Sunday, April 23

WHO HAD THE HAMMERS?

331 Comments:

Blogger Eggagog said...

E-MAIL ME ABOUT THE HAMMERS!!!!

Sunday, April 23, 2006 5:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Jeremiah said...

THE EGG CATS HAD THE HAMMERS TO HIT THE CREEPS!!!

THE CREEPS SAW THE EGGS WITH THE HAMMERS AND WENT UNDER THE TABLE!!!

THE CREEPS ARE UNDER THE TABLE!!!

Sunday, April 23, 2006 1:34:00 PM  
Anonymous HAMMERS said...

HAMMERS ARE IN THE FA CUP FINAL!!! AND EUROPE!!!

Sunday, April 23, 2006 2:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm confused. but this humors me.

Sunday, April 23, 2006 6:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE HAMMER WAS NOT LOST ANY LONGER! THE CREEP IS BANGING IT ON THE LOUDEST SPACESHIPS

HAMMER WHAT BE YOUR PURPOSE!?

EGGHAMMERBONANZA NOW!

Monday, April 24, 2006 4:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Tool Man said...

I have more hammers than almost anyone else. Would you like to see them? Of course you would!

Monday, April 24, 2006 2:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Sneltrain said...

THE HAMMERS WERE NOT HAD, DON'T YOU KNOW!

IF THE HAMMERS HAD BEEN HAD, WHO WOULD HAD THEM NOW?

Monday, April 24, 2006 2:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE HAMMERS WERE THE DECOYS
NO ONE HAS THE HAMMERS

BUT THE UMBRELLAS ARE BROKEN!
WHO ARE THE SUSPECTS?

(I THINK IT WAS THE RIVER OTTERS)

Monday, April 24, 2006 7:42:00 PM  
Blogger Nölff said...

Radar checking perimeter for signs of hammers………..NEGATIVE (18ms)
Radar checking perimeter for signs of hammers………..NEGATIVE (219ms)
Radar checking perimeter for signs of hammers………..possible match---> hammer balloons (2487ms)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 8:02:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff Roberts said...

The SPAMMERS had the HAMMERS. I like country HAMMERS with my EGGAGOGS.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 6:32:00 PM  
Anonymous ONE WHO KNOWS said...

When your only tool is a hammer,
every problem looks like a nail.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous alex.r. said...

The MC had the hammers.

He gives me the creeps.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger indygirl said...

WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?

Thursday, April 27, 2006 9:50:00 AM  
Blogger Timmy said...

why are you all yelling? nice eggs, now I am hungry.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous AAARGH!!! said...

WHO'S YELLING!!!

Thursday, April 27, 2006 1:13:00 PM  
Blogger Brent Cunningham said...

May I ask you not to over-focus on the hammers? Yes, it's a way to improve your Egg Cats, and I guess that makes it ok, but a lot of people back me on that first point. I hope the rule of sense speaks to you now. Don't you feel most people are better at sledging?

Thursday, April 27, 2006 4:48:00 PM  
Blogger Lady Cooper said...

THE HAMMERS ARE MINE!

Saturday, April 29, 2006 5:35:00 PM  
Blogger sensible swim said...

I think Nolf is on to something. hammer-balloons is a very likely match.

Sunday, April 30, 2006 8:05:00 PM  
Anonymous flow_my_tears@yahoo.com said...

NOLF IS WRONG-O! THE HAMMER IS OF THE PURPLE MOON PEOPLES THAT JUMP AT THE CHIME OF MIDNIGHT! THE PERFECTION IS THAT THE EMBASSY IS INSIDE AND NOT OUTSIDE! IT IS NOT MUCH KNOWN EXCEPT BY ANCIENT SAGES FROM BRATTISLAVA THAT THE AMOUNT OF HAMMER IS INVERSE RO THE PROPORTIONALITY OF THE ENERGY OF THE SITUATION. I AM CURIOUS ABOUT THE EGGS HOWEVER, PLEASE e-maip ME ABOUT THE EGGS.

Monday, May 01, 2006 11:37:00 PM  
Anonymous flow_my_tears@yahoo.com said...

I DO NOT TRUST NOLF, I HAVE REASON TO BELIEVE THAT HE IS AN ENEMY SPY. THIS IS JUST A WARNING. PLEASE DO NOT TERMINATE NOLF YET WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. NOLF MAY BE AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER. REPEAT, PLEASE DO NOT TERMINATE NOLF AS HE OR SHE MAY NOT BE AN EVIL DOER DESPITE MY WELL FOUNDED SUSPICIONS. DO NOT TRUST NOLF AS HE OR SHE SEEMS RATHER SHIFTY. WHAT ABOUT NOLF? PERHAPS HE OR SHE SHOULD BE TERMINATED JUST IN CASE. PERHAPS NOT. I HAVE NOT YET MADE UP MY MIND.

Monday, May 01, 2006 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I AMSORRY BUT SPELLING IS AGAINST THE FUNDAMENTAL NATURE OF HUMANITY. PLEASE DO NOT CRITICIZE ME YOU BASTARDS AS JESUS MIGHT HAVE SAID. LET HE WHO HAS ALWAYS SPELT CORRECTLY CAST THE FIRST STONE. WHEN WE WERE CAVEMENT WITH STONE CLUBS AND BEARDS IT WAS NOT SO IMPORTANT TO SPELL WELL. vhbbfden

Monday, May 01, 2006 11:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE HAMMERS ARE ALIVE

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 9:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Link said...

i am quite certain that the hammers are with me. i can check.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 10:00:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I WISH I'DTHOUGHT OF THIS!

Friday, May 05, 2006 2:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You misspelled cavemen.

I believe Jesus actually would have said you damn punks get the hell off my back I'm sick of all your shit! CHRIST!!

However he naturally was a great speller with a great beard so he never really actually had to say that.

Say. Maybe Jesus has a hammer. He was a carpenter and all.

Monday, May 08, 2006 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

If I had a hammer, I'd hammer on the mountain.

Monday, May 08, 2006 9:15:00 PM  
Blogger Butchieboy said...

Way to plagiarize Judy Blume, jerkwad.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 9:36:00 PM  
Blogger Butchieboy said...

ASSBUTT!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 9:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DOES JUDY BLUME HAVE A HAMMER???
NOT LIKELY!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Judy Blume said...

My fried eggs are flatter than a pancake. How do I do it? HAMMERS!

Friday, May 12, 2006 7:32:00 AM  
Blogger Matt Brown said...

IF I HAD A HAMMER, I'D HAMMER IN THE MORNING - I'D HAMMER IN THE EVENING, ALL OVER THIS LAND....

Saturday, May 13, 2006 5:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Icipating said...

I think eggagog hit himself with the hammers...does he always vanish for a month?

Saturday, May 13, 2006 6:04:00 AM  
Anonymous John Henry said...

I'll die with my hammer in my hand!

Saturday, May 13, 2006 2:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I KNEW THERE WAS A BEAR.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 12:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the hammers, like mayordogs, are in superposition. it is unlikely they have been had.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 4:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BE AFRAID!!!!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006 7:41:00 PM  
Blogger 1337 said...

THIS BLOG ROCKS!!! LOOK AT MY BOTTLED MEDICAL DEGREE!!! EGG CATS ROCK TOO!!!

Monday, May 15, 2006 8:12:00 AM  
Blogger Jasper said...

THE HAMMERS DONT MAKE SOUND!
IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND THE HAMMERS..

Monday, May 15, 2006 9:28:00 AM  
Blogger Brian McDonald said...

I SAW THE HAMMERS OVER THERE!!! I HOPE IT WAS THE HAMMERS VERY MUCH BECAUSE IF IT WAS NOT THE HAMMERS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE CREEPS IN DISGUISE!!!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 8:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was me. I had the hammers. what are ya gonna do about it!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 4:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you liar
you never had a hammer in your life

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 7:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHAT ABOUT THE EGGERS?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 12:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Thor said...

I did, of course.

Just let me know if you need to borrow one.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 1:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a liar. I can pull a hammer out of my ass right now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Reverand Bob said...

THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH AND JESUS HAD THE HAMMERS!!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 8:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OLD ARMOR-HEAD HAD THE HAMMERS! HE GAVE THEM TO BARNACLE-BEAKS AT THE DENTISTS!! NOW THE CREEPS ARE CELEBRATING!!! THE CREEPS ARE HIDING THE NAILS!!!! THE BEARD-CREEP HAS HIDDEN THE NAILS IN HIS BEARD-WIGS!!!!!

Thursday, May 18, 2006 7:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congratulations mayor dogs on his new back-hammers

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 8:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jake Morris said...

BEARD-CREEP LOST A LEG IN THE CREEP-VEGGIE WAR!!! HE'S USING THE HAMMER FOR A LEGS!!! THEY ARE STALKING THE CERELY STICKS!!! BOMB'S AWAY GO THE EGGS!!! GALLA-MA-MOOSH~ BEAR-CREEP MET A CREAMY EGG END!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 5:59:00 AM  
Blogger Jake Morris said...

SPELT CELERY'S WRONG IN THE BLOGS!!!


*EATS MY SHORTS*

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 6:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHOA!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 3:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Bile Langschott said...

The hammers have been right where you left them all along. They were wondering themselves where you'd gotten to. I love a happy reunion.

Friday, June 02, 2006 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Tyler said...

There's only one thing I have to say about all this.
And that's all that I have to say.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 9:25:00 PM  
Blogger Johann Sebastian Bach said...

THE SPIDERS THOUGHT THE BEANS WERE IN THE HAMMERS!!! IT WAS THE BALLOON-HAMMERS!!!

Friday, June 09, 2006 12:40:00 AM  
Anonymous dfd said...

mc hammer, we sing 'cant touch this...'

Sunday, June 11, 2006 1:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the morning had the hammers, I was in it!

Monday, June 12, 2006 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IT IS CLEAR WHO HAD THE HAMMERS! IT IS HAMMER HAMSTERS!!!

HE PROTECTS THE HAMMERS FROM THE CREEPS THAT THINK THE BEANS ARE IN THE HAMMERS!!!

HIS OTHER JOB IS INFLATING THE HAMMER-BALLOONS! THATS WHY HE HAS BIG CHEEKS!!!

Monday, June 12, 2006 12:40:00 PM  
Anonymous LAUREN said...

FORGET THE HAMMERS!!

THERE ARE CREEPS IN MY LIVING ROOM!!! THEY ARE SWIMMING IN THE FROG BOWL!! THE FROGS ARE UPSET!!

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Rach said...

THESE IMPOSTERS ARE NOT FUNNY. WHERE HAVE YOU GONE EGGAGOG? I MISS YOU AND YES, I MISS THE CREEPS, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE THE CREEPS

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 2:56:00 PM  
Anonymous the creeps said...

eggagog is a myth

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 5:34:00 PM  
Blogger Smiley said...

:)

Thursday, June 22, 2006 4:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Reverend Mohammud said...

I'm very religious.

No, I mean it.

I'll believe anything you tell me because I have faith.

Go ahead, try me.

But if I don't like what you have to say I will cut off your head with my scimitar.

Hey, beats hammers.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 7:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Saint Louis Misery said...

I AM MORE RELIGIOUS THAN YOU!!!
I HAVE GOT BETTER GODS AND MORE FAITH THAN YOU!!!
I WILL HIT YOU WITH MY HAMMERS!!!
CREEPS!!!

Friday, July 07, 2006 7:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your gods are nothing.

MY gods are the only true gods.

I spit on your puny hammers.

Friday, July 07, 2006 9:23:00 PM  
Anonymous robin said...

The religious creeps are upon us.
Heaven help us and may the cosmic muffin smite them with his (or her) great hammers.
More eggs!

Saturday, July 08, 2006 8:19:00 AM  
Anonymous holy man said...

It's not about the eggs

Allah the merciful commands that I blow up infidels and some of my own small children and a few useless women

Inshallah

Sunday, July 09, 2006 6:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

THE CREEPS ARE EVERYWHERE!!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006 2:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this just isn't working for me

Sunday, July 09, 2006 2:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE CREEPS DRIVE FLEETS FOR MOGIE-MUNDAR THE UNIX OPERATOR. SO I THOUGHT I SHOULD MENTION THAT BECAUSE THERE IS ALLOT ABOUT SPIDERCREEPS IN THIS SITES. WHEN I WAS OPERATING UNIX I FOUND FLEETS OF CREEPS IN THE DOORWAY TO THE BACK GARDEN WHERE I HAD A CIGARETTE BUT WHEN I TURNED AROUND THE CREEPS DROVE SOME FLEETS THERE AND I HAD TO COME BACK TO OPERATE MY UNIX. THE CREEPS STAY QUIET WITH THIER FLEETS.

Saturday, July 15, 2006 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous snuffy said...

Ahhh . . .

You forget the creeps' quiet hammers?

We will greet you!

Sunday, July 16, 2006 9:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Arachna said...

What's all this about web sites?
We've always lived in web sites.

Sunday, July 16, 2006 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous chubby said...

MOM! I've told you a thousand times!

It's ARACHNAE! With an 'E'. Not Arachna.

And stay off the computer web site.

I don't care if you DID spin it!

Sunday, July 16, 2006 2:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just don't get this site. I thought this was supposed to be about computers?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

COMPUTERS???

WE AIN'T GOT NO STINKIN' COMPUTERS!!!

