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October 2019

Debt Negotiation Strategies

Before Negotiations

The biggest mistake people make when attempting to negotiate with creditors is failure to prepare. It is crucial that you have an idea of what you want to get out of the negotiation before you even contact your creditor. Take a look at your monthly budget and income to determine the amount you can realistically afford to repay. You need to know the state of your financial affairs and how they can best be met by a deal with your creditor. Ask whether you need a temporary suspension of payments or just a lower monthly payments. Evaluate whether a lower interest rate would be enough to reduce your monthly payment or do you need a modified payment schedule.

During Negotiations

Once you have an idea of what you can afford to pay and how you may be able to achieve that plan, contact your creditor. Debt negotiations are always better before you miss a payment, as creditors are often more willing to make changes if they feel you were proactive. However, if you have already missed a payment don’t worry. You may still be able to secure a deal through persistence and flexibility. It is important that you remember debt negotiations are simply that, a negotiation. This means that you have to be willing to be flexible in what you want and how you want it. Creditors do not owe it to you to negotiate and they are essentially doing you a favor. Come into the negotiation with an open mind and patience. Always be polite and work with the lender until you come to an agreement you can live with.

After Negotiations

If you were able to successfully negotiate a deal, congratulations. However, now is the most crucial time for you. It is extremely important that you stick to your negotiated plan and not miss a payment. Missing a payment now could mean the end of your deal and even delinquency fees. If you think you might miss a payment, contact your creditor before this happens. You may be able to make further changes to your deal or request a onetime extension. Remember to monitor your credit report for changes and stay on top of creditors to report the most accurate information at all times. Having an updated credit report will significantly improve your credit standing while you work to get out of debt and rebuild your financial future.

Get Lean and Mean With Money

Operate an efficient money production line

Imagine that your life was like an assembly line at a manufacturing company. Just like the person in charge of production, you would want to ensure that none of the raw materials were wasted and that you got as much finished product as possible out of your machinery time and employee effort.

Let’s review the Japanese words for inefficiencies — muda means idleness or wastage of resources when trying to complete a task; mura is the unequal or unbalanced use of different resources; while muri means the excessive or unreasonable use of a resource which could put it at risk.

In order to get the most out of the money you earn or have on hand to further your goals, you need to eliminate these types of inefficiencies. Your aim, like that of a profitable corporation, is to utilise your financial resources in ways that will allow you to get an optimal return on your money.

Don’t squander your money resources

One of the areas you may need to address is the wasteful use of money in your current spending. Do you try to find the best shopping deals to cut back on your grocery bills? Do you conserve on your usage of utilities such as light, water and petrol to get the most while spending the least?

Do you habitually use credit cards or payroll loans to finance consumer purchases? The interest you pay on debt actually represents money that has been inefficiently expended; you could have channeled those funds into productive use instead of making the financial institutions richer.

Another area of inefficiency is when you have money that sits idly in a non-interest bearing account, or funds that are not generating as much return for you as possible. You can get better interest rates on your money by simply switching from a savings account into a fixed deposit.

Try to maintain your money balance

You also need to determine if there is an imbalance or unevenness in your use of money. Are you putting too much of your resources into some areas while ignoring other important ones? Preparing a detailed budget will help you to see where you may be inefficient with your allocation of funds.

Use a budget calculator to itemise your compulsory bills and non-essential expenses over the course of a year. Are you satisfied that your expenditure items are all worthwhile, or do you need to eliminate some of your spending excesses?

Your money choices may help you with, or hinder you from achieving your goals. Consider if you could become leaner by directing more funds into savings and investments for your future needs such as buying a home, putting your children though college or planning for retirement.

Don’t overload your money capacity

You also need to assess if you’re putting yourself under financial pressure by having unreasonable expectations of what you can accomplish with the money you have. You need to be realistic about the kind of lifestyle you can afford based on the income you earn, and try to live within your means.

Let’s say that you want to buy a newer car to reduce your repair costs, but the loan repayment that would be required would jeopardise your ability to pay your other bills. Don’t think that you’ll be able to catch up if you stretch to get the vehicle; you’ll only overburden your budget with that debt.

You also have to make the right decisions when investing your money. You could lose your funds by trying to get improbable returns from get-rich-quick schemes or chancy business plans. Be practical about what you can gain given your level of experience and your ability to absorb risk.

