Thomas Garcia

Reduce Debt Without Credit Counseling

 Personal Finance  Comments Off on Reduce Debt Without Credit Counseling
May 042016

Here are 5 Smart Moves with Debt

Being in debt can feel like having a heavy weight chained to your foot, dragging you below the surface and drowning you in unpaid bills and a deteriorating credit score. Here are 5 smart moves to unchain yourself from that debt without resorting to credit counseling.

5 Smart Moves with DebtMove #1: Ask your credit card company for a lower rate: Your credit card company wants to keep your business. After all, if you carry with them a large balance at a high interest rate, you are paying them a hefty fee every month. Try calling them and asking them to reduce your rate, explaining that you have received lower-interest offers from other companies and that you are considering transferring your balances away unless they can match those lower rates. Believe me, your credit card company would rather keep some of that income than have it reduced to zero. Remember, there is no need to get nasty or threatening with them. Just be matter of fact about it and see what happens. If they refuse, go ahead and apply to other, lower-interest cards.

Move #2: Improve your credit score: A 50-point improvement in your credit score can save you $1000s per year in debt payments by making you eligible for lower interest rates. Do whatever you can to improve your credit score, including ordering your credit reports on the Internet and quickly correcting any errors you may find there.

Move #3: Pay yourself weekly: You may already have a monthly budget. If not, go ahead and prepare one. Then, divide it into 4 and make it a weekly budget. Now, pay yourself and your spouse a weekly allowance. Once your weekly allowance is gone (even if it is only Wednesday!), agree that you will halt all further purchases until the following week. This is a hard one to implement in terms of willpower. I suggest having 2-3 savings accounts and having one account for each week of the month. This is an easy way to keep track of how you are doing that week in terms of sticking to your budget.

Move #4: Keep a spending diary: Each evening, write down roughly how much you spent that day in a special spending diary or notebook. Create three columns: one for the name of the item, one for how much you spent, and one with a comment that labels the item ìneedî or ìwant.î For the wants, write a sentence or two about how that want was more important than your getting out of debt. By doing this, you will become much more self-aware about your spending habits.

Move #5: Set debt pay-down milestones: Everything is easier to achieve if you have clear goals in mind. Write down only your total unsecured debt. Now, think about the next 6 to 24 months and determine a realistic timeframe during which you will pay down that debt. Next, set two or three pay-down milestones during that time period and write down what your total debt balance will be by each milestone date. Then, as time passes, do periodic checks to make sure that you are on track and make adjustments accordingly.

To loosen the heavy weight of debt from your foot without resorting to credit counseling, you need to become more aware of your spending habits, improve your credit score, be smart about how you spend, and set goals for paying down that debt. You will soon be sitting pretty and debt-free.

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Beware of Debt Counseling Scams

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Apr 112016

Debt Coaching Fraud

Frustrated with debt scamsEverywhere in the world today, people are becoming submerged in debt. Everywhere you look, it is possible to purchase today and pay tomorrow, consumers are steadily falling into this trap everyday, and before they know it, they are so far in debt they are unsure how to get out. This is where debt counseling comes in; however you need to be made aware of debt counseling frauds. Some are only in place to take your money.

Legitimate debt counseling companies do not claim to be not-for-profit if they are not. There have been cases where a company has claimed this and ended up swindling their clientís money. There are ways to protect yourself; you should check a debt counseling company’s reputation thoroughly before investing your time and effort into them.

Never conduct business with a company that requires any upfront fees or asks you for voluntary contributions. This is a red flag, legitimate debt counseling companies advise you on money management, budget development, debt and educational material and occasionally workshops.

Essentially, it is none of their business regarding the details of your situation or requires you to be approved. They should discuss your financial situation and help you in developing a plan to eliminate the problems.

You can also check your local government agency or better business bureau, to ensure that they are indeed legitimate and no complaints have been filed against them.

The other things that will tell you rather or not a debt counseling service is legitimate include the following things. If they promise lowered payments, leave, only interest rates can be lowered not payments. If they ask you for your account numbers prior to giving you a quote, this is not necessary at all. If they group the quotes together instead of giving you a breakdown of how each creditor will be handled, this will leave you with no idea of how long it will take to pay off each account.

There are also questions you should always ask when choosing a debt counseling service. These questions should include charges for educational material, a disclosure in writing of fees that are charged, if they are properly licensed to do business in your area, what will happen if you cannot afford their fees, what type of services do they offer and if the counselors are certified and who certified them. This is your money and your financial well-being, do not leave any stone un-turned.