WE GOT HAMMERS!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 7:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember when the lobster ate the pizzas?

Life was simpler then.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 8:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It used to be fun to make the blog on the computer website, but eggagog man, all these impossible left turns are just dead ends lately, who's in charge of continuity here

Thursday, July 20, 2006 1:36:00 PM  
Anonymous THE CAPTAIN said...

I AM THE CAPTAIN!!!

I AM IN CHARGE OF CONTINUITY!!!

I AM THE CAPTAIN!!!

Friday, July 21, 2006 9:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SHOOT 'em up! SHOOT 'em up!

POW! POW! POW!!!

Saturday, July 22, 2006 8:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I HAD THE HAMMERS! I ATE THE LAST WEAK! IT SMELT LIKE BANANA'S SO I PUT THEM DOWN! ALSO, I SLIPPED IN TOFU!

Saturday, July 29, 2006 7:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WAS IT ORANGE?!

Saturday, July 29, 2006 7:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CALVIN HAS A HAMMER!!!

Friday, August 04, 2006 7:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i miss fish flappers.

Monday, August 14, 2006 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous SUPER MOP TOP? said...

SUPER MOP TOP HAMMERED THE CREEPS!? THEY WERE HIDING THE EGGS!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 12:43:00 AM  
Anonymous the editor said...

Is this over?

Has Eggagog left the building?

Let me know.

Sunday, September 10, 2006 8:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

What an interesting blog!!
If only I could understand what you're getting at here....

Or maybe I do! *wink*

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger JFlickerson said...

this is the saddest thing ever.

Saturday, September 16, 2006 5:00:00 PM  
Blogger R2K said...

Um hammer?

Sunday, September 17, 2006 2:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Hammers are not bad.
Hammers are not 'evil'.
Hammers are indifferent.
So are oysters.
I love oysters.

Monday, September 18, 2006 6:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is eggagog? has he been taken prisoner by deep sea creeps?
looks like a job for the decoys.

Monday, September 18, 2006 5:54:00 PM  
Blogger london cokehead said...

BRIAN!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's OCTOBER!!!

Hammer THAT!!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006 6:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DID THE CREEPS GET YOU!!!
WHERE ARE THE CREEPS!!!

Friday, October 06, 2006 12:50:00 AM  
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Monday, October 09, 2006 10:12:00 PM  
Anonymous ME said...

IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!!!

ME, ME, ME, ME, ME!!!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 7:34:00 AM  
Blogger sensible swim said...

This is not good news, folks.

Eggagog presumably lives in the future. Nothing wrong with that as they say, but there is a problem. I have just noticed Eggagog's star sign is Taurus.

Bad news for Taurus mid 2019!

Friday, October 13, 2006 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous MAJOR TWINKLES said...

THE CREEPS HAVE HAMMERED THE EGG-DEBT!!!
HOOORAY FOR THE HAMMERBONANZA!!!
BEETLES WON'T BE HAPPY...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 9:37:00 PM  
Anonymous PING-PING O'MALLEY GESUNDHEIT said...

I'M SORRY
I ATE THE HAMMERS
THEY WERE DELICIOUS
SO CRUNCHY AND CHEWY

Thursday, October 19, 2006 8:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

West ham season ticket holder + Tickets available for matchdays + west ham united bought out by foreign business man + bobby moore was the greatest player to play for the irons + support your club + players/supporters knifed by crazed irish computer programmer + hitman dies outside house in essex + west hams assets for sale in the event of bankruptcy + national asset confirms that he is not owned by football club + tony cottee was the best forward to play for west in 80's + national asset decides the future of clubs supporters + memorial for hillsborough + totenham hotspur no longer the old enemy + national asset in talks to merge supporters clubs with totenham + free holidays to isreasi kabutz instead of prision sentances for voilent totenham supporters (and west ham untited) + queer denies interest in west ham united + americans interested in the person that knifes supporters + follow links at the bottom of link provided http://marginalfootnotes.wordpress.com/2006/05/29/martin-mcguinness-british-spy + away supporters to be given free laptops + chess players invited to coordinate matchday violence problems + all the latest news contact steaknife computer software house +++

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 4:42:00 AM  
Blogger Bobo said...

HAPPY HALOWEENS!! SPOOKY STORIES TO YOU ON THE INTERNETS!!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 6:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to really enjoy visiting this site. The concept was fresh and evocative.

Now it's just vocativ.

No 'e's at all.

That's life (lif ?), I guess.

Once again, I've been hammered.

Friday, November 03, 2006 7:24:00 PM  
Anonymous 100 COMMENT MAN said...

I AM THE 100 COMMENT MAN!!!

I HAVE MADE 100 COMMENT MORE THAN ANY CREEP!!!

DON'T EAT THAT!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am teh creeps of teh spiders

Saturday, November 11, 2006 4:06:00 AM  
Anonymous April's friend said...

I remember April.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 7:11:00 PM  
Anonymous BUSH GEORGE said...

THE SPIDER PLANTS THREW ME OUT THE WINDOWS :(

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 3:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we should make a prison on Mars and send all of the worst criminals there. Then once established they can be used as laborers to dig holes to find these spiders.

- Bill Braski, New York

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 8:19:00 AM  
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Sunday, December 10, 2006 3:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The assholes have arrived.

The end is near.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 4:12:00 PM  
Anonymous the wigs and bibs detective said...

OH NO! the hammers have turned against king winkles and eggagog he is having the attacks against him the cup creeps are helping the evil hammers. captain yoyo wigs is climbing up the wall.

Saturday, December 30, 2006 5:36:00 PM  
Anonymous the great big mulp said...

I had the hammers!!!!
But I lost them.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007 6:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i found the hammers and sold them to ebay

Friday, January 05, 2007 3:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss you. Please return to your blog as soon as possible.

Sunday, January 07, 2007 2:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Pizzafish said...

come back...

Thursday, January 11, 2007 4:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm excited

Thursday, January 18, 2007 3:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very fat.

Friday, January 26, 2007 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I'm REALLY excited!!!

Friday, January 26, 2007 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Lasse said...

Where are the fuckin hammers?

Monday, February 19, 2007 1:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Milton Friedman (deceased) said...

It would be a "terrible mistake" for the Federal Reserve to adopt any form of inflation target to guide its interest rate decisions, Barney Frank, the Democratic chairman of the House financial services committee, has told the Financial Times.

Monday, February 19, 2007 8:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan Greenspan (ret) said...

That's the dumbest I've ever read.

Barney Frank doesn't even know where to stick his wienie. Why anyone would trust him to instruct the Federal Reserve Board on where to set interest rate targets is beyond me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 2:17:00 PM  
Anonymous KARL MARX! said...

THE CREEPS HAVE FOUND THE FLIP-FLOPS! THEY ARE USING THEM TO BUILD SECRET IGLOOS IN PERU! I AM TALKING TO THEM ON THE WALKIE TALKIES!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 10:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Groucho Marx!! said...

What nonsense!

Monetary growth (adjusted for velocity) is the ONLY criteria the Fed should consider. Interest rates will adjust themselves accordingly. Inflation cannot occur under conditions which establish a stable monetary base.

You bet your life!

Friday, February 23, 2007 7:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Tarc's Anus said...

ALL THE HAMMERS ARE IN TARC'S ANUS!! TARC'S ANUS IS UNHAPPY!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 8:00:00 AM  
Anonymous gayboy said...

Well, that's one way to look at it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 3:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE CREEPS ARE IN THE ECONOMICS!!!

EEEK!!!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 7:27:00 AM  
Anonymous a puzzled old man said...

I just don't know what to make of all this.

Friday, March 02, 2007 4:21:00 PM  
Blogger blogagog said...

WHERE THE HECK ARE THE CREEPS!

Thursday, March 08, 2007 11:27:00 PM  
Anonymous SCAREDY BOY said...

THE CREEPS ARE BEHIND YOU!!!

EEEK!!!

Friday, March 09, 2007 7:24:00 AM  
Anonymous COOKIE said...

WHAT ARE THE TEMPERATURES???

I NEED TO KNOW!!!

TOO MANY TEMPERATURES SPOIL THE EGGS!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 10:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is MY banana. Get your own banana, you monkey.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 7:36:00 PM  
Anonymous eggagog said...

This isn't what I had in mind. I think I'll kill myself.

Ooops! Too late

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 7:39:00 PM  
Anonymous WIMMPY said...

I LIKE TO EAT THE HAMMERBURGERS!!!
THEY ARE SOOOO GOOD!!!
IF I HAD THEM I WOULD EAT THEM ALL UP!!!
YUMM YUMM YUMMM!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007 8:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you guys want to double check your computer for Badware, visit www.computer-repair-tips.com

Monday, March 26, 2007 11:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you guys want to double check your computer for bad eggs, visit www.computer-repair-tips.com
Ask for the head asshole.

Monday, March 26, 2007 4:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Hammer Abi said...

How about those hammers?
Did you ever see such hammers?
I mean, those hammers are something!
Can anything stop those hammers?
Those hammers could go the distance!
Could those be the best hammers ever?
How ABOUT those Hammers!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 7:11:00 AM  
Anonymous whipper said...

I tracked the wily hammers
on a dark and fearsom day.
I bit their tiny heads off,
and threw the skins away.

Thursday, March 29, 2007 5:24:00 PM  
Anonymous eddie said...

THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!!!

Saturday, March 31, 2007 8:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out this site!
They're giving away Xbox 360's!
Click here: http://freexbox360.com/index.php?referral=662477
I paid $20 dollars for 2 consoles, working on my 3rd now! I sh!t you not.

Monday, April 02, 2007 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out this sh!t!
They're giving away Xbox 360's!
Click here if you're a moron: http://freexbox360.com/index.php?referral=662477
I paid $20 dollars for 2 consoles, working on my 3rd now! I've got my head up my a!!.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 6:01:00 AM  
Blogger Raz said...

CURBISHLY HAD THE HAMMERS.
HE LOST THEM!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007 2:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Hujanalukanuram said...

I SHOW YOU THE HAMMERS FOR ONLY $5 AMERICAN.
THIS IS NOT A TRICK!

Saturday, April 07, 2007 6:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hammer those Easter Eggs! You Easter Bunny, You!
Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!!!
Jesus is just SLEEPING! NOT DEAD!!! I CAN PROVE IT!!!
Easter Bunny Ears!

Sunday, April 08, 2007 5:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worm heads will be after Santa Claus next.

Ho, Ho, Ho.

Friday, April 13, 2007 6:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AND WHO HAS THE HAMMERS NOW?

Monday, April 16, 2007 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger AG said...

THE SPIDER-CREEPS WERE IN YESTERDAY'S BUTTER AND I HAD NO HAMMERS! BUT EGGAGOG WAS IN MY RSSBLOGS AND HAPPINESS WAS THERE!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 9:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gus said...

PLEASE COME BACK eggagog!

THE INTERNETS NEED YOU!!!

AND I HAVE BECOME VERY ANXIOUS ABOUT THE HAMMERS!!!!!!

Friday, May 04, 2007 5:52:00 PM  
Anonymous senor si si said...

huevos rancheros

Huevos Rancheros.

HUEVOS RANCHEROS!

HUEVOS RANCHEEERRRROOSSS!!!

ole

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 4:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I propose we keep this blog active in comment form only.

Monday, May 14, 2007 5:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I concur.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 6:53:00 AM  
Anonymous even more Anonymous said...

I, too, concur.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 3:49:00 PM  
Anonymous BIGGER BROTHER said...

DO NOT QUESTION MY AUTHORITY!!!
I AM THE GOVERNMENTS!!!
YOU WILL DO AS I SAY!!!
I KNOW WHAT'S BEST FOR YOU!!!
DO NOT QUESTION MY AUTHORITY!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007 2:02:00 PM  
Anonymous FANCY MAN!!! said...

LOOK AT ME!!!

I'M FANCY!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2007 4:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bears have the hammers and the creeps want to get the fried eggs from the factory! The factory is in the outside window case! Dont Trust the creeps they want the chesse and eggs to lure the hammers. THE HAMMERS LIVE!

Sunday, June 03, 2007 9:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very Interesting... http://www.Total-Techs.com

Wednesday, June 06, 2007 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous THE HALL MONITOR said...

DANGER!!! DANGER!!!
THE COMMENT SPAMMERS ARE BACK!!!
SMITE THEM WITH ROCKS AND FIREY STICKS!!!
STEP ON THEIR EGGS!!!
HELP!!! HELP!!!

Thursday, June 07, 2007 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hammer Time!

Credit problems? Gone! bill consolidation to get out of debt. don't file bankrupcy.

Monday, June 11, 2007 6:22:00 AM  
Blogger syferium said...

I saw your website is very good, so you have the opportunity to sell space ads on you blog...

i receive 72$ every month doing nothing, there is just 6 links at my website)))And you're website is much more better then mine.
Payments via PAYPAL and CHECK!!

http://www.text-link-ads.com/?ref=29747

try them...


After you'll sign up here write to me... and i'll tell you how to optimize it for well... and give you several good tips...

Friday, July 06, 2007 12:33:00 AM  
Anonymous straight guy said...

syferium is a faggot.

don't ask me how I know.

Friday, July 06, 2007 8:14:00 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

Last post - Shakespeare's birthday? Coincidence?

WHO KNOWS?!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Tech Rant said...

