How To Turn Things Around

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Debt & Credit Information, Featured

It is a very rare kind of person that does not have money problems at some point in your life. It is important to realize in the circumstances that missing a single payment on your credit card does not make you a bad person, a financially reckless individual or a debt risk. This is not because it is fine to miss a credit payment – ideally, it won’t happen to you – but because there is a way back from credit problems. You need to be concentrated on finding that way back and taking it – but as long as you keep a clear head, this is more than manageable.

Missing one credit card payment is unlikely to strip you of a positive credit rating in one fell swoop. What you need to keep in mind is that there are very good reasons to treat your first missed payment as a warning sign. If you fall into longer term problems with debt, it will be much harder to escape them. For this reason you should focus on that payment and tell yourself that it won’t happen again. Pay attention to making the payment when you can, and meeting the next one when it becomes due. By sticking to this promise to yourself you will make it far more likely that the one missed payment was an aberration. If you think that you will have problems making payments going forward, look for alternative solutions such as consolidation or debt management, rather than letting the problem grow.

A Debt Management Plan Could Be Your Salvation

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Debt & Credit Tips

Although we as a society have become used to the potential pitfalls of irresponsible lending and borrowing, there are still countless people who have to face a situation where they are placed under extreme pressure to make repayments because unforeseen circumstances interfered with their ability to keep up with the account. If it appears that you are going to be among them, debt management can be the answer – however it is important to be able to differentiate between the debt management plans that work in your favor and those which are out to make a quick buck.

Debt management should, if done correctly, be a way of reducing the debt that you are required to pay by getting in contact with the credit lender and negotiating a stop to interest being placed on your account – along with an agreement not to place late payment fees. Additionally, this process can be paired with a concerted policy of credit repair where an expert will go through your credit file to find the unfair penalties applied and look to overturn them. This means that with time you may be able to borrow again in a situation where it becomes necessary.

Debt management is not ever going to be the most simple process. Banks are tricky to deal with when they feel that they are going to be able to get money out of you one way or another. Think before choosing your debt management partner. The right one can be your pathway to financial security – the wrong one could leave you even worse off.

Secured Loans – The Pitfalls

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Debt & Credit Free, Featured

Taking out a loan for a small amount to pay for a purchase that is just outside your usual spending power should be quite a manageable situation. If you take the loan out at a reasonable rate of interest over a decent term then you should be able to make the repayments even if you find yourself out of work for a period. However it is a different story if you take out a mortgage to pay for a house, or a car loan. These forms of credit are often “secured” on your purchase, which means that, should you default on the loan, the lender will be able to reclaim the property from you as a way of making their money back.

Secured credit has such pitfalls because, without the possibility of reclaiming their money in this way, banks would need to charge higher rates of interest and keep the term of the loan much shorter than they currently are. This would put the purchase of a house or a new car far outside the range of most people. It is, however, vitally important to be sure that you have a contingency plan should you suddenly lose your job. In such cases, becoming unemployed can also mean becoming homeless.

Further to this, a default on a mortgage can stay on your credit file for some time, meaning that another mortgage any time soon will be an impossibility for you. Take into account all the perils of taking a mortgage before you sign any documents, because the drawbacks to secured credit could be prohibitive.

Is Life Fantastic With Plastic?

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Debt & Credit Free

We in society have become used to using plastic cards to pay for our purchases, because it promises convenience, speed and reassurance about our situation. While today we may not have the money to pay for that stereo or that holiday, a quick call to a bank can be all it takes to allow you to make the purchase one day and worry about paying it off in the future. When used correctly, credit cards can be beneficial for the user, as they allow a situation where you can control the cost of living. They are, it should be said, best used as a kind of progressive weapon against delays. The problem comes when one is used as a shield against debt. The thing they simply fail to offer is thinking time.

With a credit card, you can make a purchase and not have to worry about the money not being there. It is there, it just isn’t yours. As long as you can replenish that money within a suitable time period, no-one will get angry. However, there is no way of the vendor knowing that you will be in a bad position to actually pay for the purchase, and indeed they have no reason to care. It is the bank who will have something to say about it when you fail to make payments that they were expecting you to make. And the thing about that is that banks have a way of making their displeasure very clear indeed.

Where The Banks Have Gone Wrong

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Debt & Credit Free

It would be very simplistic to place the blame for the global financial crisis at the door of one financial sector, or at the feet of any organisation operating within that sector. The reason why the finances of so many major countries are now unstable cannot be pinned down to one thing, but part of it is certainly attributable to unwise lending by banks and other financial institutions. While it could not securely be argued that this was what caused the financial crashes we have seen, there is no doubt that it hasn’t helped.

Quite apart from anything else, there is a sense that risky lending looked like a good idea for the banks and risky borrowing looked like a great idea for the customers up until very recently. For the banks, the idea was that the risks would bear greater rewards as money made more money and for the customers it seemed to be a case of all their Christmases coming at once. As it turned out, there were big warning signs that everyone ignored – leading to the banks having tons of bad debt on their books and the customers being hamstrung in a place where they suddenly had greatly reduced means and a raft of payments to meet.

There are other reasons for this crash, of course, and no-one would try to deny this. But the upshot for most of us is that banks will not be so free with their money, so borrowing from now on has to be extra diligent.

