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ISSUE #185

Email Newsletter  

  September 17, 2008  

Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker, founder of DebtSmart


I've always said that we cannot hope or wait for the government to protect us from deceptive bank practices. That's because the politicians seem to be in the back pocket of the banks. Obama's running mate, Sen. Biden, is just another example. It turns out that Biden's son, Hunter, was getting paid as a consultant by MBNA during the time that daddy was voting "yes" on bankruptcy reform. Reform that, IMHO, is very pro-bank and anti-consumer.

I know there are two sides to every story. However, the way I see it, it's no coincidence that Hunter is involved in the banking industry. He's from Delaware--the state where many of your banks are headquartered because the corporate laws favor their high-priced tactics.

You can read the story about Sen. Biden's son here. Check it out, and you'll see what I mean.



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In This Issue

Cool Quote
Paying back only 19 cents on the dollar
STATISTIC: Bankruptcy Filings 2008
10 Things Millionaires Won't Tell You
Financial Independence
"I can do this!"
American Express sued over policy on gift cards
Household Math™: What is APR?
Money is a Family Affair
Credit-Card Rage

Cool Quote

"God's dream is that you have an abundance, that you be totally out of debt, pay your house off, pay your credit cards off, and have so much overflow that you can be a blessing to everyone around you!"
--Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church, Houston, TX

More cool quotes from past issues

Paying back only 19 cents on the dollar
by Scott Bilker

One of the topics I cover in my book, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, is how to negotiate settlements. That's when you contact your creditor and say something like, "I know that I owe $5,000, but how about I pay you $2,000 and we're done?"

I've helped people with these negotiations, and I've helped teach others how to do it themselves. Nothing makes my day more than receiving the success stories of those that have read my book and saved a bundle on their own! This one is great...

Finish reading this article

STATISTIC: Bankruptcy Filings 2008

Chapter 7 filings totaled 615,748, up 36.7 percent from the 450,332 Chapter 7 filings in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2007. Chapter 13 filings totaled 344,421, up 16.9 percent from the 294,693 filings in the same time period in June 2007.

More credit card and debt statistics

10 Things Millionaires Won't Tell You

A million dollars may sound like a fortune to most people, and folks with that much cash can't complain -- they're richer than 90 percent of U.S. households and earn $366,000 a year, on average, putting them in the top 1 percent of taxpayers. But the club isn't so exclusive anymore. Some 10 million households have a net worth above $1 million, excluding home equity, almost double the number in 2002. Moreover, a recent survey by Fidelity found just 8 percent of millionaires think they're "very" or "extremely" wealthy, while 19 percent don't feel rich at all. "They're worried about health care, retirement and how they'll sustain their lifestyle," says Gail Graham, a wealth-management executive at Fidelity.

See story here

Financial Independence
by Michael Angier

Financial independence, by its very definition, means to not be dependent on anyone or anything for our financial needs. That requires being free from debt.

When asked what they would do if they won the lottery, most people say they would pay off their debts. Just imagine what it would be like not to owe any money?

We'd all like to be free from owing money. But something has happened to us over the past couple of generations--we've come to accept debt as just another part of modern life.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Finish reading the article

"I can do this!"

Since my income was only able to carry household expenses and a few credit cards, I began searching for companies that help to settle credit card debts and fix your credit at the same time. They would only guarantee that they would settle at 65 to 70 cents on the dollar and would take you 3 to 4 years to fix credit. I would have had to pay $500 per month to get this taken care of. Part of my job as a Realtor is to negotiate short sales and I've negotiated several at about 60 percent of the fair market value so I figured that there had to be a better way to negotiate with credit cards. I went to Amazon and looked up books on settling credit cards, and I found Scott's book. I read through the scripts and dialogs he had in the book and I said, "I can do this!" I do this all the time with major lending institutions. So far I've settled on $19k of debt, and I am working on about $25k more to be finished with this process.


Learn how to "Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt"

American Express sued over policy on gift cards

To Jemi Goodman, who wanted to do something nice for her daughter-in-law, buying a $100 American Express gift card turned out to be such an "injustice" that she's launched a $5 million class-action against the financial giant.

When the card balance was $2.75, merchants refused to accept it even in split transactions, according to the suit filed in federal court in Central Islip, N.Y., last week by Goodman, a business manager who bought the card in September 2006.

"When you give a gift to someone, you're hoping to give them something that they can enjoy without aggravation and without incident," Goodman said. "I felt ripped off."

See story here

Household Math (TM): What is APR?
by Scott Bilker

Actually, it's the abbreviation for Annual Percentage Rate. The APR is quite simply the periodic rate multiplied by the number of periods in a year. For example, if the monthly rate of interest is 2 percent, then the APR is 24 percent because 2 (the periodic rate) multiplied by 12 (the number of periods, or months, in a year) equals 24 percent. Okay, so now that you understand the APR, here is the question: What is the daily rate (one day is the period) if the APR is 14.6 percent?

Answer this math problem

Money is a Family Affair
by Terry Rigg

If you are single and don't have kids, this tip won't mean much to you. For the rest of us that have others to consider when making money decisions, it just may make things a little easier.

I guess the best knock-down, drag-out fights my wife and I ever had were about money. No, it never came to blows because she's meaner than I am. Believe me, you can have a lot of fights in almost 40 years.

Finish reading this article

Credit-Card Rage

David Giantomasi says he vigilantly paid his credit-card bills each month. Even if he could only make the minimum payment, he made sure to get all his monthly payments squared away. So he was shocked when the interest rate on his Chase credit card suddenly jumped to 19.99% from 7.99%. When Giantomasi called the card issuer to demand an explanation, he was enraged. He was told that overall turmoil in the credit markets meant higher rates for a number of customers.

Chase won't comment on individual cardholder accounts. "I felt completely helpless," Giantomasi recalls. "These credit-card companies are beyond the law and should be more tightly regulated."

See story here

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.

The DebtSmart Email Newsletter, ISSN 1538-6740, is written and published by Scott Bilker and edited by Larissa Bilker and Denise Troy. Please contact comments@debtsmart.com with any comments, problems, or concerns. (See the very bottom of the email to make changes to your subscription.)

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