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Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 03-31-2007, 02:28 PM   #1
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Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

My 40-something brother-in-law has gotten himself buried in credit card debt (again), and he's coming out tomorrow to have me look over a debt-consolidation loan. Are any of you aware of any websites addressing methods to dig one's self out of debt, cutting up credit cards, and budgeting basics...you know, the basics that Suze Orman and the other radio talkshow guy who hammers away on debt elimination? The more basic the better...

tia,

Cb
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 03-31-2007, 02:36 PM   #2
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

I don't know what all you'll be looking for, but here is a website that I've found to be helpful:

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/

My FIL just passed away with large CC debts and we've been trying to sort through everything for my MIL. She is not responsible for the debt, so I haven't checked this site much for personal finance habits, but there is a lot here.

I was wary initially of the credit counseling sites I found because all they want to do is sign you up for a consolidation loan. This is the only one I saw that tells you more about how to do things for yourself.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 03-31-2007, 03:05 PM   #3
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

I recommend Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book. Even better than that would be to take Financial Peace University -- 13 weeks of meetings to understand the cause of the problem. (Anyone have a mirror for your BIL?)

If this has happened before it will happen again. The only hope he has is to change his behavior.

If you've never heard of Dave Ramsey, Google him and you'll find his website. He also does a daily radio show. His advice is very, very simple but it requires the desire to change.

Without knowing the details, I can't say whether the debt consolidation loan is a good idea or not. I can say it's probably a big mistake because it will artifically bail him out of his current cash flow problem but increase his total indebtedness -- lower payments over a longer period of time that is probably at a higher interest rate than he his currently paying.

I wouldn't bother with Suzie Orman. She seems to want to spend too much time finding the best credit card deal when the cards need to go if they can't be paid off in full every month.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 03-31-2007, 05:07 PM   #4
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Is BIL ready to get out of the cycle?

A website will give him the tools, but not the desire. Dave Ramsey is pretty good from what I hear. Also, I was never in serious debt myself but Your Money or your Life was what really lit a fire under my and DH's behinds to start working towards FIRE, AND it gives some good LBYM 101 information too. My current favorite money guru is Michelle Singletary, her Spend Well, Live Rich is a good primer as well. Read one of Suze's books, it didn't do a whole lot for me honestly.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 03-31-2007, 05:27 PM   #5
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cb
Are any of you aware of any websites addressing methods to dig one's self out of debt, cutting up credit cards, and budgeting basics...
The Dollar Stretcher-- http://www.stretcher.com/index.cfm

I'd recommend searching it for debt consolidation info and addressing this particular question, but then I'd also have your BIL sign up for the electronic newsletter. He'll get an e-mail every two weeks (plus two additional editions of tips) that are delivered in small doses from personal experiences.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-01-2007, 07:46 AM   #6
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

http://www.debtproofliving.com/

This site was very helpful when I was digging out of my old mess. I still get the newsletters

The calculators are logical and simple to understand.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-01-2007, 09:35 AM   #7
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Dave Ramsey, I've used his recommendations for debt reduction.

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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-01-2007, 10:44 AM   #8
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Thanks everyone...I'll study up before he comes over, and order Ramsey's book for him. (Dave Ramsey was the radio host I weas thinking of)

I rather doubt that he's ready to 'break the cycle'...that was the first thing I told my wife - that if he takes out a consolidation loan it'll free up a lot of room on his credit cards allowing him to dig himself in even deeper.

He and his daughter live upstairs from his 83 YO mother and don't pay rent or utilities, and his mother paid all his cards off a couple years ago. Drinks a bit too...

I suppose my primary message for him is to let him know it's entirely possible to straighten this stuff out if he's so inclined.

thanks,

Cb
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-01-2007, 12:23 PM   #9
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WM
I don't know what all you'll be looking for, but here is a website that I've found to be helpful:

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/

My FIL just passed away with large CC debts and we've been trying to sort through everything for my MIL. She is not responsible for the debt, so I haven't checked this site much for personal finance habits, but there is a lot here.

I was wary initially of the credit counseling sites I found because all they want to do is sign you up for a consolidation loan. This is the only one I saw that tells you more about how to do things for yourself.
WM, please advise your MIL not to pay your FIL's credit card debts. If she was not a cosignor on the credit card, then she does NOT owe. Tell the credit card companies to go away.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-01-2007, 04:39 PM   #10
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Thanks, JustCurious, we are on it

We recently made phone calls and sent letters to the creditors to tell them there's no estate (ie, they're not getting paid) and we're waiting to see what they do next. Don't know whether to believe it or not, but Discover's probate collection agency called her and actually told her she's not responsible if there's no estate, and to disregard any future communications Not the typical behavior of creditors trying to collect, from what I've heard.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-01-2007, 06:08 PM   #11
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WM
Thanks, JustCurious, we are on it

Discover's probate collection agency called her and actually told her she's not responsible if there's no estate, and to disregard any future communications Not the typical behavior of creditors trying to collect, from what I've heard.
What will happen is that Discover (and all of the others) will sell the "bad" debt for pennies on the dollar to a free lance collection agency. Your MIL will start getting threatening calls as this agency goes to work. They will threaten her with ruining her credit and destroying her husband's "good name." When they give up, they will sell the debt for even less to another agency who will start the process all over again.

