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Email Newsletter 8/3/2001

DEBTSMART EMAIL NEWSLETTER - Tools for financial success! 
A Free E-Mail Newsletter from DebtSmart Online and Press One Publishing.
ISSN 1538-6740
August 3rd, 2001 Issue 5 
Scott Bilker, Editor and Publisher, mailto:publisher@debtsmart.com
Richard Crammer, Editor, mailto:editor@debtsmart.com
=> Advertisers

=> Letter from the Publisher

=> Identity Theft--A Personal Story

=> Contest

=> One Day Late, Yeah Right!

=> Online Auction Corner

=> Almost Retired Planning

=> Fair Credit Billing

=> Using the computer to create your own income

=> Subscription Information

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Letter from the Publisher
by Scott Bilker

Thanks for your overwhelming response to our contest winner's article published in the last email issue, 7/20/01. Christine's personal story about the dangers of working with credit counseling was an eye opener to many people.

This issue also carries a personal story from my friend, Robert Gamble. Its about an ordeal he had with identity theft-- a must read!

You can catch me on television in NJ, PA, NY, DE, and MD, on channel CN8! The show is called "Real Life" and is hosted by Mary Amoroso. Airdate is 8/6/01 at 5:00 PM ET.

We're running a new contest in this issue! The winner receives an autographed copy of my best-selling book, "Credit Card and Debt Management." It's a loan decision problem; the first person with the correct answer is the winner--enjoy!

You can reach me with your comments at:

Identity Theft--A Personal Story
by Robert Gamble

Several weeks ago I received a bill from Target Credit. I knew I did not apply for such a card, so I called the number related to the $160 worth of items charged and listed on the bill. They told me the items were shipped to someone in New York. Well, I was not about to pay for something I did not order, or receive, and I was not about to pay for a credit card that I did not even apply for.

I called Target, and came to find out that someone had signed up for the card, they had my name, my social security number, and my address...

Read the rest of this article by clicking below:


To enter the contest, simply go to our Summer Vacation Survey page to answer the question. The first person with the correct answer is the winner. While you're there please complete our survey so we can better serve you in future email newsletters-- thanks!

Question: Your auto insurance bill arrives; it's $600.00 for 6 months of coverage, ugh. Luckily, to make paying easier, they give you the option of spreading this out over 3 monthly payments. The catch is they charge you an additional "convenience" fee of $3 per payment.

The same day you also receive a credit-line check offer from one of your credit cards, with no check fees, that is good for 3- months with a 5.99% APR.

What's better (cheaper) to do and why? (1) Take the insurance company's payment plan offer. (2) Use the credit line (5.99% offer) check to pay the car insurance in full for $600.00.

Technical Note: No matter which choice you make, you must pay off the $600.00 principal in exactly 3 monthly payments.

Enter contest by clicking on below link:

One Day Late, Yeah Right!
by Scott Bilker

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!

A couple years ago most credit card banks changed their policy of what "late" means to meaning "one day late is late." It used to be that late was if your payment was due on the 1st but received on, say, the 20th. Not anymore. If you're 24 hours late, it's late, and you will be charged the late fee. Late fees have also been rising and some are now as high as $35!

What did I know?

I had the feeling that since being one day late means that banks can charge a late fee, it's possible that, well, payments could "accidentally" be held for say, oh, 24 hours. Oops, you're late!

My theory was a step closer to confirmation when one of my credit card payments was exactly one day late. I always track everything--every check, every payment date, and all transactions. I use Quicken and other custom software tools I developed to pay my bills. So when I was late by one day I took a look at the date that bank's check was mailed.

Guess how early I mailed the payment?

Seven days!

The 8th day was the late day. I called the bank and...

Read the rest of this article by clicking below:

by Scott Bilker

Remember that camera I put up for auction last week? Well, it sold for $71! That's $71 off my debt! So far, everything I've put up for auction has sold.

Last email newsletter I suggested that you look through your house for stuff that you really don't use anymore. That stuff may be very useful to other people, so you should consider selling it online at auction web sites like eBay.com and use the proceeds to reduce your debts.

Once you find items that are good candidates to be sold online it is important to be able to get an idea of how much they are worth. You can look at StrongNumbers.com for prices of many items, or simply go to eBay.com and do a search for the items.

By reviewing the search results, you'll find the best description for your item. Do another search with the more specific description and see if any are for sale right now.

Next, click on "completed items" which will show you what your item has sold for in the past. Then sort by highest price first. This final research list tells you the highest prices you can expect to get when you auction your item. It also tells you what people used in their description that made the item sell at the greatest price. This is the information you'll want to include in your item description.

Finally, you need...

Read the rest of this article by clicking below: http://www.debtsmart.com/cgi-pl/go/010803_email_news.cgi?4&7428

By the way, this week I'm selling a 1965 Special Mint Coins set, Pampered Chef Bread Tube, and 1951 Robert Heinlein First Edition Paperback of "Universe"
Bread Tube:

Almost Retired Planning
by Gary Foreman The Dollar Stretcher

Question: Dear Gary, I am 53 and my husband is 60. We have managed to have our house nearly paid for, one car free and clear, the other will be paid off in 2 years. We have modest savings and some stocks ($30,000). It is unfortunate that both our careers were in industries that either made no provisions for retirement or went bankrupt leaving behind very small pensions. All the articles I have read are for people wisely planning for retirement early on. Can you give me some pointers for late comers such as myself and my husband? We truly have been unwise and are growing old too fast. Patricia

Answer: Each year about 4 million people celebrate their 65th birthday. And many of us don't think about how we're going to finance our retirement until a few gray hairs appear in the mirror. And the process of retirement planning has gotten harder. Patricia and her husband might not live into their 90's. But they need to be prepared in case they do.

The basic problem that Patricia faces is obvious. They probably don't have enough income to support a comfortable retirement. The question is: how much do they really need? Finding out will require...

Read the rest of this article by clicking below:

Fair Credit Billing
Federal Trade Commission (FTC.gov)

Have you ever been billed for merchandise you returned or never received? Has your credit card company ever charged you twice for the same item or failed to credit a payment to your account? While frustrating, these errors can be corrected. It takes a little patience and knowledge of the dispute settlement procedures provided by the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA).

The law applies to "open end" credit accounts, such as credit cards, revolving...

Read the rest of this article by clicking below:

Self-employment in the Age of the Computer, or
Using the Computer to Create Your Own Income.
by Richard Moore Founder and CEO of the International Millenium 2000 Group

I believe that there is a huge market that is not widely recognized but is available right now for people to create their own careers. I approached Human Resources, E.I., and Canada Manpower in Canada, and Government Unemployment and Employment agencies about advertising this particular avenue of self- employment, but they will have nothing to do with it.

It seems odd to me that with the number of people out of work that these government agencies (supposedly geared to helping people find new careers) will only deal with employers that deduct taxes from an employee's wage, and will not work with employers that pay by commission or allow their employees the benefits of claiming self-employment. I feel that someone has to inform people in need of help that there are alternatives out there...

Read the rest of this article by clicking below:


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