Debt Resolve 2011

4 08 2011

Congress and the White House have made a final decision concerning the debt crisis. The resolve revolves around a two-stage process, the first stage being a $917 billion savings, including approximately a $420 billion reduction in the national security budget. The cuts would be accompanied by a $900 billion increase in the debt ceiling. The second stage entails a $500 billion increase in the debt limit which would be subject to a congressional vote of disapproval that can be vetoed by Obama.

Although this was a temporary fix for the government, nothing in this bill addresses the economic problems that our country is in. There was nothing stated in the package about the fundamental problems that got us into the financial situation we are in or how to get us out of it. This causes some problems such as unemployment which will remain to be high! Established businesses won’t be hiring at a pace that would improve our unemployment rate, business will slow down, profits will diminish or disappear, and income will be depressed.

With an even tougher economy than the last two years, bad debts will surely increase and they will become harder to collect as money becomes more scarce! This is the same pattern in any recession.

Businesses can help themselves by outsourcing their receivables and collections. By down-sizing these departments, organizations can focus on sales and growth and spend less in areas such as Accounts Receivable and Debt Collection. Another positive for this way of thinking is that by outsourcing professionals who only do this for a living all day long will most likely have far better results than a person who wears many hats as companies downsize. The key to American economy is to keep the business in America and not outsource outside of the United States.

These days it is hard to make the right choice when it comes to the US economy. As Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee said, “This problem wasn’t created overnight, and it won’t be solved overnight.” There are still many steps this country needs to take until the economy will get better.

In summary let’s keep American’s working and let’s support American companies. Teamwork is needed more than ever!

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Are you overwhelmed with debt?

13 07 2011

There are several options that consumers have to deal with their debt before considering bankruptcy. Declaring bankruptcy may be helpful in certain situations but it should always be used as a last resort. Depending on your level debt and self discipline, there are different options that you should consider.
Organize yourself
Contact your creditors directly and try to work out a payment plan. Try explaining to them the cause of your financial troubles, they may be understanding. Don’t wait until you have debt collectors calling you because that means your creditors have given your debt away to someone else which may or may not affect your credit. If you have secured debt like a home or car loan those objects may be repossessed until the full payment of the debt is received. If you foresee that you cannot make the payments on time, If possible, the best way to avoid this is sell the car or house and pay off the loan before the amount builds up more than you can handle.

Work with credit counselors
If you cannot organize your finances on your own there are organizations out there to help people with these exact problems. They usually offer services online or on the phone. They can help advise you on managing your debts and money, develop a budget and offer free educational materials.
Enroll in a debt management plan
Debt management plans or DMPs are programs that work with your creditors and schedule timely regular monthly payments for you unsecured debt. In exchange for inactivation of the accounts or credit cards the creditors may lower interest rates or fees. These are not for everyone though. If you fail to make a payment while enrolled in one of these programs it may affect your credit even worse.
File for bankruptcy
This should be done only as a last resort. The results of this are long lasting and can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. This can make it almost impossible to buy a house or car or even get a job. But if it is your only option, it is an option.





Top 8 Causes of Debt in the USA

23 06 2011

People today are getting themselves into more and more debt.  This growing problem is especially bad in America.  Here are 8 top causes of debt.