Ways to Support Your Fight Against Debt

  • Celebrate success. Did you make it a month without running out of cash? Celebrate! You used to use credit cards and payday loans to make it through, now look at you. Maybe you finally paid off one of the direct lenders or used a credit card to get rid of your payday loan debt. Celebrate the move towards a positive direction. You have already begun to save money for the next month. That’s a step in the right direction. Don’t ignore even the smallest improvements, celebrate them.
  • Stay upbeat. Don’t let yourself get into a slump. Get some exercise every day to keep you mind, body and spirit strong. It is also a great way to alleviate frustrations.
  • Don’t forget to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine… and it is free! GO have a good time and give your mind a break. You can’t dwell on your debt all day.
  • Free fun. Change the ways your family entertains one another. You don’t have to go out and spend money to have fun together. Not only will you save money but you will nourish family relationships. Take a walk, go for a hike or bike ride, play a game together or plant a garden together. You’ll be teaching your children a good lesson along the way.
  • Feel blessed, it could be worse. Okay, so you are in debt. Count your blessings that you have your health, you still have a roof to live under and food on the table. On those bad days when you want to give up, remind yourself of all the blessings you have with you each day.
  • Accept any situation you can’t change. Maybe your finances fell apart when you lost your job or a family member fell ill. It is what it is and you can’t change what happened, so accept it. You are alive and tomorrow is a new day. Make it a good one.

Get An Income For Life

A life income annuity, sometimes called a single premium immediate annuity, is the type of product that corporations use for pensions. If you work for a company and you’ve accumulated money in your pension plan, when you retire you get an income for the rest of your life. The product that underlies that pension and monthly income is a life income annuity. Not only can you buy this same product on your own, but you may get a better deal than you’d get with a corporate pension. When companies shop for these annuities, they don’t look for the highest income for their employee, but the lowest cost to them. By for shopping it yourself you can probably get a better income than you would through your company. Of course, you want to be sure that the company offering your annuity will be around as long as you are, so be sure to investigate it thoroughly.

What exactly is a life income annuity? First let’s talk about what it’s not. It’s not a deferred annuity. It’s not an accumulation annuity, or a fixed annuity, or a variable annuity, or one of those indexed annuities. It’s an income annuity. You put a lump sum of money into the annuity and it pays you back an income for the rest of your life. You can make sure to adjust for inflation, choose a flat income for the rest of your life, or structure it lots of different ways. Once you decide upon an income, the annuity guarantees you that income for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live.

There is a disadvantage. Once you put money into the life income annuity you can’t get it back out. You have exchanged a lump sum payment for an income. If you need money for an emergency, you don’t have access to it anymore. We recommend to our clients that they don’t put more than 25 percent of their investible dollars into these products. For some people, this can be a deal-breaker.

There’s also an advantage. You can get a pretty decent income. The amount is determined by your age and by interest rates. You can find annuities that promise a better than average return on your investment, guaranteed for the rest of your life.

If you decide that an annuity is right for you, be sure to thoroughly investigate the company selling the annuity. You want to make sure it will be around as long as you are.

Ultimate Savings Apps for Non-Savers

Digit

Digit works by analyzing your bank account and expenses. Once it has established a trend, it will make deposits to an FDIC-insured account based on what funds you have remaining after your expenses have been paid, typically between $5 and $35, every couple of days. The automatic savings deposits make Digit great for those that have difficulties in depositing savings themselves. The service is free for the first 100-days but a fee of $2.99 is charged monthly after the free period. Another great feature of Digit is how fast money is deposited back into your bank account once you make a withdraw. In the event of a financial emergency, you can expect your deposit the next business day.

The downside to Digit is that you will have to keep an eye on your checking account since the amount withdrawn can vary week-to-week. If your account is overdrawn because of a withdrawal made by Digit, they will refund the overdraft up to two times. The app lets you set a minimum account balance that will prevent Digit from making withdrawals once your account falls to a specific amount. Another drawback to this app is that you do not earn interest on what you save, the company that runs Digit keeps the interest your funds have earned.

Qapital

Qapital works in the same fashion as Digit but allows for more control. You can establish various “rules” that control your automated savings. An example of one of the rules is that you can tell Qapital to roundup charges to the next dollar amount when you use your credit or debit card and deposit that excess into your FDIC-insured Qapital account. Qapital also lets you make lump sum deposits, great for when you have extra funds available. Other great features of Qapital include additional rules for increasing and controlling your savings and a social feature that lets your friends and family track your progress and to help encourage your savings growth.

While there are no fees associated with using Qapital, your savings will not collect interest. As with Digit, Qapital keeps the interest earned on your account as payment for providing you with their services. However, if you are the non-saver that is tech-savvy, this is the app for you.

Acorns

If you want an autonomous way to save that will allow for more investment options, take a look at Acorns.com. Even though Acorns rounds your purchase to the nearest dollar like Qapital, it is different in that it is actually an investment app and not simply a savings platform. The money Acorn saves for you is placed into an investment platform and unlike Qapital and Digit, you keep the returns you make on the investments. The cost to use this app is only $1 per month as long as your account balance remains below $5,000. Once you have over $5,000 in your Acorn account, Acorn takes ¼ of a percent of your account balance. An additional bonus to using Acorns is that if you make a purchase from one of their partner companies, such as Blue Apron and Hulu, the company will give a percentage of your purchase back to your Acorns account.

