I think I realize what you are saying

Schwab and other places give advice at no charge because they are going to make money from your money deposited with them. It is not a noble public service. I wonder what the SEC provides on their web site. You are not getting something for nothing. Why pay twice? ItÂ’s a market concept. The company providing the best service at the lowest rate should succeed as a fundamental economic principle. What do you think?

The lower priced business should succeed but sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Some people actually think you have to spend a lot of money in order to earn a lot. But sometimes if you go in with a large group you can get lower costs. I use the 401k program at work and the fees are way less than I’d pay on my own. The 401k is a great help with saving money because I never see the money, it gets taken out of my check before it ever reaches me.

With a regular savings account I put money in but then eventually take it back out again instead of just leaving it alone. I did ask for a professional to advise me because the 401k offered so many different choices and I wanted to get the best ones for my situation. Some carry more risk than others, some are best for long-term savings, and those are only a couple of the different benefits.

That is something I didn’t know, that Schwab works that way. It doesn’t really matter since I can’t find one near where I currently live. That’s one drawback of living in a small town I guess. With the price of gas these days i can’t afford to drive very far.

When i got my tax refund i went to my bank

They offered a choice of CDs (certificates of deposit) with different interest rates. I like knowing the money is in the bank earning interest but that if needed i can get it just by gong to the bank. You can also ask at your bank if they have people who can give you advice about investments. Usually the first initial meeting runs twenty minutes and most times it won’t cost you a penny. The second visit and beyond will have a fee. Also check at the public library. Sometimes they have free group sessions/classes on all kinds of topics and they have lots of books. I’d go with a professional at your bank cause you won’t find too many books that agree on the same way to go. I gave up on books when one said do A and the next one said do B cause A was the wrong way to go.

I wouldn’t put money in any back that charged a fee for a consultation, second or not. They’re soliciting my business, my money and my trust so why should I pay them for that? The concept is outrageous. You’d get better treatment at a brokerage house like Schwab. You realize that the bank earns high-interest from all the money deposited.

You really should not have to pay for investment reviews. Banks do earn interest on monies on deposit but not necessarily all money and not necessarily high-interest.

The bank/credit union that you choose to do business with really should offer investment advice at no cost to you. Keep searching till you find one that does.

May I ask….What is the Credit Card A&B idea?

But some people don’t want a brokerage house or live in an area where there aren’t any nearby. Some times no matter what you do you have to pay. You can’t get something for nothing a lot of times. And when I’m offered something free I feel pretty sure that sooner or later there’s going to strings.

Charged off?

My credit cards have been “charged off”. I have had several different collections people calling me though. I’m assuming they were “bought”. Can these collections people sue me or does it have to be the original people?

The bank has 180 days to collect or make a deal prior to writing/charging off the debt on their books. They then sell it to a third party debt collector/lawfirm for pennies on the dollar.

The collector by law can take action against you. If you have assets or employed, take action in protecting yourself. In America: ‘The bigger plum you are, the more ripe you are for pickin.’

You have rights under federal law i.e. FDCPA to demand they cease their collection efforts until they prove a valid debt. They can never do this. If you don’t know your rights, you can’t assert them. Knowledge is power, even greater if applied! Educate yourself.

I am seeking help

I am seeking help. I am very resigned that I will never be able to manage money, get out and stay out of debt, have money saved to take care of my self and my husband….much less really be able to do some amazing things I want to do.

I have been an artist and entertainer for many years. I have transformed many areas of my life. I am now opening a practice as a Hypnotist and I perform as a hypnotist also. I work for myself and mostly always have.

I have gotten out of debt before almost all the way with the exception of our home. But we blew it again. I think I need someone local to really work with, to have support. I am taking a course right now, that looks at what your conversations are about money, helps you to discover what is really running you. But today, I am just depressed and feel like I will never get a handle on this. To tell you the truth, money scares me. I am being straight here. I am an intelligent, successful person and this is part of the reason I am bummed.

