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How to Find a Good Debt Settlement or Credit Counseling Company in 8 Steps

The first step is to get a good understanding of the options available to you. Read as much as you can on how to get out of debt. Learn about how others have failed or succeeded at debt settlement, credit counseling, debt management plan and bankruptcy. Only then will you be able to face whoever it is who may try to sweet-talk you into signing up with him.

Step 2 will have you check all the options available to you before going to step 3 which is contacting three different organizations but be aware that all three will try to push their program as the best. Most of them are really sales people who are trying to make a living by earning a commission. Even the credit counseling agent will try to sell you their debt management plan.

Step 4 is know what a good company should do and don't make any commitment. A good agent should know all your debts both secured and unsecured ones. He should also create a plan that includes all your debts and income and the chances that the income will continue. At this point, no one should sell you anything where you will have to make monthly payment. Don't enrol on any plans if you are retiring in a decade and a half and you are not on track with your retirement savings.

The agent should also check if your debts are legal or are past the statute of limitation which no one can sue you for. He should also find out if the debt is valid because those that are sold and sold again are not valid and collectible. He should also find out in whose name the debt is for there is no need for both spouses to sign up if the debt is only on one person's name. Also he’ll check how long will it take you settle your debt and compare it with only 2 to 3 years for chapter 7 bankruptcy.

A good company should also review with you the options of an unsecured debt consolidation loan if you are on time with your payments and need help only on lowering how much you pay. The agent should also encourage you to talk to a qualified tax professional to see and understand if there is any tax consequence on possible agreement.

The agent should know what your goals are, if you want to avoid getting sued and just need a fresh start to get your debts paid as quickly as possible as well as your need to build an emergency and retirement funds plus any medical issues and adequate health insurance that may affect your financial health.

Avoid any company that does not have a complete understanding of all your goals and what your income and expenses look like, a budget that is not just based on estimates because then they are just selling you something based on wrong figures. So step 5 is know that the company should put you first by helping you learn all the options available and right for you.

Some companies will lie and mislead you about signing up for the best option like bankruptcy if that is the right thing for you by telling partial truths about it. It is not true for example that bankcruptcy will ruin your credit for ages. Whereas a good company will encourage you to contact other debt relief services.

A good credit counseling company will even encourage you to speak to a bankruptcy lawyer before you enroll in their program. Don\t rely on what they are selling you because they will tell you what they think you want to hear. But the good ones will not push you into signing up before you have researched everything.

Step 6 may have you choose the right company but make very sure that you can save money while you are making the payment at the same time. If you cannot do this both, then it is not the right option for you. This takes us to Step 7 which is take a breath and pause for awhile or sleep on it. Do not trust anyone who will tell you to enrol right away.

Step 8 is time to check out the company. Ask them such questions as what is their physical address, who the owners are, not just manager or supervisor's names. Ask them also proof of their performance and how much total fee are they charging you. There are many more things you can ask. I have a page on it in the website.

So there you are, you have the 8 steps. Avoid companies that will make you sign online and those that make you sign up on the first day of your contact with them. The contract you will sign is there to protect them not you regardless of what they say to you. So read the contract carefully to make sure it has everything you were told including the full fees and their refund policy.

Here is self help debt settlement simplified. This patent pending method of self help debt settlement was designed to provide consumers with all of the tools they need to negotiate with their creditors: Get the Tools You Need to Negotiate Directly With Creditors & Save Money!

The Truth About Debt

There is a parallel between the homeowners and student debtors face. It is not easy to get the proper authorities to talk to and they have a hard time to negotiate their loan. Then come the charlatans who prey on vulnerable people. Don't listen to their fantastic offer because the reality is there are only two solutions to the problem.

The first solution is to get an agreement with your creditor that will allow you to pay an agreed amount. This is called debt settlement and is good if used properly but most are not suited to this kind of solution which brings us to the second way that will give the debtor some power by law and it is called bankruptcy.

