Monday, December 31, 2007

8 New Year's Commitments for 2008

Here are 8 New Year's Commitments that will improve your financial life, reduce stress, end fights regarding finances, and bring peace to your life.

1. Save Money - Create an emergency fund with enough to cover at least 3-6 months worth of bills. This will prevent you from getting into debt. For long-term goals create a savings account with a high interest rate and make plans to save for retirement.

2. Further Your Education - Take training classes or get a college degree to increase your skills set and salary. Plan to take at least one training course every year during your career to stay current with industry standards and technology advances.

3. Get Out of Debt – Get current on any late payments. Negotiate with creditors to setup payment plans and pay off debts older than 6 months. This will increase your credit score.

4. Get Your Financial House in Order – Organize financial papers and store in a centralized secure location. Backup financial documents and records saved on your personal computer. Use secure websites for processing transactions and storing personal information, i.e. bank accounts, automatic payments, etc. Organize your home office with file folders, file cabinets, etc. Make copies of all personal documents and store in a fire proof safe. Develop a will and designate or update beneficiaries for life insurance policies.

5. Trim Spending - Don’t live above your means. Buy needs more often than wants. Find ways to reduce expenses to help pay down your debts. Catch public transportation or carpool to work. Buy items or sale, use coupons, or shop at wholesales or thrift stores.

6. Limit Credit Card Usage - Use your credit card for emergencies only. Don't use your credit card to purchase gas, food or other everyday items. Keep credit card balances at 40% or below the credit limit. Pay balances off at the end of the month.

7. Develop a Flexible Spending Plan - Write a list of all of your total monthly expenses including debt and write down your total monthly income (net). If you have any money left over use that to pay down your debts. If you do not have any money left over look at the areas where you can reduce expenses.

8. Don't go into debt at Christmas - Don’t overextend yourself buying gifts at Christmas, buy gifts throughout the year to limit credit card usage and help spread costs for gifts over a period time. Even starting shopping in November will reduce costs and stress felt when shopping in December.

Copyright © 2008 H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tax Tips for 2007

There are hundreds of tips that can save you money when filing your taxes. Here are 9 ways to save your money during the 2007 tax season.

  1. Read the tax booklet that corresponds with your tax forms to make sure you are not overlooking any tax credits that you are eligible for.
  2. Don't get a rapid refund or loan. These usually have high interest rates and may not be faster than if you just filed electronically.
  3. If you owe don't file late, if you think you will need an extension request it now. You will save yourself headaches and money.
  4. There are several free tax software available that you can use if you have access to a computer.
  5. If you cannot afford to hire a tax preparer search for free tax filing services in your area, start with your local library or government tax authority.
  6. Be aware of new tax tables for Federal and State for 2007.
  7. If you have defaulted on your student loan and you are expecting a refund, chances are your tax refund will be taken to pay for your overdue student loans.
  8. Make a donation to a charity, you have until December 31, 2007 to make donations.
  9. Keep records of your tax forms for at least 3 years.
  10. Enter accurate information on your tax forms to prevent being audited.

Copyright © 2007 H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

10 Tips to Protect Your Identity During the Holiday Season

According to the 2006 Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Survey Report, in 2005 8.3. million Americans were victims of some form of identity theft. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, it takes 12 months, on average, for a victim of identity theft to notice the crime. In 2006, 10 million Americans were victims of identity theft. Here are 11 tips to protect your identity during the holiday season.

  1. Don’t carry your SSN or other personal papers in your wallet or purse
  2. Leave mail and other personal papers at home and store in a safe place
  3. Check your mailbox regularly, hold mail during vacations
  4. Shred personal information and mix in with other trash
  5. Don’t use an ATM in a secluded area
  6. Carry only the credit cards you know you will use
  7. Shop online at secure websites, https or shttp
  8. Create PINs that cannot easily be guessed
  9. Verify all monthly statements with your receipts
  10. Order your credit report at least once a year and verify all information
  11. Beware of camera phones

Copyright © 2007 H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Monday, December 17, 2007

Credit Score Used by Insurers

Congress will began looking into where the insurance industry's use of credit score to determine a customer's insurance risk discriminate against certain groups of Americans.

Critics argue thta credit scoring models negatively impact minorities and low-income Americans.

A Federal Trade Commission study results indicated that credit-based scores are effective predictors of automobile insurance risk. Using credit scores is likely to lead to increased insurance payments for 64% of African Americans, 53% of Hispanics and 38% of non-Hispanic whites.

Four statees have banned insurers from using credit scoring outright: California, Maryland, Hawaii and Delaware.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

6 Options If You Are Facing Foreclosure

Put away those credit cards and stop charging if you are facing foreclosure. Put yourself on a budget quickly and continue to monitor your finances until your other debts are paid off so you do not get into the same situation in the future. Whatever decision you make get it in writing from your lender. Consult a tax advisor to determine rules regarding foreclosure. Ask the lender if the foreclosure option chosen will be reported on your credit report. Here are 6 options to take if you are facing foreclosure.

1. Special Forbearance. When a lender arranges a repayment plan based on your current financial situation or and may provide a temporary reduction or suspension of your mortgage payments. You may qualify for this if you've recently experienced an involuntary reduction in income or an increase in living expenses.

2. Mortgage Modification. You may be able to refinance the debt and extend the term of your mortgage loan for the missed payments. This will help you catch up by possibly reducing the monthly payments to a more affordable level. You may qualify if you've recovered from a financial hardship and your net income is less than it was before the loan default.

3. Partial Claim. Your lender may be able to work with you to obtain an interest-free loan from HUD to bring your mortgage current, if you qualify.

4. Pre-Foreclosure Sale. This will allow you to sell your property and pay off your mortgage loan to avoid foreclosure and damage to your credit rating. If you're unable to afford the house long-term, you may sell the house yourself before the foreclosure sale date and save some of your equity.

5. Deed-in-lieu of Foreclosure. As a last resort, you may be able to voluntarily "give" your home back to the lender. This may help your chances of getting another mortgage loan in the future.

6. Short Sale. You can sell your house for less than what you currently owe on the mortgage loan. This is win-win for you and the lender. Your home does not have to go into foreclosure, you don't have to file bankruptcy and the process is much faster. The lender saves money without having to file foreclosure proceedings but does lose money by not getting the full price of the home during the sale. The buyer gets the house at a reduced price.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

11 Tips to Cut Holiday Shopping Costs

Most Americans accumulate the greatest amount of debt during the December holiday season. The holidays should be filled with joy and laughter not anxiety, pressure or guilty about spending money during the holidays.

If you don't have the money to buy gifts be honest and tell the persons who are expecting gifts just that. If you have a small amount of buy to buy gifts buy what you can and don't use your credit card to buy gifts unless you have the money to pay the debt off in two or three months. Here are 11 tips to help you save money during holiday shopping.

  1. Don't buy gifts on Christmas eve or the day before Christmas eve. Selection is limited and lines at the register are longer.
  2. Buy Christmas or holidays gifts during store sales in October or November.
  3. Spend less money on gifts this year than you did the previous year.
  4. Visit local vendors, you can probably negotiate a good deal on the same items you will find in the department store.
  5. Think of creative gifts to give that you can make yourself.
  6. Visit the local dollar store to find gifts for children.
  7. Get a part-time job until Christmas arrives if need money to buy gifts (this will prevent you from using that credit card).
  8. Buy gifts throughout the year so you don't feel overwhelmed with buying all of your Christmas or holiday gifts at once.
  9. If you have to buy gifts for several family members try doing a "secret Santa" or "grab bag" so only one family member has to buy a gift for one family member and set a limit on the amount spent. That way everyone gets a gift and you don't have to worry about buying several gifts.
  10. Shop online, some companies waive shipping and handling fees during the holiday season.
  11. Make getting out of debt one of your new year's resolutions.

