Not in trouble yet!

Good on keeping your payments current. I only have a question: Are you keeping your payments current at the expense of other bills or obligations?

In other words, are you robbing Peter to pay Paul?

If this is the case then you are deeper than you thought.

Another take on this is that you are constantly playing the balance transfer game to keep the interest rate down. That is just the same as robbing Peter to pay Paul.

I am going to give you a secret on how to lessen the amount that you pay every month to your bills.

We all know that the lower the interest rate the lower the minimum payment at the end of the month. But what if you don’t have a low interest rate, how can you get that same break.

Your bill is calculated by what is called Daily Calculated Interest. What this figure is your interest rate divided by 365 days (ex. 20%/365 = .05). You then take you balance on one credit card (or mortgage, car loans, student loans etc.) and multiply that by .05 (for this example) and that gives you the amount you will pay interest for that day (ex. $10,000 balance x .o5 = $5.00)

So if you Balance is $10,000 for every day on the billing period (lets say 30 days) you’ll pay $5.00 for everyday (or 30 x $5.00 = 150 for interest).

Now your overall bill will be about $200 total. Leaving only $50.00 going towards principle. Now a heck’ve a lot is it?

Of course use your own figures to determine that amount of interest you pay every month.

Now to recapture a portion of that interest lower the daily balance and you’ll pay less.

Now here is a simple trick. Have two credit cards, both with limits $500-$1000 more than the amount of income you bring in (They also need to have a $0 balance to start off with).

  1. Now with Credit Card A use the entire balance to pay off a large portion of a debt (other credit cards, or carloans would be better to start off with).
  2. With Credit Card B us it to pay all your bills and expenditures.
  3. Put all of your income (every single dime) into Credit Card A. This keeps the balance down thereby lessening the amount you would pay in interest.
  4. Before the due of Credit Card B use Credit Card A to pay off the entire balance. This gives to you an interest free loan of 20-30 days depending on your billing period.
  5. Budget yourself to free up as much money as you can without depriving yourself. You need to live BELOW your means. This extra cash goes into Credit Card A along your income.
  6. Every 3-4 months use Credit Card A to pay off large chunks of debt…usually the high interest consumer debt first.
  7. Repeat steps 1-4 every month.

This is similar to the Dave Ramsey snowball method but gives it a kick in the pants and you are freeing up money that you would otherwise pay in interest.

If you do this right, then you can get completely out of debt even faster if you used Dave Ramsey’s program.

Then you can use all your income after that for investment purposes.

Now, I recognize that this is not for everybody. All I ask is that you look it over, ensure that you understand it, then make your decision if it is right for you.

Spoke to one of my cc today

Union Plus called and the rep I spoke with told me some interesting things.

He was trying to get me to sign up for a “hardship” program. It required me to make a larger payment and then the interest rate would be reduced for 6 months and I would have to disclose my income and all my debts and things like that. I would have to be “approved” for it. I decided against it as I did not feel comfortable with all that was required.

I started to talking to him about settlement options. He let me know that if I try to settle between 0 and 90 days past due they would probably offer to settle at 65% of the debt. When it becomes more than 120 days past due I could probably settle for about 45%. He also let me know that it wasn’t going to help me if I sent in the small pro rata payments if I planned on settling the debt anyway. I was only sending them about $25 a month. He suggested that I save it for my settlement payment.

He did say that they would even do a payment plan for the debt settlement amount. I clarified that it would all be in writing and he said yes, the agreement would all be in writing.

So, I will have some extra $$ in February and plan to call and offer a settlement at that time. My question is, what percentage should I start my negotiations at and what is the max that you think I should go? I was thinking to offer 25% of the debt and not go more than 30 or 35%. I believe that my extra $$ will be around 40% of the debt but I want to stretch the amount as far as possible and start saving for another settlement offer.

Your thoughts as always are appreciated.

45% is a great settlement especially with a credit union. I don’t think that you’ll get much better than that. You could try, and if you do start off with 30% and go up from there. Be careful as you could shoot yourself in the foot.

If I were you and they offered me 45% I would jump at it immediately.

Credit unions, as a whole, can be more difficult than banks to settle with. The reason s that the credit union is a collection of investors, like yourself. The profit goes to all that bank with the credit unions, so if you do a settlement for less, then you are taking away from your fellow members.

