Monthly Archives

May 2019

Improving Your Cash Flow To Pay Off Debts Sooner

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The primary goal of improving your cash flow to put toward outstanding debts is to be smarter about the way you approach your debt. There are some ways to try to increase your cash flow in a short term capacity, but you should be prepared to put in a lot of work to make that happen.

For example, you can ask for a raise at your current job, or get a part-time job on the weekends to make ends meet. Anything you make at a part-time job can go directly to debt payments. Or, you can hold a yard sale, post items on Craigslist, or sell old clothing on sites like Depop to make a little extra cash. The key to a successful increase in cash flow is to make it some type of recurring income, so you’re better off with a side gig where you know that you’ll make x dollars extra per month. Making consistent progress on your debts takes work and consistent payment behaviors.

You can also take a hard look at your expenses beyond the basic necessities. For example, do you lose a lot of money per month in subscription services, lawn care, or miscellaneous tasks for the home? Are your systems for paying your bills efficient? What’s working for you, and what’s not?

Another way to tackle your debts is to make higher payments on your debt with the highest interest rate, so you can theoretically pay it off more quickly than the other lower interest debts. Organizing your debts by interest rates is a popular debt management technique used by experts and recommended by financial advisors.

Upping your monthly income or cash flow will take a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be forever. Contact Cain and Daniels to make a plan for your debt payments today.

How To Keep Track Of A Family Budget

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When you’re budgeting for the entire family, it can be difficult to balance everything you want to accomplish with all that you need to do for the family. Bills, emergency expenses, doctor’s appointments, paying for extra-curricular activities and sports, and more tend to pop up when you’re managing a family budget. Don’t forget about buying clothes, new school supplies, and paying for field trips and other unexpected expenses.

Keeping a family budget requires a lot of flexibility to understand where your core expenses are coming from every year. Start by knowing your income and understand the kind of lifestyle you can afford with kids. When you have to pay for school expenses, a family vacation may have to take a backseat. When your youngest needs braces, you might have to put off upgrading the family vehicle. Budgeting for a family is all about compromises and priorities. Knowing your long-term financial goals will be crucial.

Budgeting apps and tools are another great way to manage a family budget. Many banking apps now come with budgeting tools so you can see cash flow in and out of the household, plus understand how much each dollar is going to specific categories. When you know you spend $100 per month on movies and TV, you’ll have a better idea on how to allocate those funds elsewhere.

Sticking to a budget as a family means being on the same page about what you want to accomplish, no big surprise purchases. When you have a family budget, every dollar should eventually be accounted for and given its proper place.

Better Ways To Manage Your Debts

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You might have been in debt for a while now, diligently paying the minimum payment on your credit card debt or making your student loan payments as regularly as possible. But you might not have a strategy for how to truly manage your debts effectively. When it comes to debt, you should work smarter and not harder to pay them off as quickly as possible, and a lot of the time, this means being creative with what you’re given.

Strategic debt payment and debt management start with knowing the ins and outs of every single existing debt you have. That means knowing the interest rate on that one credit card you opened at 21, or understanding exactly how much your debt is accruing in interest when you make only the minimum payment.

Managing your debts doesn’t have to be impossible. You can aggressively tackle them to meet specific one month, six-month, and year-long goals, particularly if you understand different debt-payment methods like the snowball and avalanche methods where you approach debt based on their interest rates to tackle them in a strategic way.

Another way to pay off your debt the smart way is to avoid using your savings to pay debts. Try to use only incoming profit or cash to chip away at your debts, not your emergency fund or rainy day savings. Make your payments on time, and if you have a minimum payment, put down more than just the minimum to make sure you’re making progress toward the principal interest.

Make it a priority to not let your debts own you. Contact Cain & Daniels today to learn smart debt management strategies that you can use to handle all your pesky debts.

 

Will A Debtor Forgive My Loan If I’ve Been Affected By A Natural Disaster?

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If you’ve been affected by a natural disaster, probably the last thing on your mind is your credit card debt or loan debt. You might be more preoccupied with understanding what is going on with your home or apartment, salvaging your belongings, and finding important documents. You might not even be able to return home yet, or be able to afford to return home after a natural disaster.

Of course, the worst can happen, but it’s important to understand that you’re not alone and not without options if you’ve been affected by a natural disaster, and if that has changed your situation in terms of how you’re able to pay off your loans. Creditors and loans offer a system called debt relief, and some provide breaks for you from having to make payments for a short amount of time while you get back on your feet.

