I need help on getting started

I need help on getting started. I have lots of cc debt and am trying to set up a payback system. I think I read somewhere that you can call the credit card companies to close the account and they will lower your interest rates, etc. is this true? Would you pay the smaller balance cards first or start with the higher interest rates? I don’t know where to start.

From what I have read many times, to start a debt management system on your own, you should first stop using your cards. Don’t close the credit cards because this can cause damage to your credit score. Call the credit card companies to discuss giving you a lower interest rate. I have also read different opinions about what debt to begin paying off first. Many say pay off the debt with the highest interest rate.

Recently have be reading that you should prioritize your debts from the lowest to the highest. And begin paying off the debt with the lowest balance. Once that debt is paid off, begin paying of the next smallest balance and so on. This method is called “snowballing” according to Dave Ramsey. Although paying of the debt with the highest interest rate may sound more logical, getting the smaller balances paid off does something to the psyche and gives you motivation and confidence to pay off the rest. Please visit DaveRamsey.com for a more thorough explanation of this concept.

Closing your accounts will not lower your interest rate, but you can call each creditor and ask for a lower rate. Closing accounts too fast will lower your FICO score because your debt to income ration will be turned upside down.

The way to pay it off depends on you. Some people like the emotional high of seeing an account paid off so those people pay off smallest debts first, pay minimums on all others. Once that is paid off, you take the extra money from the first account and pay off the next smallest debt, etc, creating a snowball effect (a la Dave Ramsey).

I pay my higher interest cards first (a la Suze Orman). Most of my accounts are at 5.9 or less now because I am the balance transfer fanatic. My only high card is my Discover at 13%, which I will pay off this month. I get my emotional high at the end of each quarter, when I list all my ending balances for that quarter and see how much less it is than the previous quarter. This past quarter was more than the previous one because we just bought a house.

I would list my accounts, the amounts and interest rates, try and get some of them reduced and then see if you would feel better doing it higher interest first or snowballing it.

Dave Ramsey has a good system, he says you need to budget for the essentials (food, housing etc) and anything extra you have after paying all that, you attack the smallest debt with all that you have. Once that is paid, attack the next smallest, and so on.

My soon to be ex and I had been following this plan right before our split and it was working great. I especially liked the budgeting part of it, because that forced us to not spend freely on things like going out to eat, so that saved us a lot of money.


Many thanks to everyone who responded to me

Many thanks to everyone who responded to me, both on the list and off-list….I really appreciate all of your feedback. I’m hoping, this weekend, to sit down with my husband and make some decisions about what direction we can take and how much we can reduce our household costs.

I wish you lots of luck with talking to your husband. Take the approach about how he is needed and that the family appreciates all he does and most of all you need his help to fight this battle of getting out of debt with you… and not fight against it. And mostly re-assure him that times may be tight and a little tough for a while but it’s only temporary. If he tries to turn it into a fight, just stay calm and relaxed- don’t give in to it.

It may also be the best idea to find a way for your kids to be occupied fully – maybe with a relative or babysitter, who won’t disturb your talk and stay out of the room where you plan to discuss the financial decisions together. If someone else is there too, watching the kids, the temptation for him to raise his voice will less, as he may not want them to over hear anything.

Many of us, including myself realized that making sacrifices to get out of debt ended up being worth it in the long run, because the freedom from not being in debt anymore is better than all that “STUFF” you fear parting with at the beginning. It’s very true.


How to calculate when an item will “fall off” of credit report

Hi Everyone, I wanted to know how to calculate when an item will “fall off” of my credit report. For example in the case of a credit card do I count 7 years from the date first reported, the date last reported, or the date of the last payment? Just trying to figure this out as I go down this road of credit repair-any help will be appreciated-and any suggestions as well.

I may be wrong with my information but here it goes anyway. If an item is still active it won’t fall off the credit report. IF an item is inactive (paid off loan, closed credti card,etc) than it falls off after two years. Bankruptcy fall off after seven years.

