IN THIS ISSUE #152
Larissa S. Bilker
Editor: Denise Troy
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One-third of retirees described their current
personal debt levels as a problem, and 7 percent called it a "major" problem.
The number of seniors age 65 and older who filed for bankruptcy jumped 213
percent between 1992 and 2001, outpacing all other age groups, one study found.
Health care costs are driving the trend. Debt levels for households headed by
someone 75 and older averaged $20,234 in 2004, a 160 percent jump from 1992.
Letter from the Publisher
by Scott Bilker
I found myself observing in court a couple
weeks ago. I should stop in more often just to watch. Most, and I mean 90%,
of the Special Civil cases were banks vs. people. What I witnessed was quite
interesting. Nearly all the cases were settled and never went before the
judge. The typical settlement was for 50%, or less, of the original
amount! And the payment terms were kind of reasonable. The only catch is
that if one payment is missed, a judgment is entered in the full amount.
This means that if your creditors take you to
court, you still may have a great opportunity to reduce your debt!
Keep that in mind. I guess I can call it "debt negotiation's last stand."
Here's an idea for summer vacations to keep
the kids in budget. Use a Mad Money Jar and/or Good Deed Banks to help them
save for vacations. You can match their savings or pay for good deeds. No
matter what, you want to make sure that they have a set amount of money that
they can spend on whatever they want (within reason). Instead of saying,
"you can each get one thing in here," which opens you up to purchasing that
$50 stuffed bear, you tell them, "you have $30 to spend in all the shops,
you decide what you want, but that's the limit." With a budget that they're
in control of, they can pick what they want. They will be
more inclined to spend carefully when they're in charge of their own money.
Good credit rating but too much debt for low rates
by Scott Bilker
I just found your website in a book I am
reading from the Rich Dad Series. I am in business for myself for 8 years
now. I have high CC debt all for the most part business debt. We always pay
our bills on time. Recently though, the CC companies started raising their
interest rates on us and lowering our limits dramatically. Some to the tune
of 35%! I am at a loss of what to do.
My business is doing well to the point that,
if I were able to pay off these cards, I would be able to do my business on
a month-to-month basis without accruing any cc debt. Herein lies the problem
of being able to pay off the credit card debt especially at these rates.
Even at these rates, we still are not making any late payments. Our credit
rating is excellent, but we are carrying too much debt to acquire lower rate
cc to lower our monthly payments. What can we do?
I am going to try and call all of my credit
card holders and see about lowering my monthly interest as you talked about
in one of your articles. I am also ordering your books as soon as I finish
with his email. Your help is appreciated.
Finish reading article
"Happy to reverse the charges"
"Scott--Thank you for all your great articles
and advice. Something happened to me recently in that the bank put a major
hold on a money market deposit and then - six days after the fact - charged
$90 for three over-limit fees that were withdrawn from the account. The
online bank statement was showing the money was available at the time the
transactions were entered. (They have a screen that shows what is in your
account: Total and what is Available. Because I had read your newsletter
previously, I went to the bank, said there seemed to be a problem and that I
needed some insight so that it didn't happen again. Said I had several other
banks that were eager for my account and paid interest on my deposits, but
because I was already set up with a direct deposit to this account, I was
coming to them for clarification. After investigating the fact, they were
very happy to reverse the charges, made it clear to me that they didn't
approve of the way the situation appeared, commiserated about how they
handled some of their own banking (credit card) accounts - and - on the way
out of the bank - the branch manager came out of her office and apologized -
saying they try to catch that kind of thing. Wow--that never happened
before. In the past, the entire situation would have stressed me out and put
me on the defensive. Thank you again for helping me find a way to be open to
taking on the challenge and winning."
Read about special offer for all three of Scott Bilker's best-selling books
Household Math(tm): Timing is Everything
Out-of-pocket cost versus payment
timing; what is the effect? Here are three $2,000 loans that are paid off in
exactly one year: (1) payments of $180 per month for 12 months; (2) eleven
monthly payments of $100 and a final payment of $1,060; (3) monthly payments
one through five are $100, the 6th payment is $1,060, and the remaining
monthly payments are $100. Which loan is best (i.e. has the lowest interest
Answer this problem
Stop Debt Collectors Cold!
Stop Debt Collectors Cold! Plus, for a limited time,
4 bonus reports:(1) How to Get Collection Accounts Off Your Credit Report; (2)
How to Avoid Losing Your Home In A Foreclosure; (3) What to Do if You Are Behind
on Your Car Payments; and (4) Confidential Interview With A Former Debt
Read about stopping debt collectors
Painful Grocery Bill
by Gary Foreman
My husband and I live alone. My mom comes over for
dinner and breakfast 3 days a week, and I send her lunches for work 2 nights a
week. We are spending over $400 a week for groceries. I am not buying
extravagant things, and I really don't buy a lot of "junk" food. Where on earth
are we going wrong? I see in the Tips section this week, a girl from Oklahoma
says that she spent around $130 a month on groceries for herself and her
husband?!?! How?! What is she eating? If someone could explain this for me. I
feel like we are beyond help. What are we doing wrong? Is she adding everything
into that bill??
Finish Reading Article
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