Debt Consolidation Helps Entrepreneur to Find Solid Ground

When you see outstanding debts swallowing your business slow by slow, you might feel distraught and anxious. You might even feel your business suffering a lot and that might cause some issues later. All you need is a bit of cash adjustments, to free up your investment based avenues. It is now possible with the help of a bit of credit counseling towards your side. Not only that; but a bit of a stronger strategy can work pretty well.

Credit counseling is a major part, which is the perfect way to free some cash from the monthly budget and every entrepreneur should work on that. This can often be termed as preliminary step associated with debt consolidation, which people have to think about before taking a new loan for resolving the old debts.

In the current situation of vanishing businesses:

  • You might not know but around 50% of start-ups only in the USA have to shut down their operations because of insufficient funds within a span of next 5 years! Now that’s what you call a sad statistics! Surmount debt should not cut the present funding options or even the survival rates for start-ups and SMEs.
  • For the larger businesses over here, which are currently being the victim of the struggling economy, they have high chances of overcoming the present debt problem. Debt consolidation loans can always work wonderfully for paying outstanding debts and find extra cash for some new investments.
  • The present concept of debt based consolidation is rather simple. A firm, related to debt consolidation, can help entrepreneurs to figure out some of the payments they have to make every month and more than once. Next, you can always try to collate all medium and small outstanding loans to form one package.
  • This service will help you know the amount you have to pay to creditors regarding interest, principle, and penalties. After you are through with the quote, you can apply to consolidation firm for an amount to repay the debt to creditors all at once.

Unlike any other debt settlement firms out there, you don’t have to bother stop payments. Your credit score is not going to suffer too, making it easier for you to hold a strong ground for your start-up ventures.

Why businesses are in need of debt consolidation assistance:

Debt settlement, refinancing and debt consolidation might not be synonymous as most people think it to be. Some of the creditors might even use the terms quite interchangeably, but consolidation and refinancing have some of the distinct advantages and their shares of disadvantages. Even the benefits involving around debt consolidation can often outweigh the pros of any other methods. Businesses have to consolidate loans for so many reasons. Get along with debt consolidation reviews for better understanding.

Too many debts to consider:

There are multiple reasons for a business to take a loan, from one time to another. It is true that possessing 7 to 10 short loans can easily dampen the current credit scores. It can further interfere with the productivity level of the company and can also hamper the inflow of business cash.

For the starters, this might not prove that disruptive, but it can easily turn out to be difficult if you are actually planning to get qualified for a long-term cash flow or even going for amicable interest rates on long-term loans. It ensures that the businesses might be unable to get qualified for anything apart from high APR loans and high interest rates.

If you are ever in a bad jam:

At some point, entrepreneurs are pretty sure what they are going for before even signing up for a long-term loan with some terrible forms of payment terms. If you ever identify this with current situation you are going through, you are pretty sure that it is impossible to find another cash source or avoid it completely for the sake of business operations.

  • Only because you have to make a tough decision, it does not mean you need to bear effects of it through some of the payment terms.
  • You have the liberty to adjust payment terms depending on your convenience level.
  • Debt consolidation loans provide you with the opportunity to pay those little annoying loans completely and then leave the firm to provide enough funds for your new upcoming projects.
  • As you aren’t in any fixed mode right now, you can actually go ahead and try taking a look around.

Always try to head towards consolidation companies, offering the best services and terms. Try refinancing higher interest loans into a current single payment at amicable and new interest rates.

Uncertain forms of loan terms:

Lenders can easily get confused with so many fees, interest rates, and loan terms and even with variations in amortization schedules. In most of the instances, entrepreneurs always end up with some bad loans and some unscrupulous lenders as they don’t understand the payment terms that easily. A couple of months enjoying the loans, and the entrepreneurs might find that APRs are higher than they have bargained for in the first place.

