Credit, Tax time

Tax Procrastinator? Deadlines Approaching-Here’s What To Do Next

Are you a tax procrastinator?

For many, tax time is an inconvenience and quite frankly, a nuisance. Day to day life can be hectic. When you walk into your kitchen there is probably a corner stacked with bills, right? You know the one. Somewhere in there is some information about a very important day coming up.

April 17th, 2018

It is here once again and if you’ve been procrastinating up to this point, this is your ‘last call’ so, round up those documents and find a trusted resource to file for you. Haven’t even thought of it yet? No worries, you’ve got about one week left!

Here’s what you need in order to file:

1. Personal Info-social for yourself, spouse, and dependents
2. W2’s for 2017
3. Childcare expenses
4. Charitable contributions
5. Medical expenses

Additional:
1. Self employment info
2. Retirement info
3. Rental income
4. State and local taxes or sales tax
5. Educational expenses
6. Job expenses

credit consultation

What happens if I don’t file my taxes? Well, I am glad you asked!

The serious consequences that can happen are as follows:

  • The IRS will penalize you (seizing money from your bank)
  • Late filing penalties
  • Put a lien on your property
  • Garnish wages
  • Take more money as well as wages

Not to mention the unnecessary stress all this can cause you or your family. For some, filing could mean a tax refund! For others, having to pay may be what is keeping them from filing. Should you be worried about the ability to pay the money or not, the IRS still wants you to file. In an effort to help with this, they conveniently have an option for a payment installment plan.  

If you have questions about reliable resources or could use help with tax liens or judgments, please reach out to an attorney at Credit Law Center, they would be happy to assist you!

 

 

A note from the author:The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

steps to financial freedom

We Want Financial Freedom For You

Everyone is in search of financial freedom and what steps they need to take to be set for life. As a Credit Repair company we put realistic plans in place for clients that are trying to get back on the right track.  The number one question our credit advisors are asked is:

“How long will it take?”

You want financial freedom yesterday, and we want that for you, too!  The hardest part is when life happens and there is no “secret step” we have hidden in our line of work that will make you rich.

Financial Freeedom

So how do you become financially sound while living a life that you can enjoy?

At a seminar once, the speaker discussed the four step process she found that increased her revenue and sales for herself and her company. She reached a million dollars in sales in just one  year so one would think she found what works, right?  The take away from her entire spiel was her discipline and the sacrifices she made for her success. She didn’t have a secret sauce at all, just the drive and the determination. If that isn’t you, this article may still be the kick in the pants you need!

Ask yourself, “What am I willing to sacrifice now, for financial freedom later?”

There’s not one trick or answer that will blow your mind that you’ll find online or at a seminar that will make you a master money manager other than the will power.

Here’s a good starting point though:

1. Write your goals for financial freedom-put those on a vision board and hang it in your office, your home, wherever you spend a significant amount of time.

2. Slow and steady wins the race. Working over time? Put those funds straight to savings.

3. Save immediately from your paycheck. Increase the rate by 1% every six months.

4. Outstanding debts-pay the one with the lowest balance off first!

5. Rewire your thinking about saving money- think pleasure in saving not pain.

6. Plan for each day in advance-this allows for tracking and limiting unnecessary spending.

A note From The Author:The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Does unemployment affect my credit?

Does unemployment affect my credit?

Unfortunately job loss is something many American’s experience in their lifetime. The loss of a job means financial hardships, which directly affects our consumer’s credit. Here is what you need to know about how job loss can affect your credit scores.

Loss of Savings:
Money that was saved for emergency may have to be used. It is hard to replenish those funds but for times like these, this is why that savings is vital!If you did not have a great credit score prior to losing the job, you may look into a secured card. A secured card requires the consumer to open an account with the issuing bank. If you do not have the money to put down the deposit for the card, this will not be a route you can take. Your savings may start to dwindle but hopefully those depleting funds will be able to be replenished after you secure new employment.

Late Pays:
If you experience long term unemployment, unfortunately your credit will be greatly impacted! If you fall behind 90 days late, this is a serious delinquency and will dramatically drop your scores. You may want to read the blog here on late payments. At this point, the last thing folks are worried about is their credit score, especially if they have a family to care for. Does this sound like something you have gone through? Let us take a look at your report to see what we can do.

High Balances:
Making minimum payments on credit cards will start to hurt your scores. You will start to see your credit score decline when the balances and interests start climbing. Once that balance reaches above 30% of the limit, your scores start to reflect it in a negative way.

