Freedom Debt Relief - Financial Goals Throughout the Year
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Freedom Debt Relief - Financial Goals Throughout the Year

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Tackling a long list of goals all at once can be overwhelming and as a result, resolutions may be quickly forgotten. Setting realistic expectations may help you achieve a greater amount of success. ...

Tackling a long list of goals all at once can be overwhelming and as a result, resolutions may be quickly forgotten. Setting realistic expectations may help you achieve a greater amount of success. Below are some financial tasks and tips that may bring you closer to
financial freedom during this year.

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    Freedom Debt Relief - Financial Goals Throughout the Year Freedom Debt Relief - Financial Goals Throughout the Year Document Transcript

    • Volume 4 #11 Financial Goals Throughout the Year New Credit Card Rules: A Step in the Right Direction Making the Most of a Bad Economy • Spare Change Inspiring Thoughts • FDR Client Reminders Welcome to the Freedom Debt Relief monthly newsletter! As part of our ongoing goal to enhance our services, we will be sending you a monthly newsletter filled with interesting articles and helpful financial tips and 1-800-655-6303 advice. We hope you enjoy this issue, and that you find the enclosed information helpful as you continue on the road to financial freedom. Financial Goals Throughout the Year A s a new year begins, many people may make resolutions and contemplate on ways to improve their lives throughout 2009. Tackling a long list of goals all at once can be overwhelming and as a result, resolutions may be quickly forgotten. Setting realistic expectations may help you achieve a greater amount of success. Below are some financial tasks and tips that may bring you closer to financial freedom during the upcoming year. You can also create a similar list of goals that you may want to achieve throughout the various seasons. Happy New Year and we look forward to providing you with valuable information during the upcoming year. January-March April-June July-September October-December • Start off the new year by • Kick off your spring cleaning • If you use an air conditioner, • Review your bank statements. making some financial by hosting a garage sale . You consider weatherstripping If you are paying a monthly resolutions. Focus on ways can also sell unwanted items the seams around the unit to fee for your checking account, that your family can save on on www.ebay.com or www. prevent air leaks. According find a local bank that offers daily living expenses. Visit craigslist.org for extra cash. to Energy.gov, if everyone free checking. MoneySavingGuide.com to purchased an energy-efficient • Consider using homemade • Consolidate trips to the use the “Money Saving To- air conditioning model, cleaning solutions for your grocery store to avoid buying Do List,” an online tool that it would save 831 million home. Visit the Eartheasy more than you need. Plan allows users to type individual kilowatts of electricity per year. web site at www.eartheasy. your meals according to goals and check them off Visit www.energy.gov for more com/live_nontoxic_solutions. weekly specials in the grocery when they are completed. energy saving tips. htm and learn how to make store. Use coupons only when • Take advantage of holiday non-toxic cleaners. • Use travel sites such as they can save you money on clearance sales at the www.orbitz.com and www. products that you normally • In honor of Earth Day on beginning of the year. This is a travelocity.com for planning purchase. April 22, consider ways that good time to stock up on gift trips. If a vacation will break you can reduce your impact • Take precautions that may wrap and decorations for the your budget, consider checking on the environment and save protect you from becoming a next season. out attractions in your local money. For example, buy victim of identity theft. For area. • In February, show your love used items instead of new to example, shred all financial for your spouse or significant prevent trash from filling up • Make it a goal to save your documents before putting other with an inexpensive, but the landfills and drive less spare change on a regular basis. them in the trash. Be smart meaningful gift. For example, to conserve fuel. Visit www. At the end of the year, you may about entering information write a poem or frame a earth911.com for more tips. be able to make an additional online and always try to vary special photograph. Acquiring deposit to your reserve account. your passwords and user • If you plan on doing any debt for extravagant gifts is names. For more tips, visit home improvements, consider • Consider using “back-to- not attractive. www.identitytheft.com or “DIY”, or do-it-yourself. school” shopping trips as a www.ftc.gov. • Prepare for the tax filing Although you may have to financial lesson for children. deadline by organizing hire a professional for some Give them a list and a budget • Establish a system that will necessary paperwork. You can complicated projects, you and tell them to stick to help you remember to pay also visit the IRS web site at may be able to complete it. Children may learn the all bills on time each month. www.irs.gov for tax changes. some tasks yourself. Visit difference between wants Consider marking the dates Estimate your tax return on your local library to find and needs. For discounts on in a calendar or using e-mail the H&R Block site at www. a comprehensive guide on textbooks and software, college reminders. Paying bills online hrblock.com. Select the learning how to do jobs such students can check out sites may also help you avoid “Calculator link” and enter as cleaning your gutters and such as www.textbookx.com late fees and save money on your information. installing a ceiling fan. and www.journeyed.com. postage.