I believe bankruptcy falls off after 10 years. It is my understanding anyone looking at your credit report is going to be more concerned about what is going on for the past 2 or 3 years and not be too concerned about what happened a decade ago.

One of the credit bureaus-either Equifax or Experian puts the dates on their credit reports of when something will remain on record. After each creditor (of inactive or closed accounts), there would be a notation of when the item would fall off. I don’t know if they still do that. Reports and BK will stay 7-10 years. My BK lasted 10 years until it finally went away.

I, too, would like to know. I have heard so many different things that I don’t know what is correct or not. I looked up my credit report and it still has credit cards that I closed over 10 years ago on it. How do I get them to take them off?


It is very difficult to start with so many cards falling due

It is very difficult to start with so many cards falling due and have little cash which could not even pay for my family’s basic needs. this is my first month that i will not be able to pay the minimum amount due of my cards , i am waiting for a miracle from heaven, i will not borrow from another card to pay another card. I will be expecting calls from them. So i commit everything to the LORD.

I started my own payment plan when I was in debt and the best part of that was I felt like I was totally in control of it- not someone else. I closed all my accounts except one – I don’t know what that did to my credit score… but at that time I really didn’t car becasue I made a commitment to STOP using credit cards altogether and start living a cash based lifestyle. If I didn’t have extra cash for something -it was not going to be bought until I did. It taught me a lot about actually saving money for something.

I paid off my small balances first as fast as I could while only paying minimums on the larger balances. This gave me a sense of accomplishment within the first 6-8 months or so. I had eight different accounts. I kept one open account – and it wasn’t the one with the lowest interest rate, it was one with the most available credit left on it – and I locked it away with the magnetic strip cut through, so the only way to access using the number was in a life or death emergency. I never had that dire of an emergency. I also wanted to keep one open account on my credit history. Today I have two open credit lines in my name – and I’ve only used them a couple times.

I’ve learned the value of major discipline of not giving into my whims of spending and only using a credit line if I have the cash to cover paying it off right away. When I had my debt paid off about at the halfway point, I then started researching lower interest accounts to transfer to or looking at new offers I was getting in the mail. That was about two-three years later. I’ve been totally credit debt free for about 6 years now. It’s a happier, free-er way to live.

I wish you well – get support when you need it and realize – you really don’t need to use credit cards to live, survive or have fun.

I agree. It may not be the smartest (i.e. paying the smallest debt first vs. high interest debt first) but it sure does give that boost of pride, self-confidence and that you are taking control of your debt. For me, it’s much more fun paying them off then it was going shopping with them. LOL! 🙂

I am in the same boat. I’ve never been late with a cc payment and this is first month cannot pay a thing. I’ll keep you in my prayers. I went through a credit counselor for about a year at 600.00 a mo and balance came down about 20.00 per month towards end. Does anyone recomment a debt settlement company? Has anyone heard of consumer recovery network?


how do I go about getting mine and my husband’s credit report

I’m sure there is a way, I just don’t know it but how do I go about getting mine and my husband’s credit report without paying an arm and leg? Also, can you explain what the FICO is?

Here’s a little bit about what is going on right now with me, my husband and I had to file bankruptcy in 2001 due to falling behind on our mortgage and it has now been discharged. We received a letter from our mortgage company claiming we owe them over $15,000 in underpaid escrow money from April 2001 until December 2006. In the letter they said we could pay the lump sum by Feb 1st (like who can do that) or our mortgage payment will go from $951 to $2400 for the next 12 months. We have called the mortgage to dispute this and they said they will look into it and get back to us. Also I called my bankruptcy attorney but he wants a $1500 retainer just to look into it.

Can anyone recommend someone I can contact about this or give me an idea of what I should do. My husband and I trully do not feel this is our mistake but theirs and it took them 6 yrs to find it. Also, what do you think about cash advance? Should I get one of fast payday loans from KeeLoans.com to pay urgent bill in time?