You see some people stay away from bankruptcy because of some misconception but really this is the way to erase all the debt because it will force the creditors to accept a repayment plan or erase the debt entirely. Contrary to what some people believe, it is easy to get your credit back but you will have to deal with the right attorney. If you stay on this website, I will give you the link to appropriate attorneys who will not scam you.

If you can afford to pay your debt, there are two other ways and that is through credit counselling (Monthly payment may be the same with reduced interest rate) and debt consolidation loan where both monthly amount to pay along with the interest rates may be reduced.) But don't sign up with just anyone blindly. There are steps you can follow before signing up so you can avoid being scammed. We will put them up in this alert section but if you're in a hurry, just contact me here but write that you want the steps before signing up on the dotted line.

That's the problem; people just don't have the correct information to stay away from financial trouble. It's been going on for ages where we see people suffering when with the correct information, this should not be the case.

Powerful and proven information works because many have used to regain a positive credit rating after years of negative credit reports due to bad money management. Put it to the test and get results once and for all.

This in depth guide to repairing your credit includes:

 Understanding the Law and Knowing your Rights.

 Understanding your FICO Score

 How to Read your Credit Reports

 How to Negotiate Directly with your Creditors

 The Best Disputing Methods To Remove Items

 Keeping Track of your Progress

 How to Effectively Restore Negative Credit

 Understanding The Credit Restoration Process

Here’s the link again: Get Out of Debt - Debt Busters System

Go to Dream College and Be $100,000 in Debt? A mad senior was conflicted about going to the college of her dreams and rightly so. After graduating top of her class and getting accepted to the dream colleges she applied to, she found out her financial aid will not cover her college education and that she would end up being 100,000 in debt. What made her feel bad was that just before she found out the cost, she was reassured that if money is a problem, the colleges have sizable funds to help out.

Just five months after, she was told they would not be able to accommodate her and that she would have to apply for private loans. If not, then they would have to award her place to a rich kid whose daddy could donate a significant donation to the college. This gave her the option to get in debt or pray to Gods to get her a job to pay off the $100,000 because she won't want her near-retirement parents to foot the bill. This left her no choice but to go to a state university.

So she plans to work hard, graduate at the top of her class, get a good job to start saving early so her own kids can go to their college of choice. I know this is hard to swallow but having a sense of entitlement that we can get everything we want is not really an option if it means it will take 20 years to pay for it.

College Financial Aid "secrets" For Parents Of College-bound Children New, Instantly-downloadable Book Reveals "closely-guarded" Secrets Of How To Slash College Costs Even If You Think You Won't Qualify. Nationally-known Attorney-turned-college Finance Consultant And Discloses Everything. 100-plus readable funny pages. Here's the link again: College Financial Aid "secrets" For Parents Of College-bound Children

How to Beat the High Prices Caused by the Coming Drought

An American Institute for Economic Research., Steve Cunningham warned that there would be drought in the US. In that case prices on a wide range of goods would sky rocket. Due to this, with the drought's only bright side of plenty of fruits, we should learn and do ways to lessen the pain.

1. Stock up on chicken and beef as these are expected to rise due to high feed prices that are expected to go up.

2. Eat fruits because the high temperatures have been good for them.

3. Prices for processed foods are also expected to rise because many of them have additive in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. They should be avoided anyway they are fattening.

4. Buy fruits, vegetables, eggs and poultry from the local farmers in areas not affected so much by drought.

5. Go for the healthier and cheaper alternative like oatmeal instead of the cereals that come in a box and fish instead of beef.

Stop Buying These Expensive Foods and What to Buy Instead to Save

Ingredients of good quality are usually the better products to buy but there are alternatives to expensive ingredients that can help cut corners. For example is coffee. You can easily save $30 a pound if you switch from Kona and Jamaica Blue Mountain to Jason Dominy and Papua New Guinea.

As for grating cheese, switching from the King of Italian cheeses, Parmigiano-Reggiano, to Pecorino Romano and Locatelli Pecorino Romano could save you $8 to $10 a pound while buying porcini mushrooms instead of morels will net you a savings of $26 a pound.