There are new bankruptcy laws that makes filing bankruptcy harder for everyone. To file a chapter 7 will be nearly impossible if you are currently employed. They have formed a test that you will have to pay showing that your income is less than the median income for your area. Along with these new laws, it has become required to obtain debt-counseling services when filing bankruptcy.

Choose the debt counseling company very carefully and ensure they are legitimate. You do not want to cause more harm or damage to your credit, so choose reputable companies wisely.

Debt Counseling Presents an Organized Method for Dealing with Debt

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Mar 122016

It was my wife who initially acquainted me with debt coaching and I thought it would be simply one more anguish uncle whom I would need to manage. Notwithstanding, it was not late that I was demonstrated off-base. It was through obligation guiding that I survived the savage obligations to relate its advantages.

Debt counseling is the exhortation offered through specialists on a few obligation related issues. Obligation advising has a two dimensional procedure. While the guidance concentrates on approaches to counter the present obligation stack, the borrower will likewise be educated of strategies to keep obligations from beginning. In this manner, obligation advising plays cautious and additionally a preventive part.

The defensive strategy will be employed for situations where the debt load is sufficiently large. In my case, the debt load was substantially large. My personal savings and monthly income would have lessened the burden a little. But, there were other expenses too that needed to be paid through the same limited income. By channeling my income towards debt settlement, I would only have paved way for newer debts.

Debt counseling from an FPU CoachDebt counseling showed the way out. Large number of people in the US owe their freedom from debts to debt counseling. In fact, the very first lesson that I learned from debt counseling is that I was not the only person who had debts. There were many others who have even messier finances. The statistics are really appalling. How come so many people, belonging to so rich a country as the US, be so vulnerable to debts? However, people do incur debts. A desire to have almost every material comforts, often pushes people to spend rashly. On most occasions, the expenditure is without any consideration for the sources of payment.

However, as the pressure of the creditors mounts, the very first priority of debt counseling will be to design a way out for the debtors. Presently, there are a number of debt elimination options available throughout the United States, namely debt consolidation loans, debt consolidation mortgages, debt consolidation through remortgage, home equity loans and credit cards. Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it will be really difficult to make a choice for one of these. Through debt counseling, borrowers can also get help during the product selection process.

Since I had a large debt load, the debt counselors suggested that I take up a debt consolidation loan. They did not force the product on me. This is one of the peculiarities of debt counseling. The debt counselor presents an impartial view of the various products. However, not all debt counselors adopt a similar view. Most of them will sell their products in the guise of debt advice. Borrowers need to stay clear of such advisors. As in medical sciences, second opinion is always beneficial during selection of debt settlement products. There are a large number of profit and non-profit agencies and individuals who provide genuine and professional advice. Some of these, like Independent Financial Advisors are bound by the rules laid down by the Financial Services Authority to offer genuine advice.

The preventive role of debt counseling is more of an advisory nature. The aim of this exercise will be to instill debt sense in the people; though this will prove a Herculean task, given the strange relationship of people with debts. The role may take the form of a face-to-face meeting with an individual, or a conference wherein a number of people are addressed at one time.

During these sessions, the debt counselor advises borrowers of ways to deal with debts. Debt consolidation loans and debt consolidation mortgages can at the best relieve individuals of debts for sometime. However, if the individual does not improve his spending habits, he will again have a large debt load. Through preventive debt counseling, the debt counselor aims to strike at the roots of the debt. One of the key principles is, “Stop Buying Stuff You Can’t Afford.”

Some of the principal debt counseling tips include:
- Do not spend more than what you earn.
- If the expenditure is necessary, then a provision needs to be made for its payment.
- Every individual must prepare a priority list showing the importance of each expenditure.
- Try to generate newer sources of income.
- If a debt has been incurred, then it must be repaid with priority.

Preventive debt counseling tips are not new to people. They may have heard of them from their parents or recited them in moral science classes, but all these lessons vanish while spending. A workable debt counseling method must be practical enough to be implemented. The borrower’s finance needs to be studied exhaustively for finding an effective solution. No debt counseling is complete without the borrower’s participation. Consequently, borrowers need to tread safely on any debt decision that they make.

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How to Overcome Pornography

 Self Improvement  Comments Off on How to Overcome Pornography
Feb 142016

Pornography has become viral in almost every part of the world. Many people have become dependent on pornography and are trying to get rid of this habit. Unfortunately, getting rid of pornography addiction has never been easy. A significant number of people who once get addicted to pornography eventually revert back to their old habit. Overcoming pornography demands strong determination and proper planning. Moreover, the selection of right methods of overcoming pornography addiction is as important as the will power.

