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Saturday, December 20, 2008

How To Dispute Experian

By Justin Hutto

To dispute Experian credit bureau a dispute letter must be sent. When the bureau receives your letter they will investigate the dispute.

I suggest you first get a copy of your credit report. This can be done by going to annual credit report. They will issue you a free copy of your credit report with each bureau annually.

Once you have received your credit report you need to identify what marks are incorrect. These are going to be the marks that you will dispute.

You can dispute these listings by writing a dispute letter and then mailing it to Experian credit bureau. When they receive your dispute letter they will decide if it is valid or invalid.

If your dispute is considered invalid you will get a letter from them requesting additional information about the dispute. You need to respond and provide them with the information requested.

However if your dispute is found valid they will conduct an investigation. During an investigation they will contact the creator of the listing and ask them to verify the account, the dates, and the amounts.

Frequently an investigation will result in the removal of a bad credit item. This happens because many businesses are not going to spend the time or money verifying a disputed debt.

You can also hire a credit repair service to dispute negative credit on your report too. If you choose this option you will only need to identify each mark you wish to dispute and they will do the rest.

In case an item is verified then a credit repair service can be very helpful because they have advanced dispute techniques. These include; creditor direct intervention, escalated dispute information requests, and debt validation.

If you only have minor damage on your report then I suggest repairing your credit yourself. However if you have multiple negative marks on your report I suggest a service. They can also help getting a valid dispute submitted to the bureaus.

You should also know that a dispute letter must be sent to each credit bureau. Failure to do this and the other two major credit bureaus will still show the negative listing even if Experian removed it from your report.

In sum negative items can be removed from your credit report. You do not have to live with the high cost of low credit.

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Experian Dispute

By Justin Hutto

To dispute Experian credit bureau a dispute letter must be sent. When the bureau receives your letter they will investigate the dispute.

The first step though is to get a copy of your credit report. You can get a free credit report once a year from each credit bureau. I suggest you go to annual credit report, they will provide you with your free copy.

Once you have received your credit report you need to identify what marks are incorrect. These are going to be the marks that you will dispute.

You will dispute the items by creating your dispute letter and mailing it to Experian credit bureau. Once they receive your letter they will determine if it is valid or invalid.

If they find your letter invalid you will receive a letter from them asking for more details about the dispute. You should respond accordingly and provide them with the information.

However if your dispute is found valid they will conduct an investigation. During an investigation they will contact the creator of the listing and ask them to verify the account, the dates, and the amounts.

Often investigations will result in removal of a negative mark. This is due to many businesses not verifying debts because it costs them money to do so.

Your other option to dispute bad credit is to hire a credit repair service. If you do hire a service all you will need to do is identify what items you wish to dispute.

The advantage of having a service is in case the listing is verified they have advanced dispute techniques they can use. These include; escalated dispute information requests, debt validation, and creditor direct intervention.

If you only have minor damage on your report then I suggest repairing your credit yourself. However if you have multiple negative marks on your report I suggest a service. They can also help getting a valid dispute submitted to the bureaus.

Be aware that you must send a dispute letter to each credit bureau. If you do not you may remove a negative mark from your Experian credit report however this mark will still be on your Equifax and Transunion credit report.

In sum negative items can be removed from your credit report. You do not have to live with the high cost of low credit.

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Choosing Which Debts To Pay First

By Ian Pelham

Prioritizing Debt

It is quite likely that if you are experiencing debt problems then you are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with your monthly debt repayments. Your income can only go so far and only some of your expenses can be reduced.

This leaves you with no choice but to delay or not pay some debts. Once you determine that you can't afford to pay all of your debts as they come due, you will have to make some hard choices as to which bills you should pay first. Your home or apartment, your utilities, your car, and even your household possessions may be at risk.

Following the rules in this chapter may make the difference between keeping or losing important property.

Do Not Take On More Debt To Pay Off Old Debt.

A short-term fix can lead to long-term problems.

Many people opt to take on new debt to pay off old debt instead of delaying or eliminating certain debt payments. Very rarely is this a good idea. The option to refinance or take on new loans and when, if ever, you should do so is discussed in a later article.

The main thing to do with too much debt is to decide which debts should be paid first, which you can refuse to pay, and which you can delay for a period of time.

The most important creditor to pay is not necessarily the creditor who screams the loudest or the most often. Creditors who yell the loudest often do so only because they have no better way to get their money.

Of more concern are creditors who not only threaten, but actually can take quick action against your home, utility service, your car, or other important assets.

Pay off creditors who can take the quickest action to hurt you, not those who yell the loudest and call the most often.

Your available resources should be used for the things most needed for your family - usually food, clothing, home and gas & electricity.

Unfortunately there is no magic list of the order in which these debts should be paid. Everyone's situation will be different. The rules in this article should be used as a guide as you make these critical decisions.

Debts with collateral are top priorities.

There is one thing you should bear in mind when deciding which debts to default on and which ones to make a priority to pay, and that is the idea of 'collateral'.

Collateral is defined as a physical object stipulated as being used as an object of value which will be recovered in the case where non-payment of a loan takes place, usually your home (mortgage) or car (car finance).

A creditor may also have collateral in your household goods, business property, bank account, or even wages. Collateral can take many forms. When a creditor has taken collateral for your loan, it has a "lien" on your property.

Determine which of your debts are 'secured' and which are 'unsecured'.

It is very nearly always the best policy to pay off your secured debts first. Creditors with collateral are secure in the knowledge that they can take the collateral from you and sell it to get their money back. That is why they are called 'secured creditors'.

Creditors without collateral are often referred to as "unsecured." It is usually hard for unsecured creditors to collect what they are owed unless you pay voluntarily.

