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April 2012

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.

Consequences of the Quick Fix

By Gary Silverman We’re constantly searching for the secret, simple way to get to X. What’s X? It’s different for everyone. Perhaps it’s how to eliminate soap scum. Maybe it’s a 20% return on your investments.  Consider Isabel Allende’s observation of us in My Invented Country: “The most popular books are manuals: how to become a millionaire in ten easy lessons, how to lose fifteen pounds a week, how to …Read More

Just One Late Payment
Can Ding Your Credit

By Erica Sandberg Dear Erica, This month we are unable to pay our credit card bills for the first time. We have no more money to give after paying for our house and food. My husband has been out of a job for eight months, and I am working at Target which supplies us benefits — but I don’t bring in enough to carry us both and pay the bills. …Read More

Student Loan Caution and Action Advised

By Sara Gilbert Recent Associated Press headlines, and an article in May’s issue of Consumer Reports have identified student loans as the next potential head-on collision that Americans will have with their debts in the coming months and years. A few years ago over-extended mortgagors and a loose mortgage lending environment helped to initiate the economic slow-down we have been experiencing. Now some are suggesting that student loan repayment difficulties will …Read More

NFCC Launches Independent
Foreclosure Review Line

By Gail Cunningham The NFCC is pleased to announce that it has established a dedicated toll-free number, (877) 339-6322, to assist homeowners nationwide who may be eligible for an independent foreclosure review. The funding for this service has been made possible through a grant from Bank of America. In April 2011, the Federal Reserve Board issued enforcement actions against a group of large mortgage servicers. Under these actions, 14 major mortgage servicers …Read More

Financial Impact of Adoption

By Jason Alderman It’s hard to think of any act more generous than adopting a child. Not only are you bettering the life of a child in need, but many adoptive parents I know also tell me it’s the most personally rewarding thing they’ve ever done. But adoption is not cheap. Adoption-related expenses can quickly mount to tens of thousands of dollars. And sadly, sometimes adoptions do fall through, forcing …Read More

Financial Tip of the Day:
Determining Your Net Worth

By Drew Kessler Before creating your monthly budget, it’s always helpful to have a good sense of where you stand overall with your personal finances.  Many times, families have a sense that they have  “a little too much” on their credit cards.  But this vague sense of a problem is often not enough to trigger real action.  On the other hand, when families realize their net worth is minus $25,000, …Read More

How To Fight Fair About Money

By Matt Bell Every healthy relationship involves conflict. In fact, psychologist John Gottman, who has spent more than twenty years studying what makes marriages last, believes that “fighting . . . can be one of the healthiest things a couple can do for their relationship.” In his book, “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail,” which I highly recommend, Gottman says that how couples fight is “one of the most telling ways …Read More

Ask Stacy:
Should I Refinance My Home?

By Stacy Johnson If you’ve ever had a mortgage during a period of falling interest rates, you’ve no doubt considered a refi. But how do you know if the math will work out in your favor?  Here’s a recent email… I have a 6% interest rate on a 30 year mortgage. Original final cost was $84,700. Today’s balance is $64,000. I am also in a rapid pay program where the …Read More

NFCC Poll Indicates Americans
Eager To Improve Credit Score

By Gail Cunningham According to the March Financial Literacy Opinion Index hosted on the homepage of the NFCC website, www.NFCC.org, a strong majority of consumers, 56%, selected “improving my credit score” as the personal finance area in which they needed the most help.   What consumers continually fail to understand is that the credit score is based on information contained in the credit report. The process of improving the credit score starts …Read More

Debt Consolidation vs. Debt Settlement vs. Debt Management Program

By Lauralynn Schueckler Debt consolidation typically involves taking out a lower interest loan to pay off multiple high interest secured, or unsecured debts such as credit cards. The lowest interest rate consolidation loan is generally secured against the borrower’s assets such as a home or a car. Because credit card debts have such high interest rates, even an unsecured consolidation loan can significantly reduce the borrower’s monthly payment. With so …Read More