The top 4 methods of overcoming pornography addiction include:

1. Deleting all pornographic materials from your system and eliminating access to porn. With the help of certain filtering software and peer monitoring you can virtually eliminate porn from your life.

2. Replace porn with better activities. Starting a new hobby, doing exercise, playing games and keeping yourself busy in other healthy activities will stop you from watching porn.

3. Most of the people who are addicted to porn watch it at night. The simple solution to this problem is to make a habit to sleep early. This will act in a dual way to relieve your stress. When porn will be eliminated from your life, you will find yourself more comfortable and stress free.

4. Spend time with your family. Porn addiction usually results in emotional parting with your family members. Once you have decided to quit porn, your family should stay up in on your priority chart. After having a tiring day at work, try to spend some good time with your family.

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3 Tips for Avoiding Bankruptcy

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Dec 202015

Alternatives to Bankruptcy

Couple trying to avoid bankruptcy Bankruptcy is one of those financial fears that we hope we never have to deal with though in some cases it can seem like it’s unavoidable. According to Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, filing for bankruptcy is one of the largest 5 emotional events that an individual can experience along with divorce, death of a family member, or dealing with a severe illness. Luckily, bankruptcy may not be your only option when it comes to reviving your finances.

1 - Debt Snowball

One of the most common types of bankruptcy is known as Chapter 7. This is total bankruptcy, which is when you say that there is no way for you to pay what you owe. This can be particularly dangerous as it may mean that you have to relinquish your assets. Instead, consider using the debt snowball. This is will enable you to pay back all of the money that you owe. With the debt snowball you list all of your outstanding balances and pay them off one at a time, from smallest to largest. You will have to determine that you will make the minimum monthly payments if you are able, but it is likely this will not be possible or you would not have been considering bankruptcy in the first place.

2 - Parting with Valuables

If you’re in a tough financial situation, take a look at all of your assets and determine if there is anything that you can live without. It is important that you stick to the bare minimum to ensure that you can put as much money down on your debt as possible. For example, do you have a second car that you don’t necessarily need? Are there any valuables in your home that you could sell for a pretty penny? Consider using resources such as eBay or Craigslist to get rid of any extra things that you have lying around the house.

3 - Financial Counseling

The best way to figure out how you can avoid bankruptcy is to talk to a professional financial coach. These individuals are highly trained in helping people build a realistic budget and cut costs as necessary. You will go through all of your monthly expenditures and create a budget that allows you to exist while saving as much money as you can to put towards what you owe. They are available to give you advice and options about how you can avoid filing bankruptcy. A financial coach may also be someone that you will continue working with even after you’re out of debt. They are experts in helping you build wealth after you are debt free.

Making a Budget - Monthly

 Personal Finance  Comments Off on Making a Budget - Monthly
Oct 222015

Breakdown of a budget from both your income and expenditure sides.

You need to make a fresh budget for each month. Every time that calendar changes, there are new birthdays, vacations, insurance statements, proms and so forth. There’s no one budget that’s perfect all of the time. Therefore, you need to make a fresh budget for every new month.

Budget should include:

− Pay Checks
− Income from other small businesses

− Part time jobs
− Residual income
− Freelance work
− Child support

Finding Financial Peace

There might be few other areas that we did not cover, but the overlying rule is this: Whenever you receive money during the month, write it in your income column.

If you’re married, don’t divide your incomes. The separate amount each of you earn every month is not important. What’s important is that you pull the two incomes together.

Each use you make every month must be composed down. Rent, phones, link, nourishment and everything in the middle. Once more, since you make another spending arrangement consistently, a few months you will have uses while in some others, you won’t. A blessing spending plan may not be low in December but rather will, in April, or there might be auto protection due. Take it one month on end. Never consolidate months.

Clear all the confusion. In the event you are perplexed about just how to categorize expenditures (does a restaurant visit count as “food” or “eating out”?), just find out what system works best for you. When you’ve got two categories which are clearly distinct (like gas cash and movies), you need to separate them. However, when you spend 100 bucks at the grocery store purchasing food and things to run your home like shampoo and paper towels, you might put that all under “grocery.” If you don’t have the money don’t buy it.

Start Early

Make your budget a few days before the month starts. People get dejected if it is Labor Day weekend and they never made the budget of September. Do not let the month sneak up on you without being prepared. You should have the budget of August ready by October 30.