Copyright © 2007 H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Friday, October 19, 2007

Instant Grati Syndrome

As a baby when you cried your mother or father came running to take care of you. As a toddler when you cried your parents hugged or talked to you until you stopped. As a teenager when you wanted something you talked really nice and sweet to your parents to get it. Throughout your life you may have received gratification instantly so as an adult it is only natural for you to believe that you should continue to receive this treatment. Unfortunately, this attitude affects every aspect of your life even your spending habits.

It can be difficult to resist the temptation of the instant gratification culture of America which I call the "instant grati factor". Advertisers make consumers believe everything can be obtained instantly by creating instant cereal, instant coffee, instant meals, instant messaging, instant credit card approval and online shopping. I have labeled this behavior as the "instant gratification syndrome" or "instant grati syndrome". To determine if you are a victim of "instant grati syndrome" ask yourself the following questions:

1. If you see an item online or in the store do you buy it immediately?
2. Do you buy an item even if you don't need the item or the item is not in your size?
3. Do you buy an item with your credit card even though you know you don't have the money to pay the bill when it arrives?
4. Do you get upset or defensive when someone questions your poor spending habits?
5. Do you rationalize your poor spending habits by saying things like "I work hard I deserve it", "Why can't I have it", "You are not my father, I can buy whatever I want", "I just had to have it", "I don't have to answer to you", "I want it now", or "I can buy it with my credit card"?
6. Is your home filled with unused items you purchased or items that still have the tags on them?
7. Do you go shopping with money already set aside to pay a bill?
8. Do you hide items you have purchased from your spouse, children or significant other?
9. Do you buy a new outfit every time you go to an event or gathering?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you are a victim of the "instant grati syndrome". Here are 6 ways to avoid the "Instant Grati Syndrome:"

1. Make being debt free your ultimate goal
2. Stop listening to the instant gratification messages
3. Live your life like an investor
4. Surround yourself with people who are investors or people who are in a better financial situation
5. Enjoy the little things in life
6. Stop being depressed

This behavior is difficult to change but it can be changed. Don't buy on impulse - think before you buy and determine if the item is a want or a need. Embrace the old values of working hard and saving your money to buy something. So the next time you buy something with a credit card ask yourself, am I a victim of the "instant grati" syndrome?

Instant Grati Factor and Instant Grati Syndrome Copyright © 2007 H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Home Buying Seminar in Upper Marlboro MD 10/13/07

Home Buying Seminar

October 13, 2007 - 10:00 am to 2:00 PM

16201 Tradezone Avenue, Suite 101 Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Contact: Donnal Whitaker 240-354-9778

Lunch Included

Free Appraisals

$50 Off Home Inspections

Raffle for $100 Home Depot Gift Card

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

6 Tips to Estimate Your Credit Score

Having a credit card is a great responsibility. Some of us use our credit wisely and some of us use credit unwisely. Credit is one the most important aspects of your financial future. You could have a sizeable savings account but have bad credit and may still get denied for a loan or credit card. At the other end of the spectrum, you could have no savings account and good credit and get approved for several loans or credit cards.

Here are 6 tips to help ensure you know your credit picture when applying for a loan or credit card.

1. Do you how many accounts you have the are currently late, i.e. 30, 60, 90 days or more?
2. Do you have any accounts have that were previously late, i.e. one or two years ago?
3. Do you have any open or closed accounts there were collection accounts, repossessions, judgments, or bankruptcies?
4. How many loans or credit card accounts you have opened in the past two years?
5. How many revolving and installment loans you have?
6. How many open credit card accounts you have?

If you answered question 1 you may have bad credit and need to quickly setup payment plans to get current on your late accounts. You can also open a secured line of credit or secured credit card to establish good credit. Your credit score could range anywhere from 350-500.

If you answered question 2 or 3 you may have bad credit and need to open a secured line of credit or secured credit card to establish good credit. Your credit score could range anywhere from 501-659.

If you answered questions 4, 5 or 6 you may have average or good credit depending on the amount of debt you owed and your credit limits. Your credit score could range anywhere from 620-700.

If you were not able to answer questions 1, 2 or 3 you probably have average to good credit as long as you have not made any late payments in the last 3-6 years. Your credit score could range anywhere from 650-750.

The most important thing to remember before applying for a credit card is to determine your total credit limit. Many of us including myself believed that your total credit limit was the credit limit on each credit card or line of credit. Your total credit limit is the credit limit on each credit card, i.e. if you have 3 credit cards, a Discover card with a credit limit of $5,000, a MasterCard with a credit limit of $7,000 and a Visa with a credit limit of $10,000, your total credit limit is $22,000 ($5,000 + $7,000 + $10,000).

This amount is factored in your debt-to-income ratio during the review process for approval of a loan because it is the amount of credit that you have available and could possibly use at any given time although you may never use it.

Also, determine what your total balance is for each open credit card. The total balance is your credit limit plus the current balance on your credit card, i.e. if you have a Discover card with a balance of $3,000, a MasterCard with a balance of $700, and a Visa with a balance of $5,000, your total balance on your open credit cards is $8,700.

This amount is one of the 5 factors used to determine your credit score and accounts for 30% of your credit score.

It is not a good habit to “max out” your credit cards because this may lower your credit score and can cause you to go over your credit limit and results in additional charges from your creditor between $29-$35.

If you have a MasterCard with a balance of $6,000 and a limit of $7,000 and a Visa with a balance of $9,000 and a credit limit of $10,000 you would be considered “max outed” because you have less than 10% of the credit limit available to spend.

Use credit cards sparingly and always make your payments on time. If you know you will be making a late payment contact your creditor immediately to setup a payment plan or arrangements to make a payment so your credit is not affected.

Copyright © 2007 H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Being In Debt

When we are in debt we are powerless. Creditors have the power. They have the power to:
  1. Close our accounts
  2. Send us threatening letters
  3. Harass us on the phone
  4. Search our neighborhood to find people who have our contact information
  5. Garnish our checks
  6. Take us to court
  7. Ruin our credit
  8. Increase our interest rate
  9. Charge us outrageous late fees, over-the-limit fees and annual fees

When we are in debt and have bad credit we are at the mercy of the creditors and have to agree to their terms. We beg and plead and silently say "don't close my account", I still need to go shopping for things you can't afford. Don't take me to court, I know I don't have the money but I am trying to keep up with everyone else and look like I have money when I am really living paycheck to paycheck or am almost bankrupt.

We have to learn that everything has a price. What's your price? A nice pair of shoes, a Coach purse, a Hummer, a nice house in Bowie or Fairfax, designer clothes?

What are you willing to pay for those items? Will you sell your soul to buy that pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes that you just have to have.

Unfortunately in this economy many people are in debt due to loss of a job, medical expenses or health issues. I feel for these people who do not have enough money to buy basic necessities and have to use their credit cards to purchase those items.

Unmanageable debt can be prevented. Instead of buying an expensive house or car, but a modest house or car. Keep that for 3 to 5 years then you can upgrade once your financial situation improves.

Know the truth and think twice before you sign over your soul for that shiny new credit card.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Federal Minimum Wage Increased

On July 24, 2007, the Federal minimum wage increased to $5.85, a 9.3% increase over the current minimum wage. A employee paid the new minimum wage rate working full time will now earn approximately $12,618 annually.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Maxed Out Documentary

Maxed Out shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of "preferred customer" and tells us why the poor are getting poorer and the rich getting richer. By turns hilarious and profoundly disturbing, Maxed Out paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for most of us.

Maxed Out reveals the secrets of the new bank. John Ballew, a Midwestern banker whose neighborhood bank has been merged so many times he's lost count, tells us why suggestive selling is the primary qualification for working at a modern bank. Bud Hibbs, a well-known consumer advocate and the collection industry's enemy number one, explains why banks want us to be late. Liz Warren, a Harvard Professor who conducted the largest study of why Americans are going broke—at a rate higher than during the Great Depression—debunks the conventional wisdom that only "bad apples" declare bankruptcy. Liz's study proves that the bare necessities, not Prada shoes, are killing American families. A lifelong Republican, Liz's foray into the world of debt changed her politics and inspired a best-selling book: "The Two Income Trap".