The notion that 'secured debts' are the ones most vital to pay is a fairly simple one. The problem arises when you have a constant stream of debt collectors harassing you to pay unsecured debt, often distracting you from keeping the 'secured debt first' rule in mind.

It is extremely important to remember this concept as you make decisions about your financial future.

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Conquer Failure By Becoming A Student Of Application In Your Life

By Christina Helwig

While reading a book a few weeks ago, I saw something very basic to the entire topic of self improvement. I understood so much more clearly why even though I have deep knowledge of this material, I have not been able to produce the results I desired in my life until now.

For years my focus has been on learning and understanding this information; not their twin sister - application. I have spent hours reading, studying and taking notes on these topics. Those hours moved me light years ahead mentally but they did nothing until now for my physical, daily environment. I have been so intent on getting my mind around these concepts that I failed to pay attention to the most crucial aspect of this process = personal action.

Throughout "Think and Grow Rich" Napoleon Hill gives his readers many action steps to complete and several daily tasks to perform. I always thought "I will read the entire book and then go back and DO what he suggests." This was a HUGE mistake. Even if I was not in the right position, those action steps would have moved me closer to my dreams and would have begun the process of building up my self-esteem, self-confidence and my level of awareness of my innate ability to handle my big life goals. And, I incrementally would have been moving closer to what I desired, even if it was only a little bit at a time. I have since become an active student of the application of these concepts. It is only through action that I prepare the way and the method by which I can receive what I want in my life.

Please stop just reading about improving yourself and really think about whether you need to become an "active" student of "application" in your life. You learn the methods or the "certain way" only by doing, not by studying. Studying allows you to understand the process but to learn and internalize material you must act on all things that Napoleon Hill, Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor, Wallace Wattles and all the other personal growth authors tell you to do.

"Take the first step in faith and the rest will be revealed to you." Wallace Wattles. Take is a verb. A verb requires action. Recently I came up with an idea to help law students. I did not have the product finished or know all the details of what I wanted to include in my product. I did not know the distribution method or how I would advertise the product. But, I took action. I called my mentor and booked an appointment with her to talk about my idea. As the month ticked down I worked on my presentation, read some more material and got more ideas.

When I finally went in to talk to her in person she loved my idea. I only showed her a short snapshot of the project and she ended up booking me to teach to over 70 students in a month and a half. All of this happened because I did not wait until everything was "perfect," "complete," "just right" or "totally finished." I acted on my idea and my idea produced results. As I continue to take action on this project the next steps and new ideas keep coming to me. The project gets better and better and will help many people in the near future.

You can do this too. Stop waiting for the time to be right and just start working on your ideas. Without action nothing will happen. You will continue to pile up self-help books and seminar tickets and you will blame the books and speakers for not helping you. They are helping you; they are giving you the tools you need to move forward. Since they are not there to hold your hand when you act, you have to do it on your own. Remember small steps add up to big results. Last year I climbed Half Dome in Yosemite and I did it one step at a time. Sometimes it was hard, and sometimes it was fairly easy, but every step was important because it moved me closer to my goal.

I know this may seem very basic but taking action is fundamental to your progress and can delay or completely hinder your efforts if you do not pay attention to making things happen instead of just thinking about things happening. Like yin and yang: learning and application go hand in hand.

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Real Estate Investing: Working with the Changing Market

By Bob Brabb

The current state of the economy and the housing market has created a unique opportunity for the homeowner and real estate investor.

If you are considering taking advantage of the opportunity, you will find the following information to be helpful:

Finding Great Deals

Look closer at the current situation in today's real estate market, which I call "The Perfect Storm" We have an over-abundance of bank owned properties and foreclosed homes The economy is down; many are unemployed Interest rates have recently hit record lows

We are in a buyer's market! There are many great deals available on real estate in all types of neighborhoods across the nation. You would be surprised at how low some of the asking prices are for houses.

Taking Action

So, how do you get started if you are limited on funds to invest or if you already work full time? If this is something new for you, the best thing you can do to ensure success is to work with a real estate investing professional. A partnership with an investor who has knowledge and expertise in the market can help you maximize your real estate investing experience. Team up with a professional who provides top notch service so that your business grows and thrives.

Providing a great real estate service generates more business through client referrals; referrals are a key to an investor's success.

A good real estate professional will understand today's market and how to help you save time, recognize opportunities and make money. Attempting to get started on your own could set you up for financial loss and liability risk.

There are plenty of on-line real estate investors and listings for great deals, which are accessible to the general public; there are also data bases for licensed agents who pay for the service. Your real estate agent will have access to the necessary tools and will possess knowledge of the latest technology so you will be the first to be informed about great real estate buys.

Closing the Transaction

Realtors use many strategies to help their clients finalize their transaction, whether purchasing bank owned properties, HUD homes, wholesale deals or negotiating a short sale. A real estate investing professional knows how to structure many types of transactions for a successful closing.

Locating a Realtor

There are realtor directories on line; you can talk to family or friends who have recently purchased a home or invested in real estate. Join a local real estate investors association and attend their meetings. Attend seminars and workshops for real estate investors.

The market is ripe for real estate investing; supply is quite high and few are buying; therefore, the prices are great. Work with an experienced real estate professional who can act as a mentor if you are new to investing. Even experienced real estate investors benefit from forming partnerships.

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Daytrading Mindset - The Real Key

By Doug West

We have taught nearly 1,000 people how to daytrade the mini-Dow or S&P emini index. Of those traders, nearly all were able to successfully trade our simple index strategy on their demo accounts (we only know of 2 exceptions that reportedly could not even get consistent on the demo. One man claimed that every single trade he made was a loss. In my mind that would be as hard to do as to make profit on every trade).