Following a natural disaster, if your area has been legally recognized as being in the affected zone by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), it’s likely that you can call your credit card companies or your loan provider and provide them with documentation that you’ve been hindered by the disaster.

If you have a federal student loan, you can typically have payments deferred for 90 days if you were affected by a natural disaster. Monthly credit card bills and auto loans, however, aren’t under any legal obligation to help you, but it can be useful to call your credit card company and see what they offer specifically for those affected by natural disasters. Each private company is a little different.

Will A Debtor Forgive My Loan If I’ve Gone Out of Business?

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When you’re starting a business, the last thing you want to think about is what might happen if you go under, and how that could affect the business loans you’ve taken out. But it’s important to understand all facets of being a business owner so that you can make smarter decisions as you build your business. Will a debtor forgive your loan if you go out of business? Not necessarily.

Debts an appear on a credit report for up to 7 years. Debt forgiveness is a common road that people travel down to try to get their debts to a more manageable state. When a creditor “cancels” a debt, it means that they release the debt either in total or just a part of it, understanding they will never receive payment from the debtor to make good on the terms of the loan.

When you talk with your loan provider about your business and the fact that you’re unable to pay your loan, some providers begin talks of loan forgiveness, but others want to give you a chance to pay it if you can. It’s important to keep any discussion of loan forgiveness in writing so you can point to that in the future if needed. If you file for bankruptcy, the creditor isn’t able to come after you and a “stay” is issued, meaning that the creditor can’t continue calling you to collect a debt.

If you have questions about debt forgiveness if you’ve gone out of business, you’re not alone. It can be a scary and confusing process no matter who you are. Contact Cain & Daniels today to talk about your options.

3 Reasons You Can’t Ignore Your Debts Any Longer

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When you ignore your looming debts—that credit card bill, those student loan payments, racking up your credit card expenses—it’s only a matter of time before things snowball into something you can no longer handle. To avoid losing control of your debts, it’s important to understand ways to get ahead and how ignoring your debts won’t make them go away. Here are three reasons you can’t ignore your debts any more:

You’ll never make any progress toward your debt.

The main reason you can’t afford to ignore your debts is because ignoring them means you’ll never make progress toward a debt-free life. Ignoring your debts might feel okay in the moment, particularly if you don’t have any money to put toward payments, but guilt will eat into every fun thing you do—every latte, every movie with friends, every vacation.

You’ll never have good credit.

When you ignore your debts, leaving that letter from the collections agency unopened, or consistently miss your monthly payments, you’re not making any progress toward a better credit score, which can only be built through consistent payment and good financial behavior. If you leave your debts alone to fester and get worse, your credit will continue to tank because you haven’t proven your creditworthiness to lenders.

You’ll never meet your long-term financial goals.

Want to buy a house, or retire early? Looking into a personal loan for a mortgage, or a small business loan to get your passion project off the ground? These are all achievable debts when you don’t have thousands of dollars of debt looming over your head, along with all the challenges of missed or late payments clouding up your financial records. If you never get your debt under control, your long-term goals will never take shape because you’ll be too busy paying off your loans and credit cards for the next 30 years by making only the minimum payments on everything.

Get started today. Contact Cain and Daniels to learn ways to chip away at your debts effectively and strategically.

Settling A Debt After A Judgment Is Entered

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What exactly is a judgment? Well, it’s when a creditor or debt collector summons you to a court of law to get what they are owed. You can get a default judgment when you don’t respond to a lawsuit from a collection agency or collector, because the debt collector doesn’t see another way to get you to pay up.

If you don’t show up to the court when a judgment is entered, you’ll automatically lose the case, and you’ll be without recourse legally, so you’ll have to pay the debt to the collection agency as soon as possible. This could include wage a variety of methods like wage garnishment, where creditors can take a certain amount from your monthly wages each month to put toward the debt you legally owe.

If you’re trying to settle a debt after a judgment is entered, it’s best to consult a financial advisor and understand exactly what you’re working with from all angles before you accept or settle the judgment. Your advisor will help you understand if you have the ability to challenge the judgment, or if you should try to settle for less. Not being able to pay the judgment in full right away usually leads to wage garnishment or a payment plan.

