Tag Archives: personal finance

Update on the National Mortgage Settlement Program – Do You Qualify?

14 Sep

Update on the National Mortgage Settlement Program – Do You Qualify?.

Top 5 personal finance FAQs answered…

6 Jul

Proof that books like mine are necessary… Top 5 personal finance FAQs answered….

The Symptoms of an Unhealthy Budget: Part Four

25 Jun

Part Four: I want my budget to be healthy again—starting today

You’re still with me, and I’m grateful for that. You now know that symptoms of an unhealthy budget have underlying causes. Perhaps it is unemployment, overspending, the loss of a job, or even the death of a partner. There are so many more, but none of the causes are good. Most of them are beyond your control.

The good news is—YOUR BUDGET CAN BE HEALTHY AGAIN! Instead of continuing to treat the symptoms, which only allows the damage to spread, you must treat the root cause of YOUR budget sickness. Take steps to do what you can to bring in more money if possible. Can you ask for extra hours at work? Can an able-bodied person in your household find a job and contribute to the common expenses? Try cutting out unnecessary splurges while shopping. These steps can definitely help a budget that is undergoing a temporary illness.

The majority of people have already tried these measures—and they’re still unable to pay their bills. When changes in your income or ability to work are beyond your control, it is time to heal or remove the real problem. The underlying cause is the inability to pay what you currently owe while continuing to provide the necessities of life. It is time to stop trying to treat the symptoms on your own, and visit a professional who can really cure the problem, for good!

Sit down with that pile of bills you organized for me. Find the oldest bills and compare them to the newest for all creditors. Determine the last time you charged on each credit card account. Then I want you to get a pad of paper and list each bill. Make a chart that includes columns for: the name of the creditor, the balance you owe each creditor, the last time you charged a new purchase, and how far past due you are. This will allow you to see the true picture at a glance. Compare the process to taking blood tests in order to find out the actual numbers, that allows a doctor to diagnose a medical problem.

Now I want you to meet with a few professionals to see what path you should take toward budget health. My book: BANKRUPTCY FROM A TO Z: THE PATH TO FINANCIAL HOPE AND FREEDOM is a very affordable guide to take with you on the journey toward budget health. You can use it as a dictionary to understand the difficult legal terms, and you will sense that I am there with you to help you through the tough times. It is both emotional and draining to face problems this big. That’s why I want to be by your side—guiding your way. Allow me to make it easier for you—it is what I was trained to do, and what I was born to do.

You’re going to prepare for the process that best helps you regain financial health. You will take the advice of valued professionals to begin to move in the right direction. You must take the first step toward healing–both emotionally and financially–so you can face every morning with a smile again.

All my best!

Betty Anne

SUNSET DREAM BOOKS

www.sunsetdreambooks.com

Follow me on Twitter @sunsetdreamboox

The Symptoms of an Unhealthy Budget: Part Three

23 Jun

Part Three: What do I do with this mountain of bills?

If you’ve followed along with me since Part One: The Symptoms of an Unhealthy Budget, you know that you’re taking positive steps toward dealing with your scary financial situation. It might be painful, but you are moving in the right direction.

You’re now faced with organized piles of bills, and coming to terms with your actual money situation. The bills you should pay each and every month, your rent or mortgage, and utilities, have the most impact on your life if you don’t pay them on time. Just how behind are you on these bills? Are you at risk of losing your home or car?

Maybe you’ve been able to pay housing and car expenses on time, but your credit cards are far behind. I’m sure you’re receiving calls day and night from collectors. I know the phone calls are not pleasant. The people employed by companies to collect balances are not paid to be nice. They are paid to collect money. I know, because I used to work for a major automobile company and had to work in the collections department before I could be promoted to the job I really wanted. I’ve been on the other side of those telephone calls, and it isn’t pleasant there either. There is pressure to maintain very high collection rates in order to keep your job. Very often the people calling to collect past-due payments are also paying their own bills late. Is that news to you?

It is Saturday, and I know that you just want to kick back and relax a bit today. Until my next post, scour all of the possible hiding places where mail from bill collectors could be stashed. Sit down and open each of the bills you took the time to sort out. I’m sure there is some mail you never had the strength to open. It is now time to face reality. Begin to put these bills in order by date, each pile representing the bills from a particular company. We’ll work together on the next step after you’ve had a chance to catch your breath.

Until then, focus on the future and remember that you’re working toward a better one.

All my best!

Betty Anne

SUNSET DREAM BOOKS

http://www.sunsetdreambooks.com

The Symptoms of an Unhealthy Budget: Part Two

22 Jun

Part Two: Can I get myself out of financial trouble?

If you read my last post you found a list of questions to help you determine if you are in financial trouble. I know the discovery of an unhealthy budget is sometimes overwhelming. You thought that living day-to-day was going to be temporary, or you could catch up on the overdue mortgage or rent when your tax refund check came in. Maybe the overtime you were promised at work never came through. What usually happens when you plan on spending any lump sum of money to catch up on past due bills is the need to spend it on unexpected, unavoidable expenses—even emergencies.

When you don’t have enough money for the essentials, you invariably need to spend even more. It never fails–and as times goes on the snowball continues to grow!

Don’t worry—your situation is not a lost cause. Many before you have survived and found a way out of tough financial situations, and you will too. I know it. Now that you know the truth, or are facing the truth honestly for the first time, you can take preliminary steps to begin to work out the details.

You probably have an unopened pile of mail hidden away or tucked into a drawer, maybe shoved into your purse so your spouse won’t find it. Out of sight, out of mind only works for the short term—and your spouse will eventually find what you have hidden. What I want you to do today is dig out that stack of mail and begin the process of opening it, then sorting the most important pieces down to the least important, and touching each envelope only once.

Get rid of the junk mail first. It serves no purpose, and is only taking up valuable space in your house. Clutter can make your mind feel overwhelmed. Start with the easiest task that also makes the biggest overall impact to your stack of envelopes. If you can still see over the pile once you’ve thrown away the junk mail, all is not lost!

Once you have shredded the pesky junk mail and thrown it away, it is time to sort through the real envelopes. You may have your own system, but be sure you check each of them one at a time. Make a pile for regular monthly bills (mortgage, rent, utilities, etc.), credit card mail (bills and notices from collection agencies), medical and health insurance mail (insurance premiums, bills and statements), and then miscellaneous mail–any envelopes that don’t fit into any of the first three categories.

After you have gone through each piece of mail you will have a clearer picture of the obligations you face. Some are re-occurring each and every month, but you only receive others once in a while or infrequently. You must now keep these piles separate, and add new mail to the correct pile as it comes in. Find an inexpensive way to store these documents, such as an accordion file or alphabetical folder, until I tell you what to do with them next. It is too soon to throw away any important statements or copies of pay stubs. You may need these later, even if it turns out that some are duplicates.

Stay with me for the next few days and we’ll work through this difficult process. Read Part Three of: The Symptoms of an Unhealthy Budget. We will tackle the piles together–one day at a time–to improve the overall health of your household budget.

All my best!

Betty Anne

SUNSET DREAM BOOKS

www.sunsetdreambooks.com

   

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