Any help, advice, opinions you can give would be much appreciated. Both of us are tired of living paycheck to paycheck and we really need some good financial advice, especially on how to stay on a budget.

You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the bureaus once a year.

Also, if the mortgage was discharged in the BK, you should be able to either send them a copy of the BK papers or authorize them to verify that a BK is on your credit report. Did the mortgage company contact you or a collection agency. A lot of companies “sell” their accounts to collection agencies and then you’re harassed all over again. Tel them it was discharged and tell them to verify it and move on.

I filed BK in my very early twenties (I had a loser boyfriend who helped me charge up my accounts) and I had one company try to collect 7 years later. They left me alone after I told them to run my credit report to check it out.

Thank you for the information re the credit reports.

No, a collection agency did not contact us – the mortgage company did. I do seem to think that maybe this department does not know about the bk or that it has been discharged. My husband is supposed to call them today but I will mention that to him when he calls.

Just to update you all on what has happened with the mortgage company and underpaid escrow money. Apparently, when you file for bk the mortgage company is not allowed to raise your escrow amount to cover your taxes being raised or your home owner’s insurance. Of course no one told us this, not even our attorney and it took talking to about 4 people at the mortgage company for someone to finally let us in on this little secret.

Now I don’t want to scare anyone away from filing bk if it’s something you have to do but just be prepaid for a large escrow bill after it has been discharged.

I’ve been reading a lot of the old posts and getting some great information. Thank you all for being here.


I think the Spirit of this blog is really quite wonderful

I think the Spirt of this group is really quite wonderful. It is suggesting that you should run away from debt. What makes this blog so great is that there are so many people with so many ideas. The overall spirit of this group is positive and believe me I have benifited from what I have learned. I have even had my spirits lifted when I was down just by reading about other people and reading what they go threw.

Thanks! To everyone in the blog for a good year of comments, suggestions and ideas!

Working something out with creditors, yes. Collection agencies and junk debt buyers, no. CAs and JDBs are the worst of the worst. Violating laws, inflating their amounts, not validating on alleged debt, I can go on and on.

Please be aware, the tactics I suggested and may suggest in the future is what has worked for me. Through reading and researching boards like this for the past 5 years, I have gained the knowledge to find loopholes and ‘tricks’ in the system to repair credit, without causing legal problems. Like everything in life, your mileage may vary. What may work for me, may not work for you.

This has worked for me, and I am just passing along the information. What people do with said information is up to them.

I also think it would depend on the situation. After the divorce a lot of my ex’s stuff was on my report along with his new address as being current while my current address was considered an old one. I contested both the address and his debts, which were in his name not mine and they removed all of them within a month. I also questioned what seemed to be one debt that was repeated twice and both were removed. Also, in my state there’s a statute of limitations (7 years) so any debts before that time aren’t supposed to be on credit reports so they can be contested. As for anything before that 7 year mark I only question it when I either don’t recall it or just want more information about it.

I would agree that the spirit of the group is wonderful. I just question the individual poster’s suggestions to attempt erasing past addresses from credit reports, to then go and contest creditors by stating that one did not live at such an address. If one where a company, there may be a statute of limitations of say, 7 years, after which a creditor should not be pursuing a company for reimbursement of a debt, assuming a company declared bankruptcy.

But a person is not a company, and I do not know if there is a statute of limitations for collection of debts from individuals. It sounded to me like the poster was recommending a way to contest any past credit collection, which seems unethical to me. That makes me feel that one has to read these internet postings with some objective view and not believe everything that is suggested, until there is more information or until the matter is further researched. At least some reference should be given to articles stating that such means and methods are legal and ethical, in my opinion.

That said, I’m planning to download some software this weekend for keeping track of my expenses. I also think the tools in the website of the group are very helpful.


New to the blog with a question

Hello Everyone.