Maxed Out reveals that the financial industry's best customers are the broke and the bankrupt. The most profitable niche of the industry is called "alternative" or "sub-prime"—euphemisms for a business formerly known as loan-sharking. They target those with less than perfect credit. From 2000-2002, Providian paid over $400 million to settle charges that it defrauded its customers. Soon after, a Providian director and the chairman of its compliance committee was appointed corporate crime czar by George W. Bush.

Maxed Out exposes the modern debt-style in all of its absurdities and contradictions. Nowhere are these more evident than in a journey with award-winning investigative journalist Mike Hudson, who travels to Mississippi, Pittsburgh, and New York City interviewing the victims of predatory lending scams. The most shocking discovery? The predators aren't boiler rooms or goodfellas. They are the nation's largest and most respected financial institutions! And they're not just preying on adults anymore. In 2001, FirstUSA hired two teenage high school students as walking billboards to make their cards seem "cool". FirstUSA also pioneered "partnerships" with colleges—paying them millions of dollars for access to their students' personal information, setting these kids up for ruin.

Maxed Out examines an industry that thrives on making people fail, then pursues them relentlessly to death's door. The film features a shocking interview with Bob and Chris—two idealistic entrepreneurs from Minneapolis whose "People First Recoveries" is buying bad debt all over the country in the hopes of huge profits. They're going to make "People First" a big success by being shockingly duplicitous. To get psyched up, Chris and Bob imagine themselves as "debt pirates", wrestlers and professional football players. The personal information at their disposal and the ways in which they are allowed to use it—calling people's neighbors and relatives to humiliate them into paying, for example—are nothing short of terrifying for us, fun for them.

Maxed Out delves into the heart of the information business. David Szwak, a prominent Shreveport attorney, reveals that 90 percent of credit reports—those forms that now determine whether we get a job, a home and insurance—have errors on them, yet the credit bureaus aren't doing anything to correct the situation. Why not? The more negative information, the higher the interest rate and the greater the industry's profits. If you dare challenge the industry, as did one woman whom the credit bureaus listed as "deceased", industry goons are dispatched to wear you down. Szwak also reveals a little known but troubling fact: the credit bureaus keep a special "V.I.P." list of prominent citizens whose reports are specially cleaned up. This protects the industry from legislative or judicial action and keeps those in power from knowing how flawed the credit system really is.

At times hilarious, at times deeply disturbing, Maxed Out forces us to face the consequences of our national debt addiction: the suicides, the ruined lives and, ultimately, the disappearance of the American middle class.

--Taken from

Friday, August 03, 2007

10 Ways for Single Parents to Save Money

In 2006, according to the US Census Bureau, there were approximately 14 million single parents in the United States, and those parents are responsible for raising 21.6 million children. Eight three percent of single parents are mothers and 30.3 percent of all single parents receive public assistance.

Child care subsidies and public health insurance can help with closing the gap between low income and what it takes to make ends meet. Not all low-income families receive the benefits for which they are financially eligible. Families who receive multiple work supports can lose assistance before they reach self-sufficiency. Single parents often struggle with buying basic necessities and paying bills and usually live paycheck to paycheck. Single parents often do not have any savings and are in debt. Here are 10 easy ways for single parents to save money:

1. Buy a Used Car. Buy or trade in your current car for a used car with a cheaper note. This will either eliminate your car note or save you $50 to $200 a month on your car payment.

2. Use Coupons. Buy whatever items are on sale or buy items with coupons. This can save you $50 to $300 a month. There have been instances where shoppers had a total bill of $200 and ended up paying $5 using coupons and buying items on sale.

3. Buy Generic. Buy everything generic: household items, clothing, prescriptions, toiletries, dry goods, canned goods, paper products, etc. This will save you on average $5 to $50 a month.

4. Buy Washable Clothes. Buy clothes that do not require dry cleaning. This will save you on average $50 to $150 a month.

5. Image. Do you own hair and nails and buy your makeup from the drugstore such as CVS or Riteaid. This will save you on average $40 to $100 a month.

6. Gas. Buy regular gas for your car unless the owner's manual suggests otherwise. Find the cheapest gas in your neighborhood to purchase. This will save you on average $.05 to $.20 per gallon.

7. Shop at Discount Stores. Buy household items in bulk such as paper products, cleaning supplies at discount stores such as Target, Walmart, Costco, etc. This will save you on average $5 to $50 a month.

8. Reduce expenses. Reduce or cancel your cable plan, cell phone or internet service or get the cheapest plan available. This can save you $20 to $100 a month.

9. Buy groceries at superstores. Buy your groceries at superstores or wholesale stores such as Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club, etc. Buy nuts, grains, spices, legumes at wholesale or health food stores. This will save you $30 to $200 a month on processing costs charged at regular grocery stores.

10. Fun with Kids. Check your local library or newspaper to find free activities that you can do to with your kids. This can save anywhere from $5-$100 a month.

Copyright © 2007 H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My Book Expo America Experience

I just wanted to share with everyone my experience at Book Expo America. My first day there in New York NY on May 31, 2007 I attended a luncheon where I met Blair Underwood and got an autographed copy of his new book Casanegra. Later that evening I had the privilege of meeting and taking pictures with the supermodel Alek, Randall Cunningham and Walter Mosley. I also met Zane and talked with Lynnette Khalfani, author of Zero Debt and Zero Debt for College Grads. I also received advance copies of several books and releases of new books not yet on the market.

June 1, 2007 was the highlight of my trip. I caught up with my dear friend Heather Covington, NAACP Image Award Finalist for Literary Divas: The Top 100+ Most Admired African American Women in Literature. I had the pleasure of meeting Tony and Yvonne Rose owners of Amber Communications Publishing Company, Troy Johnson, Founder of AALBC, Dante Lee founder of, and, Bernadette Standis, Thelma on Good Times and author of Situations 101. I also did a book signing and gave lots of good advice on how to repair your credit and get out of debt.

On June 2, 2007, I did a book signing and had the privilege of taking pictures of many legends in the African American publishing industry such as Tony Rose, Habi Madhubuti, Max Rodriguez Founder of QBR, Vickie Stringer owner of Triple Crown Publications, Relentless Aaron, Candice Dow, LL Cool J, Joel Freeman of the Freeman Institute, Zane and many more. In addition I met hundreds of other wonderful authors, journalists and publishers. I also had the privilege of doing a book signing and was able to give away all the books and promotional materials I brought with me. It was truly and great experience.

If you are an author I encourage you to attend Book Expo America. It is a great experience and one of the best networking events I have ever attended. I can't wait for next year. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Support HR2269 to help cut college costs on 7/12/2007

Call Your Representative to Ask for a Yes Vote on HR 2669

Thursday morning July 12, 2007, the United States House of Representatives will vote on HR 2669, the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007.

Among other things, this legislation will cut interest rates on subsidized student loans in half over the next five years, limit the percentage of income students spend repaying loans, and expand both the eligibility and size of the Pell Grant program. These reforms make the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 the single largest investment in higher education since the GI bill.

Help turn HR 2669 into Law: Call the House Today

Already, thousands of Young Democrats have responded to our call to write letters to Washington asking for college affordability reforms. Now, as this vote hits the floor in the House, we need to add your voice (yup your actual voice) to our lobbying efforts.

Large private lenders and their Republican supporters will stop at nothing to kill this type of college affordability reform. Only with your help, and the help of your friends, can we ensure financial aid actually benefits students and families instead of corporations.

Please take the time to visit to learn more about HR 2669 and to call your member of Congress. The momentum coming out of a resounding victory on this legislation in the House will help ensure its passage in the Senate and send a message to the President that he must sign it into law.

Call the House Today: Support HR 2669

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

2.3 Million Consumer Financial Records Stolen

2.3 million consumer financial records stolen
Former Fidelity National Information Services broker sold information
Updated: 10:29 a.m. ET July 3, 2007
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Fidelity National Information Services, a financial processing company, said Tuesday a worker at one of its subsidiaries stole 2.3 million consumer records containing credit card, bank account and other personal information.