Each time you purchase anything, write it down. Take 60 seconds when you get home from work to upgrade your budget. Be alert and do this little bit of work daily. You don’t want to open your wallet and find a week’s worth of receipt in there.

Everything Points to Zero

The purpose of each financial plan would be to make both the outgoings and incomings arrive at zero. They should counterbalance each other. On the off chance that you happen to discover 500 bucks left after you have counteracted every one of your costs, the financial backing is not done yet. Benefit as much as possible from that 500 bucks by contributing it or sparing it or perhaps utilizing to escape obligation. On the off chance that you tumbled to do that, you miss on the chance of having your cash work for you.

You should be in-charge of your finances by telling every dollar exactly where it had to go.

Learn more about budgeting at

Don’t let porn get in the way of rational thought

 Self Improvement  Comments Off on Don’t let porn get in the way of rational thought
Mar 312015

Women tend to be more emotional than men. In other words, women directly express their feelings. Unlike women, most men are indirect in expressing what they really feel.

This phenomenon, where men are discrete with their actions and expressions leads to an issue that is already widespread. This issue is called pornography addiction. Addiction is a thing that is very difficult to overcome especially without putting any effort and zero inspiration.

It is obvious that pornography has made de-womanized women in general. This means that pornographic material treat women as objects thus displaying a dehumanizing act against women. This immoral perception against women has become a social issue that comprises a lot of crimes these days.

Bottom-line is that pornography provides a gap between the people who are actively involved and the ones who are not. This is unhealthy in a relationship and would definitely ruin the social activity of the person addicted to pornography. Aside from that, pornography promotes physical and emotional isolation. The essence of love and passion has somehow tarnished with this phenomenon of pornography addiction.

In order to prevent oneself to access pornography, he or she must be able to direct his or her attention to some other healthy activities like sports. It is important for one to minimize this addiction at least by controlling one’s self to watch these erotic materials.

Though this process of prevention is difficult once you have easy access to pornographic sources like the internet or through television, all of us are gifted with a mind and body to be rational and strong with our decisions.

Learn how to overcome pornography addiction.

President-elect Obama is a Zune User

 General  Comments Off on President-elect Obama is a Zune User
Dec 182008

The Obama transition organization was called the Obama-Biden Transition Project.[3] The transition team was convened during the height of the campaign, well before the outcome could be known, to begin making preparations for a potential administration. It was co-chaired by John Podesta, who was Bill Clinton’s fourth and last White House Chief of Staff and the president/chief executive officer of the Center for American Progress,[4] Valerie Jarrett, who is one of Obama’s longest-serving advisers,[5][6] and Pete Rouse, former Senate chief of staff for Tom Daschle who succeeded Rahm Emanuel as Obama’s chief of staff.[7]

On November 5, the General Services Administration declared that Obama was the “apparent winner”, making him eligible to receive transition funding and other government services, and granting him access to their 2008 Presidential Transition Headquarters in Washington, D.C.[8] Podesta estimated that the transition would employ approximately 450 people and have a budget of about $12 million: $5.2 million would be paid by the federal government and the remaining $6.8 million would be funded by private sources, with each contribution limited to $5,000. The transition project would not accept money from political action committees or federal lobbyists.[9]
Transition team
Banners celebrating Obama’s ties to Chicago and his 2008 victory

On November 5, Obama announced his complete transition team, which was organized as a nonprofit tax-exempt organization under U.S. federal tax code 501(c)(4). The advisory board consisted of Carol Browner, William M. Daley, Christopher Edley, Michael Froman, Julius Genachowski, Donald Gips, Janet Napolitano, Federico Peña, Susan Rice, Sonal Shah, Mark Gitenstein and Ted Kaufman.[10]

Members of the transition team’s senior staff included:[10]

Chris Lu – Executive Director
Dan Pfeiffer – Communications Director
Stephanie Cutter – Chief Spokesperson
Robert Gibbs - Press Secretary[11]
Cassandra Butts – General Counsel
Jim Messina – Personnel Director
Patrick Gaspard – Associate Personnel Director
Christine A. Varney - Personnel Counsel
Melody Barnes – Co-Director of Agency Review
Lisa Brown – Co-Director of Agency Review
Phil Schiliro – Director of Congressional Relations
Michael Strautmanis – Director of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs
Katy Kale – Co-Director of Operations
Brad Kiley – Co-Director of Operations

Joshua Gotbaum and Michael Warren headed the transition of the Treasury Department. In addition, Thomas Donilon and Wendy Sherman oversaw the transition of the State Department. Seth D. Harris oversaw the transition in all of the labor, education, and transportation agencies with Edward Montgomery leading the Labor Department agency review team, Mortimer Downey leading the Transportation Department agency review team, and Judith Sherman leading the Education Department agency review team. Finally, John P. White and Michele Flournoy led the transition of the Defense Department.[12]

