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MEDIA CENTER

The Money Minute - August 2012  

In this Issue

  

 

Personal Finance Olympics

Now that the 2012 Summer Olympics have ended, many athletes will return to their countries and continue to do what’s necessary to return in four years. That is to train. That is what many people forget, these athletes train for years to become Olympians. It didn't happen overnight. Few goals are achieved without encountering some challenges, working hard and overcoming those challenges. It is no different when you are working towards your finances. What is it that you want to achieve when you are looking at your financial situation? Apprisen offers a few ideas on how you can achieve your “financial gold!”

 

 Read the entire article.

 

Rental Cars and Credit

In this day and age, having good credit means everything.  It seems everyone is looking at your credit report before they offer you credit, housing, insurance or utility services. Now, it seems, you must have good credit to rent a car.  Many companies require a credit card to guarantee the rental. The only other option would be a debit card.  Even though many companies allow you to pay the final bill with cash, you will need some form of plastic to drive the car off the lot.  Here are some considerations when using a debit card when renting a car.

 

Read the entire article.

 

Are Your Debts Out of Control?

Apprisen wants to help you reach your financial goal of being debt free. Attend our free webinar on Handling Credit and Debt Wisely Wednesday, September 12th -- 12:00 Noon, EDT.

During this webinar you will learn:

  • Why credit is an important tool for reaching your financial goals
  • How to manage your debt with an eye towards building your credit rating 
  • Various types of loan products and how each work
  • How to create your own "Powerpay Plan" for paying down debt

To register or find out more click here.

 

Do you know someone that needs help buying their first home?

Apprisen wants to help them achieve their dreams by giving them the information they need to own their first home at the First Time Home Buyer Workshop.

  • Preparing for homeownership
  • Working with a real estate agent
  • Understanding budgets and credit history
  • Finding and working with a lender
  • Home inspections and home maintanance
  • Preventing loan default

Each attendee will receive a HUD homebuyer certificate of completion at the end of the workshop

This free workshop will be offered: Saturday, September 15th -- 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at our Columbus, OH office 4500 East Broad Street Columbus, OH 43213.

To register or find out more click here.

 

False Perceptions of Credit Counseling

Last month Apprisen conducted a poll on their website asking consumers why they haven’t sought credit counseling.  The results revealed that consumers have false perceptions about credit counseling which keep them from obtaining the help they need.  The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) conducted the same poll with similar results.  

 Read the entire article.

 

 

Go For the Financial Gold

Now that the 2012 Summer Olympics have ended, many athletes will return to their countries and continue to do what’s necessary to return in four years. That is to train. That is what many people forget, these athletes train for years to become Olympians. It didn't happen overnight. Few goals are achieved without encountering some challenges, working hard and overcoming those challenges. It is no different when you are working towards your finances. What is it that you want to achieve when you are looking at your financial situation? Apprisen offers a few ideas on how you can achieve your “financial gold!”

Track and Field

Many people view their finances as a sprint when they should be looking at it as a marathon. You must have endurance and be able to weather the many obstacles that you may encounter along the way. You must know where you are going. That is why it is so important to set financial goals. Are you hoping to build up your retirement account? To travel? Write down on a piece of paper your short-term (under 1 year), midterm (1-5 years) and long-term (over 5 years) goals. Be as specific as possible. Maybe attach a picture. Put that paper somewhere you can see it, such as in your wallet or on your refrigerator. This will serve as a constant reminder to continue working to achieve that goal.  

Boxing

There is nothing more painful than getting punched and knocked down and having to get up again. But sometime that’s how life feels. You must do, as the saying goes, “roll with the punches”. In order to do this you need to anticipate them coming. That is why it is important to have a spending plan in place. An effective plan accounts for every dollar coming into your household being allotted to a certain expense or to savings. Establish a weekly routine where you are sitting down and looking at the week ahead. What bills are due? What is your schedule and how will your meals fit into that schedule?  What repairs might be needed? By asking these types of questions, you will see the punches coming and be able to establish a strategy to keep them from knocking you down.

Synchronized Swimming

If you have ever watched this event, teamwork is essential in achieving the final result. View your finances the same way. Surround yourself with trusted advisors that can guide you to positive financial outcomes. Do your research about a person or company before sharing any of your monetary information. Be especially careful if they are asking you for money in order to work with you. Enlist the help of your friends. You can all work together to find the best discounts or offer each other encouragement and support. For example, suggesting going to the park instead of the mall.

Platform Diving 

Ever feel like you are free falling out of control and don’t know which way is up? Surely, that’s how a diver feels when they are beginning to learn the sport. But you don’t have to feel that way. You must have a plan to ensure that you arrive to where you want to be without creating a big splash. One of the things that might be free falling is your credit score. Things in life happen - job loss, medical issues, divorce - that could have jeopardized your good credit standing. However, all is not lost. The good thing about your credit score is that what you do today has more impact on the score than what has happened in the past. So if you pay your bills on time and focus on reducing your debt, your score will increase over time. There are also many financial institutions that offer credit-rebuilding loans that can help you achieve your goals.