It was very smart on yourself to make sure that it will be in writing. Make sur that before you pay a dime you have it in writing. This would also be a good time to negotiate that they remove all bad marks from your credit report, and that they report the settlement as “paid in full” instead of “paid as agreed” or what other statements they use to indicate settlement. You may or may not get these concessions, but it never hurts to ask…if you get it, bonus.

Of course, this advice only pertains to the credit union. If it were a regular credit card I would say go for as much as you can.

Best to you. Happy holidays.

I know what you are talking about

I recently retired from the Army and I know what you are talking about. The Army, along with the other services have a lot of great programs, however, if you are an officer or an NCO, they frown on you using these services.

OK, you are getting little bit of pay raise in Jan, don’t go making purchases! Use the extra to paydown/off everything you can. I would suggest also go and talk to the credit union(s) branch manager on base and if applicable, the ones on the other nearby bases. Here is what I did once, when I had a similar problem. I asked them to open a credit card for the lowest possible rate (got 9% but that was a long time ago), transfer the funds and immediately close the account. Tell them you want to set-up an allotment to pay them more than the minimum. A good place to try and start is figure out what the monthly interest is, pay that plus the minimum. They may agree to this, especially if you bank with them. The great thing is, since you immediately close the account, you can not put anything else on it. To reopen it, takes another credit application, etc. If they will not help, try Pentagon Federal.

If you are doing your banking with the lousy bank that has the contract to operate on base, switch right away to the credit union. You absolutely can not beat the base credit unions with any of the banks.

The other great thing about the credit unions, you can stay with them indefinitely. I have been with 1st Advantage, which is the old Ft Easts Credit Union for almost 20 years.

Sorry to hear your plight. Of course, many of us have literally bought into the same situation. My first advice is to be sure to never make a late payment on that new card with 0% interest. They’ll jack your rate up so fast your head will spin! Second, re-evaluate EVERY expense you have, regular or otherwise. Use it up, make do, do without. Get lean and mean. Third, contact your current credit card companies, ask them for any program they have that will lower interest rates, forgive fees and lower payments for 12 months.

This is not debt forgiveness, it is a hardship program. Most have them. You may have to talk to a supervisor or special department to get it. You may have to call back every month for awhile. They have them. Be polite but impress on them your concern about keeping your account with them current and being able to pay them in full over time.

If you do all of the above, you may find that you can make ends meet. Then look for ways to create funds to pay off the debt. Sell that 8 track collection, old car, stereo or other junk. Every dollar goes to pay off the cards. Wife may have to get a job, or you a part time second one. It will take alot of effort but it will be worth it if you can avoid problems with the service.

Good luck and God bless you!

Hanging on the cliff but reluctant to make a move

I got myself in a pretty good pickle, and I’m starting to realize it may be more of a pickle than I thought. I had two credit cards one with $10K and one with $8K. With the higher electric bills and other raised expenses I was just making the minimum payments to keep me in my monthly budget. Chase raised my rate to 29% soon after that payments started being made late then Bank of America raised my rate to 31% from 0% for being 3 days late. I decided I needed help so I tried for a home equity loan to consolidate the two high interest cards. My credit score has dropped from 780 to 530 and i have only owned my home for 8 months so I had no luck with lenders. I have been considering a CCCS but have been reluctant after reading the posts to this group. I did manage to acquire a new credit card through USAA who only deals with military persons, ($10K limit) and was able to transfer the $8K/31% to the new card at 0% for the life of that transfer. I’m expecting a raise after the new year and the wife is in search of employment which will help in the future but for now I’m getting deeper and deeper. I’ve read this statement in an earlier post :

****** “But I stand by my original statement that if you can afford a CCC then you don’t need it as there other programs out there that can do an even better job.*******

I would really like some info on these programs. I am in the military so bankruptcy or debt settlement would do more damage than good for me ( separation from service due to fiscal irresponsibility). Can anybody out there steer me in the right direction???

First suggestion: Contact the executive offices of the credit card companies and see what you can negotiate with them. To get those offices look up the companies at www.bbb.org the better business bureau website. You can also file a complaint with the bbb over their abusive interest rate practices e.g. raising a credit card rate from 0 to 31% for being 3 days late. Also check out Scott Bilker’s site www.debtsmart.org. And also ask the military if they can help you. Good luck to you!

I have read your post, and the response from Ben. Ben makes some good suggestions, but factually they will not do much for you as you are in the military.

