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. 
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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.





New Years Resolution for 2011: Five Ways to improve you collections from 2010 to 2011

14 12 2010
  1. Develop an approval process to reduce the number of problem accounts. Only extend credit to those who pass your approval process. This may include getting a background and asset check before accepting them as your customer. Once you accept a customer, you may want to consider the following:
  • Possibly getting a credit card to secure payments.  Next to cash payments, this is an effective way to ensure the customer is committed to paying you.
  • Consider setting in a Progress Payment Plan for work in progress or Contract Sales.  For example, 15% at placement of order, 40% after 60 days, etc. to lighten the tightness of cash flow and lower the payment for the customer.
  • Set a credit limit for every customer.
  1. Get Deposits. In Large orders, produce to orders, and custom orders, getting a non-refundable deposit of 10-50% of the final price ensures the customers commitment to pay.
  2. Do not wait too long before you attempt to collect. The grace period past the due date should only be about 2 business days.  After that is it time to contact your customer to let them know that you are on top of things.  The longer you wait the less chance you have of collecting. Be friendly with the first reminder.  If your customer still does not pay after you continually contact them, consider hiring a debt collection agency, and FAST!
  3. Document any contact you have with your customers.  Always start a conversation with the terms of the original agreement to let your customer know that you are going to be on top of the issue until the bill is paid.
  4. Be fair and firm.  Creating templates of scripts of what you will say is a great way to be sure that you stay calm and friendly when trying to get your customer to pay.




Small Business Loans for 2011 Unlikely: Businesses turn to Collections for Cash

3 12 2010

Cash is needed in order for any business to operate.  In the past it was easier for Banks to lend money in order for the business to continue operating but since banks have tightened up giving loans to small businesses, many have been forced to max out their credit cards carrying further debt into 2011. Businesses will continue to need economic relief. The question is “where will it come from?”

 

Fico claims that banks as Lenders may not be able to meet the credit demands of small businesses seeking relief in the future.  59% of those surveyed expect small businesses to request a higher amount of credit over the next six months, but less than 37% expect lenders to increase the amount of credit given to those small businesses.

 

According to Standard & Poor’s Data, only four companies last month received leveraged loan covenant relief for a total of $883 million in leveraged loans.  This is the lowest amount of relief given since February 2008.

 

S&P expects covenant relief activity to be high in the beginning of 2011 as checks due to lender agreements from 2008 and 2009 are paid.  But as the year goes on, businesses may not be able to get relief from banks.

 

Until problems in mortgage portfolios are solved and private sector employment grows, the gap between credit demand and credit supply is unlikely to close. Along with this, the number of failing banks is increasing as well.  In 2010, 141 banks failed, making it the worst year ever, and this list is expected to continue to grow.

 

With banks unable to loan money, small businesses will seek other ways to generate cash to operate.  THERE IS A SOLUTION.  Businesses can rely on Commercial Collections professionals to recoup lost cash flow from customers who have not paid. Although times continue to be hard professional B2B collection agencies have the tools, the staff and the expertise to put your receivables on the TOP of their bills to be paid.

 

Caine & Weiner reported that out of the businesses surveyed, 57.5% plan to place accounts for collection in order to generate cash and the sooner the better. Credit and Collection managers also plan to reduce credit lines given to clients and to initiate collection sooner in order to protect their accounts receivables and generate money as banks are unable to offer financial relief in the upcoming year.

 

The bottom line is that businesses can no longer continue to be their customer’s bank and CFO’s; Controllers and Credit Managers must be more proactive in 2011. It can be argued that revenue generation is the most critical function of a company.  However, that revenue must be converted into cash.  Cash is the lifeblood of any company.  Every dollar of a company’s receivable must be managed and collected.





International Debt Collection

19 11 2010

With the growth of a global economy, more and more companies are able to advertise and sell their products and services in other countries as well as their own.  Global economies also lead to the expansion of debt collections into foreign countries. When doing business in a different country, you need experience and knowledge of the countries government and laws, trade restrictions and requirements, and the differing currencies and credit reporting criteria.

Debt Collection Agencies collecting from or for companies outside the United States need to consider a few factors:

1. Language – Working with people from different countries often presents a language barrier.  It is important to have a translator for communication.

2. Time Zones – Working across time zones presents communication challenges and time constraints regarding when you can talk with someone in the opposite time zone.

3. Foreign Partner Relationships – Gaining the cooperation and a positive attitude while working with a foreign country will build a quality relationship between the client, collection agency, and debtor.

4. Laws – It is important for a debt collection agency to understand their country’s laws and the other country’s laws and policies regarding credit, collection, and the court systems.

At Butler Robbins & White Global Revenue Recovery, we are able to collect foreign debt with our unique research.  We may be able to transfer a judgment to a foreign country. We are sensitive to the different cultures we work with and offer an extended arm, so companies are able to interconnect with the United States.

Let us help you! Email us today at RKluge@brwcollect.com