    • Making the Most of a Bad Economy Client Reminders Creditor Calls: If you are getting M uch discussion surrounds the see the value of using cash. calls from creditors, please use the script issue of the struggling economy. we have designed for you. This will allow Although the state of the world may You have a support system. Credit us to work more effectively with these look bleak, future positive changes may evolve cards make it easy for consumers to live beyond creditors. If you have lost your script, let from this financial crisis. Below are some ideas their means and impress friends and family. us know and we will be happy to resend that may help give you an optimistic view of the Swiping a credit card can quickly allow you it to you. recession. to pick up the tab for an expensive dinner or purchase extravagant gifts for special occasions. Draft Changes – 5 Days Notice: If Stores may lower prices. During the As more consumers experience the effects of you plan on changing the draft amount past holiday season, many stores slashed their the economy, you will more than likely be you are depositing into your settlement prices to entice shoppers to spend. The National acquainted with someone that is required to bank account each month, please submit Retail Federation forecasts that retailers will tighten-up their budget instead of people that still offer great bargains at the beginning of the encourage overspending. Surrounding yourself the request at least five business days in year. Taking advantage of these low prices is a with supportive individuals that understand your advance of your next scheduled draft. We good way to stock up on necessities. Be careful situation may help you persevere and achieve want to ensure that it is processed by the of buying extra items simply because they are your financial goals. Hopefully, frugal living bank in a timely manner. on sale. As many consumers may perhaps become a lasting review their finances during trend even when the economy Tax Debt? If you owe money to the rough economy, stores bounces back to a prosperous the IRS and would like information on may also tailor their gimmicks state. how to reduce your tax debts, please and advertising towards contact our sister company, Freedom budgeting and saving money. Your opinion counts. Tax Relief at 1-800-455-6TAX. Our tax For example, Dolans.com, an Consumer Reports’ latest informative financial web site, attorneys and tax specialists are eager to national survey finds that more reports that lay-away programs immediately start helping you resolve than half (56%) of respondents may be making a comeback at your tax troubles. In addition, existing think that the government has many retailers. not done enough for them in FDR clients are eligible for a $100 referral these tough economic times. bonus if they refer someone to Freedom Cash becomes a Only 17 percent of those Tax Relief. polled said the government preferred payment *** needs to do more for banks method. Spending with Customer Service Phone No: and financial institutions. In credit may not be as easy as it was in the past. 1-800-655-6303 the poll, 29 percent said the government went A July 2008 Federal Reserve Board survey too far in bailing out the financial industry. You indicates that 65% of U.S. banks had tightened FAX No: 650-393-6800 have the opportunity to express your views on their lending standards on credit card loans these types of issues by calling 1-800-BAIL- during the previous three months. As credit lines OUT. Once you call the toll-free number, you Hours of Operation: are lowered, consumers may choose cash as a will be prompted to speak and share anything on preferred payment method for many purchases. Mon-Thurs: 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. PST your mind about the current financial situation According to Cardweb.com, a web site that in America. Your message will be recorded, Fri: 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. PST tracks the payment card industry, consumers digitized, and uploaded to www.bailoutrants. Sat: 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. PST spend nearly 200% more when using credit. A com. Other users can listen to your message and rough economy may allow many consumers to comment on it. E-mail: support@freedomdebtrelief.com We want Playbook for Life (www.playbook.thehartford.com) is an educational web site that gives college students the opportunity to take charge of their finances before your ideas! venturing out into the “real world”. Sponsored by The Hartford, a major financial services company, students can use online calculators, download budget worksheets, and What do you want to see in the read helpful financial articles. newsletter? We welcome your input. Email your ideas to info@pifff.org.
    • New Credit Card Rules: A Step in the Right Direction R ecently, new rules adopted by the the Office of Thrift Supervision encourages Office of Thrift Supervision will help institutions to make their best efforts to conform protect consumers from certain abusive as soon as possible, particularly to the provisions Inspiring Thoughts credit card lending practices that can result in related to high-fee cards. excessive fees and interest rate charges. The rules A were developed in conjunction with the Federal What still needs to be done? s you move through your debt Reserve Board and National Credit Union While the new rules will provide important negotiation program, you may long Administration. Below is some basic information new protections, more safeguards may be needed for the day that you will be free of about these new regulations. to address other lending practices that can make debt, which certainly will be a significant it difficult for consumers to manage their credit. accomplishment. Of course, many people What are the changes? According to the Consumers Union, other realize that once we achieve one goal in According to Demos, a public policy research reforms needed to address some of the abusive life, we then face another opportunity or organization, the recently issued rules will ban practices that hurt consumers are: challenge. some of the bait-and-switch tactics in credit card One goal that certainly could be of • Limiting the amount of “penalty” interest lending. The new rules will: interest is rebuilding your credit. This is a rates, and how long card companies can keep topic that may bring about mixed feelings. • Prohibit banks from retroactively increasing you at these extremely high rates. You may be eager because you have a chance the interest rate their customers must pay on • Prohibiting fees for paying a credit card by to start anew, yet overwhelmed because you existing balances phone or internet. may not know where to begin. • Prohibit banks from allocating payments to Although rebuilding your credit is an • Prohibiting account-opening fees no more lower-rate balances first to maximize finance exciting time to focus on the future, it