Planning Starts With The Basics

Written by Jonathan Citrin

When developing a plan for your finances,repparttar toughest question often is: “Where do I begin?” Before investing in stocks and bonds or buying life insurance, before implementing any change or making any decisions, you first need to analyze and understand your entire financial picture. Two documents allow you to do just that. A Balance Sheet and a Cash Flow Statement enable you to take an in-depth look at your current financial situation and make better decisions aboutrepparttar 135744 future. With a little work, you can develop these two tools and be on your way to a solid plan for your finances.

Debt Consolidation -- Choose Your Credit Counselor Carefully

Written by Charles Essmeier

Recently passed by Congress,repparttar Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 will require people who are filing for bankruptcy to first undergo mandatory credit counseling.

This is probably not a bad idea; after all, many people with problem debt could probably benefit from credit counseling. A good credit counselor can assist clients with problem debts in establishing a repayment schedule, creating a personal budget, and learning how to avoid debt and credit problems inrepparttar 135480 future.

The problem is that withrepparttar 135481 estimated one and a half million additional people seeking credit counseling each year, there will undoubtedly be more credit "counselors" enteringrepparttar 135482 market, and many of them are only interested in reaping huge profits atrepparttar 135483 expense of their clients. There are already a number of credit counseling firms working inrepparttar 135484 marketplace that advertise themselves as "nonprofit", when they actually are closely tied to for-profit debt consolidation firms. These agencies will strongly encourage their clients to consolidate debt through their partner company, andrepparttar 135485 result may be a long-term loan forrepparttar 135486 client that doesn't help them at all, but reaps huge profits forrepparttar 135487 consolidation firm. How can someone who is genuinely seeking legitimate, helpful credit counseling choose a counseling agency wisely?

*Counselors should listen. If they start pitching a solution to you duringrepparttar 135488 first fifteen minutes you are there, you should be suspicious. A credit counselor should be gathering information about you in order to determine how best to help you. They can’t possibly know how to help if they don’t understand your problem. Unless, of course, they don’t care about your problem and only want to sell generic “solutions.”

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