Irresponsible Lending, Spending and Borrowing

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Debt & Credit Free

One of the major criticisms of banks which emerged as the extent of the global credit crisis became clear to everyone was that they lent money irresponsibly to too many people. Most of us, if offered the chance to have a spending pot of more money than we earn in a month, would be sorely tempted. And maybe that is the problem. There are those who argue that credit should only be given to those who can show they don’t need it. While this is a tad harsh (short term borrowing can be a responsible solution in some cases), it might at least be argued that credit should only ever be given to those who have never abused it in the past.

Part of the problem is that banks saw fit to speculate on the continuing boom in the global economy and felt that by lending to people who were looking to become upwardly socially mobile they could cash in on those people being successful. However, for some potential borrowers it became clear that banks were taking risks and lending to people who had little hope of comfortably repaying the debt. Knowing that some contingency has to exist for these eventualities, people took advantage of this profligacy to take out big loans and enjoy a short-lived period of financial windfall – knowing that even when the money ran out they would simply be back to living the life they led before. Banks seem to be learning the lesson – but look at what it took for that to happen.

Can You Get Credit?

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Debt & Credit Free

One thing that has been made very clear to people over the last few years is that taking out credit comes with some risks attached. If you are borrowing either on a credit card or a loan, it really is not advisable to borrow “as much as you can”, when the amount that you can borrow tends to be dictated by the bank or institution from which you borrow it. There is some link between your monthly income and your credit rating, and the amount that the banks will lend to you. However it does not seem to apply in the same way with all banks.

Most people who have worked in credit control will tell you of an account they saw which showed a customer defaulting on a credit card where their credit limit was pretty huge and their monthly salary was comparatively small. Due to the limitations of the process used to judge some bank’s credit limit provisions sometimes there will be excessive money lent to people who give in to the temptation to spend it even knowing that they cannot afford to pay it back.

Alternatively if you have not shown a good history of paying back credit when you get it, you run the risk of either not getting credit or getting it in woefully short amounts. Depending on your reasons for needing the credit in the first place this may not matter so much – indeed it may be good news – but it is still something to be aware of.

How Times And Views Have Changed

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Debt & Credit Free

There was a time when to talk of having debts was like openly admitting that you liked to pull the wings off flies. People simply would not confess to having debt, even if it turned out that they did have debts, and quite substantial ones at that. Now, it really doesn’t seem that way. Debt is seen as an accepted hazard and a fact of life by many people – and there have been some good outcomes to that, with many responsible people on lower incomes able to spread the cost of necessary outlays. The problem comes when the debt cannot be managed.

It might be more beneficial for everyone if we started to differentiate more between kinds of debt. Rather than assuming that all debt was bad, if we could all tell the difference between unmanageable and manageable debt, necessary and unnecessary debt, then we would be able to judge when debt was an acceptable step, when it was the best option, and put together some ideas on how to stop people getting into damaging, excessive debts of the kind which can blight a life.

It would not be true to say that the present-day prevailing view on debt was the right one. Nor would it be right to say that the old-fashioned attitude was strictly fair or correct. What we can hopefully all agree on is that debt awareness is more important than anything, and that we should all learn to apply the common sense that none of us are shy of handing out to everyone else.

What Does Debt Mean To You?

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Debt & Credit Free

The very word “debt” is enough to bring fear to a great number of people, suggesting as it does a range of worries from being unable to make mortgage payments, keep a car on the road, take holidays and even, for some people, to eat three good meals daily. There are of course several different kinds of debt, and it is not necessarily a given that debt will always lead to financial meltdown. The key thing to remember is that debt should always be manageable. There are many of us who have a certain amount of debt, but make sure that it is covered. Taking out debt to pay for something you want and assuming that “something will come along” to pay for it is not a plan that will work.

Managed debt can be a life saver, and people who know how to manage their debt give themselves a lot more options than those who do not. There are ways and means of making sure that your financial position is protected, but being able to count on those ways and means demands that you will be ready to pay close attention to your incomings and outgoings at all times. If you are assured of money being available to make payments on a credit arrangement – for the duration of that arrangement and not just for the foreseeable future – then you are not doing yourself any harm by borrowing. It is just a way of spreading the cost.

But for too many people, the issue of debt is that it is unmanageable, or manageable up to a point. But what if you lose your job or your hours are cut back? What is you or a family member falls ill? Then it stops being manageable, and you need an alternative.

How Debt Can Ruin Your Life

August 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Debt & Credit Free

Most of us, at one time or another, have looked at an item and thought “That would make my life so much better – now if only I had the money to buy it”. Credit is the solution used by many people in this dilemma. In many ways, it is as though a bank were saying to the person “No problem, you can have that item. I’ll pay for it now, and you can pay me back over time”. In this, the bank is acting as the generous friend who reassures you that you can have what you want without needing to worry unduly about how you’re paying for it. The major problem with that is that banks need to make their money back, and are not your friends.

A friend would, in most cases, be willing to forego some of the money if you really couldn’t pay it back. They would understand your good intentions and would know that some day you would do them a favor for which they would be thankful. Banks do not – and cannot – operate in this way, as their business relies on being strict with how they control credit. They cannot afford to be your friend. So when you borrow money from a bank and cannot pay it back, suddenly you are on your own.

For this reason it makes sense to be very careful when borrowing from a bank. It really makes sense to be careful with any borrowing – no-one likes letting a friend down. But when banks are involved, being in debt can be a very lonely experience.

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