An Olympic athlete has a chance to win a gold medal only every four years. The opportunity for you to take the gold, your financial gold, is within your reach. Establish your short term, mid-term and long term goals. Create a spending plan and develop a routine to examine upcoming financial challenges. Enlist the help of your friends to offer each other encouragement and support. Finally, work on rebuilding or maintaining your credit score and you too can feel like an Olympian. 

 

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Rental Cars and Credit

In this day and age, having good credit means everything.  It seems everyone is looking at your credit report before they offer you credit, housing, insurance or utility services. Now, it seems, you must have good credit to rent a car.  Many companies require a credit card to guarantee the rental. The only other option would be a debit card.  Even though many companies allow you to pay the final bill with cash, you will need some form of plastic to drive the car off the lot.  Here are some considerations when using a debit card when renting a car.

  • Do Your Homework – Research your rental options.  Find the rental car agency with policies that will work within your financial situation.  Call several branches of the same company as procedures may vary between locations.
  • Know the “Holds” and “Blocks” – When using a debit card, plan ahead and make sure you have enough money in your account.  There could be a $200 - $500 deposit placed on the checking account linked to your debit card. This is referred to as a “hold” or “block”.  This amount is in addition to the cost of the rental.  The time that it takes for the hold to be released by your bank could be up to 14 days, so again make sure you have sufficient funds in your account to cover your other expenses.
  • Expect a Credit Check – If you don’t have a credit card, the assumption is you might be a credit risk and therefore many companies are running a credit check before renting the car.  This will show up as an inquiry on your report.  If this credit check does not meet the rental car agency’s standard, you will be denied rental privileges. 

As many service related businesses have to guard against losses, car rental agencies are beginning to look closer at their clients before agreeing to enter into a financial relationship.  Many are turning to the credit report to get the information they need to make an informed decision.  That’s why you, as the consumer, need to know what is on your credit report, take action to correct any inaccurate information and create a plan to pay down your debt.  At Apprisen we offer a credit health education session that can help you do just that.  A certified counselor will review all three of your credit reports and offer you guidance to improve its content.  Call us today to schedule an appointment at 1-800-355-2227.

      

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False Perceptions of Credit Counseling Keep Consumers from Seeking Assistance

Last month Apprisen conducted a poll on their website asking consumers why they haven’t sought credit counseling.  The results revealed that consumers have false perceptions about credit counseling which keep them from obtaining the help they need.  The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) conducted the same poll with similar results.  

The majority of poll respondents, forty-six percent, indicated they are not reaching out for assistance with their financial concerns due to confusion regarding where to find substantive help.  Another twenty-four percent do not think they can afford the assistance offered by a credit counseling agency.  Many well- meaning consumers have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous businesses which charged them high fees, yet delivered little if any real help. Unfortunately, these types of occurrences not only tar the sector, but prevent consumers from seeking the help they need.

The reality is that services provided by Apprisen, and all NFCC Member Agencies, offer a stark contrast to the misconceptions reflected by the poll.  Consider the following best practices which apply to all NFCC Member Agencies:

  • Every member agency must obtain and maintain accreditation by the Council on Accreditation (COA).  COA is an independent third-party not-for-profit accrediting organization that has reviewed more than 1,500 social service programs to ensure compliance with rigorous best-practice standards.  After the initial accreditation, NFCC Member Agencies must be re-accredited every four years.
  • Counselors must understand the theories, principles, issues, counseling techniques, and forms that are applicable to credit and financial counseling, and prove that knowledge through testing on six modules related to personal finance.  Upon passing the tests, the counselor is awarded the designation of Certified Credit Counselor.  At this point, the counselor is eligible to obtain an additional certification, Certified Housing Counselor.  Professional Development Units must be earned every two years to maintain the certifications.
  • Comprehensive one-on-one money management counseling is provided with each client.  Following the counseling session every client receives a written assessment and action plan applicable to the service provided.  The action plan outlines the client’s individual situation and offers appropriate solutions, referrals and prioritized action steps.
  • Counseling services are offered free or at low cost.  Further, an NFCC Member Quality Standard to which members must comply specifies that services cannot be denied based on a person’s inability to pay.  Therefore, cost should not be a barrier to seeking assistance.
  • Financial education programs are provided on basic topics such as money management, budgeting and the responsible use of credit, as well as everyday financial life skills such as vacation planning and first-time home buying.  Workshops and seminars are taught by qualified instructors and are designed to meet the current needs of those desiring to improve their financial knowledge.  Programs are free of charge and open to the public.

The survey also reflected that thirteen percent of respondents felt that their situation was beyond help. Only ten percent felt they could handle their situation on their own.

Apprisen wants to send a loud message to consumers who are experiencing financial distress, and that message is that legitimate help is available. People owe it to themselves and to their family to reach out to us and have a trained and certified counselor review their situation.  Delaying action only makes the problem harder to resolve. To speak to someone now you can call 1-800-355-2227 or visit our website www.apprisen.com to schedule a face to face, internet or phone appointment.   

 

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