Not just APR, but even the interest rates seem to vary and not being flat. Sometimes, people might experience some unwarranted fees and penalties throughout their long term. With debt consolidationloans, opting out is always a possible option. Those loans will definitely offer you with money for paying off some troublemaking medium and small loans within one go. Majority of the consolidation loan companies have flat interest rates for businesses. Even they follow transparent fees to help owners find way out of debt at any cost.

Some words for debt consolidate applicants:

To become any good candidate for reputable consolidation firm, you need to focus on your FICO score first. Now, here the requirements of FICO score is subject to vary based on the number of applicants in search of loan and companies. Even the loan’s interest rates depend on credit score, amount and payment period. A good credit score is always a repayment guarantee. So, remember to maintain good credit score for getting fast approval on a debt consolidation loan. It helps in offering lower interest rates too!

This article by Amy Walsh first appeared on National Debt Relief and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


Questions People Ask Before They Retire

No matter how you look at it, retiring is a major change in your lifestyle. For many, it’s something that they’ve been looking forward to for years.

Looking forward to retirement and being ready for it are two different things. So let’s look at some of the common questions that people ask about being ready for retirement.

Q: What’s the most important financial question for someone preparing for retirement?

A: The most common question is, “Will I have enough income to enjoy the retired lifestyle I want?”

Most of us have worked for 40 or 50 years, and we’ve looked forward to retirement for quite awhile. Now we don’t want to be disappointed. There’s nothing worse than not having the money to visit the grandkids!

Q: How can we know if we’ll have enough income to support our expected retirement lifestyle?

A: It’s easy enough to estimate your income and expenses after retirement but it does require a little math.

Begin by estimating your income from pensions, Social Security, investments, and retirement plans. Most pensions will pay you a set amount each month. The same is true with Social Security. As a rough estimate, you can expect to take about 4% of the value of your investment and retirement accounts each year as income.

Next, estimate your expenses. Historically, planners suggested that your after-retirement expenses would be about 80% of what they were pre-retirement.

More recently planners are heading away from this estimate. They recognize that today’s retirees are more active than in the past and that means that they spend more.

So they’re suggesting that you start with your current expenses, subtract expenses that will stop when you retire (work clothing, work lunches, cost to commute, etc.). Then add any new expenses (additional travel, entertainment, hobby expenses, etc.) that will begin when you retire.

If that’s too complicated just assume that your expenses will remain relatively unchanged when you retire.

Q: How do you know when to begin collecting Social Security?

A: For most retirees, this is a very important and critical question. Starting to collect Social Security too soon could make your retirement budget unworkable.

You can begin any time after age 62 or as late as age 70. Each year you delay will increase your benefit by 8%. If you wait until age 70, you’ll get over 50% more than beginning at age 62.

But, that’s not the whole story. Having a bigger monthly check is great if you live long enough. Depending on when you and your spouse die, it’s possible that a smaller check started sooner will net you more.

Confusing? We have a tool to help figure out the best age created by a professor who’s taken all the variables into account.

Q: What’s the biggest financial concern for baby boomers?

A: By far, it is outliving their money. According to a recent Marketwatch survey, 43% feared running out of money in retirement. It was their top fear.

Q: Most financial planners encourage people to be debt free by the time they’re 50. Why is that?

A: Debt can be a budget buster in retirement. For most of us, our major expenses are housing, auto, food, and debt. Ideally, by the time you’re 50, you won’t be making mortgage, auto payments, or repaying credit card debts. Without those bills, you can really boost your retirement saving!

And it’s even more important after retirement. Your post-retirement income will go much farther if the biggest expense in your monthly budget is food.

Q: Is there one easy step that I can take today to prepare for retirement?

A: Naturally I’d suggest subscribing to our free “After 50 Finances” newsletter!

The other thing I’d do is find out how much you’ll get from SS and compare that to your current expenses. Most people assume a bigger Social Security check than what they’ll actually receive. For some perspective, these are the average benefits in 2017.

Beginning Age Monthly Income Annual Income
62 $1112 $13,344
66 $1383 $16,596
70 $1510 $18,120

The size of your Social Security check is dependent on your earnings history, so check sizes can vary widely. If SS is a major portion of your post-retirement income, you need to know how much you’ll be getting. You can find an answer at the Social Security website.