Maybe all you hammers are belong to us?

Friday, July 20, 2007 4:26:00 PM  
Anonymous TOP BLOGGER said...

Early to Bed,

Early to Rise.

Plagiarize, Plagiarize,

Plagiarize.

Saturday, August 04, 2007 6:39:00 AM  
Blogger syferium said...

I saw your website and all the blgs are very good, so you have the opportunity to sell space ads on you blogs... And i can't find another way to contact you,sorry...


i receive 130$ every month doing nothing, there is just 4 links at my website)))And you're website is much more better then mine.
Payments via PAYPAL and CHECK!!

It's my blog, and it's a link to the review of the text-link-ads and there is all the neccesary information about it, and help guide...

There is a special category about the COMPUTERS!
http://googlegeotargeting.blogspot.com/2007/07/text-link-ads-review.html

No matter what language your website or blog has. No matter how many visitors a day visit your website, it's only depends on the PR!
PR MUST BE AT LEAST 2!!!!

IF SO YOU CAN EARN MONEY!!! LOT OF MONEY!!

try them...


After you'll sign up here write to me... and i'll tell you how to optimize it for well...

Saturday, August 11, 2007 6:39:00 AM  
Anonymous syferium said...

I will jerk you off for $5.

Ummm . . . you will take a check, won't you?

Saturday, August 11, 2007 6:48:00 PM  
Blogger Roberto Iza said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 7:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

meeg

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 7:35:00 PM  
Anonymous the bean counter said...

163, 163

Hmmmmm . . .

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 3:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hammers are everywhere :)
oh by the way .. check this :D
http://edomarcinco.googlepages.com/home
imho is the WORST site about google :D :D

Monday, October 08, 2007 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having trouble paying your bills? Getting dunning notices from creditors? Are your accounts being turned over to debt collectors? Are you worried about losing your home or your car?

You’re not alone. Many people face a financial crisis some time in their lives. Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. But often, it can be overcome. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.

If you or someone you know is in financial hot water, consider these options: realistic budgeting, credit counseling from a reputable organization, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy. Debt negotiation is yet another option. How do you know which will work best for you? It depends on your level of debt, your level of discipline, and your prospects for the future.

Self-Help
Developing a Budget: The first step toward taking control of your financial situation is to do a realistic assessment of how much money you take in and how much money you spend. Start by listing your income from all sources. Then, list your “fixed” expenses — those that are the same each month — like mortgage payments or rent, car payments, and insurance premiums. Next, list the expenses that vary — like entertainment, recreation, and clothing. Writing down all your expenses, even those that seem insignificant, is a helpful way to track your spending patterns, identify necessary expenses, and prioritize the rest. The goal is to make sure you can make ends meet on the basics: housing, food, health care, insurance, and education.

Your public library and bookstores have information about budgeting and money management techniques. In addition, computer software programs can be useful tools for developing and maintaining a budget, balancing your checkbook, and creating plans to save money and pay down your debt.

Contacting Your Creditors: Contact your creditors immediately if you’re having trouble making ends meet. Tell them why it’s difficult for you, and try to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a more manageable level. Don’t wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector. At that point, your creditors have given up on you.
Dealing with Debt Collectors: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the federal law that dictates how and when a debt collector may contact you. A debt collector may not call you before 8 a.m., after 9 p.m., or while you’re at work if the collector knows that your employer doesn’t approve of the calls. Collectors may not harass you, lie, or use unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. And they must honor a written request from you to stop further contact.

Managing Your Auto and Home Loans: Your debts can be unsecured or secured. Secured debts usually are tied to an asset, like your car for a car loan, or your house for a mortgage. If you stop making payments, lenders can repossess your car or foreclose on your house. Unsecured debts are not tied to any asset, and include most credit card debt, bills for medical care, signature loans, and debts for other types of services.

Most automobile financing agreements allow a creditor to repossess your car any time you’re in default. No notice is required. If your car is repossessed, you may have to pay the balance due on the loan, as well as towing and storage costs, to get it back. If you can’t do this, the creditor may sell the car. If you see default approaching, you may be better off selling the car yourself and paying off the debt: You’ll avoid the added costs of repossession and a negative entry on your credit report.

If you fall behind on your mortgage, contact your lender immediately to avoid foreclosure. Most lenders are willing to work with you if they believe you’re acting in good faith and the situation is temporary. Some lenders may reduce or suspend your payments for a short time. When you resume regular payments, though, you may have to pay an additional amount toward the past due total. Other lenders may agree to change the terms of the mortgage by extending the repayment period to reduce the monthly debt. Ask whether additional fees would be assessed for these changes, and calculate how much they total in the long term.

If you and your lender cannot work out a plan, contact a housing counseling agency. Some agencies limit their counseling services to homeowners with FHA mortgages, but many offer free help to any homeowner who’s having trouble making mortgage payments. Call the local office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the housing authority in your state, city, or county for help in finding a legitimate housing counseling agency near you

Credit Counseling and Debt Management Plans
Credit Counseling: If you’re not disciplined enough to create a workable budget and stick to it, can’t work out a repayment plan with your creditors, or can’t keep track of mounting bills, consider contacting a credit counseling organization. Many credit counseling organizations are nonprofit and work with you to solve your financial problems. But be aware that, just because an organization says it’s “nonprofit,” there’s no guarantee that its services are free, affordable, or even legitimate. In fact, some credit counseling organizations charge high fees, which may be hidden, or urge consumers to make “voluntary” contributions that can cause more debt.

Most credit counselors offer services through local offices, the Internet, or on the telephone. If possible, find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family also may be good sources of information and referrals.

Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation with you, and help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money problems. An initial counseling session typically lasts an hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions.

Debt Management Plans: If your financial problems stem from too much debt or your inability to repay your debts, a credit counseling agency may recommend that you enroll in a debt management plan (DMP). A DMP alone is not credit counseling, and DMPs are not for everyone. You should sign up for one of these plans only after a certified credit counselor has spent time thoroughly reviewing your financial situation, and has offered you customized advice on managing your money. Even if a DMP is appropriate for you, a reputable credit counseling organization still can help you create a budget and teach you money management skills.

In a DMP, you deposit money each month with the credit counseling organization, which uses your deposits to pay your unsecured debts, like your credit card bills, student loans, and medical bills, according to a payment schedule the counselor develops with you and your creditors. Your creditors may agree to lower your interest rates or waive certain fees, but check with all your creditors to be sure they offer the concessions that a credit counseling organization describes to you. A successful DMP requires you to make regular, timely payments, and could take 48 months or more to complete. Ask the credit counselor to estimate how long it will take for you to complete the plan. You may have to agree not to apply for — or use — any additional credit while you’re participating in the plan.

Protect Yourself
Be wary of credit counseling organizations that:

charge high up-front or monthly fees for enrolling in credit counseling or a DMP.

pressure you to make “voluntary contributions,” another name for fees.

won’t send you free information about the services they provide without requiring you to provide personal financial information, such as credit card account numbers, and balances.

try to enroll you in a DMP without spending time reviewing your financial situation.

offer to enroll you in a DMP without teaching you budgeting and money management skills.

demand that you make payments into a DMP before your creditors have accepted you into the program.

Debt Consolidation
You may be able to lower your cost of credit by consolidating your debt through a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. Remember that these loans require you to put up your home as collateral. If you can’t make the payments — or if your payments are late — you could lose your home.

What’s more, the costs of consolidation loans can add up. In addition to interest on the loans, you may have to pay “points,” with one point equal to one percent of the amount you borrow. Still, these loans may provide certain tax advantages that are not available with other kinds of credit.

Bankruptcy
Personal bankruptcy generally is considered the debt management option of last resort because the results are long-lasting and far reaching. People who follow the bankruptcy rules receive a discharge — a court order that says they don’t have to repay certain debts. However, bankruptcy information (both the date of your filing and the later date of discharge) stay on your credit report for 10 years, and can make it difficult to obtain credit, buy a home, get life insurance, or sometimes get a job. Still, bankruptcy is a legal procedure that offers a fresh start for people who have gotten into financial difficulty and can’t satisfy their debts.

There are two primary types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Each must be filed in federal bankruptcy court. As of April 2006, the filing fees run about $274 for Chapter 13 and $299 for Chapter 7. Attorney fees are additional and can vary.

Effective October 2005, Congress made sweeping changes to the bankruptcy laws. The net effect of these changes is to give consumers more incentive to seek bankruptcy relief under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7. Chapter 13 allows people with a steady income to keep property, like a mortgaged house or a car, that they might otherwise lose through the bankruptcy process. In Chapter 13, the court approves a repayment plan that allows you to use your future income to pay off your debts during a three-to-five-year period, rather than surrender any property. After you have made all the payments under the plan, you receive a discharge of your debts.

Chapter 7 is known as straight bankruptcy, and involves liquidation of all assets that are not exempt. Exempt property may include automobiles, work-related tools, and basic household furnishings. Some of your property may be sold by a court-appointed official — a trustee — or turned over to your creditors. The new bankruptcy laws have changed the time period during which you can receive a discharge through Chapter 7. You now must wait 8 years after receiving a discharge in Chapter 7 before you can file again under that chapter. The Chapter 13 waiting period is much shorter and can be as little as two years between filings.

Both types of bankruptcy may get rid of unsecured debts and stop foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments and utility shut-offs, and debt collection activities. Both also provide exemptions that allow people to keep certain assets, although exemption amounts vary by state. Note that personal bankruptcy usually does not erase child support, alimony, fines, taxes, and some student loan obligations. And, unless you have an acceptable plan to catch up on your debt under Chapter 13, bankruptcy usually does not allow you to keep property when your creditor has an unpaid mortgage or security lien on it.
Another major change to the bankruptcy laws involves certain hurdles that a consumer must clear before even filing for bankruptcy, no matter what the chapter. You must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for any bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at www.usdoj.gov/ust. That is the website of the U.S. Trustee Program, the organization within the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustees. Also, before you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must satisfy a “means test.” This test requires you to confirm that your income does not exceed a certain amount. The amount varies by state and is publicized by the U.S. Trustee Program at www.usdoj.gov/ust.

Debt Negotiation Programs
Debt negotiation differs greatly from credit counseling and DMPs. It can be very risky, and have a long term negative impact on your credit report and, in turn, your ability to get credit. That’s why many states have laws regulating debt negotiation companies and the services they offer. Contact your state Attorney General for more information.

The Claims
Debt negotiation firms may claim they’re nonprofit. They also may claim that they can arrange for your unsecured debt — typically credit card debt — to be paid off for anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the balance owed. For example, if you owe $10,000 on a credit card, a debt negotiation firm may claim it can arrange for you to pay it off with a lesser amount, say $4,000.
The firms often pitch their services as an alternative to bankruptcy. They may claim that using their services will have little or no negative impact on your ability to get credit in the future, or that any negative information can be removed from your credit report when you complete their debt negotiation program. The firms usually tell you to stop making payments to your creditors, and instead, send payments to the debt negotiation company. The firm may promise to hold your funds in a special account and pay your creditors on your behalf.

The Truth
Just because a debt negotiation company describes itself as a “nonprofit” organization, there’s no guarantee that the services they offer are legitimate. There also is no guarantee that a creditor will accept partial payment of a legitimate debt. In fact, if you stop making payments on a credit card, late fees and interest usually are added to the debt each month. If you exceed your credit limit, additional fees and charges also can be added. This can cause your original debt to double or triple. What’s more, most debt negotiation companies charge consumers substantial fees for their services, including a fee to establish the account with the debt negotiator, a monthly service fee, and a final fee of a percentage of the money you’ve supposedly saved.
While creditors have no obligation to agree to negotiate the amount a consumer owes, they have a legal obligation to provide accurate information to the credit reporting agencies, including your failure to make monthly payments. That can result in a negative entry on your credit report. And in certain situations, creditors may have the right to sue you to recover the money you owe. In some instances, when creditors win a lawsuit, they have the right to garnish your wages or put a lien on your home. Finally, the Internal Revenue Service may consider any amount of forgiven debt to be taxable income.

Damage Control
Turning to a business that offers help in solving debt problems may seem like a reasonable solution when your bills become unmanageable. But before you do business with any company, check it out with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau. They can tell you if any consumer complaints are on file about the firm you’re considering doing business with. Ask your state Attorney General if the company is required to be licensed to work in your state and, if so, whether it is.

Some businesses that offer to help you with your debt problems may charge high fees and fail to follow through on the services they sell. Others may misrepresent the terms of a debt consolidation loan, failing to explain certain costs or mention that you’re signing over your home as collateral. Businesses advertising voluntary debt reorganization plans may not explain that the plan is a bankruptcy filing, tell you everything that’s involved, or help you through what can be a long and complex process.

In addition, some companies guarantee you a loan if you pay a fee in advance. The fee may range from $100 to several hundred dollars. Resist the temptation to follow up on these advance-fee loan guarantees. They may be illegal. It is true that many legitimate creditors offer extensions of credit through telemarketing and require an application or appraisal fee in advance. But legitimate creditors never guarantee that the consumer will get the loan — or even represent that a loan is likely. Under the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, a seller or tele-marketer who guarantees or represents a high likelihood of your getting a loan or some other extension of credit may not ask for or accept payment until you’ve received the loan.

