Are Your Student Loans Burying You in Debt?

Are Your Student Loans Burying You in Debt?

Wasn't it great when you were in school and were able to get those loans to pay for the things you just couldn't afford? Now…it’s been a while, you are out of school, those loan payments are barely making a dent in what you owe and they continue to show up on your credit report.

This may just be the right time to consider consolidating those loan payments through the U.S. Department of Education with the help of Consumer Credit Management Services, Inc. (CCMS).

Our certified personal finance counselors will review your student loans to see which are eligible for consolidation. Your payments could be reduced as much as 50%.

The consolidation of your federal student loans offers several advantages:

  • One lender and one monthly payment

  • Reduced monthly payments

  • No minimum or maximum loan amounts required

  • Flexible payment options

In addition to this reduction, CCMS has the information you need on the Student Loan Forgiveness Program. If you qualify, this program could be the light at the end of the tunnel for your student loan balance.

See how CCMS can help you find the solution you’re looking for to repay your student loans. Give us a call today – 866-213-8522.

 

How to Prevent Identity Theft

How to Prevent Identity Theft

 By Alexander Borge

 

Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information to commit fraud by opening credit cards, buying goods, taking out loans, getting cell phones, opening bank accounts, seeking employment and even committing a crime.  Identity theft can cause major affects on your life.

You should be protecting your personal information such as your identification & social security number, credit card and bank information. 

On the average, once your identity has been stolen, it will take you more than 600 hours over a period of years to repair all of the fallout from Identity theft. In addition, it will cost you about $1,400.00 in out of pocket expenses to clear your name!  These expenses typically come as increased credit card fees, higher interest rates, higher insurance premiums, and bank account fees (your bank may even close your accounts). 

Here are some precautionary steps you can take to prevent IDENTITY THEFT:

Memorize your social security number and lock your original card away with other important documents. 

Check your bills and credit card statements regularly, and report any unauthorized transactions immediately.

If you do not receive statements, new credit cards, or check orders when you are expecting to, call the companies immediately.

Shred your mail and any old documents before you throw them away.

Make sure no one is “shoulder surfing” when you are entering any pin numbers you may use.

Shield your PIN number when using an ATM and never write it down. (Keeping that kind of information on you is like keeping an ID theft kit handy.)

 Never answer questions about your personal information if you receive an email or telephone call from someone you do not know. Your bank will never ask you these things unless you are actually in the bank. 

Stop telemarketers from calling you and mailing you pre-qualified offers by just calling a few numbers.  To add your address to the Do Not Mail List: call 1-888-5OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688).

  To add your telephone number to the Do Not Call List, from the telephone number you want to add, dial 1-888-382-1222.

Check your credit report regularly to find out if you have had any new accounts you are not aware of. You can check at: www.annualcreditreport.com.   (This is the only website where you can receive a FREE credit report once every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus.

Is “Instant” Credit Repair Possible?

By Steve Schimmel, Certified Credit Counselor.

You’ve seen the ads -- in newspapers, on TV and online… You’ve heard them on the radio…  “We Can Erase Your Bad Credit!"

The truth is:  no one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. Once negative information [such as a charge-off, lawsuit, debt collection, foreclosure, bankruptcy or tax lien] appears in your credit report, only time can make it go away. A bankruptcy remains for ten years while the other negative items will be reported for seven years in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Acting (FCRA).

While you cannot shorten the reporting time, you can keep such information from being there in the first place. If you find yourself financially out of control and just don’t know how to get back on track – you may want to speak with a certified credit counselor.

The counselor will work with you to set up a budget and develop a plan of action personalized to help you solve your credit and debt problems. A non- profit credit counseling agency will contact your creditors to stop late payment fees and reduce your interest rates. Once you have satisfied your debts, make certain that your creditors update the information on your credit report. This is really the best way to repair your credit.

About CCMS: Established more than 20 years ago, Consumer Credit Management Services, Inc. (CCMS) is a HUD approved 501(c)(3) national nonprofit, full service credit and housing counseling organization based in Delray Beach, Florida. We provide Financial Literacy Seminars and Workshops, First Time Homebuyer Counseling, Debt Management Programs, Foreclosure Prevention Services and Reverse Mortgage Counseling.

Is A Reverse Mortgage The Answer For You?

