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