You should be cautious of claims from so-called credit repair clinics. Many companies appeal to consumers with poor credit histories, promising to clean up credit reports for a fee. But you already have the right to have any inaccurate information in your file corrected. And a credit repair clinic cannot have accurate information removed from your credit report, despite their promises. You also should know that federal and some state laws prohibit these companies from charging you for their services until the services are fully performed. Only time and a conscientious effort to repay your debts will improve your credit report.

If you’re thinking about getting help to stabilize your financial situation, do some homework first. Find out what services a business provides and what it costs, and don’t rely on verbal promises. Get everything in writing, and read your contracts carefully.




Having trouble paying your bills? Getting dunning notices from creditors? Are your accounts being turned over to debt collectors? Are you worried about losing your home or your car?

You’re not alone. Many people face a financial crisis some time in their lives. Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. But often, it can be overcome. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.

If you or someone you know is in financial hot water, consider these options: realistic budgeting, credit counseling from a reputable organization, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy. Debt negotiation is yet another option. How do you know which will work best for you? It depends on your level of debt, your level of discipline, and your prospects for the future.

Self-Help
Developing a Budget: The first step toward taking control of your financial situation is to do a realistic assessment of how much money you take in and how much money you spend. Start by listing your income from all sources. Then, list your “fixed” expenses — those that are the same each month — like mortgage payments or rent, car payments, and insurance premiums. Next, list the expenses that vary — like entertainment, recreation, and clothing. Writing down all your expenses, even those that seem insignificant, is a helpful way to track your spending patterns, identify necessary expenses, and prioritize the rest. The goal is to make sure you can make ends meet on the basics: housing, food, health care, insurance, and education.

Your public library and bookstores have information about budgeting and money management techniques. In addition, computer software programs can be useful tools for developing and maintaining a budget, balancing your checkbook, and creating plans to save money and pay down your debt.

Contacting Your Creditors: Contact your creditors immediately if you’re having trouble making ends meet. Tell them why it’s difficult for you, and try to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a more manageable level. Don’t wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector. At that point, your creditors have given up on you.
Dealing with Debt Collectors: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the federal law that dictates how and when a debt collector may contact you. A debt collector may not call you before 8 a.m., after 9 p.m., or while you’re at work if the collector knows that your employer doesn’t approve of the calls. Collectors may not harass you, lie, or use unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. And they must honor a written request from you to stop further contact.

Managing Your Auto and Home Loans: Your debts can be unsecured or secured. Secured debts usually are tied to an asset, like your car for a car loan, or your house for a mortgage. If you stop making payments, lenders can repossess your car or foreclose on your house. Unsecured debts are not tied to any asset, and include most credit card debt, bills for medical care, signature loans, and debts for other types of services.

Most automobile financing agreements allow a creditor to repossess your car any time you’re in default. No notice is required. If your car is repossessed, you may have to pay the balance due on the loan, as well as towing and storage costs, to get it back. If you can’t do this, the creditor may sell the car. If you see default approaching, you may be better off selling the car yourself and paying off the debt: You’ll avoid the added costs of repossession and a negative entry on your credit report.

If you fall behind on your mortgage, contact your lender immediately to avoid foreclosure. Most lenders are willing to work with you if they believe you’re acting in good faith and the situation is temporary. Some lenders may reduce or suspend your payments for a short time. When you resume regular payments, though, you may have to pay an additional amount toward the past due total. Other lenders may agree to change the terms of the mortgage by extending the repayment period to reduce the monthly debt. Ask whether additional fees would be assessed for these changes, and calculate how much they total in the long term.

If you and your lender cannot work out a plan, contact a housing counseling agency. Some agencies limit their counseling services to homeowners with FHA mortgages, but many offer free help to any homeowner who’s having trouble making mortgage payments. Call the local office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the housing authority in your state, city, or county for help in finding a legitimate housing counseling agency near you

Credit Counseling and Debt Management Plans
Credit Counseling: If you’re not disciplined enough to create a workable budget and stick to it, can’t work out a repayment plan with your creditors, or can’t keep track of mounting bills, consider contacting a credit counseling organization. Many credit counseling organizations are nonprofit and work with you to solve your financial problems. But be aware that, just because an organization says it’s “nonprofit,” there’s no guarantee that its services are free, affordable, or even legitimate. In fact, some credit counseling organizations charge high fees, which may be hidden, or urge consumers to make “voluntary” contributions that can cause more debt.

Most credit counselors offer services through local offices, the Internet, or on the telephone. If possible, find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family also may be good sources of information and referrals.

Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation with you, and help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money problems. An initial counseling session typically lasts an hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions.

Debt Management Plans: If your financial problems stem from too much debt or your inability to repay your debts, a credit counseling agency may recommend that you enroll in a debt management plan (DMP). A DMP alone is not credit counseling, and DMPs are not for everyone. You should sign up for one of these plans only after a certified credit counselor has spent time thoroughly reviewing your financial situation, and has offered you customized advice on managing your money. Even if a DMP is appropriate for you, a reputable credit counseling organization still can help you create a budget and teach you money management skills.

In a DMP, you deposit money each month with the credit counseling organization, which uses your deposits to pay your unsecured debts, like your credit card bills, student loans, and medical bills, according to a payment schedule the counselor develops with you and your creditors. Your creditors may agree to lower your interest rates or waive certain fees, but check with all your creditors to be sure they offer the concessions that a credit counseling organization describes to you. A successful DMP requires you to make regular, timely payments, and could take 48 months or more to complete. Ask the credit counselor to estimate how long it will take for you to complete the plan. You may have to agree not to apply for — or use — any additional credit while you’re participating in the plan.

Protect Yourself
Be wary of credit counseling organizations that:

charge high up-front or monthly fees for enrolling in credit counseling or a DMP.

pressure you to make “voluntary contributions,” another name for fees.

won’t send you free information about the services they provide without requiring you to provide personal financial information, such as credit card account numbers, and balances.

try to enroll you in a DMP without spending time reviewing your financial situation.

offer to enroll you in a DMP without teaching you budgeting and money management skills.

demand that you make payments into a DMP before your creditors have accepted you into the program.

Debt Consolidation
You may be able to lower your cost of credit by consolidating your debt through a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. Remember that these loans require you to put up your home as collateral. If you can’t make the payments — or if your payments are late — you could lose your home.

What’s more, the costs of consolidation loans can add up. In addition to interest on the loans, you may have to pay “points,” with one point equal to one percent of the amount you borrow. Still, these loans may provide certain tax advantages that are not available with other kinds of credit.

Bankruptcy
Personal bankruptcy generally is considered the debt management option of last resort because the results are long-lasting and far reaching. People who follow the bankruptcy rules receive a discharge — a court order that says they don’t have to repay certain debts. However, bankruptcy information (both the date of your filing and the later date of discharge) stay on your credit report for 10 years, and can make it difficult to obtain credit, buy a home, get life insurance, or sometimes get a job. Still, bankruptcy is a legal procedure that offers a fresh start for people who have gotten into financial difficulty and can’t satisfy their debts.

There are two primary types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Each must be filed in federal bankruptcy court. As of April 2006, the filing fees run about $274 for Chapter 13 and $299 for Chapter 7. Attorney fees are additional and can vary.

Effective October 2005, Congress made sweeping changes to the bankruptcy laws. The net effect of these changes is to give consumers more incentive to seek bankruptcy relief under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7. Chapter 13 allows people with a steady income to keep property, like a mortgaged house or a car, that they might otherwise lose through the bankruptcy process. In Chapter 13, the court approves a repayment plan that allows you to use your future income to pay off your debts during a three-to-five-year period, rather than surrender any property. After you have made all the payments under the plan, you receive a discharge of your debts.

Chapter 7 is known as straight bankruptcy, and involves liquidation of all assets that are not exempt. Exempt property may include automobiles, work-related tools, and basic household furnishings. Some of your property may be sold by a court-appointed official — a trustee — or turned over to your creditors. The new bankruptcy laws have changed the time period during which you can receive a discharge through Chapter 7. You now must wait 8 years after receiving a discharge in Chapter 7 before you can file again under that chapter. The Chapter 13 waiting period is much shorter and can be as little as two years between filings.

Both types of bankruptcy may get rid of unsecured debts and stop foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments and utility shut-offs, and debt collection activities. Both also provide exemptions that allow people to keep certain assets, although exemption amounts vary by state. Note that personal bankruptcy usually does not erase child support, alimony, fines, taxes, and some student loan obligations. And, unless you have an acceptable plan to catch up on your debt under Chapter 13, bankruptcy usually does not allow you to keep property when your creditor has an unpaid mortgage or security lien on it.
Another major change to the bankruptcy laws involves certain hurdles that a consumer must clear before even filing for bankruptcy, no matter what the chapter. You must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for any bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at www.usdoj.gov/ust. That is the website of the U.S. Trustee Program, the organization within the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustees. Also, before you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must satisfy a “means test.” This test requires you to confirm that your income does not exceed a certain amount. The amount varies by state and is publicized by the U.S. Trustee Program at www.usdoj.gov/ust.

Debt Negotiation Programs
Debt negotiation differs greatly from credit counseling and DMPs. It can be very risky, and have a long term negative impact on your credit report and, in turn, your ability to get credit. That’s why many states have laws regulating debt negotiation companies and the services they offer. Contact your state Attorney General for more information.

The Claims
Debt negotiation firms may claim they’re nonprofit. They also may claim that they can arrange for your unsecured debt — typically credit card debt — to be paid off for anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the balance owed. For example, if you owe $10,000 on a credit card, a debt negotiation firm may claim it can arrange for you to pay it off with a lesser amount, say $4,000.
The firms often pitch their services as an alternative to bankruptcy. They may claim that using their services will have little or no negative impact on your ability to get credit in the future, or that any negative information can be removed from your credit report when you complete their debt negotiation program. The firms usually tell you to stop making payments to your creditors, and instead, send payments to the debt negotiation company. The firm may promise to hold your funds in a special account and pay your creditors on your behalf.

The Truth
Just because a debt negotiation company describes itself as a “nonprofit” organization, there’s no guarantee that the services they offer are legitimate. There also is no guarantee that a creditor will accept partial payment of a legitimate debt. In fact, if you stop making payments on a credit card, late fees and interest usually are added to the debt each month. If you exceed your credit limit, additional fees and charges also can be added. This can cause your original debt to double or triple. What’s more, most debt negotiation companies charge consumers substantial fees for their services, including a fee to establish the account with the debt negotiator, a monthly service fee, and a final fee of a percentage of the money you’ve supposedly saved.
While creditors have no obligation to agree to negotiate the amount a consumer owes, they have a legal obligation to provide accurate information to the credit reporting agencies, including your failure to make monthly payments. That can result in a negative entry on your credit report. And in certain situations, creditors may have the right to sue you to recover the money you owe. In some instances, when creditors win a lawsuit, they have the right to garnish your wages or put a lien on your home. Finally, the Internal Revenue Service may consider any amount of forgiven debt to be taxable income.

Damage Control
Turning to a business that offers help in solving debt problems may seem like a reasonable solution when your bills become unmanageable. But before you do business with any company, check it out with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau. They can tell you if any consumer complaints are on file about the firm you’re considering doing business with. Ask your state Attorney General if the company is required to be licensed to work in your state and, if so, whether it is.

Some businesses that offer to help you with your debt problems may charge high fees and fail to follow through on the services they sell. Others may misrepresent the terms of a debt consolidation loan, failing to explain certain costs or mention that you’re signing over your home as collateral. Businesses advertising voluntary debt reorganization plans may not explain that the plan is a bankruptcy filing, tell you everything that’s involved, or help you through what can be a long and complex process.

In addition, some companies guarantee you a loan if you pay a fee in advance. The fee may range from $100 to several hundred dollars. Resist the temptation to follow up on these advance-fee loan guarantees. They may be illegal. It is true that many legitimate creditors offer extensions of credit through telemarketing and require an application or appraisal fee in advance. But legitimate creditors never guarantee that the consumer will get the loan — or even represent that a loan is likely. Under the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, a seller or tele-marketer who guarantees or represents a high likelihood of your getting a loan or some other extension of credit may not ask for or accept payment until you’ve received the loan.

You should be cautious of claims from so-called credit repair clinics. Many companies appeal to consumers with poor credit histories, promising to clean up credit reports for a fee. But you already have the right to have any inaccurate information in your file corrected. And a credit repair clinic cannot have accurate information removed from your credit report, despite their promises. You also should know that federal and some state laws prohibit these companies from charging you for their services until the services are fully performed. Only time and a conscientious effort to repay your debts will improve your credit report.

If you’re thinking about getting help to stabilize your financial situation, do some homework first. Find out what services a business provides and what it costs, and don’t rely on verbal promises. Get everything in writing, and read your contracts carefully.




Having trouble paying your bills? Getting dunning notices from creditors? Are your accounts being turned over to debt collectors? Are you worried about losing your home or your car?

You’re not alone. Many people face a financial crisis some time in their lives. Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. But often, it can be overcome. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.

If you or someone you know is in financial hot water, consider these options: realistic budgeting, credit counseling from a reputable organization, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy. Debt negotiation is yet another option. How do you know which will work best for you? It depends on your level of debt, your level of discipline, and your prospects for the future.

