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DebtSmart® Email Newsletter
February 8, 2006

Tools for financial success! A Free Email Newsletter from DebtSmart Online and Press One Publishing.

Letter from the Publisher
by Scott Bilker


Valentine's Day is around the corner. Time to take the Financial Compatibility Test with your honey--to see if you agree on the money.

Also in this issue is a great article by Amy L. Cooper-Arnold about the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). She does a wonderful job explaining many details of the law.

Speaking of laws...Tell Congress to enact strong ID theft protection for consumers...

Security freeze key to war on I.D. theft
"Security freeze" laws let you stop new creditors from looking at your consumer credit files. This cuts off ID theft at the start, since thieves can't open new accounts in your name. Look here to see if your state is considering such a law now, and take action to stop ID theft! Find out if your state is among the 12 that already have this right.

I'm starting to make myself available for speaking engagements. Until recently, I've only done media interviews (print, radio, TV), but a few people have encouraged me to start speaking about credit card and debt management in live seminars. So, if you are interested in hearing me speak at your association, library, school, group, etc., then please complete this form so we can talk about the details.

That's all for now!


DebtSmart® Financial Compatibility Test
by Scott Bilker

It is well known that money is the #1 reason for divorce! Money is very important in your relationship. It's the blood that flows through the financial veins of the family. If there is a problem with its flow, everyone in the family will suffer!

Take this test with your spouse/partner to see how compatible your philosophies and monetary strategies are when dealing with money and debt!

You both need to take the test without looking at the answer key or each other's answers. Print two tests (one for each of you). Circle your answer for each question, then, after both are completed, click on the link for the score key (at bottom of this page) and calculate your score.

Finish reading article

"Awesome results with your book!"

"It took me 7 minutes to settle a 4,374.81 debt at 50% with Wells Fargo Financial. Piece of Cake--with your book, of course! Thank you! My husband has leukemia and had to have a bone marrow transplant, we traveled out of state for the transplant and are both not working. You are directly helping us get our lives back on track, be proud"


Read about special offer for all three of Scott Bilker's best-selling books

Household Math™: Sale or gas savings?
by Scott Bilker

How much are you really saving to be there for that sale? This is a true situation at our house. My wife drives a Dodge Ram; it gets 12 mpg (miles per gallon). Gas in our area is $2.45 per gallon. The mall is 18 miles each away. If she cuts back and only goes to the mall once a week, instead of twice a week, how much would she save in one year? (Steve, DebtSmart Reader, submitted this question.)

Answer this problem

Nightmare on Debt Street: A Debt Reduction Story
by Steve (DebtSmart Reader)

Our story began 23 years ago when my wife and I got our first credit card ever. We were young, married just a short while, and had already established good credit (without a credit card). Back then the credit card was for "emergencies" only. What a crock!

We fooled ourselves. We shortly discovered how easy it was to whip out the credit card to buy something we wanted. Oh, at first, we always paid the balance back right away (putting aside the money from our meager paychecks so we would have it to pay when the bill arrived). Then it happened, the "emergency!" I was in a serious auto accident. I was not hurt too badly, fortunately, but my car was a total loss, and we still owed money on it.

We did not have much money in savings. Of course, we did get a check from the insurance company for the loss -- but it was nowhere near what we owed on the car, and we had to get another vehicle. So we did the dumb thing...

Finish reading article

DebtSmart® Help Center
by Scott Bilker


Helping you with your debt is very important to me personally! If you've been reading my articles, you know that I always encourage self-help as a first step. However, being buried in debt can be very overwhelming, which is why you may want to explore other options.

One of those options is professional, ongoing help with credit counselors. I've started to check out certain companies personally so I can recommend the ones that are worth considering!

If you would like to speak with a representative from a...

Read more at the DebtSmart Help Center

Book Review: "Credit Scores & Credit Reports"
by Scott Bilker

Your credit report is your financial résumé. Everyone is looking at it. From employers to landlords to creditors--even insurance agents. And they're judging you based on your report and score. A good report and score can mean saving thousands of dollars in interest, getting that apartment, and landing your dream job.

When I want to find information about credit scoring and credit reporting, I turn to Evan Hendricks' book! This book is clearly the best, most complete work on the topic! Evan not only presents the details needed to understand the system, but he also provides the tools needed to take effective action to resolve specific problems. If you want to...

Finish reading article

Rating your credit card
by CardRatings.com

"CardRatings.com has been offering ratings of credit cards since 1998 and has been featured by Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports®, NPR, PBS, etc. Thanks to consumers like you, CardRatings.com has become the most comprehensive free source for comparing credit card offers."

See how your credit cards are rated by CardRatings.com

Protecting Your Credit--The FACT Act in Layman's Terms
by Amy L. Cooper-Arnold

Do you know all the implications of identity theft? Do you know that an imposter can open lines of credit, drain your bank account, file for bankruptcy, get an ID card, get a job, and even be arrested all in your name? All the missed payments an imposter doesn't make are reported in your credit file causing your credit score to suffer.

And according to Liz Pulliam Weston, author of Your Credit Score and MSN Money personal finance columnist, a poor credit history affects your whole financial life. It's not only creditors who have access to your report, but also insurance agencies and potential employers.

Finish Reading Article


" Financial success is having control over your finances rather than having your finances in control of you."--Scott Bilker
Quotes from all previous newsletters


Cool Quote
Credit and Debt Statistics Database
Letter from the publisher
Learn more about Scott Bilker speaking at your association, library, school, etc.?
DebtSmart® Financial Compatibility Test
"Awesome results with your book!"
Household Math™: Sale or gas savings?
Nightmare on Debt Street: A Debt Reduction Story
More credit, more options
DebtSmart® Help Center
Book Review: "Credit Scores & Credit Reports"
DebtSmart® Mortgage Comparison Calculator
Protecting Your Credit--The FACT Act in Layman's Terms
DebtSmart® Resources
Subscribe/Disclaimer Information
Free DebtSmart® Column for in print publication, ezine, or web site
Hire Scott Bilker to speak
Publisher: Scott Bilker
Editor: Larissa S. Bilker
Assistant Editor: Denise Troy

ISSN 1538-6740


Debit Card Purchases

Debit cards--which avoid debt by withdrawing the purchase amount from a consumer's bank account--were used to pay for an estimated 23.1 billion transactions nationwide during 2005, surpassing the estimated 20.3 billion transactions paid by credit card.
Credit and Debt Statistics Database
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DebtSmart® Mortgage Comparison Calculator
by Scott Bilker

Free PDF calculator allows you to compare your current mortgage to other mortgage options! No need to install new software! Calculator runs completely in the free Adobe Acrobat Reader!

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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 to 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 ©2006 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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"The DebtSmart Email Newsletter is packed with cutting-edge strategies for solving credit problems. I highly recommend it."--Gerri Detweiler, radio host and author of The Ultimate Credit Handbook

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