Fast Track Out of Debt

Fast Track Out of Debt
By Masni Rizal Mansor

You go to the mail box and scan – a couple fliers (nah), your magazine subscription (yes!) and bills (groan). Every month the bills show up and as you sigh and take out your check book you wonder if you will ever be free.

Each month you pay the minimums and although you KNOW you’ve got a handle on it – you are not charging your credit card or accumulating new debts anymore – it seems that you will be paying the minimum fees forever.

Did you know that HOW you pay your debts can affect how soon you will finishing paying them off – even if you keep paying the same amount for debt every month? Of course you might be able to get a consolidation loan, but if you’re not eligible or are not interested then there are several other things you can do.

It’s not always the easiest to figure out the mathematics, but there are three steps to quicker debt relief – guaranteed.

STEP ONE – Create a list.

List your smallest debts first followed by your largest high-interest debts (credit card) and then your largest low-interest debts (Lines of credit and taxes).

Plan to pay the minimums on all debts with these goals in mind:

STEP TWO – Small bills first.

They may not be the highest interest, but every bill that you are paying some interest on means you are usually only paying minimal amounts on the principal. Multiple debts are also a sure way to bring your spirits down. Paying off small debts first is a quick way to start checking them off – and freeing your mind.

STEP THREE – Move the payments along.

When one debt is paid add the funds to the next debt. For example, say you’re making $75 payments to a small debt. When the debt is cleared add the $75 to the next debt on your list. If the next debt had a minimum payment of $100, you will now pay $175 until it is paid off. When that one is finished, take the $175 and add it to the next payment and so on.

STEP FOUR – Save the cash!

Don’t forget that when your debts are cleared you have set yourself up for a better financial future. The best way to take advantage of your new situation is to use all the money you were spending on debts and start investing or saving it every month.

With this strategy your debts will clear faster meaning you will pay less interest, you will see progress as you clear small debts first, and you will not be tempted to use the funds for personal use instead of debt repayment.

It is a worthwhile goal to get out of debt. Seeing that goal come sooner and teaching yourself discipline sets you up for a brighter financial future. You OWE yourself that!

Masni Rizal Mansor is a successful webmaster and publisher of He provides
tips on how to apply credit card


Debt consolidation – More Options for Reducing Credit Card Costs

Debt consolidation – More Options for Reducing Credit Card Costs
By Charles Essmeier

Borrowing money against your credit cards has always been among the most expensive ways to borrow money, and when you fail to pay your bill in full each month, borrowing is exactly what you’re doing. You’re not alone; the average American household now carries more than $8000 in credit card debt. It’s easier to accumulate credit card debt than other types of debt for the following reasons:

They’re easy to use. It’s far easier to borrow spend money on a credit card, even thousands of dollars at a time, than it is to go to the bank and secure a loan. Convenience can easily lead to overindulgence.

The interest rates are higher than for other types of debt. The interest rate on your mortgage may be 6%. The interest rate on your credit card may be 25%. That adds up in a hurry, especially if you are carrying a balance.

There is no set repayment schedule requiring you to pay back a set amount each month. The only requirement is that you pay at least 2% of your outstanding balance. Many people pay exactly that, and no more, causing the interest to accumulate quickly

Credit card lenders tend not to be very forgiving. If you make a late payment, you could end up with a late fee of as much as $39 in addition to having your interest rate increase.

Many credit cards come with annual fees, which can add to your debt, especially if you don’t pay them in full. Then you end up paying interest on the annual fee!There are number of solutions available. All they require is a bit of time and diligence. Besides shopping around for the card with the best rate and doing a bit of debt consolidation to place all of your credit card debt on the lowest interest card you own, you might also consider the following:

Ask your lender to waive your annual fee. The competitive nature of the credit card business means that your lender will often waive these fees just for the asking. They would usually rather waive your fee rather than lose you as a customer. It costs nothing to ask. If they do waive the fee, add the fee amount to your next payment.

Pay more than the monthly minimum payment. The minimum payment may soon go to 4%, which may place many borrowers who currently pay only the 2% minimum in a bind. Get in the habit of paying more each month, or pay your bill in full, if you can.

