Budgeting & Bankruptcy

Budgeting is a big part of bankruptcy.  You have to set your monthly expenses and stick to them, with a bankruptcy trustee to oversee your every monetary move. Bankruptcy is not the end of the world, but it is not necessarily the only resolution to your financial problems.  Depending on your situation, you may have other legal choices available which could bring you a better benefit.  You are not going to see those possibilities if you file bankruptcy yourself or pay a non-attorney service to fill out the forms for you. There are long-term consequences you need to know and understand before you file, plus there may be a better option for you, depending on your circumstances.  You would not take chemo if you did not need it.  Why file bankruptcy if another resolution will bring you a better outcome?  Seek competent legal counsel to discuss your specific situation and to help you decide if bankruptcy is the right choice for you. In the meantime, if you are trying to get a head start on your new year’s resolution towards better wealth management, the Federal Trade Commission has a free online budget calculator to help you balance your monthly expenses […] Read More

Building Bad Credit Habits?

You’re never too old to learn something stupid. Sure, do not pay your bills on time…or at all.  Take on new debt as often as you can.  Bad habits can pile up like bills…and lead to bad credit. Your credit determines your purchasing power to buy items like a car, a student loan, and maybe even a house.  Credit also may affect your ability to get or keep a job.  Your credit history gives lenders and employers something to look at when they are deciding whether or not to give you a loan (and at what interest rate) and whether or not to hire you or give you a promotion. On the other if you can talk, text, and chew gum, you can improve your credit score with these basics: Pay your bills on time every time No new credit – do not open new credit accounts or take out new loans Pay down large balances Make a budget and stick to it – you can use the free online budget provided by the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-1020-make-budget-worksheet.pdf Be a credit to yourself!   Read More

Building Credit as a New Adult

Congratulations high school seniors…many of you may now be tried as an adult.  If you have reached the age of 18 (or older), you also have the opportunity to start building your credit. Why is credit important? Because I say so…and because creditors and lenders say so too.  Your credit determines your purchasing power to buy items like a car, a student loan, and maybe a house one day.  Credit also may affect your ability to get or keep a job. What do lenders look at? Your credit rating should how well you repay your debts—whether you are a good credit risk or a deadbeat.  When lenders are deciding whether to extend credit, they look at how well you pay your bills, your credit limit versus your high balance (as on a credit card), and your income. Build your credit from your budget up.   Make a budget. Stick to it. Pay your bills on time every time – from rent to credit card bills and all other bills, make sure you have paid by the due date.  By having a budget, you should know what bills are coming and when.  By sticking to your budget, you should be able to […] Read More

New Year’s Resolution for Better Credit

It is 2015, how is your credit?  Building better credit takes time and effort, but if you can talk, text, and chew gum, you can fix your credit score on your own. Credit is important.  Your credit determines your purchasing power to buy items like a house, a car, a student loan. Creditors look at your bill-paying history, whether you pay your bills on time, collections actions against you, your outstanding debt, how many accounts you have and what kind they are, and if you have applied for new credit lately.  They use this information to determine if you would be a good risk for repayment, or if you are a deadbeat, and also how much they should charge you for the loan.  Creditors want their money back, and they want to make interest on the loan. Bad credit is a problem, but it is one that you can fix with these New Year’s resolutions: Pay your bills on time every time No new credit – do not open new credit accounts or take out new loans Pay down large balances Make a budget and stick to it – you can use the free online budget provided by the Federal […] Read More

Credit-Building New Year’s Resolutions

The spin cycle of revolving credit goes something like this:  you spend what you do not have on items you cannot afford, so you charge purchases on a credit card where your debt racks up large interest fees.  You can break the cycle and build better credit with these simple New Year’s resolutions: Pay your bills on time every time No new credit – do not open new credit accounts or take out new loans Pay down large balances Make a budget and stick to it – you can use the free online budget provided by the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-1020-make-budget-worksheet.pdf May you have a prosperous new year! Read More