 

 

 

Ways unemployment does not hinder a credit score

If you are unemployed, rest assured that anyone that is looking at your credit report will not know. There are not any boxes on a report marked that a lender, employer, or insurance company would be able to see. Unemployment claims are not public record and benefits are not debts. You are not obligated to repay those unemployment benefits at all, so thankfully this will not be a dark cloud lingering with the rest of your bills after you are back on your feet.

Change in Income:

Though credit reports used to contain your salary, that is now a thing of the past. The difference in income will not show up, however if you are applying for loans you should expect to have to provide documentation and proof of income.

At Credit Law Center we understand that while financial hardships may fall on a consumer,  often there is more to the story than not paying bills. The credit bureau’s do not care what our consumer’s go through. We want to help you get your buying power back and get you back on your feet! If you are in need of a FREE consultation please visit our website and talk to an advisor!

A note From The Author:The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Do you prefer brick and mortar or online lending?

Brick and Mortar vs. Online Lending-What do you prefer?

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions a person can make—and in all reality, there is no easy button. Finding the right home is a daunting task! Whether you are in the process of buying currently or have purchased a home in the past, the mountain of paperwork may still be haunting you.
So what is the new trend in the home buying process?

Online applications!
As of 2016, the online lending community made a surge! It makes sense, as somehow our lives are becoming more and more busy with work, kids, etc.
Supposedly the shift in trends directly correlates to the smart phone savvy millennial home-buyers. As a millennial myself, I feel everything is based off of accessibility, but I still want the personal touch when I look into buying the largest physical asset/debt I take on. Maybe I am in the minority here? As we continue to see a shift in the way social media and marketing evolves it is pertinent to appeal to the masses, but is the mortgage process one that you want to make via an online lending company or a brick and mortar lender?

Let’s discuss a little further here.

Brick and Mortar:
The phrase, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it comes to mind. Remember all that paperwork mentioned before? This is where it comes into play now. Apparently, the mounds of paperwork is just too much. It makes sense! You have to bring W2’s, pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns and profit loss statements in to the lender. The same goes for your spouse or co-borrower that is on the loan as well. But on the flip side of that, you have someone to walk you through the entire process and someone you can rely on for questions and feedback. Person to person interaction is irreplaceable and because everything is now online,  I am even more interested in more of the face to face human interaction.

 

Online:
Online mortgage lenders typically are licensed in several states. This is very appealing! Most of these companies are not affiliated with a bank or are non-bank lending institutions. In turn, they aren’t held to the same federal oversight that a bank is so the process can be sped up, another appealing aspect!

Online lenders reduce that timely documentation headache discussed previously. It would seem with the online lending process, the turn around closing time is quicker too. As with brick and mortar mortgages, online lenders also have varying fee structures. Shop around and compare rate quotes when you are working with online lending. Remember, cheaper is not always better.

All in all, the consumer wins! Online lending has made the process quick and easy for the consumer, and brick and mortar companies are allowing for a good mix of face to face and easy access online for their borrowers as well. As always, it is up to the consumer on their own preference of how this transaction works out. What would you prefer?

A Note From The Author:The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Improve a credit score in the next 24 hours!

Three things you can do in the next 24 hours to improve a credit score. Two of the three options do not cost you any money!

Credit Law Center explains three things to do to improve a credit score in the next 24 hours. First, add a new account or become an authorized user. Second, is to pay down your credit cards or balances. Third, pay for deletion. We have broken these tips down for consumers to understand what will work best or what fits with their current situation.

Add new account/authorized user: Adding a new account will not cost you any money. Becoming an authorized user to an account that is in great standing (spouse, parent, sibling) will immediately impact your own credit report. If you do not have a good mix of credit, this may be a great option. We tell clients two revolving and two installments is a good, healthy mix of credit. If you are working with a lender and trying to become approved for a home loan, check with your Loan Officer on the authorized user as sometimes, if that is your only revolving account, underwriting will not approve you.

Pay down and lower utilization: This step, if you have some money to put towards lowering those balances, your utilization ratio will really help. Often times, people are told to pay their accounts down to zero. Another idea, if extra cash is not on hand, is to ask for a credit limit increase. This is not an excuse to go shopping, however, helps again with that utilization ratio. Good rule of thumb is to look at the report as a grade card. A credit Score is ascending not descending. So, you do not start with an A and lose points, you start at the very bottom or a 350 score and gain points based on the types of accounts you have.

 

 

Pay for deletion: Credit Law Center uses pay for deletion as one of the tactics for our clients. This is a great article on the DIY way to attempt pay to delete on your own.