If your day trading strategy is consistently successful on your demo account, then what is the difference when you go live? Mindset! It all boils down to that in your trading (in my opinion this is true of life in general, but you see the results immediately in trading - especially day trading).

I really hate to call what we do as index traders, day trading. That is only because of the negative connotation the term brings to mind. Stock trading is what most people think of when they hear the term day trading. Regardless of what type of trader you are, you will have to come to terms with the fact that each trade depends on YOU. What frame of mind you are in at the time you place those trades will have a HUGE impact on how many of those trades are successful.

Most traders think that it all boils down to the technical and/or fundamental analysis of the markets. This is where they spend all their time and money, but they never get around to working on the mindset. They feel the real key is in becoming a great market analyst. However, the world is FULL of good market analyst (just watch CNBC or Bloomberg for examples) who are not able to trade. They too didn't have the right mindset and had to take jobs instead.

So what is the right mindset for a trader (or day trader)? That would take volumes of articles to answer. A good start is to read Mark Douglas' book "Trading In The Zone". Don't end your mindset training there, but it is a good start.

Another good exercise is to keep a traders diary. Write down what you were thinking and how you were feeling as you made your trade. Do this immediately after the trade so that you can be as accurate as possible. Do this on winning trades and on unsuccessful ones too. You should notice that on your winning trades everything felt easy and sure. Once you notice the difference, don't enter trades unless your mind is in the correct frame!

It's amazing how the human mind is able to pick up on the overall mood of the market. Douglas calls this being "In The Zone". We have always referred to it as getting a "Market Feel". Some traders have felt that it was impossible, while others gain that market feel advantage rather quickly. The difference is always in the mindset of the person. Some people are naturally much more in tune with their emotions, and they don't let them effect their mind while trading.

Many traders get hung up in all the technical tools that are available today. They reason that if they can just add the right tools, they will become successful traders. After working with hundreds of traders over the years, I can tell you for certain that you will NEVER be successful unless you have the right mindset.

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Pros and Cons to Negotiate Debt Settlement

By Dillon Azungen

Are you drowning in debt and considering debt negotiation? Debt negotiation has a bad connotation but does it affect your credit that badly? There are pros and cons to debt negotiation and there are alternatives. Here are some things to consider which will help you decide if debt negotiation is right for you.

First, you need to educate yourself on debt negotiation since there is a lot of misinformation out there. Debt negotiation is also known as debt arbitration or debt settlement. A third party negotiates with creditors and lenders on a payment plan and decreased interest. The creditors will put further credit to you on hold so you won't be able to use your credit cards until after your debt is repaid. After that, it is up to the creditor to decide if you should regain credit approval and if so, how high of a limit.

Lenders will usually only lower your rates and give you a break on fees if there is a reason. If they can be shown you're personal finances are not in a position to make the agreed upon payments then they will usually negotiate. They would prefer to negotiate rather than turn your account over to a collection agency.

Some people think that your credit report is unaffected by debt negotiation. This is not the case however. Your negotiation is reported and shows as such on a report. This is why debt negotiation should be used only if you can't otherwise pay off your bills. If you're finding yourself paying your lenders late and incurring fees then this will hurt your credit rating more than negotiation. And if you end up declaring bankruptcy then this can be even worse.

Before debt negotiation you should first find help with your budgeting and learn about other options by seeking a credit counseling service. A credit counselor can give you the information you need to help reduce your payments and get your finances back on track. They will tell you what will affect your credit rating, what will not and recommend what steps you should take. They can also help you with credit consolidation.

To find a credit counseling service search the internet or the yellow pages. Be careful since there are some that are not as helpful or legitimate as others. There are some that are supported by the government which are legitimate and should be researched first. A legitimate service will usually have a free consultation face-to-face and will be upfront about their services and fees. Don't sign anything until you are comfortable with their terms.

Don't think that since debt negotiation will tarnish your credit report that you should give up and let your account go to collection agencies. Ignoring the problem will make things much worse.

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Free Credit Repair Service - It Does Exist And Where?

By William Blake

Free credit repair services defy the notion that nothing in life is free. It is possible to find credit repair service that offer their services free of charge. There are not many of them and to work for you they require that you meet certain guidelines that they have established. To locate a free credit repair service is not an easy task. It will take some searching, but they do exist.

Sometimes if you luck out, you may come across someone that is just learning how to start a credit repair service and they are able to help you at no cost. This type of free credit repair service helps not only the customer but also the person trying to get their feet wet in the business.

Of course a person like this is not easy to come by. But it doesn't hurt to talk to others who may know of someone starting up their own business. This is a situation that you will have to search for but it may prove to be worth your effort. It could be a great savings for you.

Other Ways To Find Help

Another way to get free credit repair service is to advertise in the paper or in an online advertising site that you are willing to trade. Maybe you have something that you want to sell or trade in return for a free credit repair service.

There may be someone out there that can offer you free credit repair services as a trade for you teaching them how to sew or play guitar. When you open your imagination then there is no telling what can happen and how quickly your can find yourself the help that you are in need of.

If you have a friend or someone in the family who has experience in this sort of thing you may be able to get some free credit repair services from them. Maybe they worked for a company before that offered credit repair services and they learned all the tricks of the trade.

If there is no one who has a job related to credit repair maybe there is someone who has needed such a service in the past. Through their personal experience they may have acquired sufficient knowledge to be able to work with you to repair your credit. They can teach you what they know and down the road you may have the opportunity to do the same for another person who finds himself in a similar situation.

