General articles discussing everything one needs to know about debt relief and how it ties into your personal finance situation.
It is common knowledge that men and women think, act, and function in ways that vastly differ from one another. There are proven scientific reasons why men and women operate differently concerning many different factors. Biological makeup of males and females may be the root of those differences and the reason the sexes handle money and credit issues very differently.
How men and women manage money matters particularly when the genders are joined in marriage and legally responsible for joint debts and personal financial issues. It is important that both parties understand their different perspectives on money matters, preferably before marriage, in order to keep cash conflicts at bay. Being on the same financial page in a relationship is certainly an important element to consider long before making commitments, financial or otherwise.
Here are 12 ways men and women tend to differ where money and credit is concerned:
1. Amount of Credit
Despite some popular beliefs, men are the gender more likely to have the most creditor accounts, including personal loans, mortgages, and car financing. Women, on the other hand, are more apt to have a greater number of credit card accounts. This may be due to practicality as women tend to deal with family money matters and are more in control of making buying choices and regular spending decisions.
2. New Offers of Credit
Those offers you receive in the mail notifying you of new credit card deals are not handled the same way by men and women. Men tend to dispose of these offers and other mail considered to be junk directly in the trash can. Women are more inclined to collect the unneeded mail and take care to shred and dispose of the information as recommended by financial experts.
3. Credit Spending
Women tend to carry more credit card accounts but it is the men who have the higher monthly credit card balances. Men carry higher debt loads on credit despite their more infrequent use of the cards. On average, men beat out women’s credit card balance by several thousand dollars.
4. Money Talk
While it is essential for couples to have an open line of communication about family financial matters, women tend to be more communicative about money issues whereas a man will keep financial details to themselves.
5. Bad Credit Assistance
For those who are struggling with credit score problems, men tend to not seek help unless a woman has initiated the call for assistance. Both genders almost equally struggle with credit debt issues but will resolve it in different way with females being more aware of their financial situation and therefore reaching out for help when they become overwhelmed.
6. Filing for Bankruptcy
According to a report completed by the United States Department of Justice Trustees Office, women are more likely to follow legal procedure when they realize their debts are out of control. While men tend to have more credit card debt than women, men will only seek bankruptcy relief if they are facing a critical situation. Women tend to plan more for handling debt issues in a legal manner.
7. Business Credit Use
Women-owned businesses tend to use credit card accounts to pay for the needs of the business. Male-owned businesses most often establish accounts where the supplies and equipment are acquired on a ‘pay later’ basis.
8. Medical Bills
Several surveys conducted by various insurance companies have revealed that men are more likely to pay for medical care costs using a credit card. Women use credit cards for medical bills but are more likely to request a reasonable payment plan for services being rendered unless it is for emergency care.
9. Savings Theories
Single men are less likely to focus on saving during the times they are seeking a relationship. There is more of an emphasis on using credit card to establish financial power. Married women are most likely to concern themselves with savings goals relevant to the needs of the family in the short and long term.
10. Shopping Skills
Women are well-known to be the shoppers. In addition to pleasure shopping, women are typically in charge of household buying decisions including home décor, groceries, and necessities. Men tend to shop only when necessary but have a tendency to make bigger ticket purchases. Men also tend to be more focused on what needs to be a purchased while a women is more likely to comparison shop for personal items and household goods.
11. Money Temptations
Women may be more inclined to snap up an impulse buy or tempt financial fate with window shopping trips. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to avoid impulse buys and put an emphasis on researching purchases before spending.
12. Financial Organization
While men do participate in financial decision-making, women are more likely to be the person in charge of handling monthly financial obligations. She will pay the bills, balance the checkbook, file and maintain financial documents, and keep financial matters organized.
Granted there are exceptions to each of these categories where men would rather take the reigns over money matters. Obviously single men and women will handle financial issues differently than married couples would. However, the general consensus appears to be that women tend to pre-plan financially whereas men participate on an as-needed basis, when matters necessitate their input.
