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Author: avidmarc Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308882  
Subject: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/6/2001 3:03 PM
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We are in some major debt here and wonder if the Credit Counciling Services are worth using? Has anyone used their services and has it helped you? Any help here would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks.
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Author: JLizNY Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 74891 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/6/2001 3:28 PM
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We are in some major debt here and wonder if the Credit Counciling Services are worth using? Has anyone used their services and has it helped you? Any help here
would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks.


I signed up with Debt Management Credit Counseling a few months ago and have had no problems with it. However, I joined TMF after I signed all the papers and most people on this board will tell you that you can do it yourself through bank transfers, calling the credit card companies and asking them to lower your interest rates, and snowballing. Plus, other Fools will tell you not to go with a company that requires a month upfront. DMCC does charge the month upfront, but I'll get it back after I complete the program (pay off all the cards in their program).

I had 13 cards I needed to work on, so it was easier for me to have someone else do it. Plus, most cards only lower interest rates for a limited period of time to help you out. I couldn't get any BTs, so that wouldn't work for me. I pay a set amount each month to DMCC and they in turn pay my creditors. I keep a close eye on all the statements and make sure payments are sent on time. I haven't had any problems so far. Plus, if I do have extra money I can send it to the credit cards to help get the balances down. By the way, all the credit cards will be closed when they become part of the program.

If you think you can do it yourself, try it. But, if it's beyond that, CCS is not a bad way to go.

Either way, good luck with whichever route you choose.

JLizNY :)

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Author: buckzimmer Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 74895 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/6/2001 3:38 PM
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Some credit counseling can reflect on your credit as bad as some bankruptcies, so be careful. Another concern is the scumbucket high interest rate lenders that disguise themselves as "counselors."

I can only point to where you might do some more homework on the subject. First scan through this board.

Second, check out www.daveramsey.com. He has a debt counseling ministry and has a nationally syndicated radio show. He also has a book that you can check out called Financial Peace. If you can't get his show on the radio, you can hear it using his website.

Fred

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 74907 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/6/2001 4:10 PM
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Second, check out www.daveramsey.com. He has a debt counseling ministry and has a nationally syndicated radio show. He also has a book that you can check out called Financial Peace. If you can't get his show on the radio, you can hear it using his website.

I always like to post a little "warning" about Mr. Ramsey. He *does* have good financial advice, but it's peppered heavily with religion. If you're into it, fine; if not, he can be a bit irritating.

Ishtar
(who doesn't like to be "ministered" to)



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Author: DownHomeGirl Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 74909 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/6/2001 4:10 PM
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There has been a lot of discussion on this board about Credit Couciling Services. The link below is to a a previous thread that had some pro's and con's. I posted about a positive experience. At the very least I reccommend going to get educated about your options and to get an overall finanical outlook. I would, however, not use a service that requires a fee up front.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=15034311

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Author: buckzimmer Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 74921 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/6/2001 4:52 PM
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Ishtar,

I believe I did use the word "ministry."

His Christian views do not interfere with his common sense approach to personal finance. Unless you think that "borrower is slave to the lender" is simply a "religious" concept that is erroneous in today's world.

If you listen you'll find that his resource of knowledge has more to do with his own experiences and his experiences with counseling. I'd keep an open mind before you try to close someone else's.

Fred

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 74929 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/6/2001 5:26 PM
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If you listen you'll find that his resource of knowledge has more to do with his own experiences and his experiences with counseling. I'd keep an open mind before you try to close someone else's.

I have listened to him. I'm not trying to close someone's mind, simply wishing to issue a warning in case someone might not like the approach. I DID say that he DOES have good financial advice.

I just don't like going to a site or a radio show with the expectation of hearing about finance, and hearing other things that I don't want/need to hear.

Ishtar



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Author: lisab500 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 74935 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/6/2001 6:25 PM
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If you listen you'll find that his resource of knowledge has more to do with his own experiences and his experiences with counseling. I'd keep an open mind before you try to close someone else's.

I didn't really mind (that much ;-) that Mary Hunt's *excellent* book _Debt Proof Living_ got into God and tithing to a certain extent.