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What To Consider Before Consolidating Your Debt

By Glen Stroude

Debt consolidation provides different benefits. To effectively utilize it as a solution, it is necessary to know what it is and the mechanics of consolidating your debt. Managing one's finances might become easier as a result.

By consolidation your debt, all your debt will be channeled through a single creditor, who will be a credit counseling firm. The creditor will become the sole party that you deal with, instead of the many individual creditors that you had before. You will only have to pay a monthly payment off your debt each time to the credit firm.

On the surface, there are no significant differences, but consider the advantages that debt consolidation may provide.

Which would be more manageable in any situation - having a single periodic payment, or various payments made to different creditors? The former eases the burden of larger scale tracking, and can reduce the possibility of late payments. Dealing with the many creditors is also handled by the credit counseling firm, and that can take off a huge load off anyone's mind.

Consolidating your debt through a single creditor normally comes with an overall lower interest rate. This is often offered by the credit counseling companies. The lower interest rate will result in a reduction of overall debt, which must be a very attractive proposition for anyone.

Your monthly payments will also come in the form of lower amounts compared to not consolidating debt. This is the direct benefit of having lower interest rates attached to the loan. The extra cash will come in handy as you use it to better manage your financial portfolio.

An important benefit from consolidating your debt is the instant positive effect it has on your credit rating. Your debt exposure is considered to have lessened. Risk is therefore reduced considerably, providing improvements in credit scores. There are other advantages from this, such as giving you access to loans in the future that might be required.

If your finances need some housecleaning as a result of a worsening debt situation, consolidating it could offer advantages that can improve the situation. It will assist in managing your finances, and provide some order and discipline to repaying your loans. With the worsening global economic conditions, that is something that cannot be ignored.

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Exit Strategies for Upside Down Mortgages

By ED Knightley

I'm not afraid to admit that I was one of the millions, caught up in the frenzy of the "easy refinance." Some of us bought cars, some of us went on luxury vacations. I bought some investment houses. Either way, were all in the same boat: Stuck in bad loans with increasing payments, and not able to refinance due to the sagging housing prices. Let's face it, most of us aren't going to qualify for loans if the house is worth less than we owe. So what are our options? Keep juggling and hang on? Dump the house and take the loss? Who can we trust to help us?

I haven't missed any payments, but I'm getting tired and my savings is circling the drain. I'm not going to be able to do this balancing act for much longer. I've stuck with my commitments until now, but I need help. I've got to find a way to fix this mess, and look at all of my options, and cut a deal with the banks. I've never been in this position before, and sometimes I think the banks would be more willing to deal, if I HAD missed a few payments!

My personal "end of the rope" was when my rental homes had each reached over $100,000 in depreciated loss. I figured that even if I kept making the payments, and the market rebounded, I'd be a slave for many years. In other words, if the market suddenly started appreciating again at the same rate or faster than "the good old days", let's say 15% a year, it would still take me 6.6 years to just regain the loss. No appreciation, no recovery of expenses, insurance, tenant hassles, taxes, etc. Just pumping most of my paycheck down a black hole. At one point, it just doesn't make sense anymore. The actual situation is probably worse because in this economy, the days of 15% appreciation are long gone! So what do I do?

That's what I had to ask myself, and the professional I talked to. Maybe your in the same boat as me. Maybe your house is worth a lot less than you owe on it. I researched and talked to real estate attorneys, realtors, and CPAs. Here is what I found out, and I hope my story can help you make your own decision.

1. Keep juggling the payments and keep the faith! This option is really subject to your income and monthly expenses. The question for me was if I was willing to hack it for 10 years. Who knows though . . . . it may take longer depending on when the market actually begins to recover. In reality, it will probably take MUCH longer. You know what they say, "You can't time the market!"

2. Loan Modification is another option. This is a fairly painless process where you contact your bank and they send you a hardship package. This is a big stack of forms where you try to look as poor as possible, documenting your income and expenses. You simply send the package in and wait . . . . . and wait. . . . . .and wait. Finally they'll give you a reply with a possibly lowered interest rate and terms.

3. Short Sale: You could call this a pre-foreclosure sale. Your late on a few payments, and the bank takes a serious look at you and threatens foreclosure. You find a realtor to represent you and present the hardship package. The realtor prices the home at a substantial discount and finds a buyer. He presents the offer to the bank, and the bank usually accepts the deal, which is a preferred position for everyone. The bank is always interested in short sale instead of foreclosure as it saves them 10s of thousands of dollars in hassle and legal fees, and allow both parties to move on to new business. You should remember that there are still negative ramifications for short sales, even if less damaging than those associated with foreclosures and/or bankruptcy. However, short sales do carry less negative credit effects than foreclosures. Short sale sellers are widely seen as less risky than foreclosed sellers. Case in point, Fannie Mae recently adjusted their guidelines to dictate only a two year waiting period for a short sale seller to buy another primary residence, while they extended the waiting period for foreclosures to five years.

4. Deed in Lieu of a Foreclosure. This is the second to the last resort for you, and a solution the bank doesn't particularly like. This is an option where you hand over the house and the bank has to sell it to recover their costs. As part of the deal, the bank let's you off the hook for the loan, and promises to never come after you for any outstanding debt. All of this is negotiated by your rep, and it's all settled by contract.

5. Foreclosure: This is the final option and if you like to go to court, then this is the option for you. In foreclosure, the lender first sends you a summons to appear or foreclosure complaint. The borrower responds to prevent foreclosure and explains the problems at a hearing. The borrower can this point you can still pay the full amount and get the house back during this redemption period. After the redemption period is over, the lender sells the property a public sale or auction and getting as much as they can (or settle for). Any excess goes to you, the original owner/borrower. If the sale amount is less than the loan amount, and in your case it probably will be, you will still owe the balance to the lender. This amount is determined as a result of deficiency proceedings. So as you can see, as we go down the line, the options get worse and worse! As far as my situation, I have to walk away from at least 3 houses. I'm losing a hell of a lot of money, but I'm getting my life back.

