5 Tips to Master Your Debt in 2010

Michele Warg
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The world of debt has changed dramatically since President Obama was inaugurated. Whether you are going to be a master of your debt or a victim of your creditors depends on whether or not you take advantage of the opportunities in the marketplace and avoid the pitfalls. Here are 5 steps you can take now to come out a winner: 1. Learn about the new Credit Card Holder's Bill of Rights. This landmark bill was signed into law in June but fully goes into effect on February 22, 2010 and it changes the game of credit cards completely. Banks are now restricted from imposing certain fees and raising interest rates with little or no notice as they had in the past. But banks are reacting by imposing fees on cards that never had them before, and raising interest rates as high as 29.9% even on accounts that have been paid on time forever. It's time for you to shop for a better deal if your card is whacking you with outrageous fees and interest rates. One easy way to do this is to go to an objective website like www.creditcardperks.com to find the best deals for your situation. 2. Get help on your side if your debt is overwhelming. If you are drowning in debt and high interest rates and fees, you don't have to go it alone. Know the right place to go to get help. One example is a reputable national nonprofit credit counseling organization such as Cambridge Credit Counseling atwww.cambridgecredit.org or 800-897-2200 which can consolidate all of your credit card rates to 6% or even lower if you are considered a hardship case. Avoid debt settlement firms that sound like they have a magic bullet but instead will kill your credit rating and cost you thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees. 3. Use mortgage equity acceleration to pay your mortgage off years sooner than you ever thought possible. This technique, described in more detail in chapter 6 of Master Your Debt, allows you to pay off your mortgage in 5-7 years instead of 30 years with a payment that goes down every month. This may sound impossible but it is true and Americans are just starting to learn about how to apply it to their lives and save tens of thousands of dollars in interest and years off their mortgage. Don't expect your bank to tell you about this -- they want you to pay for 30 years and think there is no alternative! One simple way to find out more about this is to visit the website www.truthinequity.com and fill out a Personal Profile to see what the payoff date would be in your circumstances. 4. Boost your credit score sharply by getting rid of derogatory marks. Chances are you have mistakes or even accurate derogatories on your credit report that are dragging down your credit score. You may not realize that you have the right to challenge those derogatories and if the creditor that put them on there in the first place does not prove they are accurate to the credit bureaus within 30 days, they must come off your report -- even if they are accurate! There are websites that can help you through this process easily such as www.creditreportabc.com. 5. Pay off your student loans years sooner than you ever thought possible. There are services that will help you consolidate or settle your student loans, saving you thousands of dollars and years of paying, without affecting your credit report negatively. One example: National Student Loan Relief at 877-702-3328 orwww.studentloanhelpnow.com. These are but a few examples of strategies and resources explained in Master Your Debt which can help you become a winner in this new era of debt! © 2010 Jordan E. Goodman, co-author of Master Your Debt: Slash Your Monthly Payments and Become Debt-Free Author Bios Jordan E. Goodman co-author of Master Your Debt: Slash Your Monthly Payments and Become Debt-Free, is a nationally recognized expert on personal finance. He is the author of the bestselling Everyone's Money Book and twelve other books. For eighteen years, he was the Wall Street correspondent for Money magazine and also served as a regular commentator for NBC News at Sunrise and Mutual Broadcasting System's America in the Morning. Today, Goodman appears regularly on many radio shows, including public radio's Marketplace as well as on TV programs on Fox, CNN, CBS, CNBC, and MSNBC. He also speaks regularly to large groups such as the Harv Eker wealth seminars. Visit Goodman's Web sites: www.moneyanswers.com and www.master-yourdebt.com.

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  • Twiggy
    This has made my day. I wish all postings were this good.
  • Margery
    Great post!
  • Ethica
    That's way more clever than I was expecting. Thanks!
  • Ving
    You've solved all my problems
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