Tag Archive: credit Scores

  1. Take Action – Improve Your Credit Score

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    Improve Your Credit Score

     

    “How do I improve my credit score?”…a question the attorneys at The Debt Doctors are very familiar with. The answer depends on a client’s specific financial situation, but there are some general ways to improve your credit score that apply to everyone.

    To get started, you will want to first evaluate your credit score.  To get a free report, you can visit www.annualcreditreport.com. After you’ve pulled your report, carefully review it and identify if there are any mistakes.  If there are, dispute the mistakes directly to the credit bureau. If the mistakes are not fixed, you can call The Debt Doctors.

    Next, you should try to establish 2 years of on-time payments for all of your accounts. This is a very important step since lenders look closely at your last two years of credit history. You will also want to utilize your credit by making sure you have at least 3 open accounts.

    Additionally, it’s essential to have available credit.  If you don’t and all your credit cards are maxed out, your credit score will go down.

     

    The best ways to improve your credit score:

    1. Pay your bills on time—not paying them on time can have a significant impact on your credit score

     

    1. Make sure you keep your balances as low as possible on all of your credit cards

     

    1. Only apply and open new credit cards if you absolutely must

     

    1. Don’t just move your debt around—pay it off

     

    1. Use the credit you have—show your ability to manage your credit responsibly

     

    Remember—time is your friend when trying to improve your credit score. After all, fixing a bad credit score doesn’t happen overnight. You can even rebuild credit after bankruptcy—it will take you 2-4 years to get your score back at a good healthy level. However, you can start rebuilding credit right after your bankruptcy discharge (something people are not always aware of).

    You should also keep in mind that your credit score goes up when you engage in behaviors that banks like. But be careful because they may not be what’s best for your finances. The best indication of a healthy financial situation—cash. Make sure you budget to save your money and fund retirement. To learn more about how to improve your credit score and turn around any financial distress you may be facing—contact The Debt Doctors today.

  2. Student Loans & Their Effect On The Economy

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    This topic immediately strikes a chord and a lot of debate amongst the people in our country. The growing student loan debt in the U.S. has become a major concern. It’s at about $1.3 trillion today (that’s about double what it was in 2009 when Obama took office).

    Student Loans & Their Effect on the Economy

    Let’s take a closer look at the points being presented on both accounts and how they relate to the state of our economy and an individual’s personal finances.

    Reasons Student Loan Debt is Helping the Economy

    For those individuals that believe the country’s student loan debt is helping our economy, they agree with the following key points:

    • The student loan debt helps the country’s economic output.
    • Student loan debt is an investment.
      • They believe this investment will be paid off with higher incomes as a result of higher education.
    • In the long run, a more educated workforce is helping the economy by contributing to an increase in productivity and total output.
      • The educated workforce has learned the skills that employers are looking for in their employees.

    Reasons Student Loan Debt is Hurting the Economy

    For the individuals who believe that student loan debt is hurting our economy, they agree with the following key points:

    • Student loan debt can affect an individual’s access to credit.
    • Student loan debt has decreased the number of individuals who own a home.
    • The student loan debt is limiting the amount of innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S.
      • The number of young people starting their own business has decreased.
    • The debt is also decreasing the ability of individuals who have borrowed money to save for retirement.

    Overall, there are several factors to consider.  It’s up to the individual to decide if taking out student loans is worth it in the end. Whether or not the student loan debt is helping or hurting our economy is still up for debate.

    Advice from The Debt Doctors

    If you are facing debt as a result of student loans, here are some tips and best practices from The Debt Doctors:

    1. Be sure to utilize all of the programs available including income based repayment, forbearance and deferment.
    2. If you are a parent think twice about co-signing on student loans. A lot of times parents will co-sign for their children and they can’t afford it. It’s important to remember it’s your child’s education and you should explore all options available so they can finance this education themselves.
    3. Parents should also avoid taking money out of retirement to pay for their children’s education. There are a lot of options available to fund education but very few to fund retirement.
    4. Avoid using a home equity loan to fund college. If you lose income or have any other financial distress it could make it difficult to keep your home. You don’t need to put your home at risk when there are many other options to fund education.
    5. If you have a student loan garnishment or a student loan company has begun any type of legal proceeding, contact The Debt Doctors. In many cases our attorneys can use a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing to stop these negative actions and force the student loan company to defer your loans or accept an income based repayment.
    6. In general, student loan interest rates are some of the lowest. Don’t be in a hurry to pay them off. Instead, use your resources to build regular and retirement savings before you write a big check to your student loan servicer.

    What do you think? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

  3. The White House Explores Student Loans and Bankruptcy Options: What You Need To Know

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    87801562The Wall Street Journal reported recently that The White House is looking into ways to help people who are burdened by insurmountable student debt to alleviate some of that stress through new bankruptcy options. Currently, neither federally backed or privately-issued student loans can be discharged in a bankruptcy, but through the Chapter 13 Process you can force an income based payment on your student loan servicer for 5 years.

    The plan that the White House is exploring could go a step further than this. However, there are few things you should know about the plans that The Obama Administration is exploring, and points to consider if you have crippling student loans.

    1. This Would Only Cover Private Student Loans.
      It is likely that this plan would only cover the privately issued student loans from financial institutions, not the federal student loans that most college graduates have. As noted in the Wall Street Journal Article, these private loans account for somewhere around 10% of the loans out there, so it’s nowhere near a majority of the population.
    2. It Would Likely Help with Debt for Unaccredited or For-Profit School
      Many of the private loans that are taken out by students who are attending unaccredited institutions, and for-profit schools. Because of issues in recent years with these schools using Federal Student Loans to make a profit, private loans have become a bigger part of paying for these kinds of degrees, which in many cases aren’t worth what borrowers pay for them.
    3. Private Loan Servicers can be Ruthless
      Part of the reason this may be a helpful choice is that the servicers of private student loans can be ultra-aggressive in their collection efforts. They know that these loans are non-dischargeable and fully use all options available to them including wage garnishments.
    4. Many Private Student Loans include Parents as Co-Signors

    While a borrower may have ensured the benefit of their education, student loan servicers don’t differentiate between parents and students when collecting their debt. This measure would help to lessen the burden on parents that have co-signed for private student loans. However, be aware that filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy now for student loans can help protect co-signors from collection because the Court can enter an order protecting co-signors if one of the parties files a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

    Unfortunately, while this bill may add some additional tools to our arsenal for managing student loans this relief may never actually pass the Republican controlled Congress.

    Until we find out what is going to happen, there are still options; if you have federal or private student loans from creditors who are being overly aggressive, or if you can’t afford your student loan payments, or even if you just want some options, call us at 1-877-332-8369. We will give you a consultation and you can find out more about how the Debt Doctors can help you manage your student loans and help you prepare “for life after debt”.

     

     

     

  4. The Power of a High Credit Score

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    I was recently quoted in an article that discusses the disadvantages of having a high credit score.

    https://curemyscore.com/can-having-a-high-credit-score-be-bad/

    This article again illustrates the point that a high credit score is sometimes an indicator of a healthy financial situation. However, having savings in equal or greater amounts to your debts is always a mark of a healthy financial situation, because in that case you are not paying interest you are earning it.

     

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