I have learned a great deal even from just a
few visits to your site and my husband has as well! Our problem: We are both
sole proprietors of our own businesses and have ridden the freelance
rollercoaster for a combined 30 years.
I am slowly working away at debt I accumulated
when I was in massage school. My husband, however, has not always been so good
at opening his mail, paying his bills on time, and in the last 4 years since
9/11, frequently was simply unable to pay certain bills. I am in the process of
cleaning up this mess, as I've taken over the money management.
He gets offers for 0 percent intro rates
frequently, but they have horrible default rates. I just found a decent one and
he called to apply over the phone and they rejected him. His finance charges are
so high (close to $900 per month!) that if we could transfer a few balances to a
0 percent card, we'd pay off one big balance in a year. BUT--they keep rejecting
him after tempting him with these offers. What gives? How do we get out of the
pit here? I am ordering your book right now, but do you have any words of
Thank you for what you are doing!!
Thanks for your comments about DebtSmart.com!
Thirty years in freelance can certainly be a
rollercoaster ride. I know that firsthand because my father worked as a
freelance photojournalist for many years. Of course there are many rewards as
well, like being able to manage your own time to some degree.
It is a smart move for you to take over the
financial management. If your husband has been having trouble focusing on
opening the mail and paying the bills, then this can end up increasing the cost
of your debt
when banks raise your rate. And the banks will raise your rate if there are
late or missed payments. Opening mail and paying bills in a timely manner is the
most simply way to ensure that you're efficient with your current debts.
With finance charges of $900 per month, you really
do need to transfer your balances to a lower rate. The fact that you are
receiving 0 percent offers frequently is good, because they create the credit
options you need to keep your rates low. Of course, your husband being rejected
for these offers hurts that plan.
It is important to distinguish between two types
of low-rate credit card offers: (1) offers from your current cards and (2) offers
from new banks. Offers from your current cards are the best offers because it
means you've already been accepted. Plus the transfer terms are usually better, and by that I mean
less expensive. The other type of offer, those from new banks, are difficult to
rely on after you apply, even if they say "pre-approved." That’s because the fine print of these offers provides a
way out of the deal.
For example, you may get an offer that says, “0
percent for 6 months on balance transfers, plus a $10,000 limit with no annual
fee.” But, when the card arrives you have actually received 4.99% on transfers, a $500 limit, and
a $50 annual fee. When you call the bank, fuming, the representative will direct
you to the fine print that says something like, “you get the advertised deal if you
‘qualify’ otherwise you get deals X, Y, or Z” of which none are that great.
Here are two suggestions to get you started now:
(1) Call your current card and try to negotiate
lower rates. Tell them that you’re taking over the finances and will be paying
promptly from this point forward. Ask them to do something for you, like reduce
your rates, or else you will need to transfer your balances. Negotiating with
banks is the topic of my latest book,
Way Out of Credit Card Debt. In that book I present 52 phone calls that
saved more than $43,000. You can do it! Call today.
(2) Continue to apply for low-rate cards. I do
recommend a few good low-rate cards. You can find them at
You can reduce your rate by focusing on getting
better credit options! Work on this every day and you will succeed!