Both sexes are becoming more involved in realizing the importance of good credit ratings and cutting down on spending. Debt elimination is also becoming more of a priority for both sexes who are dealing with the consequences of a shaky US economy and unsure job market. Personal finance has become a focus for both genders across the nation with more emphasis being placed on savings. There is also focus on more efficient personal and household financial management skills and an increased desire for financial literacy among both men and women.
The differences between males and females when it comes to married money matters and credit issues may work in the favor of some couples who have different money perspectives. It may also be a conflict difficult to overcome for some couples without additional financial counseling. The most important matter at hand when it comes to gender difference and money is first figuring out where each one stands before joining financial forces. Men may be from Mars and women may hail from Venus but money commitments can easily become a matter of the courts.
In the ideal do-it-yourself debt settlement world, all your settlement offers would be accepted the first time around. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. It’s better to be prepared for a rejected settlement offer than to be completely caught off guard when a creditor says no.
Did you make the offer at the right time?
Timing is essential with settlement offers. If you make an offer too early, creditors will almost always tell you they don’t settle accounts. What is too early? Before 90 days after the account is past due is generally too soon to make a settlement offer. The exception is when the creditor approaches you with a settlement offer. Before 90 days you probably should let the creditor make the first move.
If you made your settlement offer after 90 days and it was rejected, the reason could still be due to timing. There are some creditors who don’t negotiate settlements until (more…)
When you settle debts on your own, without the help of a third-party settlement company, it’s up to you to negotiate the settlements. Confidence may play a major role in many successful negotiations. Knowing what to say may be another big component. When you’re talking to your creditors, you should follow these tips to possibly talk your way into a settlement offer that meets your budget.
Wait until the right time.
This may be the most important rule in negotiating a debt settlement. If you approach debt settlement at the wrong time, not only could your offer be turned down, the creditor could turn your debt over to a collection attorney since they know your intent is to settle the account. In general, 90 days past due is a good time to mention settlement. You can wait another 30 days if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Gauge the creditor’s interest in settling the account.
When you’re dealing with the original creditor, it’s probably a good idea to feel out their willingness to settle the account before you make an offer. For example, you might say something like, “I may be able to (more…)
Some of the negative consequences of debt settlement are well publicized – damage to your credit score, high fees to debt settlement firms, and taxes owed to the IRS. But, you should not really rule out debt settlement until you educate yourself about each of these consequences.
Your Credit Score
It’s true, debt settlement will likely hurt your credit score, but the alternatives also may have an effect on your credit. Bankruptcy may significantly decrease your credit score. Credit counseling can keep you from getting new credit. Debt consolidation could raise your credit utilization. If you’re already behind on your payments when you decide to go with debt settlement, your credit has probably already been hurt by the missed payments.
Also, credit score damage doesn’t have to last forever. Once you’re finished settling all your debts, you could start rebuilding your credit. Take the right steps and it might not be long until your credit score is increasing and you’re getting offers for better credit and higher limits.
Debt Settlement Fees
Thanks to a recently amended law, many debt settlement companies are prohibited from (more…)
Thanks to the recent amended federal law on debt settlement companies, the number of debt settlement scams has probably been reduced. The amended law makes it illegal for most for-profit debt settlement firms to charge upfront fees. Unfortunately, some companies may find ways to get around the law which means you should still do your homework when it comes to choosing a debt settlement company.
How Much Do You Have to Pay Upfront?
Even non-profit debt settlement agencies may charge upfront fees for taking on your debt settlement case. But this fee should be minimal, possibly around $100 or less and you shouldn’t have to pay a fee until you’ve decided to sign up for the service. In addition, you should not have to pay a fee for settlement services until after the company has successfully negotiated a settlement for you. This is essentially the law for those for-profit companies subject to the Telemarketing Sales Rule so non-profit settlement companies hopefully should follow the same rule of thumb.
Assessment of Your Situation
A reputable debt settlement company will probably (more…)
In debt settlement, you’ll often have to deal with third-party debt collectors who’ve either been assigned your debt by the original creditor or they’ve purchased the debt and own it completely. One of the tactics you might be able to use to buy more time with collectors is debt validation. Not only does it possibly give you a few more weeks to come up with a settlement, it can also assure that you pay only the collectors who are authorized to collect on your debts.