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There Are Worse Things In Life Than Student Loan Debt

By William Blake

Although the media and financial institutions have been reporting about how crippling student loan debt is to modern American graduates, there are worse things in life. Because of the economy, everything costs more, especially a college education. Don't get pressured into taking advice from questionable sources about paying off your student loan debt. Unlike other things in life, there is always hope for paying off your student loan debt.

Interest Rates and Averages

In 2006, the average student loan debt of an American 4 year college graduate was $20,000. The first payment on these loans is normally six months after graduation, whether you have a job or not. This statistic is incredibly scary at first read. It seems like you can't win no matter how hard you try because of student loan debt.

The sad reality of the matter is that anyone who has been born into a modern American or European household has been doomed since the day they were born to pay immense amounts of taxes to the government of the country where they live. In fact, you should feel better when you think about how insignificant student loan debt is when compared to the debt people get into when they purchase a home.

Financial institutions will always try to charge you an interest rate on any loan as high as they possibly can, especially at first. This is because the bank earns money by means of the interest they charge. As times go by, however, the bank will become more willing to lower your interest rate.

Your Situation Is Not Hopeless

Once you have held down a solid job for a period of time and you can prove to your lenders that you are a low-risk borrower, you will be more able to successfully negotiate a lower interest rate on your student loans. It might also be advantageous for you to contact one of the many non-profit organizations and speak to one of their debt specialists. They can help you with consolidation loans. They also offer money management classes.

A $20,000 student loan debt, believe it or not, isn't that much. You can conceivably pay it off in comfortable monthly installments in about five to seven years. That's a lot shorter than a mortgage. You might be even rewarded with a refund if you are able to make more than your minimum payment per month.

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Learn More About Credit Card Offers

By Darren Cason

It is very important to compare credit card offers. The first thing you need to do is look at the fine print in the Terms and Conditions, where you can learn more about the card offers. Although some providers advertise cards with no annual fees or zero percent APR, the fine print can often tell a different story.

Another area to look at is the credit card company's policy on fraud liability. The fine print can often lay out stipulations which could mean that you are responsible for some of the charges if your card is used for fraudulent uses. Also consider the APR, since some ads claim to offer zero percent during an introductory period, but the fine print sets out limits on the use of the card in order to qualify for the zero interest period.

Cash advances are another thing to consider before applying for a card. Many cards charge up to 31.99 percent APR for cash advances, which is a very high interest rate. In fact, this is the highest allowed by law. Some card providers even go beyond this rate, believing that they will not be caught.

Be careful of catchy ads, because they can lure you into a card that may not be the best deal for you. Carefully investigate any credit card company before you apply for their card, to make sure that the card is legitimate. This will save you many hassles in dealing with the company later. There are many scam companies out there, especially those that offer credit cards regardless of your credit history if you give them a small deposit. These types of companies are illegal, because credit checks are mandated by law. Be sure you know how to spot a legitimate offer before you begin applying or redeeming chase card or other credit cards..

Snail mail credit card ads are often from illegitimate companies, and you should always toss these ads. Even the ones from legitimate credit card companies like MasterCard, Visa, or American Express should be thrown away. You should do your own research, rather than applying for cards based on heir ads. All cards offer unbelievably great deals according to their ads, but these offers are often negated by the fine print in their terms and conditions.

Finally, make sure you know exactly why you need a credit card. Determining whether you will need cash advances and whether you can and will pay your balance in full every month can impact which card is the best choice for you. There are many options, including those with rewards points or cash back programs. What you want from a credit card will change which card you should choose.

Lastly, use your card wisely. It can be great for paying bills, purchasing necessities when cash is low, or for use during emergencies. However, be sure to use it responsibly.

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Student Loans - Graduate and Undergraduate Financial Aid

By William Blake

Whether you are in your first 4 years of college or are attending graduate school you are paying several times more for your college education than your parents and grandparents paid. This increase makes it difficult for students. But there are programs out there that give much needed assistance.

Initially a college student may avail himself of many different programs to pay for college. There are student loans, grants and scholarships and some students must take advantage of all three.

Stafford loans are very popular and there are two types. The unsubsidized loan is a bit more expensive because you are responsible for accrued interest from the very beginning of the loan. Though they cost more, these types of Stafford loans are easier to qualify for. A subsidized loan in which the government makes your interest payments until 6 months after you finish college are of course less expensive because you save on all that interest. However, these loans have stricter requirements, offered only to low-income families.

Here are some websites you can visit to see what you might qualify for: and

Graduate students have to work a bit harder for financial aid. Graduate school is more expensive and less scholarship opportunities are available. Typically a graduate student has to work as a research assistant or other employment related to their major to pay their tuition.

In recent times the PLUS loan program has been extended to graduate students. In the past this program was restricted to parents of undergraduate students. Now it has been expanded to include graduate students and rather than making the loan to parents the money is loaned directly to the student.

PLUS loans have several advantages.

First, they're available. Since they're based on credit quality, not need-based, most borrowers can qualify. Relatively few grad students have had time to get into the credit binds that working adults often fall into. As a result, though their history may be sparse, they usually have few bad marks on their credit report. That makes the decision easier for college financial aid officials, who determine eligibility.