I like the idea of creating a plan. And I am scared to death that I have to go back to living with nothing. I need money to get my new businesses under way, which are creating a whole new level of income. But I just don’t know where to look and back to the above. I am afraid I will not get what I need.

So, can anyone speak to this? Thanks.

I am scared stiff because I am going through a professional transition. Not knowing the future is scary but that is what defines the future. It sounds as though you are capable of succeeding. You came close before. You have the benefit of the experience. I think just revealing your thoughts to this website must make them less burdensome. Plug away.

Don’t isolate yourself in gloom. I feel if we are honest everyone has felt the way you are feeling now. Being in debt is not viewed as something to be proud about in society. We should not be proud. We are ameliorating the situation. Best of luck and take it one step at a time.

I have fear of money too. Intellectually, I know its ridiculous but emotionally I have this fear. I guess all we can do is gear ourselves up, deal with it, and then our reward is we did it. Hopefully, with practice we will get better.

Debt collectors

Hi. I am wondering after my debt is charged off to a collector, how long before I am given legal papers to appear in court??

I have been contacted by UCB that they will sue me by month’s end if I dont send them money. They’ve only had my account about 3 months. How often is this a ploy to scare me and how quickly do companies usually take you to court?? Im actually on the edge of settling this one but need another few months just to have the right amount of money. Any help out there?? Thanks.

We need more info. What type of debt is it and how much do you owe? Any other specifics? I received a letter from UCB early in the process. That was over a year ago and nothing has happened since. I’ve been paying down what debt I can now, though, so that may have helped. Further, the calls have been fewer since I changed the greeting on the answering machine to the standard computer voice vs my personal greeting. Good luck to all and may God help us all as well!

CC debt, bank of america to be specific. a little over 10k.

It would depend upon the statute of limitations in your state – no matter what someone else posts. It is a state issue. Read more here – care4yourfuture.org. I defaulted and was never sued. My lawyer sent a letter stating that I could not pay because of personal circumstances. You don’t need a lawyer for this part. Most law schools are federal depositories and must allow members of the public to view materials. When I was in law school, they seemed to go out of their way to help. They can certainly show you where it states how much time your creditors have. You can write a default letter yourself. Any decent lawyer should be able to outline your options. There are too many personal variables to suggest anything more.

The financial industry wants to have free access to everyone’s credit history

…Even if people want it restricted because they fear their identity may have been stolen. This would be the case if the credit industry computers got hacked as has already happened several times. See, they don’t want to be responsible for fixing the breech and reestablishing their files on us on a wholesale level, so they want Congress to make it so that we can’t act on our suspicion that we’re about to be robbed because the reporting industry screwed up. If this passes, it’s up to their discretion only and we’ll only get the ability to lock our reports AFTER we’ve been robbed.

As it says in the article, it’s like the government requiring everyone to keep their doors open with burglars on the loose in the neighborhood, however they’ll allow you to bolt the doors after you’ve been burglarized.

Well isn’t that swell. Anything for the financial industry lobbyists is a sure winner in Washington. Congress has no shame at all for even allowing such legislation to get to a vote, and these are Republicans, the ones who got elected under the premise that they would get big government off of our backs, who bring it to the floor.

After five years of total Republican control of Washington, it should be clear that what they really meant was that they would get government off of their good buddy’s backs and screw the rest of us. Please get us back to gridlock.

Debt Management Plan from a company

Has anyone every tried a Debt Management plan from a good company? I have over $ 34,000.00 in unsecured debt and going into 6 months without a payment. Bankruptcy is on my mind, but it will be the last resort.

With that large of unsecured debt, I think you may need some outside financial help and or counseling. Why is it that you havent made a payment for up to 6 months? Are you out of work?