may than 10 percent of the credit limit. charges take as much time as paying off your debt. • Banning multiple over-limit fees during a At first, you may still experience some • Ban the practice of “double-cycle billing,” single billing cycle. rejection and adversity. For example, a lender which calculates interest over more than may deny your application for a car loan one month, and can result in higher finance How do these new rules affect me? or you may be forced to pay a higher rate. charges These new rules are a positive step in the right While these situations may be difficult to • Eliminate upfront fees on so-called fee direction for consumers. Once you complete bear, you must not regret all of your hard harvesting credit cards when they eat up the your debt negotiation program, these regulations work and perseverance during your debt majority of the available balance on the cards may help you make a fresh start as you strive to negotiation program. Keep in mind that rebuild your credit rating. Keep in mind that it • Require banks to provide consumers a some potential lenders simply view you as a will still benefit you to practice prudent credit reasonable amount of time to make payments low three-digit credit score number or label card use. Avoid additional interest and fees by you as “high risk.” Banks lend people money only charging what you can afford to What prompted these changes? because they want to make more money in pay in full that month. Timely return. If you are not approved for a loan, The new regulations were finalized after credit card payments may it is not a reflection on your character; it is the Federal Reserve Board received a flood of slowly improve your simply a business decision. comments from approximately 66,000 people credit score. You have probably heard the saying “good during a consumer testing study. Also, during things come to those who wait.” This cliché this struggling economy, many banks have been could also be applied to re-establishing your lowering credit limits and raising interest rates to credit. Upon completing your program, compensate for the losses from the make a conscious effort to take steps to mortgage crisis. Demos reports improve your credit rating. Consider that these tactics are causing applying for a credit card and charge small more borrowers to carry higher amounts which you can afford to pay in balances for longer periods of time full each month. Secured credit cards are and run the risk of exceeding the also an option. Timely payments on all of credit limits. your bills will eventually put you in a low risk category. Although it is impossible to When do these changes take effect? guarantee anything in life, practicing good These rules will not officially take effect financial habits should sooner or later boost until July 1, 2010. However, your credit score. Remember that there are also many It’s Hip to Save! opportunities to improve your financial skills as you strive to settle your debts. For instance, take advantage of the many financial resources available online and at Visit www.hip2save.com, a blog that offers your local library. Knowledge is power and legitimate free samples, online coupons, and educating yourself on money matters will other freebies. help you at all stages on the road to financial freedom.
    • $pare ¢hange If the customer overdraws by just $1 and pays it back in two weeks, some of the higher bank fees - $37 or more - are the equivalent of 96,200 percent APR. Visit www.econ4u.org for numerous articles and quizzes about personal News, financial tips, and other information finance. regarding personal financial freedom A helpful web site promotes saving among young adults. Feed the Pig, a national campaign of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Consumers are still protected status of the retailer that originally sold the (AICPA) and the Advertising Council, features when purchasing service service contract. a series of print and broadcast public service contracts. According to the Service announcements urging Americans age 25 to 34 Contract Industry Council (SCIC), consumers FDIC warns consumers of to spend wisely and save for the future. The new can continue to buy and enjoy the benefits of exorbitant overdraft fees. A new PSAs can be viewed at the campaign website, service contracts for their electronic products FDIC study shows that banks are charging www.feedthepig.org, which features savings tips with the knowledge that the contracts will still Americans billions of dollars in overdraft fees. and interactive tools. Feed the Pig additionally be viable and honored even if the retailer closes The Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial employs new media easily accessible to the or files for bankruptcy. Many state legislatures Literacy (www.Econ4u.org) is educating target audience, including weekly e-mail savings across the nation have adopted or adapted the consumers about the importance of avoiding tips, podcasts, text messages, and Facebook SCIC’s model legislation, which among other these fees. Most people do not realize that a and MySpace pages for Benjamin Bankes, the provisions puts in place regulations -- including bank overdraft fee comes at a higher interest rate campaign icon that evokes the requirement to buy insurance -- to protect and greater cost than childhood memories of the consumers who purchase service contracts from any other imaginable traditional piggy bank. Feed struggling retailers. Service contracts (sometimes loan. A customer who the Pig serves as an extension referred to as extended warranties) purchased makes an on-premise of 360 Degrees of Financial from major retailers are sold and administered purchase with a debit Literacy (www.360financiall by third-party service contract providers that are card and overdraws their iteracy.org), an effort by the independent of retailers. And, according to the account by $20, paying CPA profession to educate SCIC, a national trade association that represents it back two weeks later, Americans on how financial the service contract industry and works to will suffer an average issues affect them at all implement consumer protection regulations, overdraft fee equal to life stages, beginning with these third-party providers will continue taking 3,520 annual percentage childhood and extending claims and providing service regardless of the rate (APR) in interest. through retirement. The Freedom Debt Relief newsletter is published by The Premier Institute for Financial Freedom. While articles in this newsletter are factual and accurate, they are not intended to replace the advice of professional financial, accounting, and/or legal advisers. As with all decisions regarding your finances, the advice, techniques, ideas and suggestions offered herein should be followed under the supervision of the appropriate competent professional. 1875 South Grant Street Suite 400 San Mateo, CA 94402 Phone: (800) 655-6303 FAX: (650) 897-8800