Steps to Better Credit

Are you receiving calls from creditors and collection agencies?  Working overtime to try to keep up with your bills?  Using your savings to cover daily expenses?  These can be signs of bad credit.  While bad credit is a problem—it makes getting a new loan more expensive or impossible—there are steps you can take to improve your credit score. The basics are basics include pay your bills on time, pay down outstanding balances, and stay away from new debt.  Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi offers these further tips to personally manage your debt: Set up a household budget to guide your spending patterns. The budget should detail your monthly income, as well as your monthly expenses. Your budget should outline a spending plan which insures that your income will exceed your expenses each month. Don’t go any deeper in debt! Put your credit cards away and make a concerted effort to refrain from accumulating any more debt in the coming months. Pay cash or use a debit card. If you must charge something in an emergency, use the card with the lowest interest rate. Use daily money-saving strategies to free up more money. Cut out needless expenses and save money where […] Read More

Shopping for Better Credit

There are 31 shopping days left until Christmas.  Minimize the holiday hangover on your credit card bills with a spending budget. Generally you do not want to max out your credit cards or open new lines of credit if you are trying to build credit (as for a home, auto, or student loan in the near future); however, holidays can be tough.  A budget can help you stay on track for your spending and saving goals. If you can talk, text, and wrap presents, you can make a budget.  The State of Florida has a free online holiday budget calculator at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/YMM/Calculators/Holiday.aspx. …And remember to pay your bills on time every time. Read More

Tips to Avoid Debt

Weird Al Yankovic has a new album, and was releasing one song a day to promote it.  Weird Al is a vegan.  Makes you wonder where does he get all that energy without eating meat?  It is like that mysterious debt that piles up out of nowhere. From medical hardships to mortgages, to student loans and auto loans, credit cards, gym memberships, and phone contracts—debt adds up to subtract from your bank balance.  Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to save yourself: Make a budget.  Let this free online budget calculator to help you balance your monthly expenses with your monthly income: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-1020-make-budget-worksheet.pdf. Pay yourself.  Set money aside to go into a savings account or investment at regular intervals.  You may be able to arrange an automatic withdrawal from your checking account or divert part of your payroll direct deposit.  What you do not see in your wallet may make a nice bonus for you later. Keep it going.  If you get a raise at work, divert that added income into a savings account, or if you pay off a car, keep up the payments but into your own account. Debt and taxes are a part […] Read More

Budgeting & Bankruptcy – Online Budget Calculator

Make your own budget (before a Bankruptcy Trustee makes it for you).  If you have not already filed bankruptcy and hope not to, a budget can help you stay on track for your spending and saving goals (it does the same thing after you file for bankruptcy as well).  The Federal Trade Commission has a free online budget calculator to help you balance your monthly expenses with your monthly income: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-1020-make-budget-worksheet.pdf. Bankruptcy is all about budgeting—it is your monthly expenses times your future.  While Bankruptcy has gained popularity in these economic times, there are long-term consequences to know and consider.  Seek competent legal counsel to discuss your specific situation.     Read More

Just Starting Out? Build Credit from Your Budget

Fresh out of high school and on your own?  Mom is not going to cut up your meat any more, and she might not be in charge of your finances either.  That is your job.  Time to build your credit from your budget up. Credit is important. Your credit determines your purchasing power to buy items like a car, a student loan, and maybe a house one day.  Credit also may affect your ability to get or keep a job.  Now is the time to start building your credit history so that lenders and employers have something to look at when they are deciding whether or not to give you a loan (and at what interest rate) and whether or not to hire you or give you a promotion. Build your credit from your budget up.  Pay your bills on time every time – from rent to credit card bills and all other bills, make sure you have paid by the due date.  The Federal Trade Commission has a free online budget calculator to help you balance your monthly expenses with your monthly income, go to http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-1020-make-budget-worksheet.pdf. Be a credit to yourself!     Read More