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!