I’ve been reading the advise given by everyone and it’s been very helpful. I have a question I hope that the blog can help me with:

Several years ago (about 6 or 7), I considered filing bankruptcy (Chapt 13). I even went so far as to visit and attorney and have him get the process started. Shortly after starting the process, I got a job with better income and figured that I would pay my debt off myself, so I ended the Chapt 13.

The attorney began the paperwork and got everything filed, but I never made one single Chapt 13 payment. However, it is now reflected on my credit report that I filed Bankruptcy. I’ve disputed this with all 3 credit bureaus, but they refuse to remove it. Is there anything else that I can do to get this off of my credit report?

Also, in regards to disputes, I’ve been disputing several things on my credit report for more than a year, EVEN after providing back up documents to the credit bureaus, and they still refuse to remove them. So disputes DO NOT always work. I’m living proof.

Isn’t there some 30 day rule? IF you can prove that something is wrong you write the company, via certified mail, then in 30 days if they don’t respond, the account is totally removed? Anyone done this? I don’t know the details.

I know I recently read/heard this, look on the FTC web site maybe you’ll find it there. I’ll see if I can find the info here. Hope that was some help.


2 Payment Options – Please Help!

Hey guys i have an offer for a 2nd mortgage to consolidate some cc debt as well as pay off some other debt that is set up in a credit card counseling program. I don’t like the idea of a 2nd mortgage but this sounds pretty good because i can set it up to be paid in 6 years. I’m doing fine in the debt counseling program but it doesn’t cover this other debt that i have. Here are my two options. Which one looks better to you:

1) Continue with Credit Counseling:

Payment of $330 to be paid off in 4 years (balance is $12,186)this is with cc counseling.

other cc debt of $4200. I can get a loan against my 401k at work and make payments of $102 for 4 years. (interest 9.9 or 9.2 interse paid goes back into my 401k when paid off) TOTAL PAYMENT = $432.

2) Mortgage Co.

Payment would be $390.16 for 6 years for loan of $16,386.00 (interest 15.5 but i don’t really understand how mortgage interest rate is calculated) Total payment $390. Or i can go for 7 year payoff on this for Total payment of $355.

I realize it’s only a $42 difference and the credit counseling and the other loan for 4 years looks like the best option but i want to be sure I’m not missing something. With the mortgage co. i could do 7 years and not be under as much pressure to make the big payments but I’m trying to pay this off quickly and I’m already making the $330 every month anyway. I guess I’m just looking for assurance since I’ve made so many dumb mistakes in the past. Any advice would be appreciated.

I wouldn’t borrow from my 401K. I used to do it all the time and then recently I found out that by doing that, I was subjecting myself to double taxation. You are paying the money back with after tax money and then you’ll pay taxes again on it when you withdraw it at retirement. Also, if the worse happened and you lost your job, you would have to pay all that money back within 30 days or incur penalties and taxes. That should be your last and final option and then just realize the possible ramifications.


Never thought about the interest on my security deposit

I also rent. I’ve lived here for 10 years. Never thought about the interest on my security deposit. Is that the same as the last month’s rent my landlady has been holding? Or is a security deposit different?

How much interest might have accrued? Is it like a money market at 2-4%?

I think it’s on the security deposit but I’m not really sure. If you live in San Francisco, you can probably check with the renters’ board or some agency like that.

I see someone thing in your post that concerns me. When it comes to credit make sure that you are keeping at least 3 open trade lines, I work in the mortgage industry and I cannot tell you how many times Ive seen people have issues because of this. Most mortgage lenders require at least 3 trade lines with a 24 month activity cycle. Its smart to not carry a balance on those cards, but dont drop your FICO by not having any credit, that will hurt you when its time to buy a house.

Also, I don’t know about California, but here in NJ the landlord only has to give you passbook savings rates and can deduct one percent for his trouble.


Renting question

That may be so, but some of them out here ‘paid’ a security deposit. Used to be, when I rented, First and last, and a security deposit of something in the region of $150.00 (Yes, it was in the 70’s) Now, it is first and the deposit is about equal to the rent. Cheapest I found when looking for the heck of it a few months ago was $1,250.00 ‘Deposit’ on a rental for $1,300.00 monthly.

