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After living with debt for many years, it often becomes just a way of life and a way of thinking. Your financial accounts are set up and the amount of your monthly bills is routine. But, instead of feeling as though this is how life is going to be forever, do what is necessary to make a change.

 

Put a plan into motion that can help relieve debt permanently so that you can begin living a more stable, and at the same time, more carefree life. Here are the steps you should take…

 

A Saving Strategy That Works

 

The first step in setting up a successful debt relief program involves a change in thinking. For instance, knowing that making more money results in a higher cash flow and the ability to save is essential. When you have money saved, a number of options open up that were never there before.  

 

Anyone who is trying to turn their credit around must become more aware of how debt occurs, how to get it paid off, and how to stop adding to the problem. When that new way of thinking about money is solid, the next phase in the strategy can begin.

 

Getting a Plan in Motion

 

The plan to get back on track is simple. While everyone is going to have to alter the details to fit their specific financial condition, the elements are the same. Think about the acronym S.A.F.E when you are creating a foolproof plan:

 

“S” is for systematic. Start with a basic idea of how much money is going to be put away and how often – $100 a month, $25 each week, or whatever is reasonable.

 

“A” is for automatic. Have the money taken out and deposited automatically so you don’t know it’s even available.

 

“F” is for forgettable. Forget that the money has been made, deposited, and saved. Do not touch it.

 

“E” is for enough. Be sure that an adequate amount is being put away so that a change can be made. A good guide is about 10% of your earned income.

 

Stay On the Plus Side

 

After getting an appropriate strategy set up, it is easy to see how staying on the plus side will not really be that difficult. As the savings account builds and you are better prepared for the curve balls that life throws, you will become more comfortable and realize you don’t have as much reason for concern. Sure, there may be some depletion of funds from time to time, but problems are not going to result in a mountain of debt with a huge interest rate.

 

The only way to improve credit, cash flow, and net worth is to work on all three of these areas together. Each one is directly related to the others, and the more progress made in one category, the better off the remaining two will be.

 

Conclusion

Before getting overwhelmed with a savings plan, know that there are professional credit repair specialists who can assist you in getting financial accounts in order. When you are at a loss for where to begin, these experts have the knowledge to individualize a plan that is perfect for any situation.

When you are drowning in debt, it may seem as though there are only two options: pay it off or file bankruptcy. In reality, there are several ways to reduce and eliminate debt. The five major options include debt reduction, debt consolidation, credit counseling, debt settlement, and bankruptcy. Learn more about each before you decide what to do.

 

Settle, Consolidate, or Reduce

 

After falling behind on bills, it can be impossible to catch up. Debt settlements can be effective in this situation. Call the credit card company, student loan office, hospital, or other creditor/collector to explain the problem. They may be able to offer some help.

 

In some cases, they will reduce the amount of your regular payments or they will accept a partial payment for the debt and close the account. Hospitals are known to completely erase bills if they feel the hardship is one that cannot be recovered from. No matter what, you can’t know your options until you ask the questions.

 

Taking out a large loan to pay off all bills and have just one monthly payment is debt consolidation. This can be risky, because sometimes the payment is more than the separate bill payments or the interest rate is higher. Do proper calculations before committing to something like this.

 

Finally, start paying off the one debt that is most reasonable. Then, when money is available after paying off that one debt, put it toward the next debt. Debt reduction is not feasible if funds are not available.

 

Hire an Expert

 

Credit counseling services are professional agencies that do debt settlement for you. They will take the details of the debt and set up arrangements with whomever is owed money. You pay a fee to the counseling service each month. You could possibly complete this process independently, although a credit company has knowledge and experience to expedite the process.

 

Bankruptcy Isn’t Forever

 

In the instance you are completely buried with no way out, bankruptcy can protect you from being sued, having wages garnished, and having judgments against you. This action involves all debt being completely wiped out. You get to start over, in a sense. However, this is a big hit to a credit score, so it should be carefully considered before making the decision.

 

Conclusion

Stop feeling hopeless about debt. There are options to help get your head above water. If you cannot decide what to do, there are professional credit repair specialists who can help sort out the situation.