Even if you get outside help to start a debt management plan of some sort, the main thing you will need to realize is that, YOU have to change some of your attitudes and really start living the very “frugal” life for a temporary amount of time. Once you do that, you may realize how many things where so unnessary to aquire to be happy and the debt was a consequence of pure over indulgence. Yes, this is just my opinion and I am getting into the coar personal problem of why people get into major debt.

There is a very small percentage of people who get into debt because of circumstances way beyond their control and this is the truth. If you work hard, make a daily effort and stay focused on the goal of becoming debt free, you could do it, even with a $34,000 debt. I’ve known people who were more in debt than that and did it… it’s not unrealistic.

What you are willing to give up now, will actually come back to you later… There are so many personal circumstances of your life on how you live, that could be the turning factor of you helping yourself get out of debt… but only you know that. I’ve been there and done it.

Why do you want a company, are you able to start paying the vultures something? All? None? To file are you thinking chap 7 or 13?

You can do this yourself, why pay some one else. You already are in charge off status, the debt collectors have called or still are.

Suggest you go to zipdebt.com, or read Dave Ramseys book Total Money Makeover or Financial Peace, Figure out how much you can save a month for either a payments or to go to a lump sum settlement fund, and to do either you need a budget, and to get out of debt it has to be bare bones. Look in the archives here to find the stuff on settlement. Hope that helps.

I will have to agree with the post here. I suggest that you take a long hard look at Dave Ramsey and his financial counseling. After reading the so-called experts, Dave makes the most logical sense (in my humble opinion) on how to get out of debt and start your wealth – building.

Bankruptcy info

I am new to the group and looking for some information on filing bankruptcy online. I have talked to a couple of lawyers who want to charge me $1300-$1600 to file bankruptcy. I have done a lot of research and filing is my only option. I have been looking at filing online through USA Bankruptcy or one of those firms who for a small fee will do all the paperwork for you. Has anyone used these types of firms and what was your experience with them. I was taken in by a loan fraud company and now I am very skeptical about getting help from anyone! Please give me any info that you can offer it will be greatly appreciated.

Hi! I’m a lawyer who became ill and had to default on my consumer credit. If you can find $1,000. it is advisable to hire a lawyer. Knowing which papers to file is not taught in law school. You want someone who knows enough law in general to spot any issues in your personal scenario. There is no substitute for this service. If you cannot afford a lawyer, I would strongly suggest you do it yourself. The bankruptcy court in your jurisdiction should tell you what forms to file. I am certain there are free general bankruptcy help sites online. I can’t see paying someone to file forms.

First, you have to gather the information to put on the form yourself. Second, people do it by themselves frequently. I see it as gimmick to make $. I am suing a pharmaceutical company. I had to supply all the information before the lawyer would represent me. I think you just need structure. The clerk’s office should supply it. The bankruptcy code is available online. There is no magic. I wish there were.

IC Systems

Hi, My husband allowed a relative to purchase a cell phone under his name. needless to say, that person racked up a 1,400. dollar bill before we had it turned off. It was a Sprint phone and they sent it out to IC Systems for collections. I contacted IC Systems and tried to explain (they did not care!) that we would pay it back at $20 a month until we got it down to a reasonable amount and then try to pay it off in larger chunks.

They said no…I started paying them $20 dollars a month anyway. It is now down to 1,200. dollars and I offered them $800. they refused. They have harassed me by phone for almost a year now. Today, I received a call on my cell phone from them! I was so surprised since the bill is not in my name and I have no idea how they got my cell number! They ring my phone day and night starting at 8am and ending near 10 pm. What can I do??

Thanks in advance.

Tell them in writing that you cannot pay the debt and send in snail mail. Don’t acknowledge that you owe the debt. I have to think more. There are federal and state laws pertaining to consumer credit that you should read that must be posted on the Internet. I would also visit the FTC to see what regulations they are enforcing. I should know more but this is a good start.