It’s no surprise, but retirement is a major lifestyle change. And that change will go much more smoothly if you’re prepared for it.

This article by Gary Foreman first appeared on The Dollar Stretcher and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


Consumer Debt Help Association Rings Alarm on Fake Collection Attempt

Timothy Cerruti of Consumer Debt Help Association sent in this amazing warning to share with consumers.

Consumer Debt Help Association is a debt settlement company that sees a lot of different efforts to collect on client debts. I always think it is amazing when companies like Timothy Cerruti’s care enough about consumers to sound the alarm when they spot something dodgy.

Timothy sent this in as part of my I Buy Junk Mail program and asked to have the money donated to charity. You rock!

Timothy said, “I wanted to share this settlement offer, one of my clients received a call form a collector on a debt that they do indeed have with FNBO, we reached out to the collector and the phone call didn’t seem up to par from the start.

They wanted the funds wired that night in order to satisfy the settlement offer. We agreed to get the letter from them and I am attaching it below for your review. We reached out to FNBO to see if this collector was indeed collecting for them and they advised that they were not.

I thought this may be a good article for you to show the scam collectors out there taking money from people on real debt that they owe, but in reality, after they would have paid this settlement amount they would still owe the creditor the full amount.”

The address, 274 Tampa Drive, Buffalo, NY does indeed come back to a residential property.

The State of New York has no company registered to do business with Roth and Gallo in the name.

The phone number listed by the “collection company” is 877-297-2085 and I found this recording of a call that was placed from that number. You can listen to it here. The call said, “Hi My name is Lindsay Schaefer I’m calling in regards to sealed documents that do require your signature we need to make arrangements to get these documents over to you so if you could please contact the filing party they could be reached at 877-297-2085 if you intended on getting a stop order placed on the service you would need to contact that office by 5 pm today again the number is 877-297-2085.”

Kudos to Consumer Debt Help Association for sending in this warning to help consumers.

Steve Rhode
Get Out of Debt GuyTwitter, G+, Facebook

If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask, just click here and ask away.

This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt Guy and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

Staying Away From Nanny and Caregiving Job Scams

Finding a new job can be a challenge. Websites can help you find work, but scammers also use these sites to find people to rip off. Do you look for work on caregiver/nanny job sites? Sometimes scammers will offer a job but say you need to buy supplies or other equipment. They pressure you to act quickly, before you have time to think. They send you a check and tell you to deposit it and transfer money to their vendor to buy the supplies. Don’t do it — scammers post fake job listings for nannies and caregivers, then make up elaborate stories to get your money. The positions seem real, but they’re not — it’s a scam. The check will bounce. So, the money you sent is actually your own — and it’s gone.

Some scammers may pressure you to send money via gift card or cash reload card. Anyone that asks you to pay with such a card is scamming you.

If you’re looking for work on a caregiving site:

  • Don’t send money to someone who says they want to hire you. Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. Don’t send them a gift card or cash reload card.
  • Search online for a potential client’s name, email address, and phone number. You might find complaints by others who’ve been scammed and find out more about the scammer’s tricks.
  • If you sent money to a scammer posing as an employer, contact the company you used to send the money (bank, wire transfer service, gift card company, or cash reload card company) and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask to have the transaction reversed if possible.
  • Report nanny and caregiver job scams to the job site and to FTC.gov/complaint.
  • This article by the FTC was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

A Deep Dive Into the Debtor Blaming 2018 Borrower Defense to Repayment Regulations

The Department of Education put a hold on forgiving federal student loans for students who were victims of fraud by the schools that enrolled them. Under the Obama administration, the program would suspend collections activity while claims were being investigated and total forgiveness was a possible outcome.

Under the Trump administration claims were not approved and the rules were changed to only allow a partial forgiveness for most debtors based on an impractical standard.