 

In conclusion:  A lot of people assume your credit score is based on history so it will remember everything, right? Your credit score has no memory.  As that report changes it doesn’t remember past information, it only knows what info is had right then and there. Your scores are only calculated when a current report is ordered. It is all based off of the information that is on the file at the time. If you can change that information or update it each time that score continues to change each time. If you have inaccurate information on a Monday and it is removed Monday evening, by Tuesday it is gone. Those changes have immediate impact on the score. Therefore, if you make changes to your balances and pay cards down and order a new report, the scores will reflect it.

35% of the credit score is based on payment history. Amount owed on your cards makes up 30%. The other 35% is made up of types of credit used, length of history, and new credit. When a consumer has a late payment, it takes a long time to recover. Looking at your report and understanding the credit world is important in order to maximize your scores. If you would like additional information on how to improve your scores, please contact us!

A Note From The Author:The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Is DIY Credit Repair Right For Me?

We live in a world where people have a do it yourself mindset. They are ready to get back on track and they want the DIY way to go about it. Though it isn’t the fastest way to work, we still encourage clients to do what works best for them. At Credit Law Center we have the credit repair process down to a science in how we go about the removal of items from a report. We spend a significant amount of time educating our clients with the tools they need and if they choose not to use us and work on their credit alone, they are free to do so. If you are looking for a quick route to better credit, DIY is not for you!

Our credit advisors at Credit Law Center will not only walk a potential client through a FREE consultation, they also help in providing as much advice to the client as they can to save them the most money while attaining scores they want. Who doesn’t love free advice?

One of the questions clients ask about if they are hoping to wok on their own is  “how to settle an account to be removed from their report.” In the credit repair process, one piece of the puzzle is a pay for deletion. This means settling an account balance that is outstanding. Here is what the consumer needs to do to have the item removed the correct way with the DIY route on pay for deletion.

You’ll need to say:
“If I pay (cost of item) this item needs to be removed from the credit report. I need this documentation in writing either by mail or e-mail.” Once the documentation is received, then you may proceed with paying said item.

Next Step:
If you wish to take this task on, on your own make sure you put in writing as well for the creditor or collector and mail it certified to ensure you can track the process. As a client we do this for you, but again some folks wish to try on their own first.

The most important word in this process is the word “removed.” If it is not stated in the documentation they may not remove it when it is paid. Many consumers make the mistake of taking the creditor’s word via phone. Almost 100% of the time they will collect the money, hang up the phone and forget all about the consumer leaving them with lower scores and a paid collection. To read more about how a paid collection negatively impacts a score, visit this blog.

Cost and speed are what sets us apart. DIY will take time and work the consumers end of this. If you want to speed the process up and work with a credit repair company please give us a call, we would be happy to assist you!

A Note From The Author:The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Credit 101-What You May Not Know About Your Credit

Credit 101

Janna Fox (Director of Business Development) and Breana Washington (Marketing and Media Manager) chat about common questions consumers ask about credit repair and what myths there are about credit scores.  Credit Law Center educates consumers and encourages them to know their rights, and be more informed about the credit world.   For more information about credit reports or getting in contact with an advisor, please visit our website.

Credit Law Center Mortgage Answers about repairing consumers credit

Becoming Mortgage Ready-Credit Law Center

At Credit Law Center we work with several different Mortgage Companies across the globe and want to continue educating our consumers that may be thinking about buying or that may be in the process currently. Some clients that we work with are also currently working with lenders to get approved for a loan. Combining what we know about credit, and what our lenders tell us about the loan process, we have broken down and compiled a short list to keep you informed so you feel comfortable in whatever stage you may be in.

Here is what you have the green light on!

Do:

  • Review your credit report in depth (prior to applying if possible) and look at your credit scores-Credit can impact several things (PMI, Interest Rates, etc)
  • Communicate with your lender-Find a lender that works for you and is available for you and communicates with you throughout the process.
  • Decide what the best “type” of loan will be for you-Ask questions and listen to all options out there.

Do Not:

  • No large deposits
  • No unnecessary job changes-These can have an impact on your qualification and the way your income is calculated
  • No large purchases-Do not go buy new furniture for the new house you are pining over just yet!
  • Don’t pay off a collection during the loan process-This can negatively impact you and potentially drop your credit scores and lower the chances of you getting approved!
Mother and four kids

A Credit Rating, Not A Character Rating

The People Behind The Credit Score

At Credit Law Center we fully believe in the people behind the credit scores. A company is only as good as its “Why” and what matters to us most, is our clients. We recognize that bad things happen to great people and wish to help improve individuals buying power, like the client testimony below.

 

A Credit Rating, Not a Character Rating

“After 15 years of marriage, I began an 18 month long divorce. In my marriage, my main job was to care for our 4 kids and maintain the home. We puchased 2 homes during our marriage, a few rental properties, and vehicles. I assumed I had credit, as anyone would but figured out quickly that wasn’t the case. Because I had been a stay home mother, and only working off and on during that time, I wasn’t on any of the loans, everything was in his name.