3 Credit Dispute Tactics

When you are trying to prove that something on your credit report is inaccurate, there are a number of different tactics you can use.

The first step is to determine the party you want to contact. There are credit bureaus, creditors, or bill collectors. In some cases, the same tactic can be used for all three. In other situations, there is a more specific process that should be used.

Learn more about which methods work for each circumstance.

Credit Bureaus
When getting in touch with any, or all, of the three credit bureaus, it is important to have their proper addresses. This information can be found online, or a professional credit repair company will know where to send the disputes. When sending in an argument, it is essential that the following criteria be met:

  •         Provide sufficient evidence for the dispute so that it is not deemed frivolous
  •         Always include what is being disputed, why, what action is requested, plenty of documentation to support the argument, and only facts
  •         Include enough detail to have the dispute considered, but not too much so that you are doing the job for the bureau
  •         Provide a copy of proof of identification: driver’s license or state ID
  •         Handwrite or use a font that will require a human eye to read it rather than a computer program

 

If you follow these steps and the bureau says the account has been verified, there are protections under the law that allow you to go further. Ask the bureau how they verified the account and request documentation. If they do not respond in a satisfactory way, secondary tactics such as staying persistent or having a third-party contact them will sometimes do the trick.

Creditors
Contacting creditors for the purpose of dispute is very similar. However, you can also make fact-finding phone calls to the company directly, which can help in the process. Gather details such as what proof they have that the account is yours or if it is even verifiable. After this has been done, the traditional letter that gets sent to the bureaus is going to be the first course of action, followed by secondary tactics if it doesn’t work.

Bill Collectors
Bill collectors are notorious for breaking the law when it comes to both reporting and collecting debts. After a little digging, it is very possible that you will discover they are in violation. If there is a large debt, it is recommended that you have an expert credit specialist or attorney do the legwork with these agencies so that you don’t get sued.

Conclusion
Disputing a credit issue on a report can be very confusing and overwhelming. The keys to getting the problem removed are staying persistent, thorough, and organized throughout the entire process. There are credit repair specialists who can assist with this procedure to ensure the outcome is a favorable one. They can help you get the negative item removed as well as assist in various other areas related to improving your credit score.

The reality is, the credit business can be very corrupt. Even if you follow all the proper methods and procedures, issues can still arise. This can be extremely frustrating, especially when there is an error on a credit report and you are trying to remove it in order to buy a home or car or get an important line of credit.

Verified Does Not Mean Final
The first step in getting something removed from a credit report is to get in touch with the reporting agency. In most cases, they will come back with a letter that states the account or inconsistency that you want removed or corrected has been verified. This can be extremely troubling when you know that the account or charge is not legitimate.

It is important to understand that the word “verified” is used very loosely by credit bureaus, creditors (lenders), and bill collectors. That is because when most people see the word “verified,” they think there is nothing else that can be done.

When this is the first response that is bounced back to you, it is not the end. It is only the beginning of the next step, which is to contact them again and ask for proof of their verification. It is your right, when you have an issue on your credit report, to find out exactly how it got there.

Why You Should Use an Expert
Professionals understand all the ins and outs and tricks that the reporting agencies use to ward off people who are trying to get problems removed. Most people will back down after the first time they are told there is nothing that can be done about an inaccuracy on their report. Expert credit repair specialists expect this to happen, and they already know what the next step will be before the first undesirable response is sent back.

The Credit Business Profits Off of You
The main reason getting something off of a credit report is so difficult is because of money. The bureaus, creditors, and bill collectors all make a profit when someone is struggling with their personal accounts. Each organization is a for-profit business. They operate in such a way that they get maximum benefits at the expense of people with poor credit. Unfortunately, this can also lead to these companies making false or inaccurate statements that require a lot of fighting and work on the part of the victim who suddenly has an account or charge appear on their record.

Conclusion
When deciding to work on credit repair independently, you must be prepared for all the problems that can arise. It has been ingrained that getting a problem removed from a credit report is not that hard, when in actuality, it can be very difficult. To avoid the frustration and the headaches that come with all the roadblocks you may run into, consider letting a professional credit repair company take care of it for you.