However, I did check Ramsey's site. It's not readily apparent that a pitch for something other than credit counseling will be coming into the program, but if you dig a bit...

FPU is a biblically-based accountability class that teaches and trains your congregation to manage their resources in a godly manner.

Benefits:
...
Provides a tremendous evangelistic outreach tool... <etc.>


The philosophy of evangelism is that you reach out any way you can in order to bring the word of God to those who are not saved. Some religions practice it in a big way, as their members truly believe that they have a primary calling to change peoples' minds, whether they appreciate the overture or do not. And some people *really* don't appreciate being evangelized at all, and would like to know if that's where a conversation is heading.

It seems to me that you are soft-pedaling the religious side of it, when that's really going to be the ultimate purpose of Mr. (Rev?) Ramsey's ministry - nothing wrong with that purpose, nor with letting people know that yep, that's where the program is going, as Ishtar did.

By the way, nearly all of my friends are Church or Synagogue-goers and I'm not allergic to Church!

Was that a political post?

LisaB




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Author: LuluB Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75009 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 9:08 AM
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I always like to post a little "warning" about Mr. Ramsey. He *does* have good financial advice, but it's peppered heavily with religion. If you're into it, fine; if not, he can be a bit irritating

I didn't find it irritating at all. In fact, I expected it because his is a ministry. As with anything, take what you need and leave the rest. He gives good, sound, financial advice that's definitely worth a look. And if you come away with something more, great. If not, that's fine too.

JMHO

Louise

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75037 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 10:44 AM
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I didn't find it irritating at all. In fact, I expected it because his is a ministry. As with anything, take what you need and leave the rest. He gives good, sound, financial advice that's definitely worth a look. And if you come away with something more, great. If not, that's fine too.

The same type of financial advise is available elsewhere WITHOUT having to wade through the religious stuff. Being not-Christian, I don't like it. I know that there are others who feel the same way. If it doesn't bother you, that's great, use him.

I have a friend who is very Christian that needed help and I referred her to Mr. Ramsey, because his message would speak to her.

But I would not blanket refer him to everyone. I prefer that when people like Mr. Ramsey are referred that there is a reference to his primary motivation being religion so that others that feel the same way I do don't waste their time.

Ishtar

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Author: CherryCAS Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75038 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 10:46 AM
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We are in some major debt here and wonder if the Credit Counciling Services are worth using? Has anyone used their services and has it helped you?

CCCS can be of great help to those who are drowning in debt but they are not all created equal so visiting more than one center might be a good idea. Personally, I have had a good experience with them.

CCCS will help get the interest rates lowered (or even eliminated) on your cards and they will consolidate all your payments into one. CCCS will charge you a monthly fee anywhere from $5 – $20 for this service. There is no money charged upfront. Their counseling is free and they will also help you set up a budget.

While you are on their payment plan, it will be noted on your credit reports that you are in CCCS. Whether it's viewed as a negative or positive depends on the loan officer (I will tell you this: 100% of loan officers view bankruptcy as a major negative whereas CCCS is just a ding). However, once your debt is paid off, that "ding" is removed and you are on your way to a better credit rating.

If you can get the interest rates lowered on your cards by yourself, that is even better. If not, and the minimums are getting harder and harder to pay, then I recommend using CCCS. Here is a number where you can find the closest CCCS office near you: (800) 388-2227

Good luck,
Cherry


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Author: LuluB Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75042 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 11:03 AM
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The same type of financial advise is available elsewhere WITHOUT having to wade through the religious stuff. Being not-Christian, I don't like it. I know that there are others who feel the same way. If it doesn't bother you, that's great, use him

I think whether you are Christian or not is irrelevant. I've never read a book that I agree with 100% anyway, so I could care less. Anytime you go to a ministry for financial information, you will get the Christian stuff thrown in. It's just part and parcel of what they do.

It is also true that you can get financial advice elsewhere, but to *not* look for good financial information because of a Christian message that you could easily gloss over is, in my mind, throwing the baby out with the bath water.

:))

Louise

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Author: buckzimmer Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75064 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 12:31 PM
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<<The same type of financial advise is available elsewhere WITHOUT having to wade through the religious stuff. >>

Who?