The employee sold the information to an unidentified data broker who sold it to several direct marketing companies, but the data were not used in identity theft or other fraudulent financial activity, Fidelity said in a statement.

About 2.2 million records stolen from Certegy Check Services Inc. contained bank account information and 99,000 contained credit card information, Fidelity said.

“As a result of this apparent theft, the consumers affected received marketing solicitations from the companies that bought the data,” said Renz Nichols, president of St. Petersburg-based Certegy.

Fidelity said Certegy had asked a court in St. Petersburg to retrieve all the information from the employee and the marketing companies and to stop its use. It also said Certegy has contacted law enforcement officials.

Certegy will notify all affected consumers of the theft and has contacted major credit agencies, Fidelity said.

The employee, whose name was not released, was fired.

Taken from MSNBC

Friday, June 22, 2007

7 Tips For Summer Vacation

Every loves to travel during the summer. The kids are out of school, the work load is not as high, and airlines compete for your business. If you work hard all year you deserve take a vacation even if it is just a mini-vacation. Here are 7 tips to save money when planning your summer vacation.

1. Plan ahead. Plan at least one year in advance for vacations especially if you in debt, recently getting out of debt or live paycheck to paycheck. This way you can save enough money to go on vacation without going into debt to pay for it.

2. Find deals. Shop around to find the best deal. Visit websites like,,, or to find cheap rates for hotel, airfare and cruises.

3. Talk. Talk to friends and neighbors about their current or past vacations and find out how they planned their vacation, i.e. ask about any discounts or sales they know about, inexpensive restaurants, shops, etc.

4. Move fast. When you hear about vacation sales or discounts you have to move quickly to capitalize on the deal because they usually don't last long. If you saved your money all year long then you can take advantage of discounts when they become available.

5. Spending Money. When traveling it is best to buy traveler's checks, they can quickly be replaced if lost. If you credit card is stolen you may not have another credit card available to purchase any necessities. Buy everything needed before traveling. Toiletries are more expensive at other locations when traveling. Take one credit card only for emergencies.

6. Buy traveler's insurance. Buy traveler's insurance. This will reduce the costs of medical bills that could accrue if you get sick on a cruise ship or flight and prevent you from going into debt.

7. Use restraint. Use restraint while on vacation. Don't buy everything you see in the tourist stores or malls. If you know you will be tempted don't even go into the store. Buy items or souvenir gifts at flea markets or only buy items that are on sale.

Write me at and let me know how my tips helped you during your summer vacation!

Copyright © 2007 H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fair Isaac Moves to Protect Lenders from Fradulent Manipulation of Authorized User Credit Cards

Fair Isaac Moves to Protect Lenders from Fraudulent Manipulation of Authorized User Credit Card Accounts

Company’s Newest FICO Scoring Model Will Ignore Authorized User Accounts When Calculating Classic FICO Credit Risk Scores

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fair Isaac Corporation (NYSE:FIC) today announced that it will adjust its FICO® scoring formula to ensure the continued reliability and predictive power of FICO scores. This action is intended to protect lenders and FICO scores from abuse of authorized user credit card accounts by a new kind of credit repair service that sells consumer credit card histories to credit applicants in order to purposefully misrepresent the applicants’ own credit history to lenders and other businesses. The adjustment removes authorized user accounts from consideration by the scoring model in FICO 08, the newest version of the Classic FICO credit score which Fair Isaac expects to become available to lenders starting in September.

“We will do whatever it takes to protect the reliability and accuracy of FICO credit scores for lenders, and to ensure lenders can continue to use FICO scores with confidence when making their most important customer decisions,” said Dr. Mark Greene, CEO of Fair Isaac. “We will continue working with lenders, regulators and others in the credit reporting industry to end deceptive practices that fraudulently misrepresent consumer credit histories for profit.”

An authorized user is a person permitted by a credit account holder to use an account, typically a family member who is managing credit for the first time. Used legitimately, authorized user account information has helped both lenders and consumers by enabling lenders to use FICO scores when making credit decisions for consumers who are starting a credit history. Fair Isaac’s research indicates that the next version of its FICO scoring formula will deliver increased predictive power without considering authorized user accounts.

Fair Isaac will work closely with lenders to help them implement and benefit from the FICO 08 score as it becomes available. As the company announced previously, lenders will be able to use the new version of FICO scores with minimal changes to their own operating systems. To make lender adoption easier and faster, the new scoring model will retain the same scoring range, score reason codes, minimum scoring criteria, inquiry treatment, and related model parameters as previous versions of the FICO formula.

About Fair Isaac
Fair Isaac Corporation (NYSE:FIC) combines trusted advice, world-class analytics and innovative applications to help businesses make smarter decisions. Fair Isaac’s solutions and technologies for Enterprise Decision Management turn strategy into action and elevate business performance by giving organizations the power to automate more decisions, improve the quality of their decisions, and connect decisions across their business. Clients in 80 countries work with Fair Isaac to increase customer loyalty and profitability, cut fraud losses, manage credit risk, meet regulatory and competitive demands, and rapidly build market share. Fair Isaac also helps millions of individuals manage their credit health through the fair Isaac website.

Fair Isaac Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Information
Except for historical information contained herein, the statements contained in this press release that relate to Fair Isaac, including statements regarding its FICO® score, and the relationship described herein, and the benefits to be derived from the offering, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including any unforeseen technical difficulties related to the implementation, use and functionality of the offering, the risks that customers will not perceive material benefits from the offering, failure of the product to deliver the expected results, the possibility of errors or defects in the offering, regulatory changes applicable to the use of consumer credit and other data, and other risks described from time to time in Fair Isaac’s SEC reports, including its Annual Report for the year ended September 30, 2006, and quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2007. Forward-looking statements should be considered with caution. If any of these risks or uncertainties materializes or any of these assumptions proves incorrect, Fair Isaac’s results could differ materially from Fair Isaac’s expectations in these statements. Fair Isaac disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Fair Isaac and FICO are trademarks or registered trademarks of Fair Isaac Corporation, in the United States and/or in other countries. Other product and company names herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Fair Isaac CorporationInvestors/Analysts:John D. Emerick, Jr., 800-213-5542

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Breaking the Consumer Habit-Living the Nothing Life

Taken from Adbusters Magazine,

from Adbusters Magazine:
Breaking the Consumer Habit: Living the Buy Nothing Life
April 20, 2007
San Francisco, 1951.

A living room fills with warm laughter and the aroma of fresh-baked
goodies. Suburban housewives walk around the room exchanging smiles,
telling stories. It's like any other casual gathering, except for one
twist: this is a Tupperware party, everyone is here to shop.

Painting over gray decades of war and depression with bright pastels,
products like Tupperware ushered in a new era of prosperity, renewal
and superabundance. Consumer goods like the television set and the
Cadillac became more than just necessities for life: for millions of
consumers, they were the essence of life itself.

Fast forward to 2005. A group of friends in the San Francisco Bay Area
are meeting over a potluck dinner. Disillusioned by the endless
consumer rat race, they are here to discuss how to not shop, to put an
end to needless consumption. Taking the concept of Buy Nothing Day to
the extreme, they have decided to attempt a full year without buying
new products. Dubbing themselves "The Compact" after the Mayflower
pledge at Plymouth Rock, the group vowed to limit their shopping to
food, medicine and basic hygiene products, buying used wherever they
could. Since the local news began covering them, their story has
exploded, appearing everywhere from the Today Show to The Times of
London. Today, with 8,000 new members and 55 subgroups worldwide –
from regions as varied as Singapore and Iceland – the Compact are
finding themselves at the forefront of the turning tide against
consumer culture.

What the Compacters are doing is neither radical nor revolutionary;
millions of people around the world live this way, and have lived this
way for generations. Yet the Compact threatens and challenges
everything that people have come to believe about "the good life" in
the industrialized world. Reactions to the movement have been
passionate, ranging from applause to outrage. Compact members have
been accused of being "self-congratulator y braggarts" who are
"destroying America's economy." One Compacter in Chilliwack, Canada,
recalls friends reacting as if she had joined a Satanic cult. Love it
or hate it, the Compact has made people question and the real motives
behind their daily purchases.