Now that you have discovered an error on your credit report, the process for disputing it begins. You must write a letter to the three credit bureaus (if the error is on the reports from all three bureaus), and inform them of the problem, with facts and details to back up your claim. After you write the letter, the next step is to make sure it gets read. This is how to be positive that happens.

Make Sure Your Letter Gets Read
The major problem with sending in a letter of dispute today is that it is probably never going to be read. The credit bureaus that receive these letters actually put them through an automatic computer program that reads and evaluates them. With this process, the chances of anything being caught that would result in a favorable outcome (the error being removed) is not likely.

What You Can Do
It is imperative that a dispute be read by a human if there is going to be any sort of action. Follow these guidelines when putting together a letter of dispute:

  •         Use the old-fashioned method of pen and paper, and handwrite the letter.
  •         If typing, use a font that is unusual in either style or color; turn on the italics.
  •         Print or write on stationery that stands out; if you have something with a background image, use that.
  •         Attach as much supporting information as possible in the form of additional sheets of paper. Use a lot of staples, and maybe even staple the attachments in places that are not traditional.
  •         Pick an envelope that is a different color. Use one that is a different size and shape than a standard business envelope.
  •         Ensure that the letter can still be read by a human. Even though the goal is to make it difficult for a computer to comprehend, you want to be sure that the person who gets it can understand it and find all the necessary information that should be included.

 

When Not to Use These Methods
These are pretty extreme methods when compared to writing a business letter for any other purpose. Knowing that, it is not necessary to do this if the dispute letter is being sent to a creditor (lender) or bill collector. There is a good chance that there is a human on the other end at these businesses who is assigned to read the disputes that come in. You can be more confident that the letter will reach the hands and eyes of a real person.

Conclusion
Composing a successful letter of dispute may be a little bit too difficult for some people. That is why there are credit repair specialists who are experts in writing a proper letter. In the event you find it too troublesome to get a letter on paper that is likely to be read by the right people, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a professional. They can help you with every step to be sure the error on your credit report is removed.

It is every individual’s right and responsibility to regularly check their credit reports. Even if it is not time to buy a house, open a credit card, or get a loan, you should review your report on a regular basis.

When you routinely inspect your credit reports, you can spot errors more easily and, thus, start working on getting them fixed sooner. So, know what to watch out for, what rights every person has when it comes to their own credit report, and when it is time to send in a dispute.

Look for Factual Errors
When you dispute an error that you discover on a credit report, all the details included in the dispute must be factual. Therefore, when you review your credit, look only for errors that are factual. For example, a factual error could be an account that was opened without your knowledge. This is when “this is not my account” would be a factual dispute. Other problems that could arise include dates that are not correct, the type of account that is listed, or dollar amounts that are inaccurate.

Know Your Rights
Every person has the right to know about their own credit. They do not have to be looking for a line of credit to do a review of their own credit score. Someone who is responsible with their finances is going to regularly check their report to be sure it is correct. There are some websites that offer this service for free, and there are others that charge a fee.

Your rights guarantee three things about all the items on your credit report – they are verifiable, complete, and accurate. When these three criteria are not met, it means that you have the right and the ability to fight them. Another factor you should consider is the right to have everything on your report timely. This means that items that are outdated should be removed accordingly.

What to Watch Out For
When going over a report, this is what you should look for:

  •         Wrong dates
  •         Wrong account numbers
  •         Wrong account types; revolving vs. installment
  •         Missing details or blank spots; commonly a credit limit
  •         Wrong credit limits or balances
  •         Late pays reported after a closure of an account
  •         “Re-aging” – when the date on an account has been changed in order to keep it on the report longer

 

Conclusion
For some people, looking at a credit report is like trying to read something written in another language. If the report in front of you seems to be too complicated to figure out, contact a credit repair specialist. These experts have the knowledge and training necessary to explain what every little detail on your credit report means. They can also be of assistance if an error is found because they can ensure that you take the proper steps to get it cleared up right away.