By Ted Schuhle, HECM Counselor

With the current economic environment many seniors between 62 and 65 years of age are at a crossroads in their lives. Especially for those of you who find yourselves out of work or in need of funds to make it through each month, the first option that comes to mind is to apply for early social security. As we all know that option, if taken before age 66, could provide you with less income.

An analysis of your financial position by a professional may be in order. As an example, if you are 62 years of age and have no mortgage on your home perhaps you could discuss with your financial advisor the possibility of a Reverse Mortgage. This could give you some temporary relief until you turn 66 and can then apply for social security which would give you more monthly income for life. The way in which you receive money with a Reverse Mortgage can vary. There are several options available, however, for a temporary income solution, you may want to consider the line of credit.

 A Reverse Mortgage can be set up to allow you to receive monthly payments, either as the sole payment type, or in combination with a line of credit to supplement your monthly income. If you choose to receive payments with a line of credit, you can set it up for a certain period of time, say until you reach age 66. That way, you are able to put off filing your social security so that it gives you a greater return. It would to be a shame to lose the benefit of a higher income for the senior years of your life because you find yourself in a temporary setback before reaching the maximum retirement age. A Reverse Mortgage may just be the answer for you. 

About CCMS: Established more than 20 years ago, Consumer Credit Management Services, Inc. (CCMS) is a HUD approved 501(c)(3) national nonprofit, full service credit and housing counseling organization based in Delray Beach, Florida. We provide Financial Literacy Seminars and Workshops, First Time Homebuyer Counseling, Debt Management Programs, Foreclosure Prevention Services and Reverse Mortgage Counseling.

Are You Really Prepared to Buy a Home

by Alexander Borge, Director of Financial Education

Are you ready to make that home purchase? There are some key points you should know before you do.  Understanding the process will help you make realistic and attainable goals.  

There is so much that goes into making a mortgage work and your first points of contact are usually the realtor and the loan officer.  Choosing which lender and/or first time homebuyer program you use, will determine the guidelines you need to follow. Understanding those guidelines will give you an edge.  

Although you can always go to a bank to find out if you have a qualifying credit score and income, you may want to consider visiting a HUD-approved housing counselor first.  On the chance that you are not mortgage ready, a housing counselor can help you come up with a plan.  

Don’t be afraid to rate shop.  In a recent article published on Faniemae.com, studies showed there are many Americans paying more for their home loans because they did not shop around for different loan programs.  You might be afraid that your credit score will get ruined from multiple banks pulling it, but there is a loophole.  As long as you do all your mortgage rate shopping within a 14 day period it won’t matter if you go to 1 bank or 100 banks that pull your credit score -- because it only counts against you once!                                 

Purchasing a home can be an exciting and satisfying experience. Educating yourself and putting together the best team to help you buy your home are crucial steps you can take to better your chances of becoming and staying a homeowner.  

About CCMS: Established more than 20 years ago, Consumer Credit Management Services, Inc. (CCMS) is a HUD approved 501(c)(3) national nonprofit, full service credit and housing counseling organization based in Delray Beach, Florida. We provide Financial Literacy Seminars and Workshops, First Time Homebuyer Counseling, Debt Management Programs, Foreclosure Prevention Services and Reverse Mortgage Counseling.

Can This Program Help You?

by Marisol Santiago, Foreclosure Prevention Services Manager

Were you in the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010? If so, you may be eligible for a FREE review through a program ordered by the federal bank regulators known as the Independent Foreclosure Review. This review would be conducted by a third neutral party. If there are errors found, you could receive compensation or other remedy such as refunded fees, stopping of your foreclosure, or payments that could range from $500 to $125,000 plus equity. There are 14 mortgage servicers that are participating in this review (The list of servicers can be found at: “Independentforeclosurereview.com”). To qualify for a review:

 

  1. You must have been in the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010;
  2. The property must have been your primary residence;
  3. Your loan was serviced by a participating mortgage servicer at any time during the  foreclosure process; and
  4. You believe the servicer errors during the foreclosure action cost you money.

 

The review is FREE and can take up to several months to finalize due to the thorough process. The deadline to request your free review is December 31, 2012. If any errors are found a letter will be sent directly to you reporting the findings.

To request a review form you may visit: “independentforeclosurereview.com” or call 888-952-9105. If you need assistance completing the review form or to see if you qualify contact CCMS at 855-374-5666. DON’T MISS THIS 12-31-12 DEADLINE!