  1. Spending money before you have it
    Credit cards make this very easy to do.  It can be tempting to buy something when you have a credit card which will allow you to buy something before you have the cash in hand.  The trick about credit cards is that every month you don’t pay off the bill in full; the money remaining accumulates interest.  Credit card charges rack up very quickly and before you know it, you owe your card company more money than you actually spent. Banks also raise interest rates as soon as a payment is late making it even harder to pay off the debt.
  2. Little or no savings
    One of the easiest ways to avoid going into debt is to have savings.  Life always has unexpected costs that will throw you into debt if you are not prepared for them.  Sometimes there are unexpected costs that are pressing and cannot be postponed like a pipe breaks in your home flooding all the floors, or your car dies and you need to buy a new one.  These are not things that can wait, so saving for a rainy day is important. 10 % of your paycheck should be put aside for unexpected events.
  3. Divorce
    With more than 50% of Americans being divorced, this is an important thing to consider.  Divorces are not really something you can plan for financially.  Its just one of those unexpected costs that happens in life.
  4. Medical Expenses
    Even with health insurance, medical bills can still pile up.  Most doctors and hospitals accept credit cards as a form of payment.  This is because the professionals want their payment at the time of service to ensure they receive it.  This unfortunately is one of the things that add to credit card debt.
  5. Gambling
    The thought that you can go into a building with little money and walk away with tons is intoxicating to some.  People these days love to gamble, whether it is because of the thrill or because they are just desperate for money.  The reality of it is most people end up leaving with negative money.  Gambling addictions are by far some of the worst, especially when it comes to staying out of debt.
  6. Poor Money Communication
    It is crucial to communicate about spending and saving with your spouse and/or children.  If one of you is someone who spends lots of money it is important to know this and anticipate a larger bill at the end of the month.  When dealing with shared accounts this is one of the most important things to do. Consider setting aside time to discuss financial philosophies and priorities before it becomes a problem!
  7. Poor Money Management
    Basic things like balancing a check book and keeping track of your spending are very important to get in the habit of doing.  These little tricks will help you realize where most of your money is going and allow you to cut back on unnecessary spending. If you pay everything online then visit your online accounts once a month to keep yourself informed about your accounts.
  8.  Reduced Income
    The current state of our economy has been the cause of   people losing   jobs or possibly experiencing pay cuts.  If this happens it is important to cut back on spending, unless you have a reserve of cash to subsidize yourself. If you are receiving less money you need to spend less money. 




Hiring the Right Sales Person for Your Company

2 06 2011

Hiring the right sales person can be a difficult business decision.  Not only do you want to get the best person for the job, you want the best person for selling your product.  Hiring sale people can be difficult because if they are good at what they do they will be selling themselves to you in their interview.  There are different angles to be considered before hiring a new sales representative.

Hiring sales people already in your industry has its advantages and disadvantages.  Some of the advantages are that sales people within your industry are already familiar with how to sell to your customer base.  It can also reduce the cost and time of hiring and training new employees.  Sometimes hiring people already in your field may expand sales by acquiring the new contacts.

However, there are disadvantages to hiring sales people within your industry.  People already in the industry might not be the best candidates to choose from.  If someone is looking for a new sales position within the same industry there is a reason.  Usually these people are at the bottom percentage of the sales ranks.  Remember that every sales group is different, even within the same industry.  Your company might require different skill sets than what your new sales person learned from their previous company.

Hiring from outside your industry can be an excellent choice to avoid some of the problems listed above.  There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for sales people new to your industry.  Look for people who have job skills that are clearly defined and have worked within standard sales dealings that aren’t industry specific.  Remember that a good sales person is responsive to the customer.  By predicting the purchasing patterns of your customers, it shouldn’t be difficult to find related industries where the sales people are trained in a way that making the switch in industry will not affect their selling skills.  Finally, look for skill not just a degree.  Ask the prospective sales employee about their numbers from previous jobs.  Remember that perseverance and drive are not things that can be learned in school.

Remember when hiring a new sales person to keep in mind their persuasiveness and selling points.  You want to hire the best person for the job and your company, but you need to make sure they will fit into your company culture.  Just because people have sales in your industry does not necessarily mean they will be the best candidate for the job.





Communicating to Influence

26 05 2011

Communication skills are an essential part to influencing others.  In order to encourage prospective clients, your boss, or even your coworkers, that your thoughts and ideas are important, a number of aspects need to be considered when communicating.  Most of human interactions are nonverbal.  Here are some tips for consciously improving your communication. 

1.  Body Language and Tone of Voice:

Your mood is visible through your voice and posture.  When you are feeling good, your speech tends to be more animated and you appear more confident in your self and therefore your message.  To appear more confident even when feeling blue make a conscious effort to animate your voice and raise your posture.    

2. Bad or Distracting Habits:

Nervous habits can be distracting and therefore detrimental to your message.  Things such as finger fidgeting, touching your face or hair, or jangling coins in your pockets all are distracting attention away from your message.

3. Be an Active Listener:

If you can listen and interpret what your listener really wants, you will be able to arrange your words in a way that fits to his or her needs.

4. Be Confident but NOT Arrogant:

You want to come across strong and confident. You want to be confident that you know your message, but overconfidence can come across as egotistical.  Pay attention to your vocabulary and energy levels during your presentation to avoid crossing this line.

There are many aspects of communication.  Learning and adapting your communication style is an important step in enhancing your influence over people.  Verbal and non verbal communication can either make or break your message.





