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. 




Paying Off Your Debt

31 03 2011

Whether you accumulated consumer debt, or business debt, paying off your loans or credits is important for your financial health.  Although, you may fall into hard times and money is short, you still need to prioritize your bills.  Below are a few steps in getting organized and prepared to pay off debts.

  1. Create a list of what you owe.  Put a list of all your debts and bills in order of the balance owed.  Then prioritize your repayments by importance and the interest rate accumulating on the debt.  You should pay down the highest interest rate first.
  2. Eliminate Credit Cards.  Pay off your credit cards and then either cancel the account or use it responsibly.  Do not charge more than you can afford.
  3. Make a spending plan.  Track the amount of money that is coming in and how much you are spending.  Make sacrifices by giving up a luxury or two in order to pay off more of your debt.
  4. Pay more than the minimum.  By paying more than the minimum required each month, you will pay off your debts quicker and in return you will save money on interest that is accumulating on outstanding debt.
  5. Before declaring bankruptcy , borrow against your 401K, home equity, or life insurance, but be careful because that must be repaid too.
  6. Renegotiate terms with your creditors.  Let them know that if you are unable to work out a lower payment plan, or receive a lower interest rate, you will have to file for bankruptcy.  Most creditors will not want to experience a total loss on the debts owed to them.
  7. If overspending is a continuous problem get help.  It can be a difficult habit to kick, but it is important to have control of your spending to stay out of financial trouble.

Remember, it is important to be responsible and pay off your debt in order to save your credit score.  A low credit score can result in a world of trouble if you ever need a car or business loan, or want to take out a mortgage to purchase a house.





Seven Ways to Stand Out At Work

14 01 2011

1. Control your image. This not only includes your clothing style but your self image as well. You should always dress appropriately for your job. You should have self confidence in the work you are doing and believe that you can accomplish the job at hand.

2. Communicate Effectively. Listen actively to understand what you are being told. When you are speaking, speak clearly. Avoid negativity and pay attention to yours and others body language. Be sure to show interest.

3. Improve your leadership skills. Motivate others by giving reinforcement, teach others, give enthusiasm, and pass up leadership in areas where someone else is better suited than you.

4. Maintain Integrity and Digression. Practice ethical behavior and use your common sense. Do not take credit for others work or pretend to know something when you don’t. Do not lie you want to be trustworthy. Be discreet about what you say and who you say it to.

5. Learn From Mistakes. It is okay to admit your faults and let it go. Do not blame others. Be rational and do not make false assumptions. If you do not know something it is okay.

6. Adjust to Change. Technology and organizational functions are constantly changing. Be flexible and accepting of change.

7. Manage your Time. Planning, prioritizing, and getting organized is a good tool to stay on track and to avoid wasting time. Do not take too long to take advantage of a good opportunity.





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





Smart Questions to Ask A Corporate Collection Agency

24 09 2010

A collection agency can become an important partner for any business in helping to recoup debts owed the business from past due clients when all other attempts and options have proved futile. Because the collection agency your business hires is in effect representing you, there are several smart questions to ask a potential agency in order to select one that is reputable as well as effective.

The first question to ask is how long the collection agency has been in business and at their present location. You want an agency that has a good track record and that has been in business long enough to show that they are professionals who get the job done to their clients’ satisfaction.

Another smart question to ask is how many collection agents they have on their staff and how are they trained. Find out if one or more collection agents are assigned to your account. Ask the collection agency if they expect their staff members to be professional and courteous at all times, both attitudes which can only help you in the long run.

Ask how easy the collection agency makes it for the debtor to reach them, either by phone or in person or email and even thru social media such as Linkedin, Facebook and even Twitter. Find out if they offer debtors a toll-free number for returning their calls, making it easier for a cash-strapped debtor to call back and discuss the situation rather than avoiding the call because they cannot afford to make a long-distance or toll call to the collection agency.

Ask if the agency is computerized and how often they report the status of your account to you.

Ask if the agency will provide client referrals or testimonials from others in your same type of business. Ask what sort of fees they charge you to collect monies owed and if you must sign a contract to retain their services and how long is it binding on both parties.

Ask a prospective collection agency how they ensure that they are following all state and local laws and regulations regarding collection.

Ask how long the collection agency works at trying to obtain your money from past-due accounts and how they determine when to advise you to start legal proceedings against deadbeat clients.

Have a question? Call us now.

Butler, Robbins and White has been in business for 30 years and we are on standby now to help increase your business’ cash flow. Call now at 1800-749-1969 or email us your contact information to new_client@brwcollect.com