"I used to shop to entertain myself," confesses Lori Wyndham Jolly, an
American expat and Compacter living in Berkshire, UK. "I'd go into a
record store and buy a whole load of discount CDs, or into a chemist
and get a lot of cheap cosmetics . . . I didn't do this because I
needed any of that stuff, but just to fill the emptiness. I read a
throwaway line in paperback once, but it's stuck with me: People shop
because they're lonely."

"We're constantly on the drive to consume more stuff," says Rachel
Kesel, a Bay Area Compacter who keeps a closely followed blog about
her experiences. "It becomes a habit and not necessity."

The reasons why people join the Compact are varied. Some join to cut
back on spending, others to reduce waste, still others to escape
materialism and focus on spiritual values. One thing they all
recognize is that shopping is not the solution to their problems – in
fact, it may very well be the cause to many of them.

"Money and debts seem to be ruling our life," observes Rúna Björg
Gartharsdóttir, a Compacter in Iceland. She explains to Adbusters that
she joined the Compact to escape what she calls the "vicious cycle" of
consumerism – the chronic overwork to be able to spend more; the
social disintegration resulting from overwork; the environmental
damage caused by consumer waste; conflict over resources to supply
consumer demand. In other words, a myriad of problems loosely bound by
the innocent desire for an iPod or a luxury car collection.

It is no coincidence that the emergence of the Compact coincides with
the rising popularity of the down-shifting and environmental
movements. People throughout the developed world have realized that,
unlike our psychological desires – which are infinite – our physiology
and environmental resources have limits. Our body can't handle 80-hour
workweeks on a 6,000-calorie- per-day diet, no more than our earth can
handle cities like New York producing 12,000 tons of solid waste every
single day, or the hundreds of millions of discarded cell phones that
release cancer-causing toxins into the air. Something, someday, will
have to give.

For now, most Compacters defensively state that their choice is a
strictly "personal" one and that they have no political agenda. Yet
they continue to stir up discontent by turning their back on a sacred
ideal, the belief shared by billions around the world that "more" is
better than "just enough." Marketers are hoping this is a fringe
movement. The signs point elsewhere. According to recent surveys by
sociologist Juliet Schor, 81 percent of Americans believe their
country is too focused on shopping, while nearly 90 percent believe it
is too materialistic. Newspapers such as USA Today received record
reader responses when columnist Craig Wilson swore off shopping for a
full year. Radical anti-consumers such as the Freegans (people who
survive on discarded food and products) are proving that people can
survive off the waste of affluent consumers.

Gartharsdóttir, for her part, speaks with some pride when people tell
her that her refusal to shop will shake her country's economy. "It
shows clearly the strong influence the marketing forces currently have
on the nation," she says. "We should rule our lives and decide what
comes first."

by Jenny Uechi

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bill in Congress May Reduce Credit Card Costs

There are several credit card fees that are associated with a credit card such as:
1. Over the limit fees
2. Cash advance fees
3. Late payment fees
4. Finance charges
5. Annual fees
6. Rate increase after a promotion

These fees can make paying off a credit card difficult. It can seem like you will never be able to pay off the debt. Purchasing an item with a credit card results in 112% the original cost of the item.

Congress has heard our cries. A new bill has been introduced that will outlaw some credit card billing practices.

If you have questions about any information in this article send me an email at

See the article below or clink on title to access the article link for future reference.

Bill Would Ban Some Credit Card Actions

The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 15, 2007; 6:29 PM

WASHINGTON -- Legislation proposed Tuesday would outlaw some credit-card billing and interest-rate practices that critics say confuse consumers and can push them deeper into debt.

The bill authored by Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's investigative panel, and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., would ban interest from being charged on any portion of a credit card debt that the consumer paid on time during a grace period.

It also would limit so-called penalty increases in interest rates, which are imposed when a payment is made after the due date, to a maximum 7 percentage points above the current rate.

The legislation was heralded by consumer groups. Many lawmakers, however, have expressed reluctance to impose mandates on how banks do business.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who heads the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction on the issue, said he will examine the proposal "in a careful and thoughtful fashion."

The banking industry opposes such legislation. "We worry about micro-managing the pricing of financial products in a way that may ultimately hurt consumers," said Ken Clayton, managing director of credit card policy at the American Bankers Association.

Heightened scrutiny of credit card practices has come from the new Democratic-controlled Congress, which has put a number of consumer issues on its legislative agenda. With Americans weighed down by some $850 billion in consumer debt, the practices of the robustly profitable credit card industry are a compelling subject for scrutiny.

Amid the congressional focus, several major banks recently began to eliminate or temper some of the practices.

An investigation by Levin's subcommittee found abusive and confusing practices, and repeated penalties imposed by credit card issuers that are said to amplify the financial woes of many Americans while bringing in tens of millions of dollars for the companies.

The bill also would:

_Require increased interest rates to apply only to future debt on a credit card account, not to debt incurred prior to the increase.

_Prohibit charging of interest on credit card account fees, such as late payment fees and fees for going over the credit limit.

_Prohibit charging of repeated over-limit fees for a single instance of exceeding a credit limit, and allow the fees to be charged only when the consumer's action, rather than a penalty, causes the limit to be exceeded.

_Ban so-called "pay-to-pay" fees, often charged when consumers make payments on their accounts by telephone. Such fees would be prohibited for any form of payment, including mail or electronic transfer.

_Require payments to be applied first to the portion of the account balance with the highest interest rate.

_Ban the practice known as "universal default," in which credit card issuers raise interest rates for customers because they're late on payments to other creditors separate from the account in question.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

8 Simple Ways to Pay Off Student Loans Debt

I had student loan debt but luckily only ended owing $5,000 after I completed college thanks to family and scholarships. It took me forever just to pay that $5,000 due to all the interest on my loan. A recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics shows that 50% of recent college graduate have student loans, with an average student loan debt of $10,000. The average cost of college increases at twice the rate of inflation. Here are 8 tips to help with paying off student loan debt:

1. Develop a plan. Develop a plan to pay off your student loan debt before you graduate.
2. Save your money. Each summer throughout your college education, get a job or internship. Save half the money in a high interest savings account such as (5.05%) or (4.5%). After a few months, consult a financial advisor to earn the highest possible return on your money. After college, you can use the money saved during all 4 years to pay down your college debt.
3. Use caution with consolidation. Consolidating student loans combines your loans into one payment but may or may not provide you with a lower interest rate. Do extensive research before consolidating your student loans. In addition, you may not be eligible for various student loan forgiveness programs if you consolidate your student loans.
4. Exchange work to reduce debt. Perform volunteer work or work for the following in exchange for reducing student loan debt: teaching in certain locations with low-income students or areas with shortage of teachers, providing legal and medical services in low-income areas or working for Americorps or the Peace Corps.
5. Get a work-study job. To help pay for the costs of college get a work-study job on campus to help defray the cost of college. Go to your campus employee office to ask about their work-study program. Work study Jobs pay at least the minimum wage for that state.
6. Apply for lots of scholarships. In recent years, money has been reduced from the budget for college scholarships so it is harder to get a scholarship to go to college. You can increase your changes of getting a scholarship by completing as many scholarship applications as you can. If you complete at least 50 you should receive at least 5 scholarships. Also, go to your campus financial aid office and ask about financial aid programs that the schools provides to students. Become friendly with the financial aid office employees who will alert you to financial aid programs when they become available. You can also search the internet for scholarships. Some scholarship websites are,,, or
7. Apply for grants. Apply for as many grants as possible. You can also apply for federal grants such as the Federal Pell Grant (Pell Grant), the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program, Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP), and National Science Scholars Program. Some grant websites are,,
8. Protect your credit. Try to avoid making late payments on your student loans, if you do this will be reported on your credit report and can remain for up to seven years. If you are having financial hardship call the student loan company and inform them of your situation, ask for a hardship or loan deferment to ensure your credit is not damaged until you are able to start making payments again.