Did you get a large tax refund? Send it to your credit card company. Sure, it would be nice to spend it on a new TV, but if you spend it on a TV while carrying a balance on your credit card at 25%, you are effectively paying 25% interest on your TV.Use your debit card instead of a credit card. They have the same convenience and ease of use, but few of the drawbacks.

Paying off the national average of $8000 in credit card debt can take a lifetime if you only make the minimum payments. That is a trap that you should make a concerted effort to avoid and by taking a few simple steps, you can keep your debt to a minimum.

©Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including, a site devoted to debt consolidation and credit counseling, and, a site devoted to information regarding home equity loans.

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Why Your Credit Score is Important

Credit Reports – Why Your Credit Score is Important

If you have never heard of a FICO score before, you should become familiar with the term. Named for the firm that invented it, Fair Isaac Corp., the FICO score is the three-digit credit summary that, in essence, reduces your entire financial life to a simple set of numerals.

The score represents a distillation of information gleaned from the three main credit-reporting bureaus – Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian, regarding your loan and payment history, as well as any bankruptcy filings you may have made. Andy liens or payment defaults will be incorporated into the score as well. The score, which can vary from a low of 300 to a high of 850, represents an attempt to quantify a lifetime of financial dealings into a single number. It has been quite successful. In fact, most people would be surprised to see just how important that score has become and how many businesses use it for reasons that aren’t entirely obvious.

Most people would assume, correctly, that lenders would check the score of a potential borrower who was applying for a car loan or a home equity line of credit. Many would be surprised, however, to see that the score is often accessed by potential employers, landlords, or even insurance companies. While some states have strictly forbidden the use of FICO scores as a guideline for setting insurance prices, some insurance companies still access the scores in order to assess risk for potential customers. Employers access the scores to see if a possible employee might be a security or theft risk, and landlords may use the score to determine whether or not a tenant should post a high security deposit prior to moving into a rental property.

A substantial argument can be made that there is no way to accurately reduce someone’s financial status to a single three-digit number. That said, it is simply a whole lot easier for most companies that need a financial “snapshot” of a customer to look over their credit report, look at the score, and offer a “yes or no” response based on the score alone. Fair or not, this is the way things work today, and it is probably unreasonable to expect lenders, employers and landlords to start looking deeper into their customers’ and employees’ finances.

The best solution for anyone who is concerned about his or her credit score is to examine their own credit report, which can be obtained for free at Report any errors to the appropriate credit bureau, and try to check your report once or twice a year. Fair or not, we are our credit score. Making sure that the number is accurate is an important step towards a solid financial future.

©Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including, a site devoted to debt consolidation and credit counseling, and, a site devoted to information regarding home equity lending.


Ask a Credit Counseling Service about Debt Relief

Questions to Ask a Credit Counseling Service about Debt Relief
By Tim Gorman

Debt relief is a topic on a lot of consumers’ minds these days, and with good reason. American credit card debt in 2001 was $692 billion, triple the amount from 1989. In that same time period, the average credit card increase for a middle-class family was 75%. The amounts were even higher for low-income families and senior citizens. At one time, such a high amount of credit card debt would seem frivolous as buyers spent money they didn’t have on luxury items such as electronics or jewelry. Today, however, in less stable economic times and a poor job market, more people are turning to credit cards as a way to extend their income. More and more debt is being rung up for everyday items such as groceries and medical bills. How can people get real help with debt relief?

Credit counseling services were originally established by credit card companies who wanted to get at least some of their money back before a client decided to declare bankruptcy. While that may seem shady to some people, for others it is a legitimate way to pay the debt they owe.

When seeking debt relief, however, be wary and be an informed consumer. Do your research before signing on with any one service. Here are some questions to ask:

* How much does it cost? Many less-than-reputable services charge hundreds of dollars to start up, money that doesn’t go to any of your creditors.

* Does the service notify credit bureaus about your enrollment in their program? Some do and some don’t. Creditors may still elect to put a bad mark on your credit report, but the agency you are looking at for debt relief shouldn’t.

* What services are offered? Do they offer a range of solutions from trouble-shooting before finances are a big problem to debt management. Beware of companies promising too quick a solution or promising to “fix” your credit report.

