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Success Online Financial Education Newsletter

 

Money Management International Improving Lives Through Financial Education
SUCCESS NewsletterFebruary 28 2013 newsletter
 
How to save money when you're in debt 

How to save money when you're in debt

By Jessica Horton, Community Manager

If recent statistics tell us anything, it’s that Americans are thrill-seekers. We live on the edge. We go skydiving without parachutes.

OK, maybe not literally.

But, given the fact that 49 percent of Americans don’t have an emergency savings account, we are living dangerously close to the edge … of financial ruin, that is.

It was recently reported that nearly half of all Americans are just one emergency away from financial disaster. And, really, who wants to face unmanageable levels of debt because of a cavity? (Been there, done that!)

So in honor of America Saves Week, I challenge you to begin funding an emergency savings account – regardless of your situation.

And while I normally recommend maintaining an emergency savings account of at least three to six months’ salary, I understand that can feel like an overwhelming challenge. Especially when you’re probably already thinking:

How am I supposed to save money when I’m already trying to pay off debt, keep up with my bills, and stay current on my mortgage?!

So I recommend starting small. Aim to save – and maintain – a fund of $500 to $1,000 for life's little emergencies. The following are five simple ways for ANYONE to start saving:

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Are you ready to finally Break up with Debt?

Here at Money Management International (MMI), we’re always looking for new ways to approach the complex topic of debt. So in an effort to make the subject more relatable, we recently launched the “Break up with Debt. For good.” awareness campaign.

The “Break up with Debt” campaign takes a light-hearted look at this very serious subject — with the hope that we can help more people realize that there is always a way out of a toxic relationship.

Because much like a bad romantic relationship, your relationship with debt can negatively affect every aspect of your life, from health problems like depression and insomnia to lost productivity at work.

And while factors like tax increases, student loans and the ever-changing economic landscape have left many feeling trapped in their relationships with debt, it’s important to remember that these are beyond your control. Your credit card debt, on the other hand, is something that can be controlled.

So ask yourself...

What are the signs that your debt is out of control

               

               "How much does debt care about ME?"

 

     

How much debt is too much

               

                        "How much debt is TOO much?"

 

     

debt breakup letter

               

               "Am I finally ready to kick Debt to the curb?"

 

     

Look to this space for future hints, tips and articles telling you exactly how to show Debt the door and keep him out of your life FOR GOOD!

And if you need a little more guidance, counselors are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day to provide you with the knowhow needed to get your finances back on track!


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Sharpen Your Financial Skills with Online Courses

The goal of our highly trained professionals is to arm you with the knowledge necessary to take control of your financial situation. Our online seminars stress the development of skills that can assure long-term success. Take the first step toward financial wellness by enrolling in a Web seminar today!

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In-Person Workshops Are Also Available In The Following Areas:

Alaska | Arizona | California | Connecticut | Colorado | Idaho | Illinois | Louisiana | Maine | Massachusetts | Mississippi | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | Texas - Fort Worth Area | Texas - Houston Area | Virginia | Greater Washington D.C. | Washington State

View upcoming financial education workshops

 


About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
866.530.9869 or visit MoneyManagement.org.

 

The dos and don'ts of disputing credit errors

  • Do understand the purpose of a credit report. A credit report is a track record that reflects an individual’s borrowing history. It also contains information about places of residency, law suits, arrests, and bankruptcies. The credit reporting agencies sell the information to those with a permissible purpose to review it, such as insurance companies, employers, lenders, and other businesses, so that they can make an informed decision. Therefore, the information contained in the report may impact loan approval, the rate at which money will need to be repaid, insurance eligibility, housing decisions, and employment.
  • Do review the credit report for accuracy. AnnualCreditReport.com offers consumers one free report every 12 months from each of the major bureaus. Check the report for errors, confirming that all information is correct. 
  • Do review the report often. Frequently reviewing the report allows action to be taken promptly if a problem is found, or if identity theft is suspected. Reviewing at least three months in advance of a major financial move allows time for most inaccuracies to be corrected.
  • Do understand your rights. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides consumers with protections around the accuracy and privacy of information in their credit file. The FCRA holds both the credit reporting company and the entity that provided the information to the bureau responsible for investigating and acting upon the dispute. The bureaus have dispute resolution processes in place, but it is up to the consumer to initiate the process by submitting the dispute form either online, by mail or by phone.
  • Do expect a timely response. The FCRA requires credit reporting companies to investigate the items in question, usually within 30 - 45 days of the dispute being filed. The bureau receiving the dispute must forward all relevant information to the source of the information, thus beginning the investigation process on their end. After the provider’s investigation is complete, the results are sent back to the bureau. If the information provider finds the disputed information to be inaccurate, it must notify all three credit reporting companies, allowing them to each correct the information contained in their files.
  • Don’t think that all errors have an equal impact. Some mistakes on reports can have a negative impact on the credit score, while others are not material. Examples of errors to address immediately are those containing information that does not belong to you, account inaccuracies, credit lines with limits listed as lower than they actually are, or negative information that has outlived the allowed reporting time.
  • Do add a statement explaining the circumstances. If an entry is disputed, but the consumer disagrees with the results of the investigation, he or she is allowed to add a 100 word or less Statement of Dispute to be included with each future credit report, as well as to those who received a copy of the report in the recent past if requested.
  • Don’t expect negative information to be removed. If information is negative, but true, it needs to remain on the report. Only time can remove it. A credit reporting agency is allowed to report most accurate negative information for seven years, while bankruptcies can remain for 10 years. 
  • Don’t use a credit repair company offering a quick fix. There is little a credit repair business can do for you that you can’t do for yourself for free. Further, the credit repair companies may charge consumers high fees and deliver few, if any, results. Although some may attempt it, credit repair companies are not allowed to ask for a fee in advance of any service being delivered, as this is prohibited by the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Frivolous challenges to a report are in no one’s best interest, and consumers should steer clear of anyone offering a quick fix.


MMI Debt Management Plan Client Corner
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