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DebtSmart® Email Newsletter
January 9, 2008: Issue #167

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


" Money doesn't always bring happiness. People with ten million dollars are no happier than people with nine million dollars."
--Hobart Brown

Quotes from all previous newsletters


Letter from the Publisher
Cool Quote
Problems with balance transfers
DebtSmart® Recommended Products and Services
Accidentally late indeed
VIDEO: Debit vs. Credit
STATISTICS: Late Accounts Up
"Your books should be required reading..."
Household Math(tm): Cutting the budget
Every Penny Counts--another thought
DebtSmart® Column for your use in-print, ezine, or website
DebtSmart® books and software, and other products
Update Your Email Address, Subscribe, Unsubscribe, and Disclaimer Information
Publisher: Scott Bilker
Editor: Larissa S. Bilker
Assistant Editor: Denise Troy

ISSN 1538-6740

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Late Accounts Up

The value of credit card accounts at least 30 days late jumped 26 percent to $17.3 billion in October from a year earlier at 17 large credit card trusts. That represented more than 4 percent of the total outstanding principal balances owed to the trusts on credit cards that were issued by banks such as Bank of America and Capital One and for retailers like Home Depot and Wal-Mart.
Read more credit card and debt statistics

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Letter from the Publisher
by Scott Bilker


I hope you had a wonderful New Year celebration!

How are those resolutions going? It's been nine days, and you should be doing just fine-- working on paying off debts, lowering your interest rates, you know the deal.

FICO is changing their scoring model. Touted as FICO 08, Fair Isaac Corp. is launching new mathematical process to compute our credit scores. This latest model will make things better for people with good credit and more difficult for those who repeat bad behaviors, such as paying late. As I always say, your credit report is your financial résumé. You want to make sure it looks good--always! Translation: pay on time! Even if you have to borrow from one card to pay another, pay on time!

FICO Score Estimator
Speaking of the FICO score. FICO has a Score Estimator at their site. It's pretty good. I took the short quiz, and it did estimate my score within 20 points. So, if you don't feel like shelling out the cash to get your score, then try the estimator.
It's online here.

This is just amazing. A couple towns over from me, a woman had her credit card stolen from her mailbox by a neighbor.
Lacey woman charged in $2,500 credit swipe from neighbor.

"Hey, did you know you could go into most any retail store and offer to buy anything at a 10% discount? If they refuse to give it to you, then you can simply say you'll take your business elsewhere. And, 8 out of 10 times, as you're walking away, they will call you back. A sale at 10% to them is better than no sale at all. I applied that technique today while in Radio Shack, and sure enough, they said they'd give me a 10% discount. Pretty cool huh? We, as consumers, can always negotiate. Sadly, many people do not realize this. Why not go try it just for fun? You may be surprised."
--Barry Wainwright

"Google brought me here (DebtSmart.com)--thank heaven! I've needed you a long time. You always look out for us. I'll be a regular. Thanks again!"
--Teena Phillips

"Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, are your books an eye opener. This should save me a bundle A BUNDLE as my Institute is an advocacy of one about Sustainability and Green Technology community capacity building. I WILL NOW BE MORE SUSTAINABLE. How much more productive a society could we be if we knew this material about the workings of the money?! Thanks!"--Melaine DeBo (founder of Windy River Institute)

"I love everything about it (DebtSmart.com). I love being armed with knowledge about money."--Xervia Cobb

"Love your stuff. I'm a believer."--David Moore

"I have enjoyed this email I get. Excellent advice! I have learned more than I (ever) have about money and debt. I wish it came to me more often than once a week!!"--Nancy Jean

"I love this newsletter--with every issue, I always take away at least one or two new or good pieces of information!"--Toni Felts


Problems with balance transfers
by Scott Bilker

Hi Scott,

I have gone through the trouble the past few months to get a permanent, lower-interest credit card and also to get a promotional rate on the new card to transfer balances ($5,000 to $12,000). I go through the whole process and get approved for $1,000. I cancel the card immediately, because it's just not worth it. I canceled a card with $29,000 credit earlier in the year because I didn't want to support the company.

What might be the problem?


Finish Reading Article

Accidentally late indeed
by Art Blanchet

"Accidentally" late indeed! I had the same issue arise recently (that you talked about in One Day Late, Yeah Right)--was running short on time (my card gives me essentially a weekend to get the payoff--we don't keep a balance) to get my check in the mail. No way can the bill just sit here a few days--we gotta move on it!

Anyway, this one sat a few says, and I needed to send it--destination was about 200 miles away--major city to major city--but I still USPSed it registered mail requiring a signature confirmation of delivery. Next statement--Voila!--a late payment fee of $39.00.

I contacted the company and asked them why and was informed the payment had arrived late. I countered with the tracking information--emailed it to them--that showed the payment had arrived the day before the due date and had the signature of one of their employees. Slam-dunk right?

Finish Reading Article

VIDEO: Debit vs. Credit
by Stacy Johnson

More reasons why you should choose your credit card over your debit card. 2006 was the first year that saw debit card purchases top the one-trillion dollar mark. But when you head to the store, which kind of plastic is best...debit or credit? According to money reporter Stacy Johnson, it's a question of interest.

Play the Video

"Your books should be required reading..."

"My nose has been stuck in your books! Not since I read Victor Hugo have I carried a book everywhere I went, and I'm just now returning to the rest of the world, armed and ready for battle. (Your books should be required reading for anyone opening a credit account, if not a prerequisite for high-school graduation.) I'm about to call Discover to try to get a late fee canceled on my mother's account. Two months ago, she realized--just as the clerk rang up her transaction--that she'd gone over her limit by $6.00. She immediately drove to the nearby Sears and paid cash to bring her account below the limit, but--surprise!--Discover charged the overlimit fee anyway. Since she didn't realize this, her next minimum payment left the balance still over the limit, and she was charged another fee. I'm going to ask to have both fees waived (I'll be glad if they'll waive at least one), and, while I'm talking with Ms. Katy Didd, I'll also ask to have the interest rate reduced and the limit raised."


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

Household Math(tm): Cutting the budget
by Scott Bilker

Susan spends 30% of her income on housing expenses, 30% repaying her credit card debts, 20% on all taxes, 10% on groceries, 5% on clothing, and saves what's left over. She decides that she wants to pay back her debt more quickly, and to do that, she needs to do a few budget cuts. Susan cuts the grocery bill by 25%, the clothing spending in half, and dedicates all the money she used to save toward the credit card debts. How much, by percentage, of her income is now being used for repaying credit card debt?

Answer this problem

Every Penny Counts--another thought
by Ron (DebtSmart Reader from Spokane)

Hi Scott,

Thanks for your most recent newsletter article, Every Penny Counts. I am also of the mind that every penny does count, and that leads me to responding today. Since buying and reading your books, I've tightened my finances back up and have a plan to get my cards paid off once again.

I've had credit cards since 1990 and never paid interest until 2005, when I decided to become self-employed. The credit card debt soon mounted. To say the least, I got in over my head and have since gone back to work elsewhere while keeping my business on the side by working out of my home.

Finish Reading Article

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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 website. 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 website 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 ©2008 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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