Friday, July 22, 2011

Surround Yourself With Intelligent People

Surround Yourself With Intelligent People

“Birds of a feather flock together,” is a popular, time-worn saying.

And it’s a true maxim. If you associate with a financially informed crowd, you will increase your chances of achieving financial wealth. If you hang out with a group of people who are not financially in tune, then there is a good chance you will lose control of your financial future.

In a sense, you want to form your own “Financial Brain Trust”

And this, of course, goes for other areas of your life: your health, your spirituality, your relationships, etc.

So take a look at people you associate with:
  • Are they helping or hurting your financial future?
  • Do they engage in financial conversations (oftentimes, just teaching others about what you know can increase your own financial awareness).
  • What are some ways that you can get connected with financially savvy people?
  • Have your friends/family given you poor or helpful financial advice?
Obviously, you don’t have to converse about finances constantly, but you do want a core group of people you can rely on.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Steps to follow when repairing credit yourself

Guest Post by Sharleen
Steps to follow when repairing credit yourself

A credit history is a record of your past borrowings and repayments. It contains information about all your late payments as well as bankruptcy. Your credit score is a three digit number that provides your potential lenders a rough idea of how likely you are to pay your bills. Your credit score could get affected due to late payments or write offs or bankruptcy. A large amount of outstanding debts could also be the reason for your low credit. When you work actively to make sure that your credit report is accurate and up to date, then that is called credit repair. Credit repair is important, as without a good credit score you may be denied credit, insurance and even employment. You may opt for consumer credit counseling to help you improve your credit. You could do it yourself or hire the services of an attorney. Hiring an attorney would be expensive so it is best that you do it yourself.  

The steps that you can consider when repairing credit yourself are as follows :

1. Get hold of your credit reports: Order for your credit reports from the three main credit bureaus- Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You may see that the credit reports from these 3 bureaus are not similar to each other. This is because your creditors do not report to all the three. If you have been denied insurance, credit or employment due to your credit score, then you are entitled to get a free copy of your credit report.  

2. Scrutinize your reports in detail: After you receive your credit reports go through them thoroughly. In most cases you will find at least one error in your credit report. This may be because the bureaus give the information that they get from creditors. They do not verify it. These errors may include typing errors, wrong information and also inaccurate account history.  

3. Dispute the errors: If you feel that there is any incorrect information on your credit report, then you have the full rights to dispute that information. You must write a letter to the credit bureau and along with the letter send a copy of your credit report. Make sure that every inaccurate information and mistake is highlighted in the copy of the credit report that you send. You must keep copies of all the letters, forms and documents that you send to the credit bureaus.  

4. Resolve the negative items: Your credit score is drastically affected by your payment history. So the best way to improve your credit history is to pay all your past due accounts. Try to pay the ones that are charged off and also ensure that the other accounts do not get charged off. 

These are the few steps that you need to follow when repairing your credit. After you have resolved the negative items on your credit you should also try and get some positive items added.

This guest post is written by Sharleen Benet. Her deliberate writings include personal budgeting, personal finance management, process of coming out of credit card debt. She is a financial writer by profession and has specialization in dealing with financial problems and its solutions.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Compulsive Shopping

Compulsive Shopping

Some people engage in compulsive buying or spending on occasion. It’s most common during the winter holiday months, as a remedy for mild depression or boredom. While most people keep this under control, a few develop a more serious problem. They buy far more than they need and most of it they will never use. It sometimes results in thousands of dollars of debt. This is called oniomania or compulsive shopping.

In a society that emphasizes materialism, compulsive shopping is frequently overlooked as a problem, often even treated as a joke. Oniomaniacs are sometimes dismissed as being financially irresponsible. It is far more complicated than that. Compulsive shopping can be devastating not only financially, but also mentally and emotionally.

Most mental health professionals do not consider compulsive shopping an addiction because there is no physical dependency as with drugs or alcohol, but Oniomaniacs do display addictive behavior. High percentages are addicts or former addicts of other things, including drugs and alcohol. Oniomania can affect either sex but the vast majority of compulsive shoppers are adult females. There have been few studies done on compulsive shopping, but those have been done indicate that as much as 10% of the adult population display tendencies towards compulsive shopping.