For more information visit or

Harrine Freeman
CEO, H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Copyright © 2007 H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Saturday, April 07, 2007

5 Ways to Become Financially Empowered

Wealth is defined as the value of everyone you own minus any debts. A wealthy person is described as someone who can live comfortably for a least 5 years without working. Not everyone during his or her lifetime may become wealthy but you can become financially empowered. Financially empowered is being in control of your finances, spending your money responsibly, buy needs more often than buying wants, and setting goals for your future.

Here are 5 ways to become financially empowered:
1. Become a homeowner. Becoming a homeowner increases your credit score, proves that your are a responsible spender, provides a tax write-off, increases your financial worth, provides you with an asset that will appreciate over time which will provide you with equity.

2. Buy insurance. Buy health, life and disability insurance. Many people get in debt from medical costs because they do not have life insurance. Life insurance is critical because medical costs increase by 10 to 20% each year. Disability insurance (short-term and long-term) will help you in the event you become seriously ill and have to be off work for an extended period of time. This will help you to recover because you will not have to worry about how your bills will be paid during this time.

3. Start a business. Find out what your passion is, what you love to do more than anything else. You will not become financially empowered by working for someone else unless you were one of the lucky people who bought tons of stock while working at Target, Wal-Mart of AOL. Do your research before starting your business and take baby steps. Start your business in your home; there are many tax write-offs for home based businesses. Once you generate enough income then get a loan to open your own office. Get the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

4. Purchase investment property. All of the financial experts and millionaires and billionaires have talked about this. They all have the same thing in common. They all own investment property. If you are not sure how to begin, do your research, buy two or books on buying investment property, join a real estate group, listen to financial investment shows and find out the best way to get started. Investment property generates cash flow that can be used to generate wealth and allows more opportunities to become available to you.

5. Plan for your retirement. Many Americans today have to work past retirement age because they have no savings or retirement. When a person looks at their life to see what they have accomplished, it is sad to say that they have nothing to show for it. Many still owe money on their homes, don't have any savings and have little or no money in a retirement account. You worked all of your life for what, to pay bills. That is not how life is supposed to be. You should work hard, enjoy life, retire, and then really enjoy life.

April is financial literacy month. Starting this month and each month for the rest of the year do one thing to improve your financial situation. Send your success stories or questions to Good luck to you!

Copyright © 2007 H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Do You Know Why You Are In Debt?

In the past few weeks, I have had several conversations with clients and other experts in the personal finance industry. I have come to some conclusions about debt: 1) many people do not know how they got into debt; 2) many people are in denial that they are in debt; 3) many people do not know how to get out of debt; 4) many people believe that it is normal to be in debt or that you are supposed to be in debt for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately only 3% or Americans live debt free. First, let me say you don't have to be in debt no matter what some company or creditor tells you. Many people are living debt free lives with good credit, some people have even paid off their mortgage before the 30-year loan date! The only bill I have is my mortgage. The balance on my mortgage decreases each month because I send additional money towards my principal.

Now, the first step to getting out of debt is admitting that you have poor spending habits or that you are in financial trouble. This may be hard to do, but you can do it. If you believe that you can be debt free you will be. Next, develop a plan to take action and take action immediately. Do this by creating a budget for yourself. If you get a steady paycheck this will be easier to accomplish. However, if you do not earn the same amount of money each pay period then you can still create a budget. You create a budget by listing all of your monthly expenses (everything you spend money on during the course of a month) and list your net monthly income (after taxes), then subtract the two figures, if you have any money left over use that money to start paying off your debts and look for other ways to reduce expenses. If you have no money left over, find ways to reduce expenses, make sacrifices and think of creative ways to save money. Some good websites to use to find ways to creative ways to save money are Budgetdial and The Dollar Stretcher.

For large expenses that do not occur monthly you can spread the payment over a period of time, i.e. six months or a year. For example, if you pay $1200 in car insurance and you do not get a steady pay check, put aside $100 a month towards you car insurance so that when you quarterly or bi-yearly bill arrives you will have the money to pay for it and won't feel overwhelmed about paying the bill.

Remember if you are in debt, you don't have to stay that way, you can be debt free. I was once $19,000 in debt and was able to get myself out of debt without filing for bankruptcy. I had to make huge sacrifices such as catching public transportation, I stopped eating and going out, didn't buy any new clothes or shoes, didn't go to hairdresser appointments, etc. Nevertheless, it was worth it. I now have excellent credit, can go to any bank, and get approved for a loan.

If you have questions on how to create a budget or any other personal finance issues send me an email at Good luck to you!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Make this Your Year to Become Financially Free

Yesterday I was a panelist at the 2007 Tour for Success Conference. I was delighted to be amongst many entrepreneurs and would be entrepreneurs.

One thing that you should start applying to your life, which one of my co-panelists spoke about, is you should have at least 2 people in your inner circle who are doing better financially than you are. If you are the friend who is doing better financially than all of your friends or family stop paying the bill all the time and stop loaning everyone money.

Don't get rid of your current friends, just get new ones who can provide valuable advice on how to reach your financial goals or who can help you reach goals you would never have imagined.

If you are struggling with deciding how to invest you money or what to do with your money, even if it is a small amount consultant a financial advisor like Charles Schwab or Smith Barney who are experts in the field.

Make 2007 your year to become financially free by reducing your expenses, eliminating your debts, becoming a homeowner, or starting that business you always dreamed of. Good luck to you.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Why You Shouldn't Get a ContactLess Credit Card

There is a new type of credit card that is available developed last year called a contact less credit cards that allows consumers to charge items using their credit card but without actually signing a credit card receipt. The technology called RFID or Radio Frequency Identification allows scanners to use radio signals at various distances to read personal information regarding your credit card on a computer chip. The new credit cards can transmit your name, credit card number and expiration date to anyone that is located relatively close to you with a scanner.

The RFID technology has been used for years for tracking shipments and storing inventory. The contactless credit cards can be scanned without having to remove them from your wallet or pocket. The Visa contactless credit cards use an encrypted security code to verify a transaction that is supposed to protect against certain types of fraud but doesn't protect against someone getting your name and credit card number.

New versions of the Visa contactless credit cards do not transmit the consumers name during the transaction. Contactless credit cards either have a visible microchip or vertical wave bands on the front or the back of the card.

I won't be signing up for a contactless credit card. I still pay for everything with cash. I only use my credit card to make travel arrangements. Do you research before signing up for any new type of technology.

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cush City 2007 New Author Awards Please Vote for Me

2007 Cush City New Author Award - Please Vote For Me
Hi All, please vote for me for the Cush City 2007 New AuthorAwards. Thanks.

Nominations: January 8-February 28, 2007
Send an email to:
In the SUBJECT OF THE E-MAILMESSAGE, PUT THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR YOU WISH TO NOMINATE PLUS "BESTNEW AUTHOR AWARD." (EXAMPLE: John Doe - Best New Author Award).All nominations must be submitted via e-mail. DO NOT send anyattachments with your nomination.

To see the list of current nominees, Visit the website.

Harrine Freeman
Ezine Article Expert
CEO, H.E. Freeman Enterprises
Author of How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating For FreeUsing the System I've Used Successfully With Thousands of Clients
ISBN 1933949430

Monday, February 19, 2007

Why Items Stay On Your Credit Report for 7 Years

Did you ever wonder why a negative item has to stay on your credit report for 7 years. This question has been circulated for many years and no one was able to give an answer other than that is what is stated in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). I always wondered what the answer was myself but was never satisfied just knowing that someone just decided to use the magic number 7.

Well upon research I think I found out why creditors, banks and other companies you do business with keep an item an your credit report for 7 years . This is taken from the bible:

[ The Year for Canceling Debts ] At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. Deuteronomy 15:1 (This law was put into effect to help the poor)

This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the LORD's time for canceling debts has been proclaimed.

Deuteronomy 15:2

In the year of our forefathers, company principles were based on biblical principles. The lobbies of all government buildings and commercial building have either a biblical symbol of biblical quotes throughout the buildings.


Source: Cruz Law, Based on an article by O. Max Gardner, III, Esquire

The Bible makes it clear that people are generally expected to pay their debts. Leviticus 25:39. No one will—or should—advance any argument against this general proposition.

Both Ezekiel 22:12 and Nehemiah 5:0-11 condemn lending money with interest, especially to the poor. And Ezekiel 18:13 list the taking of interest among sins worthy of death.

The current bankruptcy law passed by Congress and signed into law by the President in 2005 lacks any compassion for the poor, makes no redress to the modern day money changers who shamelessly peddle plastic at rates that would draw the Holy wrath of God himself, provides no relief but only additional misery to the families saddled with thousands of dollars in medical bills, and most importantly severely undermines the economic and social stability of the average American family. These Americans are like the farmers of the Old Testament who proclaimed to King Nehemiah, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our countrymen and though our sons are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others”. Nehemiah 5:3-5. Nehemiah responded to his people and ordered to “let the extracting of usury stop! Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and houses and also the usury you are charging them…”. Nehemiah 5:11.


Religion played an important role in the establishment of the United States. Many of the first colonists came to America in search of religious freedom. The Declaration of Independence states that certain unalienable human rights originate from God. The First Amendment to the Constitution establishes the separation of church and state and protects the freedom of religious expression. In the centuries since our nation's founding, religious institutions have been at the forefront of many political movements. Religious groups created and sustained movements to promote the abolition of slavery, women's rights, prison reform, child welfare, worker protections, alcohol prohibition, civil rights, nuclear disarmament, and international peace.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the political landscape of American religion shifted. Several mainline Protestant denominations moved to the left and issued statements that resembled liberal political party platforms. But most evangelicals moved in the opposite direction. Their conservative political activism, led by the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition, was sparked by the social changes in American life and the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Prior to modern bankruptcy law, if a merchant in Italy could not pay his debts, his creditors would seek him out and break his work bench, so that he could not continue in business. They would take whatever assets he had and leave him destitute. From “break the bench” arose the word “bankrupt”.
Source: Iowa Bankruptcy Guide

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Harrine Freeman to do Book Signing at Borders Books in Silver Spring MD

If you live in the DC/MD/VA area please come out to my book signing at Borders Books in Downtown Silver Spring, MD on February 24, 2007 from 1-5pm located at 8518 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Credit Report Scams

From Dave Ramsey's website.

Credit Report Scam

By Erica in Texas
A couple of years ago my husband and I were finally able to start paying off some bad credit that both of us created before we met. So I saw a TV ad for the Free Credit Report website. I thought how wonderful, I could check to see who we needed to contact for our credit issues, and we could mend some old, bad habits.
I went to the website to sign up for the "free" credit report. I read all the fine print - or so I thought. About 20 days later when I went to pay for some groceries, my debit card was denied. So embarrassing. I went home and called our bank. Come to find out there were charges from a company in California that exceeded $250!

I was shocked and asked the bank for the company's information. I contacted them and found out that when I gave them my bank information, they signed me up for a credit watch. I was furious and demanded that they send me a contract showing I allowed them to do this. Several phone calls later, they still couldn't tell me where I had agreed to this service, so they said they would refund the money and stop the service. I stupidly believed them. A month later, no refund, and this time I was charged twice for this service. I tried to get a hold of the company but no answer.

Finally I just cancelled my bank account, so no further charges...but no refund either. $750 later, I have no more dealings with this company. I later told my sister in-law about the story, and she told me she too had dealt with them and lost money as well.

Now I know I can get a REAL free credit report on the internet from the credit bureaus. Get this now. I don't purchase anything on the internet unless I call the company first and get the real story.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Beware of Advance Fee Loan Scams

BBB Warns that Advance Fee Loan Scams are Proliferating

[Arlington, VA, January 25, 2007] – The Better Business Bureau system today warned of a recent surge in advance fee loan scams.

Consumers across the U.S. and Canada are losing substantial sums of money, sometimes more than $1,000 per victim, responding to TV, newspaper or Web site advertisements that “guarantee” loans to people with poor credit.

“People with the poorest finances are being victimized. They don’t think they have any other option,” said Steve Cole, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Here’s how the scam works. The consumer calls a toll-free phone number listed in the ad. The person who answers “takes” their credit application over the phone or says they’ll send paperwork to complete. They are told they have been approved for a loan (from $5,000 to $100,000), and will receive the money once they pay a fee.

The “fee” is allegedly needed to cover the first loan payment or for “security and/or insurance”; some scammers call it a “premium” fee or a “processing fee;” others label it a “finder’s fee.”

The loan applicant is instructed to wire the money or send a money order. They never receive the loan and cannot recover their money. They also risk having their identity stolen if they provided their Social Security number or bank account number to a con artist.

Advance fee schemers commonly use a U.S. address (a P.O. Box or a mail drop), but direct consumers to send the “fee” to a location in Canada. The U.S. address turns out to be phony or non-existent.

Recent BBB investigations reveal an increase in bogus loan brokers who are impersonating legitimate lenders. They make illegal use of the names, logos and/or addresses of reputable financial institutions or organizations that have no affiliation or connection with the fraudulent operation.

“It is best to double-check any and all loan offers with the BBB to find out if the business can be trusted. We can tell you if other consumers have filed complaints and BBB staff can visit the place of business, check to see if it’s licensed and conduct other research to verify its legitimacy,” Cole said.

Remember, advance fee loan scams are illegal in the U.S. and Canada. The BBB advises people who need a loan to search locally for a reputable lender. Although legitimate lenders may charge application, appraisal or credit report fees, the fees generally are deducted from the loan amount.

In addition, there are nonprofit organizations in every state with trained credit counselors who can assist individuals with debt problems. Contact your local BBB for tips on selecting a trustworthy credit counseling organization.

Signs that the “Lender” is a Scammer

1. Pressures you to act immediately.
2. “Guaranteed” loans, even if you have bad credit, no credit or a bankruptcy.
3. Refuses to provide its street address location.
4. Demands that you wire or send money before you have a loan offer confirmed in writing.
5. Written communications contain typos and grammatical errors.
6. When you telephone, no one is ever “in”; your calls are not returned, or the voicemail box is always “full.”
7. Victims of bogus loan brokers are encouraged to file a complaint with the BBB ( While the chance of recovering the payment fee is minimal, victims can provide information to help BBBs warn consumers and assist government investigations.

Taken from the Better Business Bureau website

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Free Credit Repair Seminar on 2/7/07

If you live in DC/MD/VA, I will giving a Free Credit Repair Seminar at Martin Luther King Jr. Library at 901 G Street NW, Washington DC on February 7 from noon-1pm. Hope to see you there. Thanks.

Harrine Freeman
CEO H.E. Freeman Enterprises
Author of How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating For Free (ISBN 1933949430)
Available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Walden Books, Books a Million, Walmart, Target,, booksamillion,,

Monday, January 29, 2007

2007 Cush City New Author Award - Please Vote For Me

Hi All, please vote for me for the Cush City 2007 New Author
Awards. Thanks.

Harrine Freeman
Ezine Article Expert
CEO, H.E. Freeman Enterprises
Author of How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating For Free
Using the System I've Used Successfully With Thousands of Clients
ISBN 1933949430

Nominations: January 8-February 28, 2007
mailto:nominations@.... IN THE SUBJECT OF THE E-MAIL
NEW AUTHOR AWARD." (EXAMPLE: John Doe - Best New Author Award).
All nominations must be submitted via e-mail. DO NOT send any
attachments with your nomination. (website

To see the list of current nominees, click here:

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Encouragement For Those In Debt

I have heard many stories over the years of how people got in debt or are currently in debt and can't see how they will ever get out. My heart goes out to people who can't even seem to make ends meet. I know all too well about being in debt. I was $11,000 in debt and lost my job. I only had a roof over my head, I had no money, no savings, no food to eat, no job and no prospects. As a result I filed for unemployment but it was only enough to buy food. I was so embarrassed and ashamed to tell anyone about my situation, not enough my mother, family or friends knew about my situation.