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The Advantages of Debt Consolidation

By Chad Obenken

There are many advantages to securing a debt consolidation loan when you have bad credit, not the least of which is alleviating the anxiety and stress that accompany an unmanageable level of personal debt. As the level of debt in your life creeps up to an unacceptable level, depression and physical health concerns are not uncommon. Debt consolidation can be the light at the end of the tunnel that will restore you to sanity and good health.

In addition to improving your credit score, debt consolidation can relieve the pressure you may be facing from one or more collection agencies, which have been known to use stress-inducing methods to achieve their goals. If you could roll all of these stressful obligations into one manageable monthly payment, you would begin to feel human again, and with each successful payment, you would feel your dignity restored. At the same time, you would be protected from harassment by the collection agents.

There are specialized debt consolidation loans for people who have fallen into a bad credit situation. As your financial situation deteriorated, most likely you defaulted or were late on several of your loan payments, and each problem payment has a detrimental effect on your credit score. After enough of these problems, you would not be able to qualify for a regular debt consolidation loan, due to your poor credit rating. This can leave you between a rock and hard place, financially speaking.

These debt consolidation loans for bad credit would accept your application even with a low credit score, pay your bills on time every month, and in the process, increase your credit rating a little bit with each payment. In a year or less, you would regain not only your credit rating, but your financial reputation and self-respect.

The companies that offer debt reduction programs would negotiate with each of your creditors to get your credit terms revised to the best possible interest rate and repayment schedule. They can often negotiate down any late payment fees or penalties that are due on the account. This creates a win-win situation for everyone. The creditor gets paid, and you end up with a lower monthly payments and a restored credit rating. Each month, you would pay the consolidation company one payment that is lower than the sum of all the payments that were due before. This allows you to get out of debt as fast as possible while at the same time giving you more available cash to spend living rather than paying to credit card late fees and interest.

So, don't let the depression related to over-indebtedness keep you from getting a consolidation loan today to begin improving your financial situation, stress level, and mental health.

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You Can Get The Best Insurance Coverage For Your Money.

By Susan Tanner

Insurance can be defined in business as the transfer of your risk to another company that you can pay to accept and absorb part of all of the risk for you. It's important in today's economic conditions to research and apply for the best insurance rates and coverage for your money. The following tips in this article will help you get the best insurance you can possibly get for your budget.

Auto insurance is mandatory in several states, and is often an unavoidable part of driving, so it's important to do your research to get the best quote for you. One good way to find a good insurance company is by asking people like you, such as family and friends, where they buy their automobile insurance. Make sure you check with people who are your age and have similar driving history.

You can also comparison shop for insurance over the internet. Some companies offer to look up other companies' prices to find the customer the best deal. Sometimes you can get a discount by signing up online, rather than in-person with a broker or over the phone. This saves that company money in man hours and paper so they kindly pass those savings on to the consumer.

A good starting point is to look at the coverage required of you by state law, and use that information to determine what you need. Some people only need what is required by law, but if you are still paying off your car, or if you have a lien holder, the price will be higher because you will be required to carry more insurance, including both comprehensive and collision coverage, most with deductibles smaller than $500. If you do have a lien holder, it might be possible to talk with them to get them to reduce the amount of coverage they require.

Always remember to ask your insurance representative where you can save more money. In fact, ask him multiple times. A broker may not offer you discounts that you qualify for unless you ask, because insurance companies are there to make money. You can receive discounts for conditions such as driving quality, education, auto clubs, employment, or if you have a child in your home.

It's very important to keep a clean driving history, with no accidents, tickets, suspended license or other violations when considering how to get inexpensive automobile insurance. Accidents are one of the biggest causes of increased automobile insurance, and being a careful driver will keep your rates low over time.

Think when you buy your car. If you buy an expensive death trap of a vehicle, your insurance will go up a lot. The safer and more inexpensive your vehicle is, the lower your insurance rate will be. Make sure you buy a car that is reliable and reasonably priced with good safety ratings.

Make sure you shop around for your insurance. Know what kind of insurance you want and need, research for better quotes, ask lots of questions about discounts, be a safe driver all the time, and make sure you think your decision over. Following these simple steps can go a long way in ensuring you get the best rates and coverage for your dollar.

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Credit Repair - secrets Revealed

By Daniel Fox

Out of all of the reputable E-Books you can purchase online, the publics "Credit Repair E-Book" of choice these days (according to sales and web traffic), is Consumer Victory Credit's - Credit Restoration E-Book. This particular E-Book is definitely becoming more and more popular on the web. This Do-It-Yourself Credit Repair E-Book was written by a seasoned Mortgage Banker, familiar with the ins and outs of the consumer credit industry's mind set. This in itself brings a lot to the table so to speak, which translates into a huge advantage for anyone who utilizes this information. This no-brainer how to E-Book includes every type of dispute letter you will ever need, debt and money management (in plain English), how to stop the collectors from harassing you, and much more.

After reading this E-Book, it becomes clear that this author is highly knowledgeable in the consumer credit repair field (the consumer side and the creditor/bureau side). The Author also points out what banks and creditors look for in a consumer, trying to obtain a loan or credit card. This E-Book was written with one group of people in mind: the credit challenged population with moderate budgets. It evens reveals seasoned trade-line secrets, with out paying the $2,300.00, mentioned above. The best part is that they are there 24/7 with any questions you may have. That's what sold me!

This means doing it yourself. Spend some time researching the possibility of repairing your credit yourself. All it takes is a little patience, time, and a little know how. You could invest $25-$35 on a "How To" credit repair book from your local book store. The only problem with a traditional paper back book is the fact that, the credit law changes frequently. This will allow room for non-intentional error and indirect misinformation in your credit repair process. This could result in time wasted and more importantly money wasted.