Oniomania typically occurs in cycles. Depression, boredom or emotional distress may set off an impulse to shop. Shopping gives oniomaniacs a sort of euphoria or “high”. They are very susceptible to advertising and will buy things to make them feel more powerful, attractive, or secure. There is usually a letdown afterwards, followed by guilt over the wasted money or debt. This leads to depression, which can set off another episode of compulsive buying.

Signs of compulsive shopping

A tendency to shop and spend large amounts of money during times of depression or emotional distress.

Buying excessive amounts of items that never get used, especially if they already possess these items at home. Compulsive shoppers may buy large amounts of clothing for example, when they have an excess of clothes at home that have never even been worn.

Unused items are frequently disposed of, sometimes even in the original packaging or with the tags still attached.

Lying about shopping or the amount of money spent

Running up large amounts of debt or buying unnecessary items instead of paying bills.

Borrowing or stealing money to shop

Shopping or money spent interferes with work or relationships


Treatment of compulsive shopping may be more complicated than treating a physical addiction, like drug or alcohol abuse, because shopping is not something that can be avoided altogether. Treatment of compulsive shopping is similar to that of compulsive overeating in that that pattern of compulsive behavior must be addressed in order to get the shopping to a normal, healthy level. There are some things the compulsive shopper can do to help get their shopping down to a normal level. This may include things like avoiding temptation, making funds difficult to access or distracting themselves with another activity when there is an impulse to shop. While these methods can greatly contribute to recovery, professional help is still essential. It’s very important that the psychological problems are identified and treated. Without proper treatment, compulsive shoppers may stop shopping only to engage in other compulsive or addictive behaviors in its place. If you think you or someone you know may have a compulsive shopping problem, contact a counselor or mental health professional in your area.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Personal Finance Help – Tips To Avoid Getting Into Debt

Personal Finance Help - Tips To Avoid Getting Into Debt
While many articles and books have been written to help you once you're in debt, very few have been written about how to avoid getting into debt in the first place. Many people choose to go to credit counseling only after they're on the brink of filing for bankruptcy. If you want to be successful financially, you have to first learn how to do things before the fact, not after it. In this article I will show you some common sense things you can do to avoid debt.

Teaching Personal Finance At Grassroots

Understanding the importance of personal finance is a key factor in being successful in life. It is hard to do much of anything if you are unable to manage your money. Most high schools today don't teach teenagers the importance of finance despite the fact credit card companies will mail them cards upon their graduation. I believe this one of the reasons why the average American family today owes about , 000 in credit card debt. They simply do not understand how to manage their money, or they lack the discipline to do so.

Save For Your Luxuries – Don't Borrow

The first step in avoiding debt is to simply not borrow money. If you want something that you can't afford to pay for with cash, you probably don't need it. If you really want it, you should save up your money and buy it. By doing this you will become disciplined and stay out of debt at the same time. It is easy to get a credit card or a loan to buy something. It takes discipline and hard work to save up enough money to buy it. Saving money has always been a simple path to building wealth. The more money you save, the wealthier you'll become.
Do You Really Need The Latest Tech Goods?

Many people are distracted by the bells and whistles of the many electronic products which flood the market today. Many people fail to realize that the digital camera or I-pod you pay 0 for today won't be worth anything tomorrow. Electronics almost always depreciate in value. Why go out and use a credit card to buy expensive electronics when they will lose their value after they're purchased?

Cut Out The Middle Man
One way to effectively manage your money is to develop a wholesale mentality. When I say this I mean that you should consider not paying retail prices for electronics, furniture, or other goods. You should think about paying wholesale prices for these goods rather than retail, especially if they depreciate in value. Instead of going to the mall or furniture store to shop for clothes or furniture, why not go to a clothing outlet or thrift store?

The Freedom Of Being Debt Free

Many people become wealthy and debt free by simply saving their money, paying wholesale prices for goods, and placing some of their savings in safe investments like IRA accounts. They often will only have one credit card if any, and the amount of money they have saved up will be much larger than the balance they owe on their credit card. This is the real secret to wealth. The get rich quick schemes and late night infomercials are disinformation which will not give you true answers.
Don't Be Another Sheep!