Hope (2)

I was unaware that he emptied the checking and savings accounts. So there I was, not a dime to my name, absolutely no credit to speak of, and four little mouths to feed. I started a new job quickly after the separation but that income wasn’t enough to pay for day care cost and all the other expenses that go along with life. Within 60 days I had 3 jobs while trying my best to be a great mom to my kids. I was exhausted. That Christmas I had $85.00 to spend for 4 of my kids!

Nine months into the divorce when I thought things were already bad enough, my car was repossessed. Months later I found out my ex-husband had not filed taxes in a long time, so I then had a huge tax lien on my credit. At this point, I had no where to turn. I couldn’t rely on my family financially, and began to fall deeper and deeper into an emotional and financial hole. Establishing credit was impossible. I had a huge tax lien, and didn’t have any extra money to do anything about it.

Your Guide

Luckily, I met a credit advisor from Credit Law Center and he thought he may be able to help me. I felt like it was a huge waste of his time, there was NO way he could do anything for me. We devised a game plan within 30 minutes and he took the time to give me info for a CPA that would help me with the IRS on my tax lien. The cost for credit repair was not as expensive as I had thought and he offered to work out payment arrangements with me! I appreciated being treated like a person and it was clear that my advisor was taking my situation seriously and that he truly did want to help. That was the first time in over a year I had any kind of hope. I began to establish credit in my name, Credit Law Center successfully removed all my medical collections with in 6 weeks and the CPA he referred me to came up with a compromise with the IRS. Before I met them, I had no idea of where to start or how I was going to do it on my own. I am so grateful now to have good credit, financial freedom, and my life back.”

Are you unsure what the next step is for you? Let one of our Credit Advisors guide you back to financial freedom today! 816-994-4600

Article by Breana Washington

Nine Things Smart People Do With Their Tax Refund

Saving money and investing is kind of like that New Year’s resolution you made. You know it’s worth it and you’ve said you’ll do it but a week later you’re back to old ways. We are ready to commit to being wise with our money this year-starting with the tax refund! Here is a handful of ways to use that extra money now. Let’s work smarter, not harder this year.

1. Pay Your Debts: As obvious as it sounds, start paying off your credit cards. Once those are taken care of, you’ll be able to really start saving money by no longer paying those low monthly payments towards your cards that are acquiring interest as well. This will also help your credit scores if you are keeping your balances as low as possible while still using them.

Serious man and woman sitting at kitchen table in front of open laptop computer looking at screen with concentrated expression focused on paying utility bills online. Family budget and finances2. Prepay Your Mortgage: Life happens! This is a great way to plan ahead and  take some stress of you and your family. This will also help in reducing the principal. This has a huge impact on the life of the loan. Working smarter, not harder!

savings3. Hide it! Not literally, but save it! Put a portion of that extra money away for something bigger. You may not even know what you’d use it for right now. This may encourage you to start saving as well and continue to grow that savings up even more.

4. Prep For Future Plans: If your family is planning to have kids or expecting soon, setting aside money for the baby fund is a must. Time off from a job to stay home caring for the little one, or unexpected bills in the first few months happens frequently. Knowing that you have set aside some money may put your mind at ease and a little less stress on the new parents.

</p5. Invest In Stocks: Though this may seem risky, the benefits seem to speak for themselves. The fluctuation in the market may sound like a huge risk, but long term will be great if you have no immediate need for using the tax refund. Research individual stocks or an index fund that that moves along with the market.

stocks6. Grow the College Fund: There is no time like the present to start saving for your children’s future. A 529 plan can help you especially with the rising cost of college and the amount of debt most students incur. They will be thankful for this gift when they graduate with a diploma and little to no debt dragging behind.

7. Home Improvements: If your bills were high this year you may look into replacing old units and making your home more energy efficient. Refinishing or updating is also a great investment if you decide to sell later on.

New Sheetrock Drywall & Ladder Abstract Background8. Emergency Funds: Job loss, medical emergencies or a major home repair may force you to lean on loans or credit cards. Using the refund could alleviate a little bit of the stress in these unforeseen circumstances. Keep these funds somewhere you won’t dip into and use for things not inside of the “emergency fund” scenario. You’ll be glad you did.

doctors9. Tackle Credit Issues: Being denied financing, paying high interest or getting turned down completely due to credit issues is deflating! Look into getting your credit cleaned up with a company that specializes in tackling these issues. Research companies and read up on what they do. In order to spend your money wisely, steer clear of companies that charge monthly fees that are in no hurry to work quickly.
A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington