Frankly Speaking

Debt Management

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

As a New Year begins and we all think about resolutions and set new goals be sure to have “paying off credit cards” at the top of the list!

After all the Christmas decorations are taken down and the first set of batteries have died in the kids toys is about the time when your credit card bill arrives in the mail. Take a deep breath, open it, and resolve to tackle your debts once and for all.

The first step is to stop accumulating debt! You have all heard the saying “Don’t buy it if you don’t have the money!”

Build a budget! Start by looking at where you spend all your money. Collect up all your bank statements and credit card bills for the last three months and start identifying where it all goes.

Put yourself on a cash diet. Most people have no clue how much pocket-money they spend. Start with $40 in your pocket on Sunday night. That is all the money you have to spend for the week on discretionary items such as lunches, coffee’s, magazines, taxi’s, etc. So if by Wednesday lunch time you have run out of money you don’t have any more money to spend until the following Sunday night. This will definitely help you to think about spending before you do.

Money is Finite if you spend it over here – you don’t have it to spend over there. Decide if what you are going to purchase is more important to you than the other things you wish to purchase. Rather than buying that top you may wish to take a beach vacation or get a new car.

Is it a Want or a Need? Every time you pick something up when you are out shopping, stop and ask yourself “is this a want? or a need?” if it a want ask yourself “do I want this more than I want a the beach vacation, new car, or being debt free?”. If it is a need ask yourself “does it have value? or can I buy that same top over at Winners for 30% less?”

If you have debt, here are some cardinal rules to help you get debt free:

1) Pay out highest interest debt first! Maybe you have a couple of credit cards with balances on them at 19%, a store credit card 26%, a personla loan from the bank 9%, a line of credit 7.5%, and a mortgage 5%. Start by listing them ALL on a piece of paper with the interest rate from highest to lowest. See example below. Then be sure to pay the MINIMUM on all the debts and on time (more on these later). Then with any extra income left over be sure to apply it all to the one with the highest interest! For example – lets say you have $2000 a month for paying your debts and you go through and write them all down and it looks like this:

Type Interest Rate Balance Min Payment
Store Card 26.0% $1,100 $50
Visa 19.0% $3,800 $114
Master Card 19.0% $2,700 $81
Loan 9.0% $12,000 $218
Line of Credit 7.5% $8,500 $170
Mortgage 5.0% $176,000 $950
Total   $204,100 $1,583

Once you have paid your Min Payment on all debts you will have $427 left over. Take that full amount and put it directly against the store card. This will have you pay out the highest intered card the fastest and save you thousands of dollars in interest!

2) Put your credit cards on ice! If you carry a balance from one month to the next on a credit card you will lose your grace period. If this happens call the credit card companies and ask them how much you have to pay to pay them off in full including all interest. Instruct them to make a note that you will be doing that, that day. Once you have paid them off put credit card in a block of ice in your freezer for two full months! You do this because if you use your credit card at any point in the next two months you will be charge interest starting from the moment you swipe that card. You lose your 20 day grace period until you have gone two complete billing cycles with payments in full.

3) Watch out for rocketing interest rates Many card companies will increase interest rates if you are late with your payments. Be sure to ALWAYS make at least your minimum payment ON TIME. Once you have been late or missed a few payments your lower interest rate cards that you thought were 9% could be as high as 36% or even higher!

4) Lower your limits. Many cards will increase you credit limits every time you use your cards to their limits. This may be useful when you are trying to purchase things but can cost you thousands of dollars in interest charges. Fortunately there are plans to restrict this practice. Pick up the phone call the card company and ask them to reduce your limit to a more manageable level.

5) Avoid taking cash advances. Either from payday loan companies (almost the worst) or from your credit cards. The interest charges start right away and are always very high. Take money from lines of credit, personal loans, or Mom!

6) Avoid promo gimmicks. If you have ever been to a hockey, baseball, or football game, or even just walking through an airport; you may have been tempted or enticed into signing up for a credit card to get a team hat, shirt, towel, or travel rewards. Be careful! Even though you might not use the card – every time you apply for a card it reduces your credit score which ultimately can increase interest charges on loans.

Even with all this advice you may want to get some additional help. Go to www.creditcanada.com They are a leading Canadian charity that provides money management and credit management counselling and education services that help individuals and families prevent and respond to financial difficulties.

Speak with spouse and family and work together as a team to tackle the debt. Ask your financial advisor and put a plan together to consolidate and payout the debt systematically.

Good luck!

Frank

Tags: Mortgage, interest, Credit Canada, creditcanada.com, Payday loan, payday loans, Loan, Financial Planning, cash advance, resolutions, Debt, Line of Credit

How To Effectively Pay Down Debt!

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

If you have debt and are currently reading this you have already accomplished step 1.

Step 1 – Make the decision to tackle your debt once and for all!

This is a critical step to getting your debt under control. In our consumer based, got to have the latest STUFF, no matter what the costs, society it is no wonder many are living beyond their means and racking up the debt. So if you are ready to truly deal with your debt and give yourself a better quality of life repeat after me: I have more than enough stuff! I want rid of my debt, high interest charges, stress, and frustration! I AM READY FOR A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE!

Now repeat it again!

Step 2 – Make a list of ALL your debt!

Gather up all your bank statements, credit card statements, store credit, car loans, personal loans, lines of credit, mortgage, etc. Now on one piece of paper (if it is a long list use legal length paper) or in a spreadsheet list each creditor, the amount outstanding, the minimum payment, outstanding available credit, and the rate of interest. If you don;t know or can’t figure out how much interest you are paying – then pick up the phone call them and ask them to tell you! If you have a “DO NOT PAY FOR 18 MONTHS” kind of loan then learn how much the interest is and be sure to pay it all off before it comes due.

EXTRA: If at this point you have debt payments that total more than 40% of your gross income, you should contact Credit Canada at 1-800-267-2272 or visit their website at www.creditcanada.com . They can help educate and organize you to pay off your debt. They will show you how to communicate with your creditors to stop interest charges and reduce your payments. They can also help you to protect your credit rating and prepare to the future.

Step 3 – Organize the debt from highest interest to lowest interest

Rewrite or sort the spreadsheet from highest interest to lowest interest. Example:

Creditor Amount Outstanding Minimum Payment Available Credit Interest
Department Store Card $      2,200.00 $     66.00 $ 300.00 28.0%
MBNA Card $      4,850.00 $   145.50 $ 250.00 24.5%
Master Card $      3,300.00 $     99.00 $ 700.00 19.9%
Visa $      5,275.00 $   158.25 $ 725.00 19.5%
Personal Loan $     11,000.00 $   220.00 $     - 12.5%
Line of Credit $       8,850.00 $   265.50 $ 1,150.00 9.5%
Car Loan $     14,825.00 $   450.00 $      - 6.5%
Mortgage $   248,000.00 $1,250.00 $  12,000.00 4.8%

Step 4 – Pay out highest interest debt first!

Be sure to make the minimum payment on all debt first. This will help to protect your credit rating. Then any money you have left over take and put it all against the highest interest debt to pay it down as quickly as possible. Now look at the bottom of your spreadsheet where you have listed the debt with the lowest interest rate. Do you have any available credit at these lower interest rates? If so I want you to max out these accounts to pay off the higher interest debt as soon as possible.

Step 5 – Close your credit!

For many once you have paid off the debt it is far too easy to rack it back up! Once you have paid off the debt (highest to lowest interest) close the credit. This will help you in the future to qualify for other credit, improve your credit score and make it easier for you to stay on track for debt elimination.

Be aware that for many it may take four or five years to payout debt. The secret is that once you do start and you see those balances going down rather than up it will make you feel better and help motivate you to stick with it. By using the services of a credit counselor you may be able to save thousands of dollars in interest and having someone to talk to and work with you to accomplish this goal can make all the difference. Call or go to Credit Canada’s website www.creditcanada.com to learn more. Be sure to check out a number of great tools they have on their site that can help you to pay off your debt faster and save you more money http://creditcanada.com/financialtools.asp

Watch for my book “One Day A Month To Financial Success” due out October 2011!

Tags: Budgeting, credit card, debt consolidation, Mortgage, interest, Credit Canada, creditcanada.com, Loan, Financial Planning, car loan, Credit Cards, financial tools, Debt, Budget, Line of Credit

What Is A Budget and How To Get Started?: Budgeting 101

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

The dreaded ‘B’ word! There is absolutly no reason to fear preparing a budget. I think the reason why many people do is that they feel it is a lot of work, they don’t really know how to do it, and those that have tried have never been able to keep it (likely because it was done wrong).

Yes! It does require some work. The good thing is that with today’s technology it is getting less and less.

So what is a budget?

Simply: a budget is a record or projection of all the money coming into the house and all the money going out of the house. Another name for it is a cash flow statement. This makes it easier to visualise. Money flows in and money flows out, and flows out, and flows out…

Why is a budget important?

A budget is paramount to financial success! You need to know how much you have and what it is being spent on to be able to prioritise spending and allocate funds towards different goals. Whether it is retirement, traveling, buying a new car/house/boat, the kids education, pay off credit card debt, or maybe a wedding – you need to understand where you will be able to get the money to pay for these things.

How do you get started?

First – prepare yourself that in order to prepare a good (i.e. accurate) budget you (and your partner) need to set aside 4-5 hours of time to complete it.

Secound – Gather up at least the last three months bank statements and credit card statements! ALL THE CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS! Not just the ones you tell your spouse aboutsmile .

Third – Use this Budget Worksheet as a guide to identify the various categories to seperate out your spending. It is important to understand how much you spend on various items so you can identify where you may be overspending and can cut back.

Forth – Start going through all your statements line by line noting the category that each one belongs.

Fifth – Start fillling in the spreadsheet to determine how much you earn and spend every month!

Sixth – Once you have tallied up the income and subtracted off the expenses ask yourself this: I SPEND HOW MUCH?!?!

Be sure to read The Most Common Budgeting Mistakes!

Watch for my book “One Day A Month To Financial Success” due out October 2011!

Tags: Budgeting, credit card, debt consolidation, Mortgage, Loan, Financial Planning, Debt, Budget, Line of Credit