What Your Credit Score Means

7 04 2011

A survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America found that only 1/3rd of Americans know what their credit score means.  Credit scores are essential in qualifying for a mortgage, car loan, and a bad credit score can even prevent you from being getting a service like internet. 

A credit score tracks how you incur debt and pay your bills.  A high score shows you are responsible and will pay off loans.  High scores not only help you get lower interest rates on credit cards, mortgages, and car loans, but also for renting an apartment, getting a job, getting utilities.  Businesses that may extend you credit, look at your credit report to decide whether to lend to you or not and how much and at what interest rate.

You can find your score for a small fee from Equifax (800)685-1111, Experian (888)397-3742, or Trans Union (800) 916-8800.  If you are applying for a mortgage you can get your score for free from your lender. Annualcreditreport.com will give you access to a free credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting companies.

Your score will fluctuate whenever you pay a bill on time or late, apply for a new credit card, or take out a loan.  It attempts to predict what your credit behavior will be like in the future. A creditor looks at the information on your credit report and predicts the creditworthiness based on outstanding debt, payment history, late payments, and age of your accounts.  The total number of points received suggests how likely you are to pay back a loan or pay bills on time.

To improve your score you should pay your bills on time, reduce outstanding debt, avoid having a creditor check your report, do not add new balances, stop applying for credit, keep one or two credit cards that you have had the longest and cancel the rest.  If you do this it will take some time to change, but over time your score will go up.

If there is something wrong with your credit report you should dispute it.  The credit reporting agency is required to investigate all disputes. With the increase in identity theft, you want to protect your information from people who may open a credit card or utility using your information that can damage your credit rating.

A score of 760 or above is considered an A grade and will receive the best interest rates. Above 700 is a B, between 600 and 700 is a C, and below 600 is a D or an F and will lead to higher interest rates.  Establishing good credit is important for future purchases you may wish to make.





FTC Publishes Top Consumer Complaints- released March 2011

17 03 2011

The Federal Trade Commissions compiled a list of consumer complaints for last year, 2010..  Among complaints over internet services, imposter scams, internet auctions, foreign money and counterfeit scams, identity theft topped the list captivating 19% of complaints. Debt collection ranked number 2 for top consumer complaints.

Identity Theft is estimated to affect about 9 million Americans a year. Most victims do not find out until they are denied from mortgage or car loan because of credit issues, receive letters from collection agencies for debt that the person never incurred, or receive something in the mail about a house the consumer never bought, apartment they never rented, or a job they didn’t have. It is important for a consumer to protect by monitoring their personal information, such as their credit scores, to prevent identity theft or catch it early before too much damage is done.

The FTC reported 144,150 collection complaints in 2010.  Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan claimed that her office received more than 7,000 debt related consumer complaints last year taking the number one spot on her costumer complain list.  With more people struggling to pay off mortgage loans and credit card debts, consumers worry about their financial future.  For the Illinois Attorney General’s complaint list, identity theft came in at number 2 with more than 3,600 complaints about fraudulent credit card charges, utilities opened in the victim’s name, and bank fraud.

For the first time, Imposter Scams made the list of complaints for 2010.  This growing crime includes people posing as friends, family, or trusted businesses or government agencies to get consumers to send them money.  Consumers should be wary of any entity that wants them to wire money, pay to collect winnings, or claim to be with a government agency or someone you care about, or want you to act immediately. 

A favorite impostor scam during tax season is the fake Internal Revenue Service e-mail. The target of the fraud gets an e-mail with an official-looking IRS logo demanding a credit card number to settle a tax debt. If the potential victim doesn’t come through, the e-mail warns, the agency will take action by garnishing the person’s wages or placing a lien on his or her home.

The IRS doesn’t contact taxpayers by e-mail or even by phone, but by email.  A person who doesn’t know that might be shaken enough to click on the link in the e-mail and plug in a credit card number.

Another impostor fraud, the grandchild scam, used to target seniors by phone. An elderly person would get a call from someone claiming to be his or her grandchild in distress, wrongly arrested in a foreign country and desperately in need of money to get out of jail. But because the grandchild scam required a gullible senior, who was perhaps forgetful or hard of hearing, con artists have moved on to pastures where the potential victims are more plentiful: social networks.

Impostor Scams should contact the FTC immediately http://www.ftc.gov/