Self-Help
Developing a Budget: The first step toward taking control of your financial situation is to do a realistic assessment of how much money you take in and how much money you spend. Start by listing your income from all sources. Then, list your “fixed” expenses — those that are the same each month — like mortgage payments or rent, car payments, and insurance premiums. Next, list the expenses that vary — like entertainment, recreation, and clothing. Writing down all your expenses, even those that seem insignificant, is a helpful way to track your spending patterns, identify necessary expenses, and prioritize the rest. The goal is to make sure you can make ends meet on the basics: housing, food, health care, insurance, and education.

Your public library and bookstores have information about budgeting and money management techniques. In addition, computer software programs can be useful tools for developing and maintaining a budget, balancing your checkbook, and creating plans to save money and pay down your debt.

Contacting Your Creditors: Contact your creditors immediately if you’re having trouble making ends meet. Tell them why it’s difficult for you, and try to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a more manageable level. Don’t wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector. At that point, your creditors have given up on you.
Dealing with Debt Collectors: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the federal law that dictates how and when a debt collector may contact you. A debt collector may not call you before 8 a.m., after 9 p.m., or while you’re at work if the collector knows that your employer doesn’t approve of the calls. Collectors may not harass you, lie, or use unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. And they must honor a written request from you to stop further contact.

Managing Your Auto and Home Loans: Your debts can be unsecured or secured. Secured debts usually are tied to an asset, like your car for a car loan, or your house for a mortgage. If you stop making payments, lenders can repossess your car or foreclose on your house. Unsecured debts are not tied to any asset, and include most credit card debt, bills for medical care, signature loans, and debts for other types of services.

Most automobile financing agreements allow a creditor to repossess your car any time you’re in default. No notice is required. If your car is repossessed, you may have to pay the balance due on the loan, as well as towing and storage costs, to get it back. If you can’t do this, the creditor may sell the car. If you see default approaching, you may be better off selling the car yourself and paying off the debt: You’ll avoid the added costs of repossession and a negative entry on your credit report.

If you fall behind on your mortgage, contact your lender immediately to avoid foreclosure. Most lenders are willing to work with you if they believe you’re acting in good faith and the situation is temporary. Some lenders may reduce or suspend your payments for a short time. When you resume regular payments, though, you may have to pay an additional amount toward the past due total. Other lenders may agree to change the terms of the mortgage by extending the repayment period to reduce the monthly debt. Ask whether additional fees would be assessed for these changes, and calculate how much they total in the long term.

If you and your lender cannot work out a plan, contact a housing counseling agency. Some agencies limit their counseling services to homeowners with FHA mortgages, but many offer free help to any homeowner who’s having trouble making mortgage payments. Call the local office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the housing authority in your state, city, or county for help in finding a legitimate housing counseling agency near you

Credit Counseling and Debt Management Plans
Credit Counseling: If you’re not disciplined enough to create a workable budget and stick to it, can’t work out a repayment plan with your creditors, or can’t keep track of mounting bills, consider contacting a credit counseling organization. Many credit counseling organizations are nonprofit and work with you to solve your financial problems. But be aware that, just because an organization says it’s “nonprofit,” there’s no guarantee that its services are free, affordable, or even legitimate. In fact, some credit counseling organizations charge high fees, which may be hidden, or urge consumers to make “voluntary” contributions that can cause more debt.

Most credit counselors offer services through local offices, the Internet, or on the telephone. If possible, find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family also may be good sources of information and referrals.

Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation with you, and help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money problems. An initial counseling session typically lasts an hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions.

Debt Management Plans: If your financial problems stem from too much debt or your inability to repay your debts, a credit counseling agency may recommend that you enroll in a debt management plan (DMP). A DMP alone is not credit counseling, and DMPs are not for everyone. You should sign up for one of these plans only after a certified credit counselor has spent time thoroughly reviewing your financial situation, and has offered you customized advice on managing your money. Even if a DMP is appropriate for you, a reputable credit counseling organization still can help you create a budget and teach you money management skills.

In a DMP, you deposit money each month with the credit counseling organization, which uses your deposits to pay your unsecured debts, like your credit card bills, student loans, and medical bills, according to a payment schedule the counselor develops with you and your creditors. Your creditors may agree to lower your interest rates or waive certain fees, but check with all your creditors to be sure they offer the concessions that a credit counseling organization describes to you. A successful DMP requires you to make regular, timely payments, and could take 48 months or more to complete. Ask the credit counselor to estimate how long it will take for you to complete the plan. You may have to agree not to apply for — or use — any additional credit while you’re participating in the plan.

Protect Yourself
Be wary of credit counseling organizations that:

charge high up-front or monthly fees for enrolling in credit counseling or a DMP.

pressure you to make “voluntary contributions,” another name for fees.

won’t send you free information about the services they provide without requiring you to provide personal financial information, such as credit card account numbers, and balances.

try to enroll you in a DMP without spending time reviewing your financial situation.

offer to enroll you in a DMP without teaching you budgeting and money management skills.

demand that you make payments into a DMP before your creditors have accepted you into the program.

Debt Consolidation
You may be able to lower your cost of credit by consolidating your debt through a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. Remember that these loans require you to put up your home as collateral. If you can’t make the payments — or if your payments are late — you could lose your home.

What’s more, the costs of consolidation loans can add up. In addition to interest on the loans, you may have to pay “points,” with one point equal to one percent of the amount you borrow. Still, these loans may provide certain tax advantages that are not available with other kinds of credit.

Bankruptcy
Personal bankruptcy generally is considered the debt management option of last resort because the results are long-lasting and far reaching. People who follow the bankruptcy rules receive a discharge — a court order that says they don’t have to repay certain debts. However, bankruptcy information (both the date of your filing and the later date of discharge) stay on your credit report for 10 years, and can make it difficult to obtain credit, buy a home, get life insurance, or sometimes get a job. Still, bankruptcy is a legal procedure that offers a fresh start for people who have gotten into financial difficulty and can’t satisfy their debts.

There are two primary types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Each must be filed in federal bankruptcy court. As of April 2006, the filing fees run about $274 for Chapter 13 and $299 for Chapter 7. Attorney fees are additional and can vary.

Effective October 2005, Congress made sweeping changes to the bankruptcy laws. The net effect of these changes is to give consumers more incentive to seek bankruptcy relief under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7. Chapter 13 allows people with a steady income to keep property, like a mortgaged house or a car, that they might otherwise lose through the bankruptcy process. In Chapter 13, the court approves a repayment plan that allows you to use your future income to pay off your debts during a three-to-five-year period, rather than surrender any property. After you have made all the payments under the plan, you receive a discharge of your debts.

Chapter 7 is known as straight bankruptcy, and involves liquidation of all assets that are not exempt. Exempt property may include automobiles, work-related tools, and basic household furnishings. Some of your property may be sold by a court-appointed official — a trustee — or turned over to your creditors. The new bankruptcy laws have changed the time period during which you can receive a discharge through Chapter 7. You now must wait 8 years after receiving a discharge in Chapter 7 before you can file again under that chapter. The Chapter 13 waiting period is much shorter and can be as little as two years between filings.

Both types of bankruptcy may get rid of unsecured debts and stop foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments and utility shut-offs, and debt collection activities. Both also provide exemptions that allow people to keep certain assets, although exemption amounts vary by state. Note that personal bankruptcy usually does not erase child support, alimony, fines, taxes, and some student loan obligations. And, unless you have an acceptable plan to catch up on your debt under Chapter 13, bankruptcy usually does not allow you to keep property when your creditor has an unpaid mortgage or security lien on it.
Another major change to the bankruptcy laws involves certain hurdles that a consumer must clear before even filing for bankruptcy, no matter what the chapter. You must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for any bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at www.usdoj.gov/ust. That is the website of the U.S. Trustee Program, the organization within the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustees. Also, before you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must satisfy a “means test.” This test requires you to confirm that your income does not exceed a certain amount. The amount varies by state and is publicized by the U.S. Trustee Program at www.usdoj.gov/ust.

Debt Negotiation Programs
Debt negotiation differs greatly from credit counseling and DMPs. It can be very risky, and have a long term negative impact on your credit report and, in turn, your ability to get credit. That’s why many states have laws regulating debt negotiation companies and the services they offer. Contact your state Attorney General for more information.

The Claims
Debt negotiation firms may claim they’re nonprofit. They also may claim that they can arrange for your unsecured debt — typically credit card debt — to be paid off for anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the balance owed. For example, if you owe $10,000 on a credit card, a debt negotiation firm may claim it can arrange for you to pay it off with a lesser amount, say $4,000.
The firms often pitch their services as an alternative to bankruptcy. They may claim that using their services will have little or no negative impact on your ability to get credit in the future, or that any negative information can be removed from your credit report when you complete their debt negotiation program. The firms usually tell you to stop making payments to your creditors, and instead, send payments to the debt negotiation company. The firm may promise to hold your funds in a special account and pay your creditors on your behalf.

The Truth
Just because a debt negotiation company describes itself as a “nonprofit” organization, there’s no guarantee that the services they offer are legitimate. There also is no guarantee that a creditor will accept partial payment of a legitimate debt. In fact, if you stop making payments on a credit card, late fees and interest usually are added to the debt each month. If you exceed your credit limit, additional fees and charges also can be added. This can cause your original debt to double or triple. What’s more, most debt negotiation companies charge consumers substantial fees for their services, including a fee to establish the account with the debt negotiator, a monthly service fee, and a final fee of a percentage of the money you’ve supposedly saved.
While creditors have no obligation to agree to negotiate the amount a consumer owes, they have a legal obligation to provide accurate information to the credit reporting agencies, including your failure to make monthly payments. That can result in a negative entry on your credit report. And in certain situations, creditors may have the right to sue you to recover the money you owe. In some instances, when creditors win a lawsuit, they have the right to garnish your wages or put a lien on your home. Finally, the Internal Revenue Service may consider any amount of forgiven debt to be taxable income.

Damage Control
Turning to a business that offers help in solving debt problems may seem like a reasonable solution when your bills become unmanageable. But before you do business with any company, check it out with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau. They can tell you if any consumer complaints are on file about the firm you’re considering doing business with. Ask your state Attorney General if the company is required to be licensed to work in your state and, if so, whether it is.

Some businesses that offer to help you with your debt problems may charge high fees and fail to follow through on the services they sell. Others may misrepresent the terms of a debt consolidation loan, failing to explain certain costs or mention that you’re signing over your home as collateral. Businesses advertising voluntary debt reorganization plans may not explain that the plan is a bankruptcy filing, tell you everything that’s involved, or help you through what can be a long and complex process.

In addition, some companies guarantee you a loan if you pay a fee in advance. The fee may range from $100 to several hundred dollars. Resist the temptation to follow up on these advance-fee loan guarantees. They may be illegal. It is true that many legitimate creditors offer extensions of credit through telemarketing and require an application or appraisal fee in advance. But legitimate creditors never guarantee that the consumer will get the loan — or even represent that a loan is likely. Under the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, a seller or tele-marketer who guarantees or represents a high likelihood of your getting a loan or some other extension of credit may not ask for or accept payment until you’ve received the loan.

You should be cautious of claims from so-called credit repair clinics. Many companies appeal to consumers with poor credit histories, promising to clean up credit reports for a fee. But you already have the right to have any inaccurate information in your file corrected. And a credit repair clinic cannot have accurate information removed from your credit report, despite their promises. You also should know that federal and some state laws prohibit these companies from charging you for their services until the services are fully performed. Only time and a conscientious effort to repay your debts will improve your credit report.

If you’re thinking about getting help to stabilize your financial situation, do some homework first. Find out what services a business provides and what it costs, and don’t rely on verbal promises. Get everything in writing, and read your contracts carefully.




Having trouble paying your bills? Getting dunning notices from creditors? Are your accounts being turned over to debt collectors? Are you worried about losing your home or your car?

You’re not alone. Many people face a financial crisis some time in their lives. Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. But often, it can be overcome. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.

If you or someone you know is in financial hot water, consider these options: realistic budgeting, credit counseling from a reputable organization, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy. Debt negotiation is yet another option. How do you know which will work best for you? It depends on your level of debt, your level of discipline, and your prospects for the future.

Self-Help
Developing a Budget: The first step toward taking control of your financial situation is to do a realistic assessment of how much money you take in and how much money you spend. Start by listing your income from all sources. Then, list your “fixed” expenses — those that are the same each month — like mortgage payments or rent, car payments, and insurance premiums. Next, list the expenses that vary — like entertainment, recreation, and clothing. Writing down all your expenses, even those that seem insignificant, is a helpful way to track your spending patterns, identify necessary expenses, and prioritize the rest. The goal is to make sure you can make ends meet on the basics: housing, food, health care, insurance, and education.

Your public library and bookstores have information about budgeting and money management techniques. In addition, computer software programs can be useful tools for developing and maintaining a budget, balancing your checkbook, and creating plans to save money and pay down your debt.

Contacting Your Creditors: Contact your creditors immediately if you’re having trouble making ends meet. Tell them why it’s difficult for you, and try to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a more manageable level. Don’t wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector. At that point, your creditors have given up on you.
Dealing with Debt Collectors: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the federal law that dictates how and when a debt collector may contact you. A debt collector may not call you before 8 a.m., after 9 p.m., or while you’re at work if the collector knows that your employer doesn’t approve of the calls. Collectors may not harass you, lie, or use unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. And they must honor a written request from you to stop further contact.