* What are the benefits of belonging to one particular group over another? For example, some services offer newsletters and budgeting tips, all to help you become more stable when your debt is paid off.

* Are they a member of the Better Business Bureau? If that is not advertised, check them out with BBB first.

With time, patience and diligence, you can become debt free.

Timothy Gorman is a successful Webmaster and publisher of He provides more debt consolidation, credit counseling, repair and free debt relief information that you can research in your pajamas on his website.


Credit Repair? It's All Up to You

Credit Repair? It’s All Up to You
By Douglas Hanna

Log onto to a search engine such as and type in the term credit repair. It’s likely that Google will return more than 25 pages of listings, many of which will be companies claiming they can “erase bad credit,” “create a new credit identity – legally,” “ credit problems – no problem.” “quick credit repair,” and on and on.

Here’s the good and bad news of credit repair, according to the U.S. Government – nobody but you can repair your credit.

If you do respond to one of these credit repair offers, here’s what to look for to know it’s probably a scam:

· The company wants you to pay for credit repair services before they provide any services.

· The company does not tell you what your legal rights are and what you can do for yourself.

· The company recommends that you do not contact a credit reporting company directly.

· The company suggests you create a new credit “identity” and then a new credit report by applying for an Employer Identification Card to use instead of your Social Security number.

· The company advises you to dispute all information in your credit report or take an action that seems illegal – such as creating a new credit identity.

The truth is that no one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from your credit report.

The law allows you to ask for an investigation of information in your file that you believe is wrong or incomplete. There is no charge for this. Everything a credit clinic can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost.

So, what can you do?

Let’s suppose you apply for and are denied credit, insurance or employment. The most likely reason for this is that one or more companies provided negative information about you. This could be a credit card company or mortgage company reporting that you missed payments or that some of your payments were 60 or more days late. Or it could be a report that you wrote checks that were returned for insufficient funds.

If you believe the information was inaccurate, you should first request a copy of your credit report. You need to ask for this report within 60 days of when you were denied credit or turned down for insurance or a job. This report will be free.

If you find negative items on your credit report that you believe are mistakes or outdated, you can dispute them, also at no cost. Both the reporting company (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) and the company that provided the negative information about you are responsible for correcting any information you can prove was inaccurate or incomplete.

To take advantage of this, you need to contact the company with the negative information on your credit report, and the company that provided the information to that company. For example, if the credit report with the negative information came from TransUnion and the company providing that information was your mortgage holder, you need to contact both TransUnion and the mortgage company.

Start by telling the consumer reporting company (TransUnion, Experian or Equifax) in writing, what information you think is wrong or incomplete. You should include copies (not originals) of any documents that support your position. Make sure you provide your complete name and address, and that you identify each item in the credit report you dispute. State the facts and explain why you disagree with the information. Be sure to request that the information is removed or corrected.

The consumer reporting company must investigate the items you questioned – usually within 30 days – unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They must also send all the your information to the company whose information you dispute. In turn, this company must investigate your claim and report the results back to the consumer reporting company.

If the information provider finds the disputed information is, in fact, wrong, it must notify all three nationwide consumer-reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.

This is how you repair your credit if the “bad” items in your credit report were inaccurate.

On the other hand, if the negative information was correct, the only sure cure is time. A consumer reporting company can report most accurate information for seven years, and bankruptcy information for 10 years. Information about an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer.

Here’s the better news. Just because you have a poor credit report doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get credit. Creditors set their own credit-granting standards, and not all of them will look at your credit history the same way. Some may look only at the more recent years when they evaluate you for credit, and they may grant credit if you bill-paying history has improved.

Article by Douglas Hanna. Douglas is a retired advertising and marketing executive and author of the book “198 Tips & Tricks to Save Money and live Better.” He is the webmaster of, a free resource for information on a variety of subjects. Please visit his site to subscribe to his free newsletter, “Tips & Tricks to Save Money & Live Better.”

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Free Los Angeles Foreclosure lists for 6-27-2005

Foreclosure listings 6-27-2005

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Foreclosure for 6-27-2005

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