 

About CCMS: Established more than 20 years ago, Consumer Credit Management Services, Inc. (CCMS) is a HUD approved 501(c)(3) national nonprofit, full service credit and housing counseling organization based in Delray Beach, Florida. We provide Financial Literacy Seminars and Workshops, First Time Homebuyer Counseling, Debt Management Programs, Foreclosure Prevention Services and Reverse Mortgage Counseling.

Duro con las deudas – ¡AHORA!

Por Pat Smith y Edgar Palencia, Consejero de Crédito Certificado

Es realmente sorprendente como en una sociedad tan sofisticada y gran conocedora de la tecnología, muchas personas no saben cómo manejar sus finanzas personales y familiares.

Todo el mundo ha experimentado lo que sucede cuando las deudas toman control de nuestras vidas: Ya no se puede manejar el presupuesto mensual, y los sueños e incluso la armonía en el  hogar parece que se escapan. El tener demasiada deuda  puede abrumar y desalentar a cualquiera. Después de todo, ¿quién quiere levantarse e ir a trabajar sabiendo que al final de la semana no verá  realmente nada del dinero que ganó – sin embargo sus acreedores si lo harán. Esto significa que las deudas no sólo lo están afectando a usted, sino que también están afectando a su empleador, ya que usted no va a hacer el mayor esfuerzo en realizar bien su trabajo. Cuando se está abrumado por la deudas usted pierde el significado su paz personal,  lo cual puede tener un gran impacto en su salud mental, emocional y física.

Con todo esto en mente, ahora es el mejor momento para que usted comience a tratar de tener tanto esas viejas deudas como sus finanzas bajo control. En estos dos meses que quedan del año 2012, el cual es tiempo suficiente para un muy buen comienzo, usted puede hacer esto de varias maneras. Puede generar un ingreso extra consiguiendo un segundo trabajo [o procure que su cónyuge también lo haga], mediante la venta de algunos artículos que no se están utilizando [esos tesoros de recolección de polvo que ha tenido por ahí durante un tiempo], reduciendo todos los gastos innecesarios. ¿Necesita realmente  2.000 canales de cable o incluso puede considerar un plan de gestión de la deuda para todos sus acreedores no garantizados?

Enfóquese  en empezar hoy mismo y a finales del 2012 usted va a ver qué bien le va en el camino hacia la recuperación financiera y podrá recibir los días de fiesta de fin de año, sabiendo que sus finanzas están bajo control. 

Sus sueños y armonía familiar son demasiado importantes para perderlas  por tener deudas fuera de control.

Acerca de CCMS:  Fundada hace más de 20 años, Consumer Credit Management Services, Inc. (CCMS) es una agencia nacional sin fines de lucro 501(c)3  de consejería de crédito y asesoría de vivienda aprobada por HUD, con sede en Delray Beach, Florida. Ofrecemos Educación Financiera atravez de Seminarios y Talleres en, Asesoría de Compra de Vivienda por primera vez (First Time Homebuyers), Programas de Manejo de Deudas (DMP), Servicio de Prevención de Ejecuciones Hipotecarias (Foreclosures) y Consejería en Prestamos de Hipoteca Reversa (Reverse Mortgage).

Get Tough on Debt – NOW!

By Pat Smith & Edgar Palencia, Certified Credit Counselor

As sophisticated and technologically savvy our society is, it’s really surprising that many people do not know how to handle their personal and family finances. Now is the time to get tough on your debt. 

Everyone has experienced what happens when debt takes over your life: You can no longer control your monthly budget, and your dreams and even the harmony in your home seem to be slipping away. Having too much debt will overwhelm and discourage you. After all, who wants to get up and go to work knowing that at the end of the week you will not be actually seeing any of the money you earned – only your creditors will. This means that not only are your debts affecting you, they are affecting your employer because you will not be giving your best effort to your job. When overwhelmed by debt you lose your personal sense of peace which can have an impact on your mental, emotional and even your physical health. 

With all of this in mind, now is truly the best time to get not only those long standing debts, but also your finances under control. You have two months left in 2012 which is plenty of time to get a really good start. You can do this in several ways. You can generate extra income by getting a second job [or having your spouse get one], selling some items you are not using [those dust gathering treasures you’ve had lying around for a while], cutting back on unnecessary expenses [do you really need 2,000 cable channels?] or even consider a debt management plan [for those unsecured creditors]. 