Either way, I have no family left so if I have a cc parked in my freezer or something, so mote it be. Not everyone wants to do this, but I like to think I learned my lesson about spending. Usually I go cash for things, only using a check card online for the edison company. All other bills and groceries is mainly cash from our roommate’s rent, my paychecks and thomas’ paychecks.

Anyway, that whole thing is down to an individual, and I shouldn’t be made to feel ‘wrong’ if I do something unlike someone else. I think everyone needs to find what works for them. What works for me probably won’t do much for you. You pay cash for stuff and leave the cc at home. I take my cc with me and leave the cash at home. If there’s cash in my pocket or wallet I’ll spend it all before getting home again. But with the card I’m a lot more careful. Also my cc has a $200 limit so I keep real close watch on how much I spend with it. This works for me but it wouldn’t work for other people. (I also pay off the card every month.)

In San Francisco, it’s the law that the landlord has to pay interest on the security deposit. Even though I own a house and may soon have income property, I loathe landlords as I worked 24 years for a guy who inherited a data processing company from his mother. Instead of paying decent wages, retirement and medical, he pocketed ALL the money and bought himself apartment units in the City and expensive cars.

I hope that I didn’t make you feel that way. It was never my intention. But, as stated before, I cannot justify taking on another bill that I may not be able to pay when it came time to do so. I am lucky enough to have a couple of family member’s that I could borrow from, if the need arose, but I try not to borrow from family (lasting results from previous loans). My family knows that when I have to borrow, which is always the last and final option, that I will pay them back large sum debts with income tax refund. Most don’t mind, and I thought others didn’t either until last year…..

Anyway, borrowing has caused unnecessary problems with me and one other family member, and I have made the decision not to borrow from them again. I will pay them back the minute amount that I owe with a smile next month, and be done with it.

I do see, maybe, a little justification in keeping a card, but not if I can’t pay the card off at the end of every month. Then, if the kids were to get ahold of it, I would be in so much trouble! I have been trying very hard to get out of debt, and know that I would create more for myself with a card. I have learned exactly what I can afford, what, to the penny I can spend at what business, basically to make sure I have at least 20.00 left until the next Friday. That is not to say I don’t splurge on occasion, because I do, but that just means no unnecessary trips the next week because I drive a suburban that takes lots and lots of gas.

Thanks for your input, and again, I hope that I am not the one who made you feel like you were “wrong”.


Need input

My neighbor and her husband recently ran up a credit card bill of $2500 @ 8% interest. Car repairs. They have enough money in the bank, part of their 6 month family emergency plan, to clear the debt.. The wife wants to “borrow” the money from their emergency account to pay off the cc debt and “pay back” the account each month. The husband wants to just pay off the card @ $150-$250 monthly until the card is paid off.

BTW, I’m favoring the wife’s plan, only because it won’t carry any interest payments. But, I can also see the husbands side. What if a real emergency hits? Health,lay off etc. Any suggestions? Input? Maybe pay 50% and carry 50%? Any input will be appreciated.

Car repairs are an emergency, that is why you have the fund. You borrow from yourself, not the credit card company. You pay yourself as if it is a debt (because it is), and if something else comes up, and you have to miss a payment what’s going to happen? You aren’t going to call and harass yourself,then jack up the interest and payments.:)

So pay all of the bill, ASAP, then pay yourself ASAP.

Financially it makes more sense to pay off the debt as they are losing money paying all that interest.Suggest the wife calculates all the interest paid to the credit card company till the debt is paid off.. have her show her husband that amount and tell him that they will actually make money by paying off the credit card from their savings and then repaying themselves monthly including the interest…… Why pay them when you can pay yourself. In any case they would still have the credit card line of credit in case that emergency comes up before they save all the money back. And they will be earning the interest instead.