Today the Department of Education (ED) has released their new rules for the program so let’s jump in and see what the Borrower Defence to Repayment program now looks like. I’m going to read the 433 pages so you don’t have to.

It appears ED is trying to shift the responsibility for making good decisions for enrolling in questionable schools by pushing that obligation and blame on the student. The new rules say, “The goal of the Department is to enable students to make informed decisions on the front end of college enrollment, rather than to grant them financial remedies after-the-fact when lost time cannot be recouped and new educational opportunities may be sparse. Postsecondary students are adults who can be reasonably expected to make informed decisions and who must take personal accountability for the decisions they make.”

While ED says educational institutions should not mislead the students and “remedies should be provided to a student when misrepresentation on the part of an institution causes financial harm to that student,” let’s see how much power and practicality those remedies have.

The ED again turns back to putting the responsibility and blame on the student for enrolling in the wrong school that may have misled them. ED says, “students have a responsibility when enrolling at an institution or taking student loans to be sure they have explored their options carefully and weighed the available information to make an informed choice.”

But what seems to be missing from that lofty goal is some sort of pre-screening by the school to review the cost of the education and the expected salary for the chosen field. For example, the other day I wrote about the $90,000 associates degree in web design. Does the school have a responsibility to sell a fair product or is the responsibility now focused on the student for believing the hype?

ED says, “The Department has an obligation to enforce the Master Promissory Note, which makes clear that students are not relieved of their repayment obligations if later they regret the choices they made.” So if your 18-year-old self made a bad choice of schools that provided an overpriced education with little value, that’s your own damn fault.

The proposed rule document says, “As of January 2018, it had received 138,989 claims, of which 23 percent had been processed.” Some of these claims go back more than a year.

It is quite possible those became a major issue with the new ED because Borrower Defense Claims were being submitted and approved. These claims were not approved on no basis but because students had been misled or deceived by the school.

But here is where ED is turning the table on debtors, “the Department is concerned that several features of the 2016 final regulations might have put the Department in the untenable position of forgiving billions of dollars of Federal student loans based on potentially unfounded accusations. Specifically, those regulations would allow the Department to afford relief to borrowers without providing an opportunity for institutions to adequately tell their side of the story.”

These new rules say, students who feel they were misled and deceived by schools to get them to enroll and take out federal student loans, may still submit claims but as long as they are “not in a collections status.” So students who were saddled with questionable loans by a questionable school will have to continue to make monthly payments or stay out of collections while their claim is processed for an undetermined amount of time.

ED wants to encourage students to enroll in income-driven repayment plans and make payments on their loans. These would be the same plans that put people into decades long repayment plans with potentially big tax bills at the end. Balances in these programs go up, not down, as the monthly payment is insufficient to cover the interest building.

ED is worried that students claiming they were harmed by their schools will strategically default on their otherwise unaffordable debt. As evidence to support this concern, ED cites research by those who intentionally defaulted on their mortgage payments to take advantage of mortgage modifications. Talk about apples and oranges here.

“The Department is trying very carefully to balance relief for borrowers who have been harmed by acts of institutional wrongdoing, with its obligation to the taxpayer to provide reliable stewardship of Federal dollars.” And while that might be true, then why isn’t the Department limiting access to federal funds by schools that engage in questionable practices?

Those questionable practices have led to massive amounts of unaffordable student loan debt sitting in a non-payment status. The lack of oversight by ED to rein in the access to federal student loan dollars by typically for-profit schools who have been approved by questionable accreditation.

So ED says, “With more than a trillion dollars in outstanding student loans, the Department must uphold its fiduciary responsibilities and exercise caution in forgiving student loans to ensure that it does not create an existential threat to a program that lacks typical credit and underwriting standards.”

But where were the underwriting standards for schools selling degrees that students would never be able to afford to repay? Where was the fiduciary responsibility for ED and student loan debtors?

ED appears to say they are not going to get involved in resolving disputes or claims of wrongdoing against schools. That is going to be left up to the individual student to fight with the school through the courts. How students will be able to afford to do that, is a mystery.