Avoiding debt and maintaining good credit is another key of financial success. It is important to understand the 80/20 principle when dealing with personal finance. You will want to avoid doing what 80% of the population does. Most people owe tens of thousands of dollars on credit cards, student loans, or car loans. Others use payday loans between paychecks to make ends meet. This puts them in a cycle of debt which will keep them from ever becoming wealthy or retiring in comfort. The credit card companies and banks continue to make billions while most consumers are getting further into debt.



The Plastic Disease

"What do you mean, the plastic disease?"

Your spending addiction is tied directly to those credit cards. You've got a pocket full of them. They're your ticket to ride, your passport to feeling important. You know that you can get anything you want, whenever you want it. Instant gratification! You don't have to wait, buy it now, right now! It will make you happy! It's like having a pacifier for grown-ups.

Every spending addict has been there, maxed out at least one of them, probably all of them. Just when that happens some bank sends you another card with an even higher credit line. Do you know what the interest is on those cards? Probably not, not if you fit the description of a spending addict, a compulsive spender, a binge buyer.

You think you'll be okay as long as you can make the minimum payments every month. You're careful never to think about the total amount that you owe. You read somewhere that in the USA the total credit card debt, right now, is six hundred billion dollars. WOW! At least you don't owe that much, maybe you're not so bad after all.

This spending addiction is the I'VE GOT TO HAVE IT disease. You probably don't even remember what you've spent the money on over this past year. A closet full of shoes? Maybe it's golf clubs, or paintings, or cars, or whatever. You do know that somehow it's never enough.

You're trying to fill the hole that's inside of you. When you are buying, charging, ordering, you do feel better for a few minutes, just like when you have sex. But, it doesn't seem to last. So why do you do it? Because it gives you a brief feeling of power and control. You feel like you are in charge, like you are somebody. It helps you get rid of those feelings that you're not quite good enough. Not feeling bad is what this spending addiction is all about.

And, it doesn't even matter how powerful you or your family may be, or how much money you do or don't have. It's the inside of you that feels so empty and insignificant. You just want to make that feeling go away.

Maybe you call yourself a collector ......

You can't stay away from the yard sales or flea markets. You're spending more time with eBay than you do with your family. You've bought stuff from those TV shopping networks, some of it you don't even want. But the thrill that you get when you pick up the phone and call that 800 number is worth it. Right? Those folks at the shopping programs make you feel like one of the family. Special! It's so nice to feel like you belong. You've probably always felt disconnected. An outsider. A nobody. But not when you're shopping, not when you're spending, because when you're buying you feel that rush that makes you know you really are special.

Already stopped spending?

By now you may have given up the credit cards at least once. You've promised yourself that you'll never use them again. You may even suspect that you suffer from spending addiction. You worked really hard to pay those cards off so that you'd be free of that burdensome debt. You even promised your spouse that this was it – no more - never again. Then, when you were almost there, you convinced yourself that you deserve just a little treat, after all, you worked so hard to be good, so why not?

You're drunk, intoxicated on your own brain chemicals.

That rush that you feel when you think about spending more than you have on things that you don't need, is exactly the emotional place you've been looking for. You want to feel GOOD. And, you know that for sure the spending will do it for you. Even though the feeling doesn't last long, it's worth it. You even know the best way to treat the "hangover" that comes afterwards. You can just do it again, and again, and again.

You begin comparing yourself to the people you know. The folks who buy more than you do, the guy at work who can't pass up a bargain in real estate. He's making a lot of money. He's spending a whole lot more than you do, and no one is complaining about him!

You see, you're drunk and you're rationalizing about your own situation. That's what you have to do to get your own way; compare yourself with others and lie to yourself about what's really happening in your own life.

Maybe you need some help.

If you've read this far you probably are ready for some help with your spending addiction. In the Spirit of Recovery we are here to listen. You can sober up, learn to spend only what you can afford, buy only what you really need, and live your life without the anxiety that has gotten you into this mess. Call for a free confidential consultation at 1 800 754 1452. Or send us an email at You'll be speaking with the best therapists available. They know just what you're going through and they will help you get to the other side. Why not call right now?