I've never heard anyone that offers good advice to get rid of credit cards. I've heard other criticize specific companies, but no one that I have heard has ever challenged the consumer's behavior as a problem the way he does.

I'd be curious to know. I know there are alot of books, but the radio show format is pretty easy to follow with a busy schedule.

Fred

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75071 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 1:04 PM
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I've never heard anyone that offers good advice to get rid of credit cards. I've heard other criticize specific companies, but no one that I have heard has ever challenged the consumer's behavior as a problem the way he does.

I'd be curious to know. I know there are alot of books, but the radio show format is pretty easy to follow with a busy schedule.


Well, there's the Motley Fool radio show, if you insist on radio shows. I know I've heard another national show on a local station here, I can't think of the guy's name, I'll post it if I can find it. George Chamberlain is one local guy; but I know that there is at least one national radio show out there besides Mr. Ramsey. There is one woman who is very practical that I used to listen to on weekends in Tampa, her show was national, but can't remember her name.

I prefer books and webpages to radio shows and just off the top of my head there is here, Suze Orman, Mary Hunt, Ric Edelman (does he have a radio show? He was on Oprah this week, anyone catch it?) Lots more that I can't think of at the moment.

The woman that does some personal finance reporting for NBC on the Today show is against credit cards.

Ishtar

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75075 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 1:35 PM
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I've never heard anyone that offers good advice to get rid of credit cards. I've heard other criticize specific companies, but no one that I have heard has ever challenged the consumer's behavior as a problem the way he does.

I'd be curious to know. I know there are alot of books, but the radio show format is pretty easy to follow with a busy schedule.





Link to a webcast call in radio show called "money help"

http://radio.about.com/tvradio/radio/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.moneyhelp.com%2F


This one is called Sound Money http://radio.about.com/tvradio/radio/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.soundmoney.org%2F

Bruce Williams (forgot about him; used to listen when I worked a night shift)
http://radio.about.com/tvradio/radio/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.brucewilliams.com%2F


Is that enough? Do you need more?

Ishtar



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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75085 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 2:05 PM
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Here's another one!

The financial advisors: Plays on KOGO 600 on Sat mornings in San Diego
http://www.thefinancialadvisors.com/ Don't know if it's local.

Ishtar




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Author: aja91 Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75089 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 2:23 PM
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I didn't find it irritating at all. In fact, I expected it because his is a ministry. As with anything, take what you need and leave the rest. He gives good, sound, financial advice that's definitely worth a look. And if you come away with something more, great. If not, that's fine too.

The same type of financial advise is available elsewhere WITHOUT having to wade through the religious stuff. Being not-Christian, I don't like it. I know that there are others who feel the same way. If it doesn't bother you, that's great, use him.


Here's the non-religious summary of his plan:

(1) Save $1000 for a mini-emergency fund. If needed, sell extra "stuff" to make this happen quickly. Pay minimum on all debt, and minimize/cease all retirement fund/education fund contributions at this time.

(2) "Snowball" all non-mortgage debt. This means you come up with extra money to put towards the first debt each month, then roll that whole payment into paying off the second debt, and so on. Dave has you order by lowest-to-highest balance, rather than interest rate. Again, minimize/cease all retirement fund contributions at this time. Do not charge anything else during this time - save the money up for any purchase in a "sinking fund" and use that money as your "credit card."

(3) Finish funding emergency fund. This is 3-6 months of living expenses. (Yes, you guessed it, no IRAs of 401k just yet).

(4) Fully fund all available retirement vehicles - 401(k)/403(b) and Roth IRA being the preferred mechanisms. No need to put more than 15% of your income combined in these accounts.

(5) Fully fund college education for children, if any. Use Educational Savings Accounts (aka Educational IRAs) up to the maximum, and supplement with UTMA/UGMA accounts.

(6) Pay off the mortgage on your home.

I have some financial concerns with this -- I think you can certainly apply more than 15% to retirement if you're so inclined. I also think it makes sense to investigate 529 plans if you're saving for a child's college education. And then there's old "should I invest or pay off the mortgage?" question. . .