Thanks for your reply. I will send them a letter. Does anyone have any idea what I should include in the letter? As to not acknowledging the debt, wouldn’t sending them a letter confirm the debt?

I.C. should know better than call people and break federal laws. I think they were one of the agencies recently sued and lost for those actions. In a way you have acknowledged the debt already by paying on it, and its still going to be on your credit records. Send them a letter stating that you will deal only with Sprint – there
is an example posted recently on this site – send it certified, return receipt, then sue them if they keep calling.

These people are almost certainly in violation of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Under that act I think they cannot make phone calls before 8 am or after 9 PM and you can sue them for damages! Write them a letter telling them you are asking them under the FDCPA to stop contacting you by phone and by law they must do that. You can also file a complaint with the BBB where the company is located (probably won’t do much good since they are violating the law anyway) and look to bringing a lawsuit against IC systems under the FDCPA. Check out information on the FDCPA thru the Federal Trade Commissions Web site www.ftc.gov.

Why don’t you go to the Federal Reserve’s site

Why don’t you go to the Federal Reserve’s site and see what the current rate for loans to banks is? That gives you a ball park figure. I would ask for that rate even though you will not get it.

I would climb to what is accepted for good credit risks at a national bank, like Citibank. I was taught my senior corporate law partners to ask low, ridiculously insane low. I could not understand why but I trust their judgment. I don’t know the current rate because I had to default which is one of major tragedies of my life. I don’t believe in credit at all. Not even for a car. The good old fashioned way of saving for it is sobering.

Seems to be the case here too. I was thinking if I did that, the interest and all would be locked into a figure and just left at that.

I like the other thing I read,”Get mad enough at them and pay them off more quickly. Anger is a good motivator to getting out of debt” or something to this effect. I have to agree.

Yes, get mad and pay them off! I have been here since June 4th. I have online bill pay. Everytime I get an extra $8 or so, I just send it to them. I tried to get my Discover down with the interest rate. I was at 17.99% and on a payment plan for 6 months.

Now I am off the plan, the interest rate jumped to 25.99%. I called and they said they had to send me a form to sign to get the rate lowered. I called two days later and got it to 23.99%. I am mad as heck to them. My Citi is 30%. I called and the sent me a letter and said I was late in Sept 2004. So I am at the default rate. They won’t budge. The hell with them. I am just paying them off one by one with the debtsnowball. Exxon is gone sice June 4th. Now Boscov is going to be attacked. I do not know what else to do. Guess this is the right measure. Imput is appreciated.

And also make sure you state in the certified letter “at my request” please close my account and you better make dang sure it shows at my request on my credit report.

Prior research is the key to successful negotiations

Prior research is the key to successful negotiations. I would check my state rates and see what are the lowest and highest rates issued for your type of card (Gold, Plat, etc). Bankrate.com is a good start.

That’s true, all the ‘cut it up’ advise is already done here at my place. But this brings to mind another question: If, for example I do NOT plan to use the cards again, what WOULD ‘closing’ the account do? This is to say, If I could get the Juniper people to go back to the lower interest rate, and then I close the account out, only paying on it, would this help? They couldn’t change the interest on me again later, could they?

I found out yesterday when my fella’s dad was over for Father’s Day that (according to him) his wife who died back almost 9 years ago, was STILL in his report, even thigh the cards were paid off, they were still on his report too because he never ‘closed’ the accounts she had.

I know when I closed an account at MicroCenter, the payments remained the same for the rest of the payoff, but I was able to sell some Machinists tools and pay it off very quickly. I have a Martin Guitar that has been loved and well used for work from 1974 (I’m fifty now, and gigs aren’t in the offering much anymore, so I’m researching about selling it now. I’d rather get the money, and have it continue to be played by someone else).

But am wondering if that ‘closing the accounts’ would help get at least 2 of her three or four cards down to a dull roar?

Every thing I have read says that it is very important to your credit rating NOT to close an account before you pay it off. Wait until it is totally paid off – then close it. But not before.

