Credit Counseling Articles

Resist the quick credit fixes

Despite several years’ worth of warning and repeated advice from officials of all stripes, companies offering “credit repair” continue to abound. There are steps you can take if you are in financial trouble that can one day help you improve your profile to potential creditors. But a credit score is part of your financial picture, not the entire picture. An improved credit score should be the effect of you meeting your goal of creating a financially responsible and secure life, not the goal itself.  It’s understandable why someone would be tempted to buy into a quick-fix program. Credit scores not only affect your ability to borrow, they can have a negative impact on insurance rates and can influence utility companies to ask...

Posted on Feb 21, 2014

Simple Resolutions Can Make for a Financially Successful 2014

If you’re in a position where New Year’s Day 2014 finds you in a better financial situation than you were at the beginning of 2013, even if only a little bit, congratulations! If your situation is not better, take heart. Making a positive difference doesn’t necessarily mean making huge changes. With it being resolution time as the New Year begins, understand that small changes can, in the long term, net big differences down the road. You might be in a situation where you feel only major life shifts will fix things, but consider talking to a credit counselor to discuss some of the smaller steps you can take that will improve your financial outlook. Some of the steps you can resolve to do...

Posted on Jan 01, 2014

Know Your Options Before Addressing Financial Problems

Your financial difficulties could already be severe enough that you are tempted to accept the first solution that comes along. However, there are pros and cons to bankruptcy, debt consolidation, debt settlement and most debt repayment options. It is important to talk to someone who knows the ins and outs of the credit industry and can offer educated recommendations on how to get out of debt. Debt problems typically do not materialize overnight. Nor do they go away quickly. Many people have benefited from having a credit counselor guide them through their debt repayment options. For those worried that talking with a credit counselor will add another bill, most counseling and education services are offered for free. If you decide a debt management plan...

Posted on Dec 12, 2013

For Moms Managing Finances Advice, Support and Hope are Available

A 2010 survey performed by researcher iVillage, found that an increasing amount of women are making the financial decisions for the entire household. The survey discovered 61% of moms are in charge of the family’s finances and 41% expressed they would like to be more educated when it comes to financial decision making. Only 37% responded that they would seek information from a financial advisor (Making the Case for Financial Literacy 1). There are many reasons people might not want to seek out information from a professional. Embarrassment, distrust, inconvenience and cost are some of the barriers people face. So what do you do? The solution may be easier than you think. American Financial Solutions is a trusted, non-profit credit counseling agency. Our...

Posted on Mar 11, 2013

Survival Plan for Maintaining Financial Stability during Sequestration

  Washington, DC – Sequestration is now in place, and along with it came a good amount of uncertainty, causing many Americans to wonder how they will be impacted.  By some estimates, more than one million employees of federal agencies may receive furlough notices.   Some workers are not adequately prepared to deal with a loss of income, even a short-term one.  For those living from paycheck to paycheck or without significant savings, any income interruption is likely to put them over the financial edge.    For example, consider the statistics below from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) Financial Literacy Survey:   ·         Thirty-three percent of respondents admit to not paying all bills on time; ·         Thirty-nine percent have zero non-retirement savings; ·         Thirty-nine percent carry...

Posted on Mar 04, 2013

Overspending and Under-saving Actually Same Problem

Washington, DC – The January poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website asked consumers if they had a spending problem, savings problem, neither or both.  The overwhelming majority, 62%, identified themselves as having problems related to both spending and saving. “The good news is that having a problem with both spending and savings is actually just one problem: spending,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC.  “The bad news is that overspending is often tied to deep-rooted behavior, making it very difficult to change.” Consumers are showing signs of a willingness to begin spending again, as according to Gallup, monthly spending hit a four-year high this past December.  As further proof of an increased comfort level with spending,...

Posted on Feb 04, 2013

NFCC Poll Reveals Majority of Consumers Admit Financial Problems are Self-Inflicted

  Washington, DC – According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) December poll, when asked if their personal financial problems were self-inflicted or the result of events beyond their control, the overwhelming majority of respondents, 63 percent, admitted responsibility for their financial woes. “The poll results are encouraging, as the first step to correcting a problem is recognizing it,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC.  “Taking ownership of financial problems empowers consumers, putting them in the driver’s seat to affect change.” There is no better time than the start of a New Year to change behaviors. To help consumers get on the right track for 2013, the NFCC offers the following 12 action steps which can either be implemented one...

Posted on Jan 02, 2013

Medical Bills: Finding the Right Help Is Critical for Eliminating Debt, Says American Financial Solutions

  When Mrs. Ramirez met with American Financial Solutions’ certified credit counselor Carmen Perales, she and her husband owed $30,000 in medical bills. Perales worked with the family to establish a budget and to understand all of their expenses, but that was not all they accomplished.  The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (visit our website to learn more), provides multiple benefits for consumers. Free preventative care, no waiting periods for care, and no maximum amount of benefits someone can receive in a lifetime. However, those benefits may come at a higher price for other services. Some insurance companies, medical providers and pharmaceutical companies are struggling to reduce their expenses...

Posted on Jul 03, 2012

A Quick Guide for Consumers on Credit, Debit, and Prepaid Cards from the FDIC

From the FDIC Below is a great guide developed by the FDIC. Use this guide to understand the difference in protections you have when using different types of credit, debit and prepaid cards.     Credit Cards Debit Cards Prepaid Cards What it is A credit card is a loan. A debit card is linked to your bank account and is issued by your bank. There are a variety of prepaid cards, including "general purpose reloadable" (GPR) cards which carry a brand of a card network (such as Visa or MasterCard) and can be used where that brand is accepted. Payroll cards and gift cards are two other types of prepaid cards. How it Works When you borrow funds using a credit card, you must pay the money back. You may...

Posted on Mar 07, 2012

Paying the Debts of a Deceased Relative: Who Is Responsible? (UPDATED)

We often hear from clients struggling to deal with debt collectors seeking repayment of debts incurred by deceased relatives. In most situations, you are not responsible for paying the debts of someone who has passed away. Exceptions maybe debts for which you are jointly responsible, accounts where you were the co-signer, or in community property (read “community debt”) states. Read on for some great information from the Federal Trade Commission, about your rights and responsibilities when faced with this situation. FTC June 2009 Paying the Debts of a Deceased Relative: Who Is Responsible? After a relative dies, the last thing grieving family members may expect are calls from debt collectors asking them to pay their loved one’s outstanding debts. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection...

Posted on Feb 13, 2012

 
Displaying  1 to 10 of 24