When making a claim to a credit bureau, bill collector, or collection agency, there is a distinct process that should be followed. The reason for this is the information needs to be factual. The only material that should be included in a dispute are the facts surrounding the situation, the specifics of the incorrect reporting, and any accurate circumstances that you are aware of related to the issue. Before disputing any credit issue, be positive that you are doing it the proper way.

It’s Not That Simple Anymore
In the past, it was common for people who saw an issue on a credit report to simply write a letter to the credit bureau. In the letter, they would merely state that they did not open the account being reported or that it was paid in full, etc. The credit bureau would often take that information and wipe off whatever problem was being reported.

Things are not that easy anymore. When people discovered how uncomplicated it was to clear up credit issues, everyone started doing the same thing. But, some people made false reports that the delinquent account was not theirs. This not only created major problems for creditors, bill collectors, and the bureaus, it also made the disputing process that much more difficult.

Getting Turned Down
Chances are, the first time a claim is made that an inaccuracy has been reported on a credit report, the bureau or other agency that published the report is going to turn down the request. If it is factual that the account truly is not yours, this is the only time that you would actually state that to the bureau. However, in most instances, that is not going to be enough to remove the blemish.

This is where it is essential that only the facts are sent in to the bill collector, creditor, or credit bureau. In the event the dispute goes on further, it is imperative to have only factual claims on record.

False Statements
Some people will try to make false claims or include inaccurate information when disputing a credit report problem. In the past, this may have worked, but today, things are a little bit different. A credit issue can end up in a court proceeding before it actually gets taken off the record.

If the person who is trying to clear their credit has been making false statements surrounding the problem, even if they are small ones, it is going to reflect negatively when or if they get to court. In other words, a false statement may remove any and all hope of having the issue cleared, even if it wasn’t your account in the first place.

Conclusion
Whenever working on an inaccuracy in a credit report, only the truth should be stated to the agency that is being contacted. If you are unsure of what exactly should be said, there are credit repair specialists who know how to compose a proper dispute letter. Get in touch with one of these experts to be more confident that the problem will be dealt with properly.

Getting excited about buying a home is part of human nature. It is a big step; and, when you are ready, it can be life changing. However, if there is a bad credit score looming overhead, the dream can be shot down quickly. So, take the appropriate steps to clear up negative credit issues, and you will soon be on your way to owning your own home. Know what needs to be done and how to do it the right way.

More than Just a Letter
A misconception about clearing up credit issues is that the only thing you need to do is write a letter. Even the FTC reports that after discovering an issue, informing the reporting company in writing of the inaccuracy will repair the problem. While this is partially true, it is very unlikely that the desired action will take place by simply letting the credit bureau know what should be removed. If it were that simple, people would be able to easily make credit problems disappear, even those that are legitimate issues and not mistakes at all.

The Who and the Why
Before sending in any correspondence about a problem found on a credit report, you must first determine where the inaccuracy came from. This could include a creditor, bill collector, or the credit bureau itself. This is where your first letter should go. For example, if a credit card company has reported that you are behind on a bill and you think it is wrong, your letter should go directly to that credit card company. Discuss what is wrong and why it should be removed. They are going to be the ones who can contact the credit bureau with their mistake.

Also, it is imperative to know exactly what is wrong with what is being reported. There are more than just “inaccurate” reports that will show up. Other issues could involve things that cannot be verified or incomplete reporting. In the letter, be sure to clarify exactly which of these things you believe is happening.

The Basics of Disputing
The following information should be integrated into your correspondence with the bureau, creditor, or bill collector:

  •         Exactly what on your credit report you are claiming is inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable
  •         Why you believe that the report made should be removed
  •         Only facts that can be proven
  •         Any documents you have to support what you are claiming
  •         What you are expecting to happen as a result of your dispute

 

These are just the minimum items that should be incorporated into your letter. Feel free to include as much detail about the problem as you can.

Conclusion
It is easy to become overwhelmed and confused by the disputing process when it comes to repairing credit. There are agencies that have credit repair specialists with experience in getting the appropriate information to the right people so that the mistakes can be fixed. Save yourself a lot of time and headaches by leaving it to the professionals.