And ED is not going to block schools from forcing students into secret arbitration or stopping schools from allowing students to enter class action suits against the schools. Instead, ED says in its press release on the rulemaking “that institutions requiring students to engage in mandatory arbitration or prohibiting them from participating in class action lawsuits provide plain language explanations of these provisions to enable students to make an informed enrollment decision.” So students who decide to go to schools that block access to courts to remedy claims were stupid to enroll.

Here is what the rule says, “it seems reasonable that consumer complaints should continue to be adjudicated through existing legal channels that put experienced judges or arbitrators in the position of weighing the evidence and rendering an impartial decision.”

Even with the Borrower Defense to Repayment program in place, ED again takes the step to say the student was the idiot in this situation when they enrolled at a school they believed. ED says, “As stated in the Master Promissory Note the borrower signs when initiating their first loan, the borrower is expected to repay the loan even if the borrower fails to complete the program or is dissatisfied with the institution or his or her outcomes.”

On the issue of a group discharge of federal student loans if a school is found to have engaged in “on a misrepresentation made with knowledge of its false, misleading, or deceptive nature or with a reckless disregard for the truth,” ED punts and says that will be the focus of a different rule. This appears to close the door for bulk discharges of schools found guilty of deception, like in the Corinthian Colleges case.

As evidence why the group discharge would be harmful to students, ED says “Because an institution can refuse to provide an official transcript for a borrower whose loan has been forgiven, group discharges could render some borrowers unable to verify their credentials or work in the field for which they trained and have enjoyed employment.” Maybe the real answer is that is a school was found to deceive students they should still have to provide a transcript.

In the past, schools who enrolled students who never graduated from high school or had a GED could be found to have taken advantage of people who may not have been qualified to enroll in higher education. The proposed rule shifts the burden back to the uneducated student when it says, “We also propose changes to the Department’s current false certification regulations. The Department believes that in cases when the borrower is unable to obtain an official transcript or diploma from the high school, postsecondary institutions should be able to rely on an attestation from a borrower that the borrower earned a high school diploma since the Department relies on a similar attestation in processing a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).”

Where is the underwriting in this process that ED says it engages in?

These new rules would apply to federal student loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2019.

They would also “require a borrower to sign an attestation to ensure that financial harm is not the result of the borrower’s workplace performance, disqualification for a job for reasons unrelated to the education received, a personal decision to work less than full-time or not at all, or the borrower’s decision to change careers.”

Feel free to read the entire document, here.

My impression of the proposed new rules is the Department of Education wants to shift all the responsibility for falling for school marketing overpriced education to the least informed person in this transaction, the student.

It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see how this is going to work out. Badly for debtors.

If ED is worried about underwriting and a fiduciary responsibility then why are they passing out easy loans with little regard to affordability, to begin with? Does the government have a duty to protect it’s citizens or does it need to protect its poor financial decision making and schools they pump loans through? Or is this new policy all about blaming the victim instead of investigating the claims for validity?

Let me know what you think, comment below.

Steve Rhode
Get Out of Debt GuyTwitter, G+, Facebook

If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask, just click here and ask away.

This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt Guy and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

FTC Returns Money to People Targeted by Phony Debt Collection Scheme

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 597 checks totaling more than $184,000 to people who were allegedly tricked into paying phony debts.

In October 2015, the FTC and the State of New York charged a group of defendants known as Delaware Solutions with collecting on debts that they knew were bogus. According to the complaint, the defendants ignored evidence that the debts were invalid, failed to identify themselves as debt collectors, falsely portrayed themselves as process servers or attorneys, and falsely threatened arrest or litigation for failure to pay. The defendants agreed to – and in August 2016, a federal court in New York entered – an order that permanently banned them from the debt collection industry.

The average refund amount is $308.37. Recipients should deposit or cash checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check. The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check. If recipients have questions about the refund program, they should contact the FTC’s refund administrator, Analytics Consulting LLC, at 855-687-2078.

To learn more about the FTC’s refund program, visit www.ftc.gov/refunds.

