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Divorce and Credit

Divorce and credit is very difficult to discuss because so many emotions are involved when you are going through a separation process. During the divorce, bills can be overlooked and credit can be damaged. There are steps you need to take in regards to your finances when you are getting divorced.

Separating Credit

  • First, make sure payments are made on time until it is decided who will be responsible for what bill. More than likely, your finances are co-mingled and missed payments will affect both credit files.
  • Next, if an agreement on finances has been made, you need to contact the creditors and advise of them of the change in circumstances. You might need to provide them with a copy of the agreement, stipulation of settlement or court order that states the information you are providing. Don’t just leave it at that, follow-up with the creditors about 30 days later to make sure the change was done on the account. You don’t want accounts that you are no longer responsible for to be affecting you. Some people let accounts go negative just to mess up the other party.

Community Property

Divorce can be nasty, and you must take all the precautions to protect your credit, especially if you are a woman, who are unfortunately still earning way less than a man, and will probably need as much credit as possible during the divorce process, and a possible relocation is also involved. The separation of accounts might not qualify if you are in a community property state, as the credit accounts can be deemed by the court to be community property of the marriage, and the debt subsequently shared 50/50. Follow-up with an attorney to discuss this matter further.

When women are applying for