There are ways to challenge a wage garnishment plan, particularly if you can prove that you can’t make basic living necessities on the garnished salary. It’s recommended you settle a judgment in most cases, because you likely won’t have to pay in full, and many times the creditor enacting the judgment will provide you with a “satisfaction of judgment” before you have to pay a full amount. When you do decide to settle a debt after a judgment is entered, be sure to have a written agreement and proof of everything that was stipulated and agreed upon.

Questions about judgments and settling your debts when a judgment is entered? Talk to someone at Cain & Daniels today.

Tips For Improving Your Credit Score Fast

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When you have a bad credit score, it follows you around like a ghost in your life. It can prevent you from applying for loans or getting that dream apartment. If you tank your credit scores with late or missed payments, racking up credit debt to your maximum, and making poor financial choices, these behaviors can follow you for years to come.

Luckily, there are steps you can take not only to understand your credit score, but to rapidly improve it over time. Ultimately the critical piece of having a good credit score is consistency. That’s what lenders and creditors look for; it’s something they call “creditworthiness.” When you’re creditworthy, you’ll be more likely to get approved for things, and your credit score will reflect a pattern of reliable behavior that lenders can point to and say, “This person is highly likely to make their payments on time.”

The first step to improving your credit score is to know what it is. Comb through your files and your credit report to understand where you’re at and where you’d like to be in six months to a year based on your goals. If you have a bad credit score and you want to be at an 800 next month, you’ll need to adjust your expectations. No one builds their credit in a day. The next step would be to dispute any inaccuracies, and to be very vigilant in checking what hard hits your credit has accumulated over time. Ideally, you should be able to remember each time your credit gets a hard hit.

Then, start making your payments on time and in full, more than just the minimum payment, if you can. The real key to building your credit score quickly is to showcase that you can consistently make payments on time, in addition to other factors, that indicate the length of time you’ve been building credit and how you approach the credit you already have.

Building your credit score quickly is like training for a race. It takes hard work, consistency, and good habits that extend beyond one part of your life. Curious about more ways to build credit? Contact Cain & Daniels today.

What Is A Civil Debt?

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There are two types of debt: civil debt and commercial debt. Civil debt is when you don’t pay your debt and the collection agency takes you to court to enforce payment of the debt, typically relating to credit card debt or other personal debt, whereas commercial debt relates to a business or commercial venture.

There are plenty of civil suits filed each year to “serve” those who owe on their civil debts. The collection agency typically relies on you being scared and acting hastily when you get served, which is an intimidation tactic.

After you’ve been served by the collection agency, you’ll have to show up in court to plead your case. If you don’t show up in court on the scheduled date, you’ll lose the civil suit and have to pay back what you owe, no questions asked. If you don’t show up to the court hearing, you may have your wages garnished or a lien placed on property you own as a way to enforce you making good on what you owe the collection agency.

If you have civil debt, be sure to look closely at all records and information regarding the debt to make sure everything is correct. You’ll want to move quickly to make sure you have a response to the civil debt suit, and you’ll begin to see the effects of the suit on your credit score fairly quickly.

Are you unsure what to do about your civil debt? Contact Cain and Daniels today for a free consultation to understand how a civil debt can impact your life and your future.

What Happens When You Lose Your Job And Can’t Afford Your Bills

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It’s the stuff of nightmares and plenty of sleepless nights: “What if I lose my job? What if I can’t pay my bills?” The reality of losing your primary source of income is that the feeling of insecurity can cause crippling anxiety and bubble up difficult emotions. Not knowing how you’ll pay your rent or mortgage next month is hard on anyone.

If you find yourself without a job and unable to pay your bills, you should immediately research the unemployment qualifications in your state, and apply for unemployment. You might not be eligible if you quit your job, but those affected by layoffs can usually file for unemployment. It may not be enough to make all your bills, but anything helps.

The next step after you lose your job is to review everything you’ve been spending money on—food, coffee, entertainment, subscriptions—and whittle down your budget to the absolute essentials. Cut back on costs in any way you can, and make sure your choices for food are as cost-effective as possible, no lattes or eating out at restaurants.

It’s important to remember that this amount of scaling back is temporary and shouldn’t have to be forever. Another thing you’ll want to do is take a look at your monthly debt payments and see if you’re eligible for a deferment or a change in payment plan as a result of extenuating circumstances. Many loan companies or creditors offer a “hardship” program that can help you navigate this challenging time, though they aren’t often advertised.

If you’ve lost your job, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone during this scary time. Contact Cain & Daniels today to make a plan on how to pay your bills even when you’re unemployed.