Instead of Basmati rice, opt for Jasmine and you can save $4.50 a pound while for liver spread, buying liverwurst instead of pate can save you $9 per pound. That’s it. Those cheaper alternatives to pricey ingredients can certainly help you balance the budget a little easier. And you’re not sacrificing taste and quality.

Credit Card Problems? Mortgage and Bank Accounts? Complain

The Consumer Financial Protection will listen to your complaint about credit cards, mortgage and bank accounts. It is there where you will find the complaint form. They will even listen to complaints about consumer and car loans as well as student loans.

In fact it just released the surprising result of the complaints they received about credit cards. It was surprising because they did not receive many complaints at all. And among the complaints the late fees were not in the top five. The top five complaints are on billing disputes, interest rates, protection for the credit card, closing and cancelling account and identity theft.

Here are links to the best mortgage rates, credit cards, and and banking online. This is just according to the experience of most people. Yours may be different so exercise caution and your best judgment.

How to Recession-Proof Your Retirement Income

You’ve saved a lot during your working years. You have money in IRAs and 401K so you think you can spend it but if you are not careful you could end up broke when you’re 85. Think of your savings as generator of monthly income. Invest it and just spend the interest and dividends or 2 invest it and be careful of drawing the principal or 3 buy an annuity.

To get income from interest and dividends, the latest is to invest in one of two Vanguard’s Wellington fund one of which is invested 65% in stocks and the rest in cash and bond investments while the second is 40% invested in stocks and the rest in cash and bonds.

This would enable you to keep your principal and survive the downturn. You would not need to make drastic changes. But make sure to get a second opinion, get everything in writing and ask questions to insure you will have enough money for the rest of your life.

How to Try to Get a Refund From a Debt Relief Company

There is a way to get a refund from a debt settlement company who you think may be trying to scam you. Here’s how: It may involve some work but carrying out the steps is just like someone said, “dropping a nuclear bomb on any business“. The first step is to write the company in question a certified mail, with return receipt requested.

Tell the company you are not happy with their services explaining why and that you want out and expect a full refund in two weeks or you will send a copy of your complaint to your State Attorney General, to the company’s State Attorney General, the local Better Business Bureau, your local consumer office, the Federal Trade Commission, the trade association the company is a member of and the local television station.

This should do it for now but if you want more, just say so in the contact form and write your questions or comment there. This will also allow you to receive the free monthly ezine I send to my readers entitled “Save Money Today Newsletter“. If you do not want to receive it, just click the unsubscribe link in the bottom of the first one you receive and you will never get one again.

$12,984--Increase in Debt Per Household Since First 2011 Bipartisan Spending Deal

This is scary stuff yet has to be told. We don’t want to go finger-pointing as to who is to blame for the mess we are in but any person objective enough should be able to say that the leaders of the country should act as role models for the rest of us.

That they should make sacrifices before the have-nots are asked to give up something is a prime example of role modelling that they can show us. After all, we should all stand up and help the country to get out of this financial crisis and it should start from the top.

Defuse Another Debt Bomb

It is all political, isn’t it? And I heard what the author suggested for the politicians to find a political compromise because we are tired of all this drama. What we want to hear is real help for these students. What people should remember though is what this article said that the only lawmakers who voted against lowering the interest rates are Republicans.

And one of them even said she has “very little tolerance for students who graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt, because there's no reason for that." I am glad the author reminded her that the "tuition and fees are 8.3% higher than last year and that a four-year degree costs an average of $33,000, not including room and board. Meanwhile, state and local support for higher education dropped $1.3 billion from 2007 through 2011." That’s nailing it right on the head. Good work Rhonda Swan!

“Secret” Government Programs Make Your student Loan Debt Vanish

Wow, this is such a big help. Can you imagine having Uncle Sam foot the bill for your federally backed student loan. How do we do this? For example for teachers, first go to which will give college graduates who teach full-time for five consecutive years, complete academic years in high schools and elementary schools for low-income families and meet other qualifications can have their loans of up to $17,500 in interest and principle on their federal education loans.

