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Email Newsletter 12/19/01

DEBTSMART EMAIL NEWSLETTER - Tools for financial success!
A Free E-Mail Newsletter from DebtSmart Online and Press One Publishing.
ISSN 1538-6740
December 19, 2001 Issue 15
Scott Bilker, Editor and Publisher, mailto:publisher@debtsmart.com
Richard Crammer, Editor, mailto:editor@debtsmart.com
For instructions to SUBSCRIBE, and DISCLAIMER, see bottom of this email.

=> Advertisers

=> DebtSmart Resources

=> Letter from the Publisher

=> Ratings

=> Quiz: Credit Repair

=> Survey: New Year's Resolutions

=> Lower Your Credit-Card APR Right Now!

=> Comparing a Refinance

=> Reflections--A Top Ten List of Year-End Questions

=> Messed Up Car Lease

=> Subscribe/Disclaimer Information -----------------------------------------------------------------

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Letter from the Publisher 
by Scott Bilker

I want to thank you for helping make the DebtSmart email newsletter a success! Your interest in the articles at DebtSmart has helped us create a powerful web site that's available 24-7-52 to assist many people in saving money on their debt!

This is the final issue of 2001 and with that I want to ask everyone about their New Year's Resolutions. Do you make them? What are they? Please let me know your aspirations for 2002 by taking the survey.

By the way, if you have ever considered working with a credit repair company then you should test your knowledge with the Credit Repair quiz included in this issue.

Below are the results of the last survey that asked about your holiday shopping:

1) How far along are you with your holiday shopping as of today (12/5/01)?
As of 12/5/01, 32% responded by saying they are 75% complete with their shopping.

2) How much will you (did you) spend for your most expensive gift?
Again, 32% responded in one range, $31 to $60. Very reasonable for a nice gift.

3) How many holiday cards do you send out through the mail?
As you may expect, most people, 93% send less than 30 cards by mail.

Have a great holiday season and a happy New Year!

Rate the Articles

Please be sure to rate the articles in the email newsletter. You can do so by clicking below:


Credit Repair Scams abound today. Every time you turn on the TV or read a newspaper it seems that someone is promising to improve your credit rating. Take this quiz to improve your awareness of credit repair scams, and don't get ripped off.

Use the below link to take the quiz:

Survey: New Years Resolutions

Do you make them? What are they? Please let me know your aspirations for 2002 by taking the survey.

Use the below link to take the survey:

Lower Your Credit-Card APR Right Now! 
by Scott Bilker

When was the last time you took a look at your credit card APR (Annual Percentage Rate)? You may think you know what the bank is charging you for the use of their money, but you might be surprised to find that terms have changed and you're now paying as much as 18 to 20%. The U.S. average is around 18%, and I believe that is much more than you have to pay-especially when you've been a good customer with that bank.

So what do you do if you discover that you are paying too much for your loans? Well, quite simply, make the bank lower your rate. Sound impossible? More than half of the time I've been able to make my banks lower their interest rates. The trick is to have...

Use the below link to read the rest of the article:

Comparing a Refinance
by Gary Foreman

Dear Gary, 
My husband and I want to refinance our mortgage and add a credit card debt. We owe $44,000 on our mortgage at a rate of 7 1/8% and we have 11 years left. We want to add a credit card debt of $17,000 at a rate of 9.99%. The best mortgage rate that I have been able to find is a 15 year fixed at 6.25% with a fee of $1161 and no points. Would we be wise to refinance? Thanks. I hope you can help me with the answer or point me in the right direction. --Lynn O.

You don't need to be refinancing your home to ask this question. We face the same problem with competing credit card or auto financing offers. And many of us have a similar reaction. There's just too many numbers to even know where to start. So we end up with something that could be costing us extra money every month.

Let's break Lynn's question down into bite sized pieces and see if we can't simplify things. We'll look at a method that you can use to compare any two loans. First we'll figure out...

Use the below link to read the rest of the article:

Reflections--A Top Ten List of Year-End Questions
by Michael Angier

In order to embrace the new, we must release the old. A trapeze artist cannot swing from one bar to another without letting go. An important part of preparing for the New Year is to review the past year--to release it--and to learn from it.

To go where we wish to go and be whom we wish to be, we need to know where we are and who we are. An honest self-analysis is always helpful to gain clarity. As we end the year it seems particularly fitting to devote some time to reflecting on the year past.

The following questions should stimulate your thinking for this process. I hope that you take time out of your busy schedule this holiday season to ponder...

Use the below link to read the rest of the article:

Messed Up Car Lease
by Craig Thor Kimmel

Dear DebtSmart,
I have a 2000 Ford Windstar van. I currently owe $20,150.00. The private party retail is $18,225 and trade-in is $15,385 per Kelly Blue book. My payments are $449 a month. At the time I took on these payments I could handle it, but now I cannot. I have tried to trade the van in on a cheaper vehicle, like a 10,000 or 11,000 vehicle. But the car dealers always come back telling me they can't do it unless I could put 3 or 4 thousand down. I already put 5 thousand down when I bought it! I am in a "Red Carpet Lease" program and the lease is not up til April 2003 and can't absolutely hang on til then. Any suggestions? --Messed up in Texas

Dear "Messed Up": Your inquiry touches on questions several readers of this space have asked about. Let's start from scratch.

A lease is a contract whereby the vehicle is sold by the dealer, not to you, but to a third party, usually a bank. The bank essentially "rents" the car to you over a set term, varying between 24 - 72 months, based upon depreciation, interest and taxes. If negotiated fairly, leasing serves the primary advantage of substantially lower monthly payments compared to a purchased vehicle. However, leases have several shortcomings in that they are far less flexible if you wish to terminate before the contract ends.

What you are experiencing firsthand, "Messed Up", is this inflexibility. Asking to be released early from the remainder of the term you signed on for requires the remaining amounts to be paid and in most cases, a purchase of the vehicle for your dealer to re-sell. That gets pricey as I will explain.

When you go to the dealer to terminate, the first thing they do is...

Use the below link to read the rest of the article:


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Please contact mailto:comments@debtsmart.com with any comments, problems, or concerns.

The author(s), Press One Publishing, and DebtSmart.com shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly by the information contained in this email newsletter and/or at the DebtSmart.com web site. The information, methods and techniques described may not work for you and no recommendation is made to follow the same course of action. Every effort has been made verify the accuracy of all content contained herein. However, there may be mistakes; typographical, mathematical or in content. This email newsletter and the DebtSmart.com web site have been created for your entertainment only. You must always seek the proper professional advice before taking any financial or legal action. You have been warned.

Copyright (c) 2001 Press One Publishing. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint, or host on your Web site, without explicit permission. However, if you found this newsletter helpful, we grant you permission, and strongly encourage you, to e-mail it to a business associate or a friend. Thank you.


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