Closing the account does a few things.

  1. You can not use it. You would have to go through the application process before re-opening the account.
  2. You have indicated to them that you do not intend to charge anymore to the account and may be in a position to lock in that rate – see below.
  3. You tell the same thing to the Credit Reporting Agencies.

It does NOT prevent them from raising the rate if you violate their policies, i.e. late on one of their payments or someone else’s – see below. Nor does it prevent them from raising the rate as part of their normal review, but if you pick one that guarantees a single rate for the life of the balance transfer, then they can only raise it if you violate a policy.

Why did I say someone else’s? Some cc have written into their policy that if you are late on ANY Credit, then they can raise your rate. Example, you are late with a payment to AMEX, then CHASE can raise your rates.

Not buyer beware but borrower beware!

I understand your question

Dave Ramsey has addressed this question on his radio station.

You need to know what the average interest rate is on each of those cards as well as what other cards are advertising as their normal rate – do not use promotional rates. Then have your husband call and ask to have the rate lowered to the norm. If he does not get a positive response, tell them that you have no alternative then to transfer them all to another account.

If that threat does not work, walk up their food chain (supervisor) as far as you can. If they do not follow through, find another company that will play ball with you. Transfer the debt, close the old account, and do not charge anymore to the new account.

I have done this and they usually will lower it back; although I did not have any tied to prime. I have also transferred everything into a single low interest rate account and then immediately closed that account and set-up automatic payments. Now, before I get barraged with – never, ever, ever give them access to you checking account, let me explain. The cc was with my credit union and was already tied to my checking account. They could not take more than they were allowed to. Any problems, one call was all it took.

A lot depends on your credit standing. If you still have good credit (just too much of it) you have more options. If you have bad credit, your options are limited.

While I still had good credit, I was able to get 5.99% by calling the companies and telling them I had been offered a year of 5.99% on all balance transfers to a new card. They lowered my card to the same to keep my business. (BTW – the new card offer was the truth.)

I’m sorry I didn’t mean for you to take it that way, You can ask for 8.99 or even prime. You can even close the accounts and say you want to pay them off as fast as possible on a payment plan, say $xx amount for 2 years/6 months or faster, you can do what ever you want and can get away with.

I just wanted you to realize the reason the APR’s are going up is because what is on the other cards. Alot of people don’t know that if they are at the max limits or raise limits on the other cards you run the risk of all of you APRs going up, good on time payer or not. And as we all know they got you and keep reeling you in, one offer after another.

Dave says NO CREDIT!

So if you want to follow Dave you gotta cut up those cards. I had to change my way of thinking because of the brainwashing throughout the years. The cc companies have us thinking we can’t do without them. But we can.

Doesn’t quite look like you’re getting the answers you want. I think I’m reading this as you aren’t using your credit cards anymore, you’re just trying to negotiate with the credit card companies to lower your APR. Is that right? So all this advice about not using credit cards would seem pretty pointless…

My suggestion is to look at what the national interest rates are and start there. It doesn’t matter if you qualify for the lowest APR or not, the worse they’ll do is tell you no. But it begins the negotiation process. I believe that’s the starting point. If you have a good payment history with them, they may approve it, and if that’s the case, it’s beneficial to shoot for the lowest you can.

You said you have 3 credit cards, I would concentrate heavily on paying the highest interest rate off first. If there’s enough room on the lowest interest rate card to consolidate them, that might be an option. In that case you could even request an extended line of credit just so you can consolidate them into a smaller interest rate and pay them off faster.

I hope these give you some realistic ideas on ways to move forward. I commend you for taking the steps to acknowledging an debt problem and looking for helpful solutions.

AGAIN…I know we have debt. I know what Dave says.

Is there anyone out there who can answer my question, and not give their own version of what I already know?

I want to lower the APR, not to use the cards, but to get them paid off faster.