One of the biggest impacts that bankruptcy can have on someone is the emotions that arise after the filing. It is completely normal to feel anger, guilt, and even failure. However, the important thing to remember is that bankruptcy is a very normal part of hundreds of thousands of people’s lives each year. Learn how to prepare yourself, turn bankruptcy into something positive, and keep your eyes focused on what’s ahead.

Prepare for the Truth
The easiest way to get ready for the emotional impact of bankruptcy is to be honest with yourself. It is essential to be open-minded about what is happening, how it is going to affect your life, and what needs to be done to make it better. The sooner these things are realized, the less painful the experience will be. The reason bankruptcy is an option for you is it was set up to help people. So, keep in mind that you are doing what has to be done to start over on the right path.

Sell Yourself
If part of the reason for your bankruptcy is unemployment, now is the time to start looking for a job. This may be a bit intimidating because a lot of employers pull credit reports of people they are interviewing. If these managers see a bankruptcy on your file, they might jump to the conclusion that you are not responsible and that you will not be a good candidate for the job.

Prepare for each interview by discovering and then explaining to the interviewer that the bankruptcy was a rough patch and that you viewed it as a challenge. Explain the difficulty of working through the process and how it has helped in other aspects of your life and how it has made you a better employee. Turn the negative into a positive, and the job will be yours in no time.

Keep Looking Forward
Finally, remind yourself regularly that bankruptcy is not the end of the world. It is something that has had such a negative social stigma for so long that the word alone can be terrifying. Be aware of the potential problems that come with bankruptcy, including a bad credit score, trouble finding work, and dealing with social issues, but remember that they all have working solutions.

Be proactive at setting up a plan or strategy for what will have to happen after bankruptcy so that the same situation does not repeat itself. If done properly, you can be on your way to financial freedom in a very short time.

Conclusion
Bankruptcy can be extremely difficult for some people. If you don’t think it is something that can be handled independently, get in touch with an expert credit repair specialist. These professionals have seen every kind of situation, and they know how to help people get through what may be one of the toughest experiences in their lives.

When a person is drowning in debt and there is no relief in sight, many times, they will start to think about filing for bankruptcy. Usually, the main consideration before taking such a drastic step is the lasting impression it will have on their credit.

The reality is there is a lot more that goes on when bankruptcy processes begin. Learn more about the financial costs, what it does to you personally, and how it affects a credit score.

Out-of-Pocket Charges
Going through all the bills and debt they already owe, someone who is considering bankruptcy rarely thinks about how much it is going to cost them. They are already in above their heads, so what’s an extra bill, right? Before starting the process to file for bankruptcy, you should know that it can get quite expensive.

If the proceedings are to be handled properly, you should hire an attorney who specializes in this area. Along with their fee, there will be court costs, filing fees, and more. The total cost can range anywhere from $1200 to $3000, depending on the attorney retained. It is recommended that you pick a high-quality attorney to increase your chances of seeing better results.

There is also the option of doing all the filing, paperwork, and court proceedings necessary yourself. This can be extremely difficult. The chances of the outcome being the best it could be is not favorable.

Personal Costs
Along with what bankruptcy does to your bank account, you are going to be affected personally as well. Feelings of guilt, failure, and defeat are likely to surface.

There is also a social stigma that comes along with filing for bankruptcy. People who know you have been through this process may be quick to judge. Unfortunately, bankruptcy filings are a matter of public record so there really is no way to hide it. Just be sure to keep the details as private as possible and family, friends, and neighbors will not be too curious.

When interviewing for a job, employers often check this record. Make sure to have a lot of positive attributes that you learned from the experience planned out to discuss, proving that you will be right for the job even though there is a blemish on your credit record.

Effects on Credit
What happens to a credit score may be the least damaging. The existing score may go down, but most creditors only look at history back two years. So, after 12 to 24 months, things will start looking up. After seven to ten years, it will be completely wiped from your record. It will be difficult to get the credit score up, but it’s not impossible.

Conclusion
Before filing for bankruptcy, it is a good idea to get in touch with a credit repair specialist or other professional in this field. They will be able to give an honest and accurate assessment of what should be done in any individual situation.

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