The downside to Acorns is that your account balance may go down since this is an investment platform and dips in the market where your money has been allocated will cause a decline. Also, withdrawing money from your account isn’t exactly fast. When you request for electronic funds transfer your invested shares have to be sold to cover the withdraw. However, if you’re serious about saving and investing but lack the discipline to do so, you might want to give Acorns a once over.

Accounting Basics

In accounting language, neither debits nor credits are ‘bad’, as the two must be equal to each other and balance themselves finally at the end of any calculation. For every recorded transaction, whether it is a paid bill or an amount deposited, in the system of accounting there need to be two entries, one each for debit and credit. This system of accounting is known as a ‘double entry system.’ So, when the teller at the bank says he is crediting X dollars to your account, he is simultaneously creating a debit entry for the same amount X, though you are not informed of the debit entry. Likewise, when the teller debits your account by Y dollars, a credit entry for the same amount is created elsewhere.

The simplest way to understand credits and debits in accounting language is to know what you collected and from where it came. In the language of an accountant, what you collect is debit, whereas credit is from where you got it. For example, you purchased a TV, using your credit card. The TV is what you collected, meaning it will be debited in the accounting world, while the credit is reflected by the liability created in the credit card by an exactly similar amount.

Your dealings with the bank may be quite confusing as far as these two terms are concerned. This is especially true when we are talking about liabilities. In fact, it is not all that difficult to understand. For example, when you deposit money in your bank account, the liability of the bank towards you increases by the amount you deposited, as the bank owes you the amount deposited. Now, all liabilities are credits. So, the bank credits your account by that much money. On the other hand, when you withdraw money from the bank, you are reducing the bank’s liability, so the bank debits the liability account.

Basically, you should have a clear understanding of what you collected and from where it came. Once you can understand these two for any transaction, you won’t go wrong in interpreting these two most frequently used accounting terms.

Wasteful Money Habits

  • Don’t make a record of your expenditures. If you don’t record how you spend your money for a couple of months, you’ll never get the picture. Journal your spending. Even the drinks you buy when you visit with friends at your favorite club. Be sure to include the impulse buying and the emotional buying and the candy bars, exotic coffees and other overspending items.
  • Keep up with the Garcia’s. If you want to keep up the appearances of prosperity, you will end up looking as poor as you are! Your neighbor buys a big new pickup truck, and you have to buy a bigger one. You want to live at the same level as your parents, even though it took them years to be able to have the nice house and furniture and car. But, you want to take shortcuts. The only place where Success comes before Work is in the Dictionary.
  • Pennywise and pound foolish. If you drive 10 miles to save 4 cents per gallon, you haven’t saved anything. If you drive 15 miles to shop for bargains and cheap products, did you really save more than the time and gas? If you have buyer’s remorse and go back to the store, and wait in line for 25 minutes to get a refund, then drive another 5 miles to buy the same item for $3.00 less, what did you save?
  • Buying cheap products. If you buy something just because the price is cheap, and it wears out in 2 months, what did you save? If you had bought quality on sale, it would last a long time and you would save real money. The shoes I buy last for years, even if I wear them every day, because I buy real quality for $50 – $60 dollars rather than buying “cheap” shoes for $30 that will last for a few months. Get off the poverty mindset and learn how to shop for quality items on sale.
  • Don’t budget. If you journal your spending, and learn where you are spending your money unncessarily and wastefully, you are ready to build a budget. Plan your spending and you will get out of the credit prison you’ve built by excesses, emotional buying, and lack of planning.

Tips for Financial Gratefulness

Focus on what is right with you and stop replaying what is not right in your life!

When did you last grip about something? It wasn’t that long ago that I moaned often unhappily. I was unhappy with my work, and in my personal life and for these reasons, I complained to others. My friends were also sad – it was a group pity party and we supported each other about feeling discontentment. To be honest, I was envious of other people who were satisfied with their lives. This is a revealing truth.

With time, I learned to pay more attention on what was working in my life and acknowledge the resources I did have more than I complained. Overtime, I felt a change happen, and more good things and people came into my life.

Try this tip for yourself and plan a time when you acknowledge what is working in your life. Visit the a complaint free world website to assist you with stop complaining

Write down what’s working

After identifying some good resources in your life, record them maybe in a journal. When we are working on changing your habits, sometimes we are not able to remember the good things in hard times. Changing takes time, so it is important to have a reminder written down of the good when we are going through a challenge.

Ask for what you want

While working on tip number one, surely stuff you want and do not have right now will become a need. This is a human reaction.

Choose one thing that you need help with and ask for help. Consider who can help you and how you will you ask?

Release fears and ask. Asking is like a lost concept especially for women. Exercise your courage and ask because you might be amazed how affirmatively people are willing to help.