Focus on getting started now and by the end of 2012 you could be well on the path to financial recovery and able to manage the holidays knowing your finances are under control. 

Your family dreams and harmony are too important to lose to out of control debts.

About CCMS: Established more than 20 years ago, Consumer Credit Management Services, Inc. (CCMS) is a HUD approved 501(c)(3) national nonprofit, full service credit and housing counseling organization based in Delray Beach, Florida. We provide Financial Literacy Seminars and Workshops, First Time Homebuyer Counseling, Debt Management Programs, Foreclosure Prevention Services and Reverse Mortgage Counseling.

In a Short Sale…what will the IRS take?

By Lisa Smith, HECM Counselor

Of the many questions we received from callerswhile manning the recent WPTV Impact 5 help desk, this was one of the main topics. Short sale has become a popular term in the wake of the mortgage meltdown. Generally it means you sell your house for less than you owe on the mortgage. With today’s economy in which so many of us can barely put food on the table for our families, how are we supposed to pay the IRS when we lose our homes and opt for a short sale.  After all, if we could afford to make payment to the IRS – we could probably have paid our mortgage.

Here’s the answer: According to IRS.gov website and the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007  [which allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt of their principle residence], debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, foreclosure or short sale qualifies for the relief of up to $2 million of forgiven debt.

To be eligible for this tax break, get the 1099-C from the mortgage company forgiving the debt, and file a Form 982 with the IRS. If you use a computer to fill out your taxes check with your tax-preparation software. You can also down the form at www.irs.gov or call 1-800-829-3676 to get the form in the mail.

When you pay less than originally agreed on any loan, the impact on your credit report almost always will be a negative in the vast majority of instances. However, a short sale is reported as settled and does not actually appear in a credit report.  A short sale means that you reached an agreement to repay only a portion of the total amount. The remainder is written off as a loss by the creditor. Settled accounts, like short sales, foreclosure and deed in lieu are negative particularly because a mortgage is involved.  Be sure to understand exactly how any remaining balance will be reported to the credit reporting companies and if the lender will sell the remaining debt to a collection agency. Your goal is to end the pain, accept the consequences in terms of negative impact on your credit and move on to start rebuilding your credit through positive account management.

It’s difficult to hear from so many people facing these tough economic times, which is why the WPTV Impact 5 help desk has become such a great service to our community and a wealth of information. This is one of the reasons Florida is such a great place to live.

About CCMS: Established more than 20 years ago, Consumer Credit Management Services, Inc. (CCMS) is a HUD approved 501(c)(3) national nonprofit, full service credit and housing counseling organization based in Delray Beach, Florida. We provide Financial Literacy Seminars and Workshops, First Time Homebuyer Counseling, Debt Management Programs, Foreclosure Prevention Services and Reverse Mortgage Counseling.

What is the CFPB?

By Ted Schuhle, HECM Counselor

Reverse mortgages are now under the control of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

This bureau which oversees the reverse mortgage market has the power to create new disclosures, regulate deceptive advertising  and handle complaints. These are just a few of the responsibilities that were created by the Dodd /Frank legislation.

Not only do they control and regulate the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) insured by FHA, they also control Proprietary Reverse Mortgages. These Proprietary Reverse Mortgages are not insured by the federal government, but rather come from private lending institutions. They are designed to offer an alternative to homeowners who may have multi-million dollar homes. FHA will only insure the government insured reverse mortgage loan offered by HUD and FHA to a home value limit of $625,500. According to the published CFPB report dated June 28, 2012 that was sent to congress, these proprietary loans have a much higher interest rate while offering a bigger payout for the multi-million dollar homeowners, but they do not have the non- recourse protection feature of a HECM. These loans could have a property value limit of up to six million dollars according to this study. We suggest you view this report as an additional resource when considering a reverse mortgage. For more information please check the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website at www.consumerfinance.gov

To view this CFPB report online go to - http://files.consumerfinance.gov/a/assets/documents/201206_cfpb_Reverse_Mortgage_Report.pdf

About CCMS: Established more than 20 years ago, Consumer Credit Management Services, Inc. (CCMS) is a HUD approved 501(c)(3) national nonprofit, full service credit and housing counseling organization based in Delray Beach, Florida. We provide Financial Literacy Seminars and Workshops, First Time Homebuyer Counseling, Debt Management Programs, Foreclosure Prevention Services and Reverse Mortgage Counseling.

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