This is a tough one. I would have the hubby call and ask for a 12% APR. If they won’t wiggle even a little on the percentage (even Dave says) its ok to surf the balance to a card with a lower APR (though I wouldn’t do the 0 then up to 20 card) Heck even getting a percentage or two will make a significant difference in what goes to prinicple. And just remember if you can’t get them lowered just decide to get mad at them and pay it off quicker. Being angry is the best motivation to getting out of debt. And the creepy, teetering on criminal, credit card companies make me super angry especially when they won’t work with you!!!! Save up a little emergency fund as quickly as you can then cut up them evil plastic cards.

I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Good luck to you keep us posted!

Credit Card APR – What’s acceptable?

I am wondering – we don’t qualify for the lowest APR, but some of our cards have crept up (thank you FED for raising int. rates) and some are over 20% now….24.3%, 25.95%, 21.9% …. my hubby is the primary cardholder, although I handle all our bill paying, so he will need to call the banks. I am going to ask him to request a lower rate. Hubby had a bankruptcy that just came off his credit report this month and other than that, all of our bills are paid on time. We just have a mountain of debt (again). He has cards in his name and I’m a user, so they show up on my credit report too. Those total about $24k and then I have some card debt, about $4k that are solely in my name. I had a bankruptcy myself two months before I married him, and it’s now been just over 7 years, so my credit isn’t the best either.

We have talked about a plan to get out of this debt on our own, because there are no other acceptable options. My first goal is to get us where were we aren’t using the cards (except for emergencies) and putting every extra $ on them like Dave Ramsey recommends.

A first step is to get the interest down, but what is a reasonable interest rate to ask for when he calls? There are others that are in the 14-19% range, but I’m not too worried about those right now. He just got an offer from Chase for 0% until March 2017, then it goes to 20.99% after that. I thought maybe he could use that offer as leverage to get the other banks to lower their rates.

Please offer your thoughts on rates and how best to negotiate.

Your rates haven’t crept up because of the FED, your rates have crept up because you have to many cards with to much on them. It doesn’t matter if you are on time, if you pay more than the min payment, bottom line you need to cut the credit cards all up, you need $1000.00 in the bank for any emergency, if you must keep one put it in the freezer, and start paying them off smallest to biggest. You don’t have a APR issue you have a debt issue, and at least you know that now. Good Luck.

PS if your name is on the card, primary or not, you can talk to the companies on behalf of both your husband and yourself.

You know, I appreciate you responding. However, this does not answer my question, and I don’t find it helpful. This feels a little condescending, as we both know we have a debt problem, or I wouldn’t be on this support group. Stating the obvious doesn’t feel supportive, which is what I thought this group was about. It took a lot for me to come out and admit and put into writing the situation in which we find ourselves. By the way, the APR on the 3 cards I mentioned ARE tied into the prime rate, so they actually have crept up partially due to the interest rate going up over the past year. We were able to get one of our card companies to lower the rate to 14.90 a few months ago, which was the original rate we had with them.

My question was and is…. “what is a reasonable amount to request for APR when negotiating a lower rate” which means more of our payment goes to principal. We have started lowering our living expenses as a part of our master plan.

By the way, I have tried talking to the card providers that I am a user on, and unless my husband has given them permission to deal with me, they refuse to discuss any changes to the account.

If anyone else has any helpful suggestion about where to start in lowering APR as part of the overall payoff plan, I would appreciate it.

MBNA – odd letter

I just got a letter – it looks like one of their usual forms that they probably send out to everyone behind on payments.

Anyway – it says “Because you have given us no other choice”… and goes on to say they are going to approach writing it off as a bad debt, etc…and to call if I have any information for them. Is this a good time to start the settlement process???

Writing it off as bad debt is an accounting step. I think they are going to sell their bad debt over so many days to another party at a discounted rate. I would rather deal with the original creditor than those despicable credit agencies. I truly deplore them. Good luck.