What is Debt Validation?
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors have to give you a written notice informing you of your right to receive verification of your debt. This debt validation notice must be sent to you within five days of the first contact from a debt collector.
When you make a debt validation request, you’re asking the debt collector to send proof that the debt is yours and that they’re authorized by the original creditor to collect that debt from you. Once the debt collector receives your debt validation notice, they must stop collection activity on your account. That means no more calls or letters until they send the debt validation.
Your debt validation request must be (more…)
Once you decide that debt settlement is the best route for handling your debts, you then have the task of deciding whether you should hire a debt settlement company or if you should do it yourself. As with many financial decisions, there are pros and cons to both options.
Hiring a Debt Settlement Service
The biggest advantage probably of hiring a debt settlement service, assuming you choose an experienced and reputable service, is that you have a company working for you who knows what they’re doing. Since they’ve probably worked with numerous customers and creditors, they’ve likely developed some techniques that help them successfully settle debts for less money. This is experience you don’t have unless you’ve settled debts before.
A hard part about hiring a settlement service is that you have to find a reputable service. There are debt settlement companies who take their customer’s money without doing much debt settling. These companies have given debt settlement a bad reputation. Not all companies are bad like that though. You probably have to take the time to find the good ones.
You’ll also have to pay a fee for (more…)
As you may know, the federal government recently amended existing laws to essentially prevent debt relief companies from taking advantage of consumers. These laws apply to for-profit debt settlement companies who take inbound or make outbound interstate calls to enroll consumers in a debt settlement program.
Basic Rules of the Amended Debt Settlement Laws
The amended rules state that these companies cannot charge fees upfront for their services. In other words, fees cannot be charged until a debt has been settled, memorialized in writing and a payment has been made to the creditor. Not only that, if there are multiple debts to be settled, then the fees must be structured in a way that the consumer only pays for the debt that’s been settled, not all the debts at one time.
The rules also state that consumers must have access to their dedicated account when the debt settlement service uses one. The dedicated account is the account that’s typically used to accumulate funds for a debt settlement payment. The account must be at an insured financial institution and the debt settlement firm can’t be affiliated with the financial institution or receive a benefit for accounts open there.
Some debt settlement companies are exempt from (more…)
One of the major drawbacks of debt settlements is that your accounts probably have to become delinquent before your creditors will consider settling them. As long as your accounts are current creditors probably won’t think twice about giving you a debt settlement. They might even tell you that settlement isn’t an option. That would be because they really have no incentive to settle an account that’s being paid on time. However, when your account is delinquent and in danger of not being collected, the creditor might want to recoup as much of your balance as possible, even if it means accepting less than what’s owed.
If you decide you want to go the debt settlement route, then you’ll probably have to stop paying your credit cards and other debts. You should only stop paying the debts you plan to settle and keep up your monthly payments on all the accounts that you don’t intend to settle. When your creditors don’t receive payment from you, they’ll probably start taking actions to convince you to make payment on your account. If you’re not ready for this process, it could be overwhelming and you might end up doing something that could hurt your ability to settle your account.
30 Days Past Due
Your creditors may begin calling you or (more…)
In a perfect world, you’d never have to make a debt settlement offer. The credit card company would automatically give you the perfect settlement offer of 30% without you having to do anything. But, since this isn’t a perfect world, you’ll get to put your negotiation skills to good use and work out settlement offers with your creditors.
Wait Until You Have the Money
If your credit account reaches 90 days past due and you don’t have the money to pay a reasonable settlement, you are probably wasting your time trying to negotiate a settlement deal. Most credit card companies want the settlement money all at one time and within a few days after the settlement offer has been extended. Many settlement offers are one-time deals so if you agree to a settlement and you can’t pay it, you may never get the chance to settle that account again.
So, it may be best to wait until you have enough money saved up for a reasonable settlement before you tell your creditors you intend to settle. In the meantime, when you talk to your creditors, assuming it is true of course, tell them that you’re having a hard time with your finances and you hope you can work something out with them soon. Staying on good terms with your creditors could put you in a better negotiating position.
Wait Until the Right Time
It is probably a waste of time trying to (more…)