not only earn money but also give satisfaction. You will be the boss of your work. Start slowly and then speed up a little bit but not at the cost of your comfort which you deserve to get after the retirement. Try to save some cash from what you would get from your business. This would surely enhance your confidence and you too can spend a lot of time with your family. With sufficient cash in hand, you can also plan to visit a few places and explore new things. Keep your health in good shape by doing some exercises and stay as fit as a fiddle. This is the most important area you should pay more attention. Staying fit will multiply your comfort level. Lastly, spend a small amount of money in insurance policies. If you already have one, then it is fine. Still you can opt for some policies with short maturity duration period and lower premiums.

Go for a better retirement life. Enjoy the time, which you may think you have lost in your prime time. Make this life youthful again. Relax and relish it. All the best.
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June 9, 2009

Should you necessarily have a credit card...? Or you can do without it...?

Can we imagine a life these days without a credit card? Can we think of ease and fun in life with no gold credit cards in our pockets? The answers might be a big ‘No’. Such is the impact of credit cards on our lives that we tend to ignore some of the shortcomings of them. Indeed, credit cards have become a necessity of our lives. We hardly think to go shopping with a wallet that does not carry a handsome credit card. Yes, credit cards have made our chores easy and convenient. It is endowed with a lot of benefits and advantages. But, do we ever feel that our lives can also be enjoyable and peaceful if we do not possess a card? Perhaps, we don’t. To be specific, we do not want to. Why??....

A credit card allows you to go bulk shopping without the need to carry a big sum of cash. It is safer and more convenient. If cash is lost, it is almost lost forever; however, if you lose a credit card, you will just lose a card, not the credit (should you proactively report the card lost and stolen to your issuer). Unless you authorize anyone, nobody is permitted to use your credit. You can carry this plastic anywhere in the world and enjoy the credit to the limit given to it. There is absolutely no fear of running out of money and being embarrassed in a grocery shop or a beauty parlor. You can also avail yourself of a short-term loan with the help of your credit card cash-advance feature, provided you have a big credit limit. It helps you repair your credit history, if you have a bad one. And more importantly, it enhances your societal dignity. The more number of platinum cards you have (as per we generally assume), the higher position you hold in the society. It is at times soothing to exhibit a good number of cards with high limits to our neighbors who may not have even one! So, it is worth keeping a card. As Christopher Parker said, “Procrastination is like a credit card: it's a lot of fun until you get the bill.” But… do we see the other side of the leaf. Do we think credit cards may have some pitfalls too? Generally, we do not.

We normally become impulsive while purchasing something with a credit card. We buy things with the thought that we do not need to pay it at this moment, so why worry now. It is a natural tendency. But, in this process, we at times forget that we must pay it off later this month. And, if we do not make the full amount used, we will be charged with some exorbitant penalties, namely late fees, over limit fees, high finance charges and so on. These things are not kept in mind when we go shopping. And, why should we think of them? After all, we want to enjoy what we purchase in a departmental store. We want less embarrassment and more satisfaction. This is a good attitude. However, if we do too much with the card, it for sure leads us to disaster. Not making a full payment at the end of the billing cycle adds discomfort to your credit card use. The balance will pile up in case you do not follow it up with a full payment of the current cycle as well as of the previous balance. Now, that hurts. You will keep on chasing your balance and in the end, you would discover that the balance is much higher than you actually availed the credit. You wonder how it has happened but you are helpless. You have to pay for all of the charges and fees along with the money you spent using this card. Gosh! Why…? But you can’t help; this is the agreement you have made with your issuer. Moreover, past due or over limit status on your account dents your credit score significantly. You cannot help seeing it go down. It will take a while for you to get it up.

So, be prudent and wise while contemplating to have a credit card. Just think, can you restrict yourself to limited purchases staying within the allotted limit of the credit card? If not, can you afford all the undesirable and flattening charges? Do you agree to all the fees associated with the cards? Is it fair? Do you really owe those fees that banks charge? Perhaps, you would disagree. Then, think again. You can do without a credit card. That you possess a credit card does not at all boost your dignity, instead, if you cannot repay, you are in debt, and this will multiply to higher balance. Does such plight of yours (God forbids) help you dignify? Then, why lose sleep over it? Try to use cash as much as possible. You will spend less (which you actually wish!) and be satisfied with what you have spent. No pending balance to pay off at the end of the month and hence, no unwanted stress. You will still have enough money to buy things to your needs, unlike those who would still keep on chasing after their outstanding credit card balance. It is something like running slow at the start of a race but winning at last, unlike others who run fast in the beginning and feel tired finally having energy exhausted. So, be content with all-cash purchases and stay happy. Enjoy...
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June 4, 2009

'Cease and Desist'…..what is it and what is it for?

When legitimate credit card bills remain unpaid for a long time and when, according to the creditors, account holders do not seem to pay them back, the creditors generally sell these accounts to a third party to collect the unpaid money from debtors. These third parties engaged in collecting the money for the original creditors are called Collections agencies. Usually an account is sold to a Collection agency when it is charged-off i.e. delinquent for over 6 months.

These collection agencies, in order to collect the unpaid bills, apply unethical and unscrupulous methods forcing the customers to pay. They at times go to the extent of threatening people with dire consequences, if they disagree to pay the unpaid bills. They will call you day and day out, even on Sundays and holidays. They do not bother what plight you might be in. They always want a positive answer from you. If not, they will harass you back and continue to do so until you succumb to their harassment and threats. Sometimes, you may get a call for someone whom you personally do not know or you are no way responsible for that person’s finances. Your days will be horrible and your employment may also be at jeopardy, as they do not leave your place of employment as well. So unbearable the days become.

Is there any way to stop them?

Yes, the Federal Law protects you from such incessant harassment from Collections agencies. To deal with such collections agencies, you should first know the law about it. Do remember that legitimate collections agencies cannot sue you for non-payment. You are not indebted to them. They work on behalf of your creditors and get a percentage of the amount they are able to collect from you. It is a deal between your creditors and the concerned collections agencies; not between you and them. They might often come up with expressions like, ‘We will drag you to courts if you don’t pay; we will send cops to your house to collect money; your credit report will be screwed up for the rest of your life; you will never get a loan or credit cards in your life….. and the like. Do not bother to heed such threats. You can actually prevent them from such disturbances. The law is there.

What’s the law?

When you are getting repetitive harassment calls from collections agencies who claim to have authority to your debt, ask them first not to call you again regarding this matter in a polite manner. However, if they do not keep your request and continue to harass you, show them the laws. Tell them to cease and desist any contact with you whatsoever. They are not permitted to contact you or any of your relatives, friends regarding your accounts. Tell them that they will receive a formal cease and desist letter instructing them to stop any further communication with you. They, however, can contact you under the guidelines mentioned in the federal law. Send the cease and desist letter after that. Make sure to send the letter via certified mail (PS Form #3800) with a return receipt (PS Form #3811) to substantiate that the letter is sent and it is received. Keep a copy of the letter for your future reference. Remember, even an attorney who may also collect the same debt, will be bound to follow this rule. So don’t be intimidated if you hear anything from an attorney regarding the collections. Once they receive your letter, they may contact you to notify that all contacts with you regarding this debt will be stopped henceforth. Instruct them that failure to this notice will result in filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the States Attorney General's office. They will now stop calling you, as they too know the significance of the cease and desist notice. Now relax a little and take time to negotiate a settlement with your original creditors for your unpaid debt. This is for your safer future. All the best.
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