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

When Bankruptcy Burns

Polly ’Possum went to the bank to get a loan.  Her babies were getting big and she did not want them hanging around the house any more—she needed money to send them off to college.  But the bank denied her a student loan for her overgrown joeys. “Ms. ’Possum, you filed bankruptcy,” the loan officer said to her. “But that was last year,” she replied. “You cannot file bankruptcy like federal income tax,” the loan officer told her.  “You have been playing ’possum with your creditors.  You cannot take on new debt until you have completed your bankruptcy program.” Polly ’Possum felt like she had been hit by a car, but there was nothing she could do except to creep home with her pouch full of bad credit.   Bankruptcy can be a great resolution to debt, but only if it is the right choice for you.  To find out more, the US Courts website offers an online buffet of nine bankruptcy videos (all under five minutes) at http://www.uscourts.gov/video/bankruptcybasics/bankruptcyBasics.html.  Consult competent legal counsel to discuss the specifics of your situation. Read More