Then, ask for a statement for what is owed, tell them you need need written details and an address to send a reply. Don't admit to anything since they are recording the call. When you get a statement with an address, send a certified, return requested letter with the information that there was no estate, no one else is responsible for his debt and that there will not be any payment -- reference the "fair credit act." Unfortunately, this may go on with several generations of debt collectors.

My FIL (in assisted living) is getting repeated letters from an agency trying to collect from him for someone with a similar name and a very different address. They seem immune from certified letters but I actually hope they do trash his credit since he will never need it again. I don't even know if they have his SS number but I doubt it.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-01-2007, 11:00 PM   #12
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

I know I'm piling on here but Dave Ramsey at www.daveramsey.com, it's simple simple simple and that's a big reason why it works.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-02-2007, 02:37 AM   #13
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

If your BIL is not a Christian, Dave Ramsey may not be for him.

He sees his program as an evangelical outreach tool.
http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/church/

He quotes scriptures
http://www.daveramsey.com/etc/cms/in...ContentID=4236

He doesn't allow non-Christians to take his programs.
http://www.moneydummy.net/?p=424

So if your BIL wasn't he could find these as objections to ignore the advice.

I would recommend this thread on Fat Wallet.

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/mess...227686&start=0
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-02-2007, 09:07 AM   #14
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B
What will happen is that Discover (and all of the others) will sell the "bad" debt for pennies on the dollar to a free lance collection agency.
Darn, I thought it was too good to be true

This was actually a first-round collection agency, I believe, not actually Discover calling. but it didn't occur to me that they'd just re-sell it again. What a headache!
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-02-2007, 09:15 AM   #15
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B
What will happen is that Discover (and all of the others) will sell the "bad" debt for pennies on the dollar to a free lance collection agency. Your MIL will start getting threatening calls as this agency goes to work. They will threaten her with ruining her credit and destroying her husband's "good name." When they give up, they will sell the debt for even less to another agency who will start the process all over again.

Then, ask for a statement for what is owed, tell them you need need written details and an address to send a reply. Don't admit to anything since they are recording the call. When you get a statement with an address, send a certified, return requested letter with the information that there was no estate, no one else is responsible for his debt and that there will not be any payment -- reference the "fair credit act." Unfortunately, this may go on with several generations of debt collectors.

My FIL (in assisted living) is getting repeated letters from an agency trying to collect from him for someone with a similar name and a very different address. They seem immune from certified letters but I actually hope they do trash his credit since he will never need it again. I don't even know if they have his SS number but I doubt it.
It's already happened to my sister's account. However, since now we're in the probate process, the "nice folks" have only another month to answer us before they get nothing............ Of course, they get an "A" for harassment............ :P :P :P
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-02-2007, 11:50 AM   #16
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Um, I went to Dave Ramsey's seminar and didn't have to say I was a Christian. I wouldn't put too much credence into that comment. I think what the link was talking about was actually working for him as a financial counselor. It would make sense that he wants like-minded people to teach his stuff.

I don't get the idea he cares about the religious affiliation of those who want to get out of debt. I worked for Habitat for Humanity and managed pretty well to keep my religious beliefs unheard. And work in a Christian office now. Think I've been to church well, uh, none, since I got married 14 years ago. help help I'm being oppressed...

If I can weather the Bible talk on Dave Ramsey without getting insulted, maybe your BIL can too.

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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-02-2007, 12:42 PM   #17
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

During my brother-in-law's visit it was pretty clear that neither he nor his 14 YO daughter are interested in changing their behaviors...he simply wanted our endorsement for taking out the consolidation loan to reduce the monthly minimum payment on his TEN credit cards. My wife and I tried to frame his financial crisis problems in terms of near-term and longer term issues, but he just doesn't see much of a problem. After an hour or so he let us know that he's expecting a >$30K settlement related to his estranged wife's death* later this year, and just wants a bit of relief from the CC minimums until then.

I told my wife I'd send a used copy of Ramsey's book from Amazon and figure we've done our part.

Cb
*estranged wife had quite an appetite for meth & Oxy Contin. One night at the bar she repeatedly told her friends and the bartender that she was going to throw herself in front of a car. The suggested that she not do that. A few hours later at about 1:00am, she walked out of the bar and leapt in front of an oncoming car. The guy driving the first car to hit her was drunk...hence the settlement.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-02-2007, 01:10 PM   #18
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Cb, were I you and your wife I would make it clear that you have lots of financial obligations and have no spare cash for them. Your financial obligations are your obligations to yourself, but don't share that.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-02-2007, 09:47 PM   #19
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mclesters
Um, I went to Dave Ramsey's seminar and didn't have to say I was a Christian. I wouldn't put too much credence into that comment. I think what the link was talking about was actually working for him as a financial counselor. It would make sense that he wants like-minded people to teach his stuff.
Thanks for the clarification.

Quote:
If I can weather the Bible talk on Dave Ramsey without getting insulted, maybe your BIL can too.

Sarah
I have friends who some help but since they aren't Christians, they would stop listening no matter what the message was. Of course, they are looking for an excuse but why give them an easy one.
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?
Old 04-02-2007, 09:54 PM   #20
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Re: Any website recommendation on 'debt counseling'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cb
After an hour or so he let us know that he's expecting a >$30K settlement related to his estranged wife's death* later this year, and just wants a bit of relief from the CC minimums until then.
Raise your hand if you think the settlement will be gone in 9-12 months and the BIL will be using the credit cards again.
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