Managing Your Auto and Home Loans: Your debts can be unsecured or secured. Secured debts usually are tied to an asset, like your car for a car loan, or your house for a mortgage. If you stop making payments, lenders can repossess your car or foreclose on your house. Unsecured debts are not tied to any asset, and include most credit card debt, bills for medical care, signature loans, and debts for other types of services.

Most automobile financing agreements allow a creditor to repossess your car any time you’re in default. No notice is required. If your car is repossessed, you may have to pay the balance due on the loan, as well as towing and storage costs, to get it back. If you can’t do this, the creditor may sell the car. If you see default approaching, you may be better off selling the car yourself and paying off the debt: You’ll avoid the added costs of repossession and a negative entry on your credit report.

If you fall behind on your mortgage, contact your lender immediately to avoid foreclosure. Most lenders are willing to work with you if they believe you’re acting in good faith and the situation is temporary. Some lenders may reduce or suspend your payments for a short time. When you resume regular payments, though, you may have to pay an additional amount toward the past due total. Other lenders may agree to change the terms of the mortgage by extending the repayment period to reduce the monthly debt. Ask whether additional fees would be assessed for these changes, and calculate how much they total in the long term.

If you and your lender cannot work out a plan, contact a housing counseling agency. Some agencies limit their counseling services to homeowners with FHA mortgages, but many offer free help to any homeowner who’s having trouble making mortgage payments. Call the local office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the housing authority in your state, city, or county for help in finding a legitimate housing counseling agency near you

Credit Counseling and Debt Management Plans
Credit Counseling: If you’re not disciplined enough to create a workable budget and stick to it, can’t work out a repayment plan with your creditors, or can’t keep track of mounting bills, consider contacting a credit counseling organization. Many credit counseling organizations are nonprofit and work with you to solve your financial problems. But be aware that, just because an organization says it’s “nonprofit,” there’s no guarantee that its services are free, affordable, or even legitimate. In fact, some credit counseling organizations charge high fees, which may be hidden, or urge consumers to make “voluntary” contributions that can cause more debt.

Most credit counselors offer services through local offices, the Internet, or on the telephone. If possible, find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family also may be good sources of information and referrals.

Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation with you, and help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money problems. An initial counseling session typically lasts an hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions.

Debt Management Plans: If your financial problems stem from too much debt or your inability to repay your debts, a credit counseling agency may recommend that you enroll in a debt management plan (DMP). A DMP alone is not credit counseling, and DMPs are not for everyone. You should sign up for one of these plans only after a certified credit counselor has spent time thoroughly reviewing your financial situation, and has offered you customized advice on managing your money. Even if a DMP is appropriate for you, a reputable credit counseling organization still can help you create a budget and teach you money management skills.

In a DMP, you deposit money each month with the credit counseling organization, which uses your deposits to pay your unsecured debts, like your credit card bills, student loans, and medical bills, according to a payment schedule the counselor develops with you and your creditors. Your creditors may agree to lower your interest rates or waive certain fees, but check with all your creditors to be sure they offer the concessions that a credit counseling organization describes to you. A successful DMP requires you to make regular, timely payments, and could take 48 months or more to complete. Ask the credit counselor to estimate how long it will take for you to complete the plan. You may have to agree not to apply for — or use — any additional credit while you’re participating in the plan.

Protect Yourself
Be wary of credit counseling organizations that:

charge high up-front or monthly fees for enrolling in credit counseling or a DMP.

pressure you to make “voluntary contributions,” another name for fees.

won’t send you free information about the services they provide without requiring you to provide personal financial information, such as credit card account numbers, and balances.

try to enroll you in a DMP without spending time reviewing your financial situation.

offer to enroll you in a DMP without teaching you budgeting and money management skills.

demand that you make payments into a DMP before your creditors have accepted you into the program.

Debt Consolidation
You may be able to lower your cost of credit by consolidating your debt through a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. Remember that these loans require you to put up your home as collateral. If you can’t make the payments — or if your payments are late — you could lose your home.

What’s more, the costs of consolidation loans can add up. In addition to interest on the loans, you may have to pay “points,” with one point equal to one percent of the amount you borrow. Still, these loans may provide certain tax advantages that are not available with other kinds of credit.

Bankruptcy
Personal bankruptcy generally is considered the debt management option of last resort because the results are long-lasting and far reaching. People who follow the bankruptcy rules receive a discharge — a court order that says they don’t have to repay certain debts. However, bankruptcy information (both the date of your filing and the later date of discharge) stay on your credit report for 10 years, and can make it difficult to obtain credit, buy a home, get life insurance, or sometimes get a job. Still, bankruptcy is a legal procedure that offers a fresh start for people who have gotten into financial difficulty and can’t satisfy their debts.

There are two primary types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Each must be filed in federal bankruptcy court. As of April 2006, the filing fees run about $274 for Chapter 13 and $299 for Chapter 7. Attorney fees are additional and can vary.

Effective October 2005, Congress made sweeping changes to the bankruptcy laws. The net effect of these changes is to give consumers more incentive to seek bankruptcy relief under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7. Chapter 13 allows people with a steady income to keep property, like a mortgaged house or a car, that they might otherwise lose through the bankruptcy process. In Chapter 13, the court approves a repayment plan that allows you to use your future income to pay off your debts during a three-to-five-year period, rather than surrender any property. After you have made all the payments under the plan, you receive a discharge of your debts.

Chapter 7 is known as straight bankruptcy, and involves liquidation of all assets that are not exempt. Exempt property may include automobiles, work-related tools, and basic household furnishings. Some of your property may be sold by a court-appointed official — a trustee — or turned over to your creditors. The new bankruptcy laws have changed the time period during which you can receive a discharge through Chapter 7. You now must wait 8 years after receiving a discharge in Chapter 7 before you can file again under that chapter. The Chapter 13 waiting period is much shorter and can be as little as two years between filings.

Both types of bankruptcy may get rid of unsecured debts and stop foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments and utility shut-offs, and debt collection activities. Both also provide exemptions that allow people to keep certain assets, although exemption amounts vary by state. Note that personal bankruptcy usually does not erase child support, alimony, fines, taxes, and some student loan obligations. And, unless you have an acceptable plan to catch up on your debt under Chapter 13, bankruptcy usually does not allow you to keep property when your creditor has an unpaid mortgage or security lien on it.
Another major change to the bankruptcy laws involves certain hurdles that a consumer must clear before even filing for bankruptcy, no matter what the chapter. You must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for any bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at www.usdoj.gov/ust. That is the website of the U.S. Trustee Program, the organization within the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustees. Also, before you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must satisfy a “means test.” This test requires you to confirm that your income does not exceed a certain amount. The amount varies by state and is publicized by the U.S. Trustee Program at www.usdoj.gov/ust.

Debt Negotiation Programs
Debt negotiation differs greatly from credit counseling and DMPs. It can be very risky, and have a long term negative impact on your credit report and, in turn, your ability to get credit. That’s why many states have laws regulating debt negotiation companies and the services they offer. Contact your state Attorney General for more information.

The Claims
Debt negotiation firms may claim they’re nonprofit. They also may claim that they can arrange for your unsecured debt — typically credit card debt — to be paid off for anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the balance owed. For example, if you owe $10,000 on a credit card, a debt negotiation firm may claim it can arrange for you to pay it off with a lesser amount, say $4,000.
The firms often pitch their services as an alternative to bankruptcy. They may claim that using their services will have little or no negative impact on your ability to get credit in the future, or that any negative information can be removed from your credit report when you complete their debt negotiation program. The firms usually tell you to stop making payments to your creditors, and instead, send payments to the debt negotiation company. The firm may promise to hold your funds in a special account and pay your creditors on your behalf.

The Truth
Just because a debt negotiation company describes itself as a “nonprofit” organization, there’s no guarantee that the services they offer are legitimate. There also is no guarantee that a creditor will accept partial payment of a legitimate debt. In fact, if you stop making payments on a credit card, late fees and interest usually are added to the debt each month. If you exceed your credit limit, additional fees and charges also can be added. This can cause your original debt to double or triple. What’s more, most debt negotiation companies charge consumers substantial fees for their services, including a fee to establish the account with the debt negotiator, a monthly service fee, and a final fee of a percentage of the money you’ve supposedly saved.
While creditors have no obligation to agree to negotiate the amount a consumer owes, they have a legal obligation to provide accurate information to the credit reporting agencies, including your failure to make monthly payments. That can result in a negative entry on your credit report. And in certain situations, creditors may have the right to sue you to recover the money you owe. In some instances, when creditors win a lawsuit, they have the right to garnish your wages or put a lien on your home. Finally, the Internal Revenue Service may consider any amount of forgiven debt to be taxable income.

Damage Control
Turning to a business that offers help in solving debt problems may seem like a reasonable solution when your bills become unmanageable. But before you do business with any company, check it out with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau. They can tell you if any consumer complaints are on file about the firm you’re considering doing business with. Ask your state Attorney General if the company is required to be licensed to work in your state and, if so, whether it is.

Some businesses that offer to help you with your debt problems may charge high fees and fail to follow through on the services they sell. Others may misrepresent the terms of a debt consolidation loan, failing to explain certain costs or mention that you’re signing over your home as collateral. Businesses advertising voluntary debt reorganization plans may not explain that the plan is a bankruptcy filing, tell you everything that’s involved, or help you through what can be a long and complex process.

In addition, some companies guarantee you a loan if you pay a fee in advance. The fee may range from $100 to several hundred dollars. Resist the temptation to follow up on these advance-fee loan guarantees. They may be illegal. It is true that many legitimate creditors offer extensions of credit through telemarketing and require an application or appraisal fee in advance. But legitimate creditors never guarantee that the consumer will get the loan — or even represent that a loan is likely. Under the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, a seller or tele-marketer who guarantees or represents a high likelihood of your getting a loan or some other extension of credit may not ask for or accept payment until you’ve received the loan.

You should be cautious of claims from so-called credit repair clinics. Many companies appeal to consumers with poor credit histories, promising to clean up credit reports for a fee. But you already have the right to have any inaccurate information in your file corrected. And a credit repair clinic cannot have accurate information removed from your credit report, despite their promises. You also should know that federal and some state laws prohibit these companies from charging you for their services until the services are fully performed. Only time and a conscientious effort to repay your debts will improve your credit report.

If you’re thinking about getting help to stabilize your financial situation, do some homework first. Find out what services a business provides and what it costs, and don’t rely on verbal promises. Get everything in writing, and read your contracts carefully.




Having trouble paying your bills? Getting dunning notices from creditors? Are your accounts being turned over to debt collectors? Are you worried about losing your home or your car?

You’re not alone. Many people face a financial crisis some time in their lives. Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. But often, it can be overcome. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.

If you or someone you know is in financial hot water, consider these options: realistic budgeting, credit counseling from a reputable organization, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy. Debt negotiation is yet another option. How do you know which will work best for you? It depends on your level of debt, your level of discipline, and your prospects for the future.

Self-Help
Developing a Budget: The first step toward taking control of your financial situation is to do a realistic assessment of how much money you take in and how much money you spend. Start by listing your income from all sources. Then, list your “fixed” expenses — those that are the same each month — like mortgage payments or rent, car payments, and insurance premiums. Next, list the expenses that vary — like entertainment, recreation, and clothing. Writing down all your expenses, even those that seem insignificant, is a helpful way to track your spending patterns, identify necessary expenses, and prioritize the rest. The goal is to make sure you can make ends meet on the basics: housing, food, health care, insurance, and education.

Your public library and bookstores have information about budgeting and money management techniques. In addition, computer software programs can be useful tools for developing and maintaining a budget, balancing your checkbook, and creating plans to save money and pay down your debt.

Contacting Your Creditors: Contact your creditors immediately if you’re having trouble making ends meet. Tell them why it’s difficult for you, and try to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a more manageable level. Don’t wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector. At that point, your creditors have given up on you.
Dealing with Debt Collectors: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the federal law that dictates how and when a debt collector may contact you. A debt collector may not call you before 8 a.m., after 9 p.m., or while you’re at work if the collector knows that your employer doesn’t approve of the calls. Collectors may not harass you, lie, or use unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. And they must honor a written request from you to stop further contact.

Managing Your Auto and Home Loans: Your debts can be unsecured or secured. Secured debts usually are tied to an asset, like your car for a car loan, or your house for a mortgage. If you stop making payments, lenders can repossess your car or foreclose on your house. Unsecured debts are not tied to any asset, and include most credit card debt, bills for medical care, signature loans, and debts for other types of services.

Most automobile financing agreements allow a creditor to repossess your car any time you’re in default. No notice is required. If your car is repossessed, you may have to pay the balance due on the loan, as well as towing and storage costs, to get it back. If you can’t do this, the creditor may sell the car. If you see default approaching, you may be better off selling the car yourself and paying off the debt: You’ll avoid the added costs of repossession and a negative entry on your credit report.

If you fall behind on your mortgage, contact your lender immediately to avoid foreclosure. Most lenders are willing to work with you if they believe you’re acting in good faith and the situation is temporary. Some lenders may reduce or suspend your payments for a short time. When you resume regular payments, though, you may have to pay an additional amount toward the past due total. Other lenders may agree to change the terms of the mortgage by extending the repayment period to reduce the monthly debt. Ask whether additional fees would be assessed for these changes, and calculate how much they total in the long term.