Then there’s the which will forgive your Direct Loan as long as you worked for 10 years at any of the three government You can also get your loan forgiven if you worked for a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization or for public services like public health, law enforcement and library, law enforcement. There are some requirements to qualify.

There are other forgiveness programs as well for nurses at as well as for the permanently disabled, the military student loan forgiveness program and this at The only thing is some forgiven loans are taxable as income but there are others that are tax free. This is the one I like the best. I tried to make the links clickable but it didn't work out. So just copy and paste. You can google the title to find the URL address.

Be a Grown Up Boy Scout: The Wilderness Survival Skills Everyone Should Know

I am a fan of this author and his posts. Are they ever so helpful! But this one on survival skills tops the list. Now I feel safer about getting lost in the wilderness. As long as I can start a fire and know where to get water, I will be okay. Thanks to him. Now how about having a debt survival guide?

Credit Card Debt
Someone asked a question whether a debt settlement company could help with credit card problem and this is what the expert advised. There are a lot of ways a debtor can be helped. Creating a good budget and contacting an approved credit counselling agency will help. If the situation is impossible, then the trained counselor may discuss the option of bankruptcy.

A debt settlement company is certainly not a credit counselling agency but a company that exists for profit. The charge a fee of 20% of the debt and collects it during the first half of the contract. They promise everything, then put a disclaimer in fine print. The consumer is asked to make monthly payment to a special bank account until there is enough money there to make a lump sum offer. Meantime they charge a fee and interest and penalties are added to what you owe. It caanot stop collection calls and the creditor may take legal action against you. It is better to solve the problem directly with the creditor. Credit Card Do It Yourself Debt Settlement!

Consumers Continue to Unload Debt
I am so proud of these consumers who are trying so hard to unload their debt. That's just the best thing we can do in this economy although it is also a good strategy during the good times. The same thing is happening to the credit card usage and the decline in the number of mortgage borrowers. The thing I don‘t understand is how come the property tax has increased for mine increased by over 13%? There does not seem any rhyme or reason for this. The sad part is the increase in student loan. What is a student supposed to do when a college education is an integral part of getting ahead? I am glad though they have that excellent video on how a student can save in their 20s. I'm sorry if Google does not show the whole story when you click it, but at least you know the gist of the story.

Business Sense: How To's of Buying Your First Home
Knowing all those outlined in the article makes buying the first home or first rental less daunting. We will know what papers to prepare for one thing and then get to know if we are ready to buy. Our finances will be clearer as we will know what to do with them even if this time around we do not qualify to buy our home. So we thanked the author for this eye-opener of an article that will surely put us on the right path.

Diminish Debt with DebtMinder
Note - this looks like it is loading with error when I tested it so if you want you can copy the following onto your browser:

What a great tool this is to help users to keep track of the dates when different bills are due. This will help them not to have to pay late fees as the tool will be like a reminder to pay the bill on a certain day so that it will arrive in time before the bill becomes past due.

How to Create Financial Security in Retirement
This is an excellent paper to read for those who are dreaming of retiring. I learned a lot from this article. I didn’t know there was such a thing as inoculating oneself from all the needless worrying that we do. Then there’s that anchoring thing that can help one put things in perspective.

U.S. Leaders Strike Debt Deal to Avoid Default /b>
I don’t know why it took them a long time to reach this deal. I am glad though the Republicans dropped their demand to have this debate again in six months. That would truly be dysfunctional then for how can they do the work for their constituents if all they do is debate on the debt ceiling?

Home Inspections

This is great advice for we know how busy we get so if we don’t know for sure what to look for we may just have to forgo home inspection. So I thank the author for giving us a heads up as to what to look for and what to expect from the home inspector. I wish there was some thing like this to inspect the credibility of the people you buy your house from for the owner of the house we bought scammed us with one month of maintenance fees and property taxes and this is with a lawyer for the closing date!

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