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March 2011

Founded in 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling is the largest serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. Find various topics in this blog, including personal finance, credit counseling, housing, budgeting and student loan help. Click here to speak with an NFCC-certified Consumer Credit Counselor.

Bankruptcy: What You Need to Know Before You File

Bankruptcy offers benefits, but it also carries significant consequences. The decisions you make when facing financial difficulty will affect your life for many years to come, so it is important to approach the issue of personal bankruptcy with care. More Than One Way Out does not provide “right” or “wrong” answers because the solutions to individuals’ financial problems will vary with their personal circumstances. It discusses the consequences of bankruptcy, …Read More

Better Fortunes

Managing your money and maintaining a state of financial health can be hard.  It can be harder still these days as we slowly emerge from the recession and tough economic conditions of the past few years.  It can lead to a lot of stress. If you feel financial stress or want to avoid financial stress in the future, even if that stress is related to events beyond your control, this …Read More

Keys to Homeownership

For many, owning their own home is the American dream. It also is one of the largest purchases you will make in your lifetime. If homeownership is your dream, it can become a reality with realistic goals, sound advice, careful planning, and a clear understanding of the costs involved. Did you know the average net worth for a homeowner is in excess of $100,000, and the average net worth for …Read More

How Your Credit Card Behavior Impacts Your Credit Score

Should I open a new card?  Should I close an existing card?  I just don’t know what to do!! Yes, I realize this opening salvo is grammatically incorrect but it is a textual representation of what goes through the minds of consumers every day when they’re trying to decide how/when/if and why to use their credit cards.  The above scenarios have an upside, and a downside.  And, as always, my …Read More

Dare to Prepare

An interesting piece in today’s Washington Post about how states are considering cuts in unemployment benefits to ease budget troubles. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the NFCC offers some useful tips on surviving job loss. However, the article makes a very interesting point that, “The shortfalls can be traced to a failure during the economic boom to properly prepare for a downturn, experts said.” This one …Read More

Financial Spring Cleaning: Tips For Tidying Up Your Finances

For many of us, the onset of spring and fresh air outside means spring cleaning inside. It’s time to swap winter clothes for spring/summer ones and to get rid of the dust and clutter that’s built up. Spring also is a great time to put your finances in order and save money in the process. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) suggests the following tips for tidying up your …Read More

The Straight Dope on Your Tax Refund

If you are like many American consumers, you are counting on receiving a tax refund next month (maybe you’ve already gotten it), and thinking about how you are going to spend it.  But what you need to know is that what you’re really doing is loaning the government your money and you aren’t even getting paid any interest on it.  Wouldn’t you prefer to instead see that money in your paycheck and be able …Read More

Should I Put My Tax Bill on My Credit Card?

With April 15 right around the corner, it’s crunch time for many of us to get our taxes done.  In fact, the IRS says that it gets 61% of returns after the 15th. About 1/3 of filers will have a tax bill of some size.  And for some, the bill is one they cannot pay.  Consumers who find themselves in this predicament do have some options, but it is critical …Read More

NFCC Examines History of Women and Credit

In recognition of Women’s History Month, the NFCC is taking a look at the evolution of credit as it relates to women, and encourages women to take advantage of the credit opportunities available to them today to establish credit in their own name. Many young women have never known a time when credit was not available to them, but that has not always been the case. Even though some form of …Read More

The Truth About Short Sales

A couple of weeks ago we addressed the downside to loan modifications.  The other fairly common method for getting out of a bad mortgage is the short sale.  Much like loan modifications, short sales are a relatively new phenomenon brought on by the mortgage crisis.  And, unfortunately, they are the root cause of an enormous amount of misinformation.  A short sale is bad for your credit, plain and simple.  The …Read More