If you and your lender cannot work out a plan, contact a housing counseling agency. Some agencies limit their counseling services to homeowners with FHA mortgages, but many offer free help to any homeowner who’s having trouble making mortgage payments. Call the local office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the housing authority in your state, city, or county for help in finding a legitimate housing counseling agency near you

Credit Counseling and Debt Management Plans
Credit Counseling: If you’re not disciplined enough to create a workable budget and stick to it, can’t work out a repayment plan with your creditors, or can’t keep track of mounting bills, consider contacting a credit counseling organization. Many credit counseling organizations are nonprofit and work with you to solve your financial problems. But be aware that, just because an organization says it’s “nonprofit,” there’s no guarantee that its services are free, affordable, or even legitimate. In fact, some credit counseling organizations charge high fees, which may be hidden, or urge consumers to make “voluntary” contributions that can cause more debt.

Most credit counselors offer services through local offices, the Internet, or on the telephone. If possible, find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family also may be good sources of information and referrals.

Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation with you, and help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money problems. An initial counseling session typically lasts an hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions.

Debt Management Plans: If your financial problems stem from too much debt or your inability to repay your debts, a credit counseling agency may recommend that you enroll in a debt management plan (DMP). A DMP alone is not credit counseling, and DMPs are not for everyone. You should sign up for one of these plans only after a certified credit counselor has spent time thoroughly reviewing your financial situation, and has offered you customized advice on managing your money. Even if a DMP is appropriate for you, a reputable credit counseling organization still can help you create a budget and teach you money management skills.

In a DMP, you deposit money each month with the credit counseling organization, which uses your deposits to pay your unsecured debts, like your credit card bills, student loans, and medical bills, according to a payment schedule the counselor develops with you and your creditors. Your creditors may agree to lower your interest rates or waive certain fees, but check with all your creditors to be sure they offer the concessions that a credit counseling organization describes to you. A successful DMP requires you to make regular, timely payments, and could take 48 months or more to complete. Ask the credit counselor to estimate how long it will take for you to complete the plan. You may have to agree not to apply for — or use — any additional credit while you’re participating in the plan.

Protect Yourself
Be wary of credit counseling organizations that:

charge high up-front or monthly fees for enrolling in credit counseling or a DMP.

pressure you to make “voluntary contributions,” another name for fees.

won’t send you free information about the services they provide without requiring you to provide personal financial information, such as credit card account numbers, and balances.

try to enroll you in a DMP without spending time reviewing your financial situation.

offer to enroll you in a DMP without teaching you budgeting and money management skills.

demand that you make payments into a DMP before your creditors have accepted you into the program.

Debt Consolidation
You may be able to lower your cost of credit by consolidating your debt through a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. Remember that these loans require you to put up your home as collateral. If you can’t make the payments — or if your payments are late — you could lose your home.

What’s more, the costs of consolidation loans can add up. In addition to interest on the loans, you may have to pay “points,” with one point equal to one percent of the amount you borrow. Still, these loans may provide certain tax advantages that are not available with other kinds of credit.

Bankruptcy
Personal bankruptcy generally is considered the debt management option of last resort because the results are long-lasting and far reaching. People who follow the bankruptcy rules receive a discharge — a court order that says they don’t have to repay certain debts. However, bankruptcy information (both the date of your filing and the later date of discharge) stay on your credit report for 10 years, and can make it difficult to obtain credit, buy a home, get life insurance, or sometimes get a job. Still, bankruptcy is a legal procedure that offers a fresh start for people who have gotten into financial difficulty and can’t satisfy their debts.

There are two primary types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Each must be filed in federal bankruptcy court. As of April 2006, the filing fees run about $274 for Chapter 13 and $299 for Chapter 7. Attorney fees are additional and can vary.

Effective October 2005, Congress made sweeping changes to the bankruptcy laws. The net effect of these changes is to give consumers more incentive to seek bankruptcy relief under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7. Chapter 13 allows people with a steady income to keep property, like a mortgaged house or a car, that they might otherwise lose through the bankruptcy process. In Chapter 13, the court approves a repayment plan that allows you to use your future income to pay off your debts during a three-to-five-year period, rather than surrender any property. After you have made all the payments under the plan, you receive a discharge of your debts.

Chapter 7 is known as straight bankruptcy, and involves liquidation of all assets that are not exempt. Exempt property may include automobiles, work-related tools, and basic household furnishings. Some of your property may be sold by a court-appointed official — a trustee — or turned over to your creditors. The new bankruptcy laws have changed the time period during which you can receive a discharge through Chapter 7. You now must wait 8 years after receiving a discharge in Chapter 7 before you can file again under that chapter. The Chapter 13 waiting period is much shorter and can be as little as two years between filings.

Both types of bankruptcy may get rid of unsecured debts and stop foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments and utility shut-offs, and debt collection activities. Both also provide exemptions that allow people to keep certain assets, although exemption amounts vary by state. Note that personal bankruptcy usually does not erase child support, alimony, fines, taxes, and some student loan obligations. And, unless you have an acceptable plan to catch up on your debt under Chapter 13, bankruptcy usually does not allow you to keep property when your creditor has an unpaid mortgage or security lien on it.
Another major change to the bankruptcy laws involves certain hurdles that a consumer must clear before even filing for bankruptcy, no matter what the chapter. You must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for any bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at www.usdoj.gov/ust. That is the website of the U.S. Trustee Program, the organization within the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustees. Also, before you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must satisfy a “means test.” This test requires you to confirm that your income does not exceed a certain amount. The amount varies by state and is publicized by the U.S. Trustee Program at www.usdoj.gov/ust.

Debt Negotiation Programs
Debt negotiation differs greatly from credit counseling and DMPs. It can be very risky, and have a long term negative impact on your credit report and, in turn, your ability to get credit. That’s why many states have laws regulating debt negotiation companies and the services they offer. Contact your state Attorney General for more information.

The Claims
Debt negotiation firms may claim they’re nonprofit. They also may claim that they can arrange for your unsecured debt — typically credit card debt — to be paid off for anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the balance owed. For example, if you owe $10,000 on a credit card, a debt negotiation firm may claim it can arrange for you to pay it off with a lesser amount, say $4,000.
The firms often pitch their services as an alternative to bankruptcy. They may claim that using their services will have little or no negative impact on your ability to get credit in the future, or that any negative information can be removed from your credit report when you complete their debt negotiation program. The firms usually tell you to stop making payments to your creditors, and instead, send payments to the debt negotiation company. The firm may promise to hold your funds in a special account and pay your creditors on your behalf.

The Truth
Just because a debt negotiation company describes itself as a “nonprofit” organization, there’s no guarantee that the services they offer are legitimate. There also is no guarantee that a creditor will accept partial payment of a legitimate debt. In fact, if you stop making payments on a credit card, late fees and interest usually are added to the debt each month. If you exceed your credit limit, additional fees and charges also can be added. This can cause your original debt to double or triple. What’s more, most debt negotiation companies charge consumers substantial fees for their services, including a fee to establish the account with the debt negotiator, a monthly service fee, and a final fee of a percentage of the money you’ve supposedly saved.
While creditors have no obligation to agree to negotiate the amount a consumer owes, they have a legal obligation to provide accurate information to the credit reporting agencies, including your failure to make monthly payments. That can result in a negative entry on your credit report. And in certain situations, creditors may have the right to sue you to recover the money you owe. In some instances, when creditors win a lawsuit, they have the right to garnish your wages or put a lien on your home. Finally, the Internal Revenue Service may consider any amount of forgiven debt to be taxable income.

Damage Control
Turning to a business that offers help in solving debt problems may seem like a reasonable solution when your bills become unmanageable. But before you do business with any company, check it out with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau. They can tell you if any consumer complaints are on file about the firm you’re considering doing business with. Ask your state Attorney General if the company is required to be licensed to work in your state and, if so, whether it is.

Some businesses that offer to help you with your debt problems may charge high fees and fail to follow through on the services they sell. Others may misrepresent the terms of a debt consolidation loan, failing to explain certain costs or mention that you’re signing over your home as collateral. Businesses advertising voluntary debt reorganization plans may not explain that the plan is a bankruptcy filing, tell you everything that’s involved, or help you through what can be a long and complex process.

In addition, some companies guarantee you a loan if you pay a fee in advance. The fee may range from $100 to several hundred dollars. Resist the temptation to follow up on these advance-fee loan guarantees. They may be illegal. It is true that many legitimate creditors offer extensions of credit through telemarketing and require an application or appraisal fee in advance. But legitimate creditors never guarantee that the consumer will get the loan — or even represent that a loan is likely. Under the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, a seller or tele-marketer who guarantees or represents a high likelihood of your getting a loan or some other extension of credit may not ask for or accept payment until you’ve received the loan.

You should be cautious of claims from so-called credit repair clinics. Many companies appeal to consumers with poor credit histories, promising to clean up credit reports for a fee. But you already have the right to have any inaccurate information in your file corrected. And a credit repair clinic cannot have accurate information removed from your credit report, despite their promises. You also should know that federal and some state laws prohibit these companies from charging you for their services until the services are fully performed. Only time and a conscientious effort to repay your debts will improve your credit report.

If you’re thinking about getting help to stabilize your financial situation, do some homework first. Find out what services a business provides and what it costs, and don’t rely on verbal promises. Get everything in writing, and read your contracts carefully.




Having trouble paying your bills? Getting dunning notices from creditors? Are your accounts being turned over to debt collectors? Are you worried about losing your home or your car?

You’re not alone. Many people face a financial crisis some time in their lives. Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. But often, it can be overcome. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.

If you or someone you know is in financial hot water, consider these options: realistic budgeting, credit counseling from a reputable organization, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy. Debt negotiation is yet another option. How do you know which will work best for you? It depends on your level of debt, your level of discipline, and your prospects for the future.

Self-Help
Developing a Budget: The first step toward taking control of your financial situation is to do a realistic assessment of how much money you take in and how much money you spend. Start by listing your income from all sources. Then, list your “fixed” expenses — those that are the same each month — like mortgage payments or rent, car payments, and insurance premiums. Next, list the expenses that vary — like entertainment, recreation, and clothing. Writing down all your expenses, even those that seem insignificant, is a helpful way to track your spending patterns, identify necessary expenses, and prioritize the rest. The goal is to make sure you can make ends meet on the basics: housing, food, health care, insurance, and education.

Your public library and bookstores have information about budgeting and money management techniques. In addition, computer software programs can be useful tools for developing and maintaining a budget, balancing your checkbook, and creating plans to save money and pay down your debt.

Contacting Your Creditors: Contact your creditors immediately if you’re having trouble making ends meet. Tell them why it’s difficult for you, and try to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a more manageable level. Don’t wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector. At that point, your creditors have given up on you.
Dealing with Debt Collectors: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the federal law that dictates how and when a debt collector may contact you. A debt collector may not call you before 8 a.m., after 9 p.m., or while you’re at work if the collector knows that your employer doesn’t approve of the calls. Collectors may not harass you, lie, or use unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. And they must honor a written request from you to stop further contact.

Managing Your Auto and Home Loans: Your debts can be unsecured or secured. Secured debts usually are tied to an asset, like your car for a car loan, or your house for a mortgage. If you stop making payments, lenders can repossess your car or foreclose on your house. Unsecured debts are not tied to any asset, and include most credit card debt, bills for medical care, signature loans, and debts for other types of services.

Most automobile financing agreements allow a creditor to repossess your car any time you’re in default. No notice is required. If your car is repossessed, you may have to pay the balance due on the loan, as well as towing and storage costs, to get it back. If you can’t do this, the creditor may sell the car. If you see default approaching, you may be better off selling the car yourself and paying off the debt: You’ll avoid the added costs of repossession and a negative entry on your credit report.

If you fall behind on your mortgage, contact your lender immediately to avoid foreclosure. Most lenders are willing to work with you if they believe you’re acting in good faith and the situation is temporary. Some lenders may reduce or suspend your payments for a short time. When you resume regular payments, though, you may have to pay an additional amount toward the past due total. Other lenders may agree to change the terms of the mortgage by extending the repayment period to reduce the monthly debt. Ask whether additional fees would be assessed for these changes, and calculate how much they total in the long term.

If you and your lender cannot work out a plan, contact a housing counseling agency. Some agencies limit their counseling services to homeowners with FHA mortgages, but many offer free help to any homeowner who’s having trouble making mortgage payments. Call the local office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the housing authority in your state, city, or county for help in finding a legitimate housing counseling agency near you

Credit Counseling and Debt Management Plans
Credit Counseling: If you’re not disciplined enough to create a workable budget and stick to it, can’t work out a repayment plan with your creditors, or can’t keep track of mounting bills, consider contacting a credit counseling organization. Many credit counseling organizations are nonprofit and work with you to solve your financial problems. But be aware that, just because an organization says it’s “nonprofit,” there’s no guarantee that its services are free, affordable, or even legitimate. In fact, some credit counseling organizations charge high fees, which may be hidden, or urge consumers to make “voluntary” contributions that can cause more debt.

Most credit counselors offer services through local offices, the Internet, or on the telephone. If possible, find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family also may be good sources of information and referrals.

Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation with you, and help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money problems. An initial counseling session typically lasts an hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions.