This article by the FTC was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

How Can We Pay Off Our Mortgage Faster?

Question:

Dear Steve,

My husband and both work and we have a combined income of 91,000. My husband took a cut in pay when we lost his job. We have excelled credit. Due to some not so sound decisions, we refinanced for 30-year mortgage. We did try applying for HARP but stated we made to much at the time,

My question is there any way that we can refinance for fewer years? We did come to some money and want to put down 20,000 but the bank is telling it will only take 3 years off my loan.

Tina

Answer:

Dear Tina,

I’m actually a fan of the 30-year mortgage. It typically gives you a good interest rate and a fixed lower monthly payment. You can always send more than the minimum and pay the loan off early.

Let’s look at a couple of examples using the Credit Karma mortgage calculator and interest rates from Wells Fargo.

On a $300,000 for a 30-year fixed rate, your monthly payment would be $1,565.

For a 15-year fixed rate, your monthly payment would be $2,257.

However, if you had a 30-year mortgage and repaid it at the 15-year monthly payment you could pay off your loan in 190 months but have the flexibility of dropping to a lower monthly mortgage payment if you needed some extra breathing room.

The amount of time any lumpsum payment will save is based on the interest rate on the loan and how long you’ve already had the loan. A lumpsum payment early on will reduce the interest you are paying overall on the loan.

What you really have here is a time value of money math problem but more variables need to be known to calculate the answer specifically for your loan.

For example, I’d need to know the current balance on the loan, the number of months remaining, your interest rate, and the amount of your monthly payment to goes to principal and interest.

But I’m curious if the issue isn’t actually that with the reduction in income, the current home is just no longer affordable. If that’s the case, it might be time to reorganize your current financial life so you can better live within your income.

Considering your financial situation may have dramatically changed, building up your emergency fund and/or retirement savings might make more sense than paying down the mortgage.

Steve Rhode
Get Out of Debt GuyTwitter, G+, Facebook

If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask, just click here and ask away.

This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt Guy and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

FTC to Send Refund Checks to Uber Drivers as Part of FTC Settlement

Refunds for Uber Drivers - FTC alleged most Uber drivers in many US cities didn't make promised income. Refunds totaling nearly $20 million. 88,799 checks mailed averaging $223 each. Visit FTC.gov/refunds for more information. Source: Federal Trade Commission. FTC.govThe Federal Trade Commission is mailing checks totaling $19,798,233 to drivers for Uber Technologies Inc., as part of a settlement with the Commission over allegations the ride-hailing company exaggerated the yearly and hourly income drivers could make in certain cities, and misled prospective drivers about the terms of its vehicle financing options.

In its complaint, the FTC alleged, for example, that Uber falsely claimed on its website that uberX drivers’ annual median income was more than $90,000 in New York and over $74,000 in San Francisco. In fact, drivers’ annual median income in those cities was actually much lower and very few drivers—less than 10 percent—earned the yearly income Uber touted, according to the FTC.

As part of a settlement with the FTC, Uber agreed to pay $20 million, which the FTC is using to send 88,799 checks to affected drivers. The average refund amount is $222.96, which is based on several factors, including how much recipients earned with Uber, in which cities and states they drove, and the total amount of money available in the settlement fund.

Epiq, the refund administrator for this matter, will begin mailing refund checks today. The checks must be cashed within 60 days, or they will become void. The FTC never requires anyone to pay money or provide information to cash refund checks. Recipients who have questions should call 1-888-506-8281.

FTC law enforcement actions led to more than $6.4 billion in refunds for consumers in a one-year period between July 2016 and June 2017. To learn more about the FTC’s refund program, visit www.ftc.gov/refunds.

This article by the FTC was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

CESI and EARN Team Up to Upgrade Debt Management with SaverLife Program

Finally. I can’t believe it has taken so long for a credit counseling group to make the leap to include a savings component to a debt reduction approach. Historically credit counseling groups directed every possible dollar they could towards creditor payments to make the creditors happy. And it is one thing to include a savings line item in a budget but CESI has taken the step of actually building a savings account with money in it as part of their debt reduction approach.