And you are right debt settlement and bankruptcy are out of the question for you. I was in the military too so I know from first hand what financial situations can do to you ( I once bounced a check and they put me on extra duty for a month.)

I was in the Army and I know that they do have programs that can assist, but I don’t know about the other Aremed services, but If the Army has them then there is a good chance that the Navy, Marines, Air Force and/or Coast Gaurd have them as well.

And thank you for quoting me about “if you can afford a CCC then you don’t need them.”

Write back if you have any other questions. There may be other options as well which I could tell you about if you let me know a bit more about your situation.

Does this help you at all? Let me know.

Another question or poll

How many of you use the Dave Ramsey plan and feel that that is the best way to go? How many of you feel the opposite? Just seeking opinions. Thanks

I do and am convinced that “his” plan is the absolute best way to change your life by gaining real financial peace. Dave also offers a course taught at many churches throughout the country that’s called Financial Peace University. I can’t tell you what a difference it made in our life and our marriage (marriage and money-fights are bosom buddies when you’re in debt up to your eyeballs).

If you have even an inlking of interest you’ll gain more than I can express to you in an email.

If you’re a Christian just look at what the Bible says about debt. Dave uses the common sense approach with a basis in the Bible to walk you out of debt one step at a time. Listen to his radio show and archives and you’ll see for yourself.

One of the best methods to eliminate debt

First I want to say that the Dave Ramsey method is one of the best methods to eliminate debt that I have come across. His thoughts, experience and knowledge is the best I have seen…far superior to Suze Orman.

Watch this controversial video to learn more:

I feel that anyone using his system would be greatly benefited…

But…

It is not for everyone.

I would not suggest this to people that do not have any discretionary income to work with. If you can budget, without depriving your lifestyle, and live below your means then this by far a superior method.

But for those of you that, have already cut back on expenses as much as you can and are still in trouble then DO NOT DO THIS SERVICE as you will fail.

Your best alternative is debt settlement, then bankruptcy.

Maybe people don’t like debt settlement, and Dave Ramsey himself is against it, but when you have no other options it will give your relief from the debts and still let you fulfill your moral obligations of paying at least something to the debt.

Of course debt settlement is not for everyone either. Don’t do it if you can pay your bills and are not in trouble financially. It then would be unethical in my opinion.

If you can’t do debt settlement, then you should look at bankruptcy as the final option.

I have read the earlier posts, especially of the moral and ethical issues of debt. I think Chad (whom is very knowledgable) stated that a Christian, if they have read the bible, should pay their bills. I don’t disagree with that at all.

But…

A more careful study of the good book will reveal that GETTING INTO debt is not very Christian in the first place. The bible ( in the Old Testament) clearly states that anyone that loans someone money for the express purpose of usuary will not go to heaven. I guess this would refer to the banks of our time, yes?

So if banks, per the bible, are charging usuary (interest) for profit, and they are not going to go heaven, then it stands to reason that these are not Godly people. So why would we work with them and get into debt? Isn’t that tantamount to be in agreement with these people?

SO the handling is prevention. But if you are in debt, then use what ever method you need to to get out of debt. Use your best judgment, and follow your own ethics.

I hope that helps. I hope I have over stepped my bounds here, nor did I wish to offend anyone. If I did I am truly sorry, but please do look at what I said to see if it applies before any rash judgments are made.

Credit has its purpose, but it is a tool

When I bought my car, I didn’t mind the credit because I knew exactly what the amount was, what I would pay each month, and how many months until the debt was gone. I never had to worry that the amount of debt for it would increase. I never had to worry that my interest rate would be jacked up by the bank. I never had to worry that, by only making minimum payments, I might still be paying it off in 20 or 30 years!

I guess in my mind, the problem is the credit card and related debt, that has no set boundaries – except to try to keep one locked in to it and always tempted to use more. As “ok” as I felt about my car debt, much of my credit card debt was originally about paying for repairs/etc for it. Much of the credit card debt since has been about the mobile home I can’t sell and can’t afford all needed repairs on.

So even the “safe” credit – like cars and homes – has led me into credit card debt and beyond. That’s why I’m feeling so “ick” about any credit at this point. I’m planning to sell the car in the next few months, and not buy another. I’m also planning to never buy another home, as anything I can afford will require more repairs than I can keep up with.

The day I’m finally out of this trap with the mobile home, etc., will be a very blessed day!