All it takes is a little patience, time, and a little know how. You could invest $25-$35 on a "How To" credit repair book from your local book store. The only problem with a traditional paper back book is the fact that, the credit law changes frequently. This will allow room for non-intentional error and indirect misinformation in your credit repair process. This could result in time wasted and more importantly money wasted. This means doing it yourself. Spend some time researching the possibility of repairing your credit yourself.

That's why I find E-Books to better suit the "moderate budget" consumer's needs. E-Books are much cheaper, and frequently and easily updated. There is only a hand full of reliable Credit Repair E-Books on the internet today. It may not seem that way when you do a Google search for such keywords as: credit repair e-books or credit repair e-kits.

The Author also points out what banks and creditors look for in a consumer, trying to obtain a loan or credit card. This E-Book was written with one group of people in mind: the credit challenged population with moderate budgets. It evens reveals seasoned trade-line secrets, with out paying the $2,300.00, mentioned above. The best part is that they are there 24/7 with any questions you may have. That's what sold me! After reading this E-Book, it becomes clear that this author is highly knowledgeable in the consumer credit repair field (the consumer side and the creditor/bureau side).

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Misinformation Rampant in Reverse Mortgage Lore

By Xerine Raziel

A realtor called me the other day. I was marketing the new reverse mortgage purchase money available after the first of the year.

The realtor lady showed interest in the purchase program, but before getting needed answers, she decided to go into a long drawn-out story about a person wronged by a reverse mortgage company.

First things first... The rule is you must complete this article. You can't just read what happened and then stop before I can explain. We can't have you running about telling everyone else how horrible the reverse mortgage is.

Like most stories that may not be true the story is told second, third or fourth hand. In this case, the agent had a girlfriend, who's friend's father had a reverse mortgage on his home. After his passing the home made it's way into the hands of the FOAFOAR (I'm going to use this acronym for the Friend Of A Friend Of A Real estate professional).

Well, more money was owed to the lender, at the time of his death, than the home was worth. According to the realtor the mortgage company required repayment of the entire amount owed.

To repay the reverse mortgage lender the FOAROAR sold the property and had to come out of saving an addition 40 thousand dollars to cover the deficiency.

Did this happen? I seriously doubt it. The reason is reverse mortgages are known as non-recourse loans. This means in the circumstance of the FOAFOAR the mortgage company cannot come after the heirs for the difference.

In the circumstance of a deficiency or negative equity the borrower or estate conduct the sale of the property as follows....

The mortgage company will require a real estate agent to list and market the property for sale. In the process the realtor will furnish comparable properties so the mortgage company knows the property will be sold at a fair market value. Eventually the home is sold and the lender is repaid the sale price less closing costs.

HUD makes the rules and the lender is entitled only to these proceeds from the sale of the home. If the loan balance exceeds the net proceeds, it's tough cookies for the lender. They have to write it off and go on their merry way.

This is one of several myths flying about regarding the reverse mortgage. The reverse mortgage may be a strong tool for you to utilize, or a poor choice given your circumstance. But don't assume you know until you really know. Call a professional or two first.

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Potect Yourself From Identity Theft

By Landon McGehee

Immediately upon becoming aware that your identity has likely been stolen, it's easy to begin to panic. This is the wrong reaction and should be repressed. Calm yourself down and consider your options. You'll need a clear head to minimize the damage done to your finances and credit. Here are the steps to take, one at a time, to stop the theft from getting out of hand:

First, contact your local police department to report the crime. Give them all the information you can. They will likely refer you to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to continue your report. File with both of those agencies as well. This allows the police on a local level to look into the matter while coordinating with the federal authorities. The FBI and FTC will likely want your local police's case number, which you should have received when you first reported to them.

In addition, reporting to the FTC (or their Consumer Alert website) will alert the three credit bureaus and put a Fraud Alert on your reports, which means that no new credit cards or other lines of credit can be obtained on your account for three months. Fraud Alerts are non-specific, however, and merely note to creditors that something illegal has happened involving your credit-whether that illegal activity otherwise involved you or not is left up to question. This is not a total blockade either and still allows a thief to use your existing credit.

Often the FTC requests that you change the passwords and access information for your accounts, but leave them open so they can monitor for thieves. While this seems like a good idea and it will help them catch the thief, it also leaves your accounts open to more fraud that you may or may not get reimbursed for. Most people opt to close their accounts and open new ones instead. It is your choice to do so and you are not required to cooperate with the FTC's investigation.

Now that you've gotten your financial life started back towards normal, it's time to get the rest of your identity secured as well. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles for your state and request a new driver's license number, explaining the situation. Usually they will be happy to do this without any questions if you can present your original license and other proofs of your identity. Contact the Social Security Administration for the same purpose, to change your Social Security Number. This is trickier and often takes much more time, but it can also be done and is a good step towards renewing your broken life.

Now be prepared for a real battle to restore your identity, finances and life. Often, victims of identity theft find themselves battling for years over issues on their credit reports, bank accounts, and more.

Since identity theft continues to go on the rise as thieves utilize new technologies, the World Wide Web, and other techniques to find new victims, government and law enforcement have little chance of stopping the phenomenon. Repairing the effects of identity theft is difficult as well. It's up to individuals to take charge of their private information, be it their personal information or their bad credit history - and keep it safe from thieves, so that they will pass you by looking for easier targets. This includes family and friends as often, victims of identity theft find out that it's those closest to them that are doing the crime.

So take charge of your life and, if you find yourself a victim of identity theft, don't panic.

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The Effect Of Credit Card

By Mike Carbeck

If you're looking to get a credit card, be sure to go over the terms with a fine-toothed comb. If you don't understand the financial details of the credit card offer, you are risking your credit rating, and are also in danger of falling into debt .You need to compare the companies and the credit card offers to find the one that will work best for your situation. Since you'll be paying the credit card company a lot in interest and other charges, pick the one that gives you the most for your money.