Debt Management Plans: If your financial problems stem from too much debt or your inability to repay your debts, a credit counseling agency may recommend that you enroll in a debt management plan (DMP). A DMP alone is not credit counseling, and DMPs are not for everyone. You should sign up for one of these plans only after a certified credit counselor has spent time thoroughly reviewing your financial situation, and has offered you customized advice on managing your money. Even if a DMP is appropriate for you, a reputable credit counseling organization still can help you create a budget and teach you money management skills.

In a DMP, you deposit money each month with the credit counseling organization, which uses your deposits to pay your unsecured debts, like your credit card bills, student loans, and medical bills, according to a payment schedule the counselor develops with you and your creditors. Your creditors may agree to lower your interest rates or waive certain fees, but check with all your creditors to be sure they offer the concessions that a credit counseling organization describes to you. A successful DMP requires you to make regular, timely payments, and could take 48 months or more to complete. Ask the credit counselor to estimate how long it will take for you to complete the plan. You may have to agree not to apply for — or use — any additional credit while you’re participating in the plan.

Protect Yourself
Be wary of credit counseling organizations that:

charge high up-front or monthly fees for enrolling in credit counseling or a DMP.

pressure you to make “voluntary contributions,” another name for fees.

won’t send you free information about the services they provide without requiring you to provide personal financial information, such as credit card account numbers, and balances.

try to enroll you in a DMP without spending time reviewing your financial situation.

offer to enroll you in a DMP without teaching you budgeting and money management skills.

demand that you make payments into a DMP before your creditors have accepted you into the program.

Debt Consolidation
You may be able to lower your cost of credit by consolidating your debt through a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. Remember that these loans require you to put up your home as collateral. If you can’t make the payments — or if your payments are late — you could lose your home.

What’s more, the costs of consolidation loans can add up. In addition to interest on the loans, you may have to pay “points,” with one point equal to one percent of the amount you borrow. Still, these loans may provide certain tax advantages that are not available with other kinds of credit.

Bankruptcy
Personal bankruptcy generally is considered the debt management option of last resort because the results are long-lasting and far reaching. People who follow the bankruptcy rules receive a discharge — a court order that says they don’t have to repay certain debts. However, bankruptcy information (both the date of your filing and the later date of discharge) stay on your credit report for 10 years, and can make it difficult to obtain credit, buy a home, get life insurance, or sometimes get a job. Still, bankruptcy is a legal procedure that offers a fresh start for people who have gotten into financial difficulty and can’t satisfy their debts.

There are two primary types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Each must be filed in federal bankruptcy court. As of April 2006, the filing fees run about $274 for Chapter 13 and $299 for Chapter 7. Attorney fees are additional and can vary.

Effective October 2005, Congress made sweeping changes to the bankruptcy laws. The net effect of these changes is to give consumers more incentive to seek bankruptcy relief under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7. Chapter 13 allows people with a steady income to keep property, like a mortgaged house or a car, that they might otherwise lose through the bankruptcy process. In Chapter 13, the court approves a repayment plan that allows you to use your future income to pay off your debts during a three-to-five-year period, rather than surrender any property. After you have made all the payments under the plan, you receive a discharge of your debts.

Chapter 7 is known as straight bankruptcy, and involves liquidation of all assets that are not exempt. Exempt property may include automobiles, work-related tools, and basic household furnishings. Some of your property may be sold by a court-appointed official — a trustee — or turned over to your creditors. The new bankruptcy laws have changed the time period during which you can receive a discharge through Chapter 7. You now must wait 8 years after receiving a discharge in Chapter 7 before you can file again under that chapter. The Chapter 13 waiting period is much shorter and can be as little as two years between filings.

Both types of bankruptcy may get rid of unsecured debts and stop foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments and utility shut-offs, and debt collection activities. Both also provide exemptions that allow people to keep certain assets, although exemption amounts vary by state. Note that personal bankruptcy usually does not erase child support, alimony, fines, taxes, and some student loan obligations. And, unless you have an acceptable plan to catch up on your debt under Chapter 13, bankruptcy usually does not allow you to keep property when your creditor has an unpaid mortgage or security lien on it.
Another major change to the bankruptcy laws involves certain hurdles that a consumer must clear before even filing for bankruptcy, no matter what the chapter. You must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for any bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at www.usdoj.gov/ust. That is the website of the U.S. Trustee Program, the organization within the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustees. Also, before you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must satisfy a “means test.” This test requires you to confirm that your income does not exceed a certain amount. The amount varies by state and is publicized by the U.S. Trustee Program at www.usdoj.gov/ust.

Debt Negotiation Programs
Debt negotiation differs greatly from credit counseling and DMPs. It can be very risky, and have a long term negative impact on your credit report and, in turn, your ability to get credit. That’s why many states have laws regulating debt negotiation companies and the services they offer. Contact your state Attorney General for more information.

The Claims
Debt negotiation firms may claim they’re nonprofit. They also may claim that they can arrange for your unsecured debt — typically credit card debt — to be paid off for anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the balance owed. For example, if you owe $10,000 on a credit card, a debt negotiation firm may claim it can arrange for you to pay it off with a lesser amount, say $4,000.
The firms often pitch their services as an alternative to bankruptcy. They may claim that using their services will have little or no negative impact on your ability to get credit in the future, or that any negative information can be removed from your credit report when you complete their debt negotiation program. The firms usually tell you to stop making payments to your creditors, and instead, send payments to the debt negotiation company. The firm may promise to hold your funds in a special account and pay your creditors on your behalf.

The Truth
Just because a debt negotiation company describes itself as a “nonprofit” organization, there’s no guarantee that the services they offer are legitimate. There also is no guarantee that a creditor will accept partial payment of a legitimate debt. In fact, if you stop making payments on a credit card, late fees and interest usually are added to the debt each month. If you exceed your credit limit, additional fees and charges also can be added. This can cause your original debt to double or triple. What’s more, most debt negotiation companies charge consumers substantial fees for their services, including a fee to establish the account with the debt negotiator, a monthly service fee, and a final fee of a percentage of the money you’ve supposedly saved.
While creditors have no obligation to agree to negotiate the amount a consumer owes, they have a legal obligation to provide accurate information to the credit reporting agencies, including your failure to make monthly payments. That can result in a negative entry on your credit report. And in certain situations, creditors may have the right to sue you to recover the money you owe. In some instances, when creditors win a lawsuit, they have the right to garnish your wages or put a lien on your home. Finally, the Internal Revenue Service may consider any amount of forgiven debt to be taxable income.

Damage Control
Turning to a business that offers help in solving debt problems may seem like a reasonable solution when your bills become unmanageable. But before you do business with any company, check it out with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau. They can tell you if any consumer complaints are on file about the firm you’re considering doing business with. Ask your state Attorney General if the company is required to be licensed to work in your state and, if so, whether it is.

Some businesses that offer to help you with your debt problems may charge high fees and fail to follow through on the services they sell. Others may misrepresent the terms of a debt consolidation loan, failing to explain certain costs or mention that you’re signing over your home as collateral. Businesses advertising voluntary debt reorganization plans may not explain that the plan is a bankruptcy filing, tell you everything that’s involved, or help you through what can be a long and complex process.

In addition, some companies guarantee you a loan if you pay a fee in advance. The fee may range from $100 to several hundred dollars. Resist the temptation to follow up on these advance-fee loan guarantees. They may be illegal. It is true that many legitimate creditors offer extensions of credit through telemarketing and require an application or appraisal fee in advance. But legitimate creditors never guarantee that the consumer will get the loan — or even represent that a loan is likely. Under the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, a seller or tele-marketer who guarantees or represents a high likelihood of your getting a loan or some other extension of credit may not ask for or accept payment until you’ve received the loan.

You should be cautious of claims from so-called credit repair clinics. Many companies appeal to consumers with poor credit histories, promising to clean up credit reports for a fee. But you already have the right to have any inaccurate information in your file corrected. And a credit repair clinic cannot have accurate information removed from your credit report, despite their promises. You also should know that federal and some state laws prohibit these companies from charging you for their services until the services are fully performed. Only time and a conscientious effort to repay your debts will improve your credit report.

If you’re thinking about getting help to stabilize your financial situation, do some homework first. Find out what services a business provides and what it costs, and don’t rely on verbal promises. Get everything in writing, and read your contracts carefully.

Monday, October 22, 2007 12:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF???

Monday, October 22, 2007 3:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I WILL NEVER LET YOU DIE

Friday, November 02, 2007 3:16:00 PM  
Anonymous ELVIS said...

TOO LATE!!!

I'M ALREADY DEAD!!!

Saturday, November 03, 2007 9:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Everything Anything and Nothing said...

I don't get it..what are the hammers?

Sunday, November 11, 2007 1:38:00 PM  
Anonymous This Week On said...

Tell me more about the hammers....

Sunday, November 11, 2007 1:39:00 PM  
Anonymous So Listen To This said...

What are Hammers?

Sunday, November 11, 2007 1:40:00 PM  
Anonymous ball peen said...

MAMA!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007 4:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to be a teacher, but I have a pet pig named Mohammed.

Shhhhhh . . . don't tell anyone or I'll get whacked!

(He's Jewish.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007 6:14:00 PM  
Blogger Short Sale Real Estate said...

Wow dude!

http://www.short-sale-real-estate.blogspot.com/

Sunday, December 09, 2007 4:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i will keep posting until the creeps let you go!

Thursday, December 13, 2007 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Obama Mama!!! said...

Obama! Obama!! Obama!!!

Sunday, January 06, 2008 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Great Googly Moogly said...

Holy Shit! Comments are still open? Kool!

Friday, January 11, 2008 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous caricatured by insincerity said...

who de wa haaa?

Sunday, January 27, 2008 6:50:00 PM  
Anonymous apple tv said...

Up the hammers!

Monday, February 18, 2008 11:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

new antarctic sea-creeps discovered! FOR REALS

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 3:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Momma, Momma said...

This is not the last time you'll be hearing from me!

No siree, Bob!

Bob.

Bob Bamma. Bamma, Bamma, Bamma.

Oh, Bamma.

Obama, Obama, Obama!!!

Friday, February 22, 2008 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Sameera Dinusha said...

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visit

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 2:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Budda Budda Budda said...

Another day, another dead saviour.

Ho, hum.

Happy Eraser.

Friday, March 21, 2008 6:16:00 AM  
Blogger Sameera Dinusha said...

Find some interesting computer related information here...

http://pctrends.blogspot.com/

thanks

Wednesday, April 02, 2008 3:50:00 AM  
Anonymous comeback! said...

EGGAGOG: NEVER FORGET

Thursday, April 03, 2008 4:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, if you don't come back on your the second year anniversary of your last post I will cry angry army ants.

Thursday, April 03, 2008 4:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

eggagog dont care nothing about you

Saturday, April 05, 2008 9:27:00 AM  
Anonymous slartibartfast said...

*sigh*

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

EGGAGOG IS BEING HELD CAPTIVE IN A CELLAR IN AUSTRIA BY SEXUAL DEVIANTS!!!

I JUST SAW IT ON THE NEWS!!!

IT'S ON TELEVISION!!!

AUSTRIANS DON'T EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH GOOD!!!

PRESIDENT HILLARY WILL MAKE THE SEXUAL DEVIANTS LET EGGAGOG GO!!!

EVERYONE MUST WRITE TO HER NOW!!!

WE WILL SAVE YOU, EGGAGOG!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008 9:35:00 PM  
Blogger Sameera Dinusha said...

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http://linuxtipsblog.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 5:30:00 AM  
Blogger Sameera Dinusha said...

Nice informative blog

and found this good blog of linux guide,Visit it too

http://linuxtipsblog.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 5:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

I'll take the hammers to building my own hometown home business. Thank You!

For more information on Hometown Home Businesses visit: http://www.hometownhomebusinesses.com

Monday, May 05, 2008 8:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I AM VERY INTERESTED IN YOUR HAMMERS. PLEASE, CONSIDER USING HAMMERS TO BUILD A HOME IN YOUR HOMETOWN BUILDING HAMMERTIME. HAMMER HOME BUILD HAMMER.

The comments have reached an awesome point where I have no idea which ones I've written. "Cry angry army ants?" Was that me? It sounds like something I'd say.

I wish eggagog would come back. I swear, this blog was the best thing on the internet for now and for ever.

NEVER FORGET.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 3:45:00 PM  
Blogger Sensible Swim said...

You are right, Anonymous. The rest of the Internets are just not the same.

And I worry if Gentleman Billionaire Horse has maintained his wealth.

Monday, May 12, 2008 6:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IN THIS ECONOMY???

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I looked up an old thread on this site and half the people thought it was great and half garbage, and one observer declared it was a litmus test. I'd say that's spot on. If you get it, it's absolutely tear-inducing, and if you don't, it's because you're stupid.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 2:56:00 PM  
Blogger Sensible Swim said...

As I advised one confused onlooker "put on your bibs and wigs and pay attention!"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 4:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like it's just you and me, Sensible Swim. And maybe one more Anonymous. I'm pretty sure some of those aren't me. But most of them are.

Thursday, May 15, 2008 8:53:00 PM  
Blogger Sensible Swim said...

By God, Anon', we'll hold off the barbarian hordes until the return of Eggagog!

Thursday, May 15, 2008 11:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

200th comment! Death to the creeps! Long live King Winkles!

Friday, May 16, 2008 1:14:00 PM  

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