When I ran a credit counseling group we did something similar back in the early 2000s. The obstacle we ran into was having clients drain their savings when they discovered they had actually managed to save money. It will be interesting to see what CESI will share with the data generated from this project and customers of theirs leave the money in as an emergency fund or a retirement saving start.

Here is the press release from CESI with the announcement.

Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is pleased to announce a ground-breaking new product, Debt Management Plan (DMP) Plus. The DMP Plus will give consumers the power to enhance their economic security on two fronts: Through eliminating crippling unsecured debt while building real savings.

CESI is able to offer the DMP Plus product through a unique partnership with EARN to integrate the SaverLife program with our Debt Management Plan. With the support of two trusted nonprofits, working families can conquer debt and achieve prosperity through savings.

According to the Federal Reserve, nearly half of Americans do not have enough savings to cover a $400 expense without going into debt or selling something. Yet even small amounts of savings can make a significant difference for these families. In fact, households with just $250 – $749 in savings are less likely to be evicted, miss a housing or utilities payment, or receive public benefits.

The DMP Plus program will feature all the benefits of a traditional Debt Management Plan, which typically include lower interest rates, reduced fees and lower monthly payments through automated payments to creditors. In addition, CESI’s DMP Plus customers have the opportunity to join the innovative SaverLife program that has assisted more than 100,000 individuals offered by nonprofit EARN. For every month that an enrolled consumer saves at least $20, SaverLife will match their savings up to $10 for a total of $60 over six months. The program is simple to join, automated for ease of use, and consumers will receive meaningful touchpoints designed to encourage, educate and motivate them to continue their savings habits.

“We are excited to partner with EARN, whose success in helping consumers take the steps to save is so well known,” said Mike Croxson, CEO of CESI. “Over nearly 20 years, CESI has assisted millions of consumers struggling to gain control of their debt through our counseling, budgeting and debt management plans. Until now, we did not have a method to ensure that savings were actually achieved in a consumer’s budget as they paid down their debt. We believe that the innovation of integrating EARN’s SaverLife program into our traditional DMP offering will be a catalyst for resolving debt issues and helping families build the savings that can provide financial freedom.”

Steve Rhode
Get Out of Debt GuyTwitter, G+, Facebook

If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask, just click here and ask away.

This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt Guy and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

We Got Scammed But Should We Refinance the Mortgage?

Question:

Dear Steve,

We got scammed out of lots of money. It started with borrowing from husbands life insurance, then I went ‘all in’ on my own to make it all back, I have over 30K on credit cards.

Some have gotten their money back, but I was in since Dec 2016 so they say the time for dispute has expired.

The FTC stepped in but not enough $ to go around, I am 62 years old this was to secure a bright retirement. Looking at home refinance. $69K at 4.5 for 15 years or 4.625 for 10 years. Both scenarios I plan to pay and get it paid in 5, We only had about 3.5 years left to pay off now.

I also wondered about just not paying the 3 cards in my name. My husband would still have good credit if we needed anything.

Carol

Answer:

Dear Carol,

Sorry to hear about the scam you got caught up in. That is so unfortunate.

It sounds as if you have a significant amount of equity in your home to use for some purpose. As far as paying off a loan, I prefer to see people go for the longer term possible and pay the loan off early. This gives you a lower monthly payment to fall back on in case you find yourself in a tight month then you won’t default, hopefully, with the lower payment.

But purely from the information, you provided. I’m wondering if looking at settling your credit card debt for about $17,500 with fees is a better way to resolve the debt situation and preserve equity that can eventually be used towards retirement.

I’m not clear why you would need to borrow $69K to resolve $30K of credit card debt. Is there something else you need to pay off? Why borrow so much?

Please update me in the comments section below and let’s get this figured out.

Steve Rhode
Get Out of Debt GuyTwitter, G+, Facebook

If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask, just click here and ask away.

This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt Guy and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.