Many people fall into debt because they charge too many luxuries onto their credit card, over spending their limits and becoming unable to pay the bill in full each month. If you do not pay the full balance when it's due, then you'll end up paying interest on the amount you've charged. If you don't understand how credit cards work and how all of the interest adds up, you're in danger of falling deeper and deeper into debt.

On the other hand, it's important to build credit so that you can secure a loan later on. If you do not have a credit history, lenders will look at you as a high-risk applicant. If you have no credit history, consider applying for your first credit card, as long as you understand the financial risk involved. Be sure to pay it off every month, and don't overuse it.

However, do not apply for a credit card if you're trying to eliminate debt. Using a credit card while you're in debt is a bad idea, as it will likely only lower your credit rating, making it even harder to climb your way out of debt. Especially if you already have a lot of debt, you'll only be able to get a high-risk credit card. These come with higher interest rates, fees, and annual charges. Some even charge an upfront deposit, because your debts provide them no guarantee that you will pay your bill on time. Plus, the credit limit will be very low to start, sometimes even as low as $250.00. Charging items to a high-risk credit card is no way to get yourself out of debt; you will only end up adding to it.

If you have no credit, it is worthwhile to consider getting a credit card. However, it is not true that you must establish credit. You can use cash to pay for items, rent, or other necessities. But you should have some credit if you want to apply for a loan later on. If you have no credit and apply for a card in order to build credit, be sure that you do not fall into debt using the card. While they come in handy when used with self-control, you can let your debt get out of hand easily by overusing your credit card.

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The Federal Reserve & Index Trading

By Doug West

President Bush has been on the TV a lot lately. Too late for him to go down in history as a good president, but we will give him credit for trying. The Pres. has assured us all that we can grow our economy by spending more money. He even sent us each a few hundred to help us do that. One has to wonder if that was a set up for what was to come.

Next came the BIG bailouts for the banks and boys on Wall Street. Hey, where do we apply for some of that 700 Billion dollar pie? Well, don't hold your breath on that one (in a moment we will show you how to cash in on the bail out actions with simple mini-dow index trading)!

Let's see, if you are already in debt up to your ears - like the US government is, how is sending out free money going to stimulate the economy? And, how is that going to help the US government?

OH, don't forget our friends over at the FED. The Reserve! The agency that is owned by the bankers. That masquerades around like they are part of the government. What many folks still don't know is that they all pulled a fast one on us by sticking that word Federal in front of their name. The same thing the guy at Federal Express did when starting his company.

Frederick W. Smith founded FedEx. I clearly remember years ago when he was on 60 Minutes, he said that by the time folks figured out that he was not part of the government his company was already well on it's way to success! Can't blame his reasoning? What a PLAN! IT WORKED for the FED why not FedEx too?

Let's quote right from the FedEx web site:

"Federal Express was so-named due to the patriotic meaning associated with the word "Federal," which suggested an interest in nationwide economic activity. At that time, Smith hoped to obtain a contract with the Federal Reserve Bank and, although the proposal was denied, he believed the name was a particularly good one for attracting public attention and maintaining name recognition."

I'm sure Smith did want a relationship with the Federal Reserve - who wouldn't! These guys have the legalized right to print money! Think about it. It does not matter if it is a $1 bill or a $100 bill, it cost them about the same to make it (a few cents each). Then they "LOAN" that money at full face value to the US government. Full face value PLUS INTEREST! So now you know where the national debt comes from. We now owe that money - Plus Interest - to the FED. A private corporation controlled by international bankers.

So if you are thinking that Bush's plan to grow the economy by handing out $100 bills won't cost anything - Think Again! Where is that money going to come from? That's right - the good ol boys at the FED. These mystical folks seem to be able to pull money out of thin air! Just think, with today's high-tech world, the FED can just punch a button on a computer somewhere and release new funds to the world. Most of which never represents new bills being printed, but just credit in some bank or financial institutions account. Electronic numbers moving through nanoseconds of time and space.

Not only does the FED create money, they also have the ability to set their own interest rate!

- The Fed's Open Market Committee (FOMC), announces their interest rate decisions. This is NOT the interest rate that you and I can get money for, (why don't we all meet at the Fed Discount Window - wherever that is) but what the BIG boys who keep the whole world flowing receive. They in turn pump up the volume and pass the savings on to you and me right - WRONG! It could take weeks or even MONTHS after a cut to see any savings at the consumer level. So why do the markets get so active after an FOMC announcement?

The BIG boys are the ones who really move the market right (and they CAN line up at the FED window for a bailout). We just want a small slice of it. That's all. Remember that when you are trading (or practicing the FED move trade -after an FOMC announcement).

So how do you cash in on the bailouts without getting a slice of the pie? Index trading! With all these bailout moves, the FED buying stock and giving away billions of dollars, it has caused some GREAT moves in the market. Not so good for stock traders, but Wonderful for those of us that just trade and follow the overall index.

No matter what happens, we can all do well with Simple Mini-Dow Index Trading. I look for GREAT times ahead for Index traders. We might have to pay more for the things we need, (because of the FED printing out bailout money like candy these days) but at least we can stay home and earn the money to get them!

Remember those FOMC announcements mentioned earlier? Many times after an announcement, the market moves and moves BIG. Much like the market moves we have all been seeing here lately with the bailout manipulation of the markets. The FED won't give you a partnership deal like FedEx was looking for, but you can capitalize on their dealings.

Just follow an index and stay away from stock!

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