However, there's certainly a lot of good material in this plan that you can utilize, so I hope this summary is useful for those who wish to avoid Mr. Ramsey's evangelizing but do wish to hear his financial ideas. (If you don't mind the evangelizing, go to his website and listen to some of the lessons online - he's a pretty entertaining speaker).

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75095 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 2:29 PM
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(1) Save $1000 for a mini-emergency fund. If needed, sell extra "stuff" to make this happen quickly. Pay minimum on all debt, and minimize/cease all retirement fund/education fund contributions at this time.

(2) "Snowball" all non-mortgage debt. This means you come up with extra money to put towards the first debt each month, then roll that whole payment into paying off the second debt, and so on. Dave has you order by lowest-to-highest balance, rather than interest rate. Again, minimize/cease all retirement fund contributions at this time. Do not charge anything else during this time - save the money up for any purchase in a "sinking fund" and use that money as your "credit card."

(3) Finish funding emergency fund. This is 3-6 months of living expenses. (Yes, you guessed it, no IRAs of 401k just yet).

(4) Fully fund all available retirement vehicles - 401(k)/403(b) and Roth IRA being the preferred mechanisms. No need to put more than 15% of your income combined in these accounts.

(5) Fully fund college education for children, if any. Use Educational Savings Accounts (aka Educational IRAs) up to the maximum, and supplement with UTMA/UGMA accounts.

(6) Pay off the mortgage on your home.



Great summary! thanks!
Isn't most of this info available right here on the Fool? And other places?

Ishtar

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Author: aja91 Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75099 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 2:35 PM
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Great summary! thanks!
Isn't most of this info available right here on the Fool? And other places?


I'm sure that there aren't any truly unique ideas in this plan. I don't know if it's packaged the same way in other places (the financial aspects, that is). It's similar to the Fool in many respects -- both advocate getting out of debt before doing serious investing, for example. The investment strategies are different - Dave Ramsey strongly encourages a mix of mutual funds (none of which is an index fund, I believe), whereas the Fool pushes more towards index funds and selecting individual stocks with some proven approach (aka Foolish Four).

Of course, now you've got the Ramsey Plan on the Fool as well. ;-)

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Author: lisab500 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75105 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 3:20 PM
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It is also true that you can get financial advice elsewhere, but to *not* look for good financial information because of a Christian message that you could easily gloss over is, in my mind, throwing the baby out with the bath water.

They do programs and seminars where I suspect it isn't all that easy to "gloss over" the religious content.

I have had dear friends of an evangelical bent try to prostthela.. prosyla...recruit me, not with a hammer to the head, but there really isn't much hope of "glossing over" in some environments. Particularly when from the other person's point of view, it's nothing less than your eternal soul at stake. A "casual" carnival or picnic can be something akin to a group intervention, even after the easy-going "Oh, you can take it or leave it, we're just going to have *fun*!" assurance.

It varies from Church to Church. Some screed against this ministry without knowing the particulars would be terribly unfair, but I think all that's been offered here from the heathen side is a caution, not a blanket dis-recommendation.

LisaB

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Author: buckzimmer Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75127 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/7/2001 4:28 PM
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<<Isn't most of this info available right here on the Fool? And other places?>>

I suppose it is. After all Ramsey is the first to admit that he is no genius. He himself says that he has built a business on that premise that "common sense is a marketable commodity."

There are a lot of things I find on Fool to be ridiculous, too, and I wrote the editors about this a few weeks ago. The 10 steps to getting out of debt was the biggest joke. I had an editor and three writers e-mail me back (one writer was rather put out and another asked me for input on an upcoming article).

Thanks for the input on the other advice shows. I am curious about that.

Fred



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Author: khughes1963 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 76146 of 308882
Subject: Re: Creit Counseling? Date: 6/13/2001 5:01 PM
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The July 2001 edition of Consumer Reports has an article on credit counseling comparing different types of agencies. It combines this with stories on the impact of the bankruptcy "reform" legislation presently in Congress. If you subscribe to Consumer Reports online, it is available on their webpage. If not, you should be able to find it at the local library.

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