Luckily one day when I was trying to figure out how I was going to eat my godmother happened to call and I broke down and told her I didn't have any food. She came right over and brought me some groceries. Then I still had the problem of being out of work and trying to figure out how to pay my bills.

Luckily God stepped in, my aunt found out that I was out of work and hired me for a job. Then I was able to get a part-time job. Also during this time I was trying to finish up my last class for my college degree. I had to sit out a semester while I was unemployed. Luckily after I started working again I was able to register and complete my last course for my college degree. After that things started turning around, I was slowly able to pay my bills and get out of debt.

I sacrificed buying new clothes and new shoes (at one point I wore the same pair of red shoes for six month because I couldn't afford to buy a new pair), hanging out with friends, going out to eat, etc. but it was worth it. Now I am a homeowner, my car is paid for. It is six years old. I have been debt free for ten years (credit card debt). I have savings accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance, disability, health insurance and my own business.

It takes time to get out of debt (it took me 4 years) but you have to be billing to make sacrifices and you have to change your mindset. Don't focus on how am I going to get out of debt, focus on what can I do to get out of debt. Here are two get websites to help reduces expenses.,

Please write me if you need advice on how to get out of debt at
H. Freeman, CEO
Author of How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating For Free

Friday, January 19, 2007

Tips to Prepare For Filing Your 2006 Taxes

It's that time again. The dreaded tax year. A lot of the laws from last year have changed so please be sure to read the instructions when filing your 2006 taxes. Also here are 7 tips to help you get organized to file your taxes. Thanks.

1. Gather all receipts, monthly/quarterly statements, medical bills, student loans, credit card debt, etc.

2. Use a software package like Quicken or Quick Books to record all of your deductions. If you don't have this software then you can use an Excel spreadsheet with these basic column headings, Item, Date Purchased or Sold, Cost, Quantity, Total Cost. If you don't have the Excel software program just use plain old pencil and paper.

3. Identify all items that can be used as itemized deductions and put them in one pile. Determine if the standard deduction for your tax bracket is greater than your itemized deductions. (The list of items you gathered in step 2 and verified against the tax form instruction manual as items that can be itemized). If your standard deduction is greater than use the standard deduction, if not, use the worksheet included with your taxes to calculate your itemized deductions.

4. To save money file your taxes electronically. You will receive your refund in approximately two weeks from the date of filing.

5. Don't get a tax refund loan or refund anticipation loan. This is a waste of time and of money. You usually have to pay a fee to get the refund loan which usually have high interest rates and associated fees. See the article discussing this issue.

6. If you salary is less than $52,000 or less you can file your taxes electronically for free.

7. Be cautious when purchasing a tax preparation software. Research the credibility of the company and verify if the software provides automatic updates to tax laws contained in the software. Go to Better Business Bureau website to check out a company's history. Click on the Business Link under the Check It Out section.

Bonus Tip. File your taxes on time. If you are owed taxes this year and are unable to pay your taxes by April 15, 2007, file an extension no later than April 15, 2007 or setup a payment plan. If is never wise to owe taxes because the interest and penalties fees that accrue each day will put you further into debt.
Your goal for this year is to get out of debt and be on your way to be debt free life. Good luck!

For more tips and information purchase my book, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating For Free, ISBN 1933949430 at Walden Books, Borders, Barnes & Noble,, Books A Million,, Target and Walmart.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Appearance on WOLB 1010AM on 1/19/2007

Hi All, if you live in the DC/MD/VA area I could use your support by calling in to WOLB 1010AM in Baltimore MD to the Women's Expo Forum Radio Show on 1/19/07 (this Friday) at 2:00 pm. The show is from 2-2:30 pm.

I will be on the show giving free tips on how to repair your credit and discussing my book, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating For Free. Thanks.

Harrine Freeman

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bankruptcy Doesn't Help As Much As You Think

One of the biggest myths is that if you file for bankruptcy you will be financially free and no longer have debt problems. Wrong! Bankruptcy is not the cure-all for getting out of debt. Over a million Americans file for bankruptcy every year. One in every 73 households files for bankruptcy. In 2005, 2 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcies. Millions of Americans are in debt and get in debt every year. Many people think that filing for bankruptcy will solve all of their debt problems. On the surface it seems that if you file for bankruptcy all of your debt will be eliminated and you can start with a clean slate. Actually it is not that simple.

To file for personal bankruptcy you must reside in a state for 90 days prior to filing and have a total unsecured debt less than $290,525 or secured debt less than $871,550. The new bankruptcy law that went into effect in October 2005 states that debtors (consumers) who earn less than the median income in their state about 80 percent of those who file for bankruptcy still would be entitled to file under Chapter 7. But those who earn more than that and who have the ability to repay at least $6,000 over five years would have to file under Chapter 13, which requires a repayment plan.

Although it is true that after you file for bankruptcy you can purchase a house or a car, what people don’t realize it that the interest rate that you will be given will be very high. Also, based on the new bankruptcy law implemented in October 2005, it is harder to file for bankruptcy and depending on the type of bankruptcy granted it will remain on your credit report for seven to ten years. This greatly lowers your credit score and it will probably take about 3 to 5 years before you score increases due to the bankruptcy filed and provided that you don’t get into any further debt.

Consider what would happen if you neglect to make a payment on the repayment plan which is created by your local court house. If you miss a payment on your repayment plan your case will be dismissed and you will have to find a way to pay your debts on your end.

When you have financial problems and can’t see any way out bankruptcy looks like the best option but there are many other options available to you. If you have a house you can take out an equity loan to pay your debts, you can reduce your expenses and create a budget for yourself, you can get a part-time job, go to school and further your education and get additional training related to your particular job, setup payment plans with your creditors or sell some of your assets if you have any. Use If you do not receive a steady paycheck or have your own business one month or for several months you may not earn enough money to pay your monthly chapter 13 reorganization payment. Only use bankruptcy as an absolute last resort any only if you have a steady job. You need to have steady employment for the Chapter 13 reorganization plan. Good luck!

Please write me to tell me about your credit repair and financial crisis stories. The best story received will be published in my February newsletter. Send stories to info@hefreemanenterprises and put in the Subject Line "Blog Financial Crisis Story Contest".

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I know many people did not accomplish all the things they wanted to this past year. Today is the day to start thinking about ways to change old habits. One old habit many of us have is getting into debt.

Today is the first day on the road to financial freedom.

Don't dwell on the financial mistakes you made last year. Think about how you can change your spending habits, eliminate debt, create a spending plan for yourself and avoid the Christmas Shopping blues your felt from overspending last month. Here are 5 ways to have a prosperous New Year:

1. Stop spending. Don't spend money you don't have. This will only put you further in debt.

2. Take inventory. Write a list of all of your monthly expenses and debt and write down you monthly income (take home). If you have any money left over use that to pay down your debts. If not, find other ways to reduce your expenses and gain extra money to pay down your debts.

3. Reduce expenses. Find ways to reduce expenses to help pay down your debts. Catch public transportation or carpool to work. Use coupons or shop at wholesales stores. Have a yard sale or donate unused items to charity and write the amount off on your taxes.

4. Credit Card Usage. Use your credit card for emergencies only. Don't use your credit card to purchase gas, food, clothing, etc. When using a credit card instead of cash you end up paying 112% more than the item is worth after finance charges and other fees associated with credit card.

5. Educate yourself. Educate yourself about credit and your credit rights. Read as much information as you can about credit cards. Start by reading the credit card agreement or disclosure that was sent to you when you first received your credit card in the mail. If you can't find it call you credit card company and ask them to send you one. Read the agreement carefully to find out what fees you could be charged, the grace period and other important information. You can also buy books such as my self-help book on credit repair entitled, "How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating For Free" by Harrine Freeman at,, and to help you repair your credit and get out of debt.

Good luck to you. Make this year your year to become debt free!