The Marketplace

 General  Comments Off on The Marketplace
Nov 202008

Reports of economic activity

October sales of cars and light trucks in the United States fell precipitously in 2008 when compared with sales in October 2007, with General Motors falling 45%, Ford falling 30%, Chrysler falling 35%, Toyota falling 23%, Honda falling 25%, and Nissan falling 33%. Much of the falloff in sales was attributable to customers being unable to arrange financing.[1] Except for Wal-Mart, which posted a slight gain, retail sales were off during October 2008 as compared with October 2007 in the United States with some moderate priced stores reporting double digit decreases.[2] October retail sales were down 4.1% from October 2007 and down 2.8% from September 2008 with sales of cars and auto parts leading the way with a 23.4% decline from October 2007, and a 31.9% decline from September 2008.[3] There is a new live action reality spy game starting in Norfolk, Virginia.

Employment reports released by the Labor Department on Friday, November 7, showed that about 500,000 jobs were lost in the United States during September and October 2008 with unemployment rising to 6.5% at the end of October. The September figure was revised to 284,000 from the initial 159,000 reported. The initial October figure was 240,000. This is a substantial acceleration from the average 75,000 jobs lost each month since the beginning of 2008. It is anticipated by experts that unemployment will rise to 8% by the middle of 2009.[4]

In the UK car sales fell by 23% in October, following a 21% decline in September.[5]

Amid predictions of a “deep recession” in the UK and the Eurozone,[6] on Thursday, November 6, the Bank of England, citing a reduced danger of inflation due to falling commodities prices, lowered its base rate by 1.5 percentage points, from 4.5% to 3%.[7][8] This was accompanied by a 50 basis point drop in the base rate to 3.25% by the European Central Bank (ECB).[9][10]

On November 6, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at Washington, D.C., predicted for 2009 a worldwide −0.3% decrease of the BIP for the developed economies (−0.7% for the USA and −0.8% for Germany).[11]

On Sunday, November 9, the People’s Republic of China announced a $586 billion domestic stimulus package for the remainder of 2008, 2009, and 2010. Economic growth has slowed in China with sharp drops in property and stock values.[12] The money from the stimulus package will be spent on upgrading infrastructure, particularly roads, railways, airports and the power grids throughout the country and raise rural incomes via land reform. Also spending will be made on social welfare projects such as affordable housing and environmental protection.[13][14] Some Chinese factories engaged in low-end export manufacturing have gone out of business.[15]

On Monday, November 10, the US Treasury announced investment of 40 billion dollars in preferred stock of AIG, adjusting the terms of the existing credit line and its amount. Total exposure, including equity and debt, is now 150 billion dollars. Funds were drawn from the Troubled Asset Relief Program which was not available at the time of the original bailout of AIG.[16][17] The question of whether emergency funding would be made available to the troubled American auto industry remained under consideration. General Motors is the most threatened with a sharp drop in sales and diminishing cash reserves.[18]

On Wednesday, November 12, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson scrapped the original Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and announced shift in the focus to consumer lending. The remaining portion of the TARP budget will be used to help relieve pressure on consumer credits such as car loans, student loans, credit cards etc.[19]

On Thursday November 13, the Dow Jones Industrial Average marked another dramatic session, with the index (opening at 8,282.66) that after a mixed start tumbled again below the 8,000 mark (to a low of 7,965.42) but then reversed the trend and gained more than 900 points (fourth largest daily swing ever) in less than three hours closing at 8,835.25 with a net gain of more than 550 points (third largest ever).

The prospect of a federal bailout of failing US automakers appeared dim pending the inauguration of Barack Obama. There appeared to be opposition from both the Republican members of the Senate and the office of the incumbent president, George W. Bush, which expressed doubt that the companies could be salvaged.[20]

At the invitation of US President George W. Bush the leaders of the G-20 held the initial session of the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy on Saturday, November 15, in Washington, D.C. They agreed to cooperate with respect to the global financial crisis and issued a statement regarding immediate and medium term goals and actions considered necessary to support and reform the international economy. The next session will be held April 30, probably in London, after Barack Obama takes office as President of the United States. The initial session, attended by the leaders of the G-20 set forth a road map of proposed reforms which will be followed up in coming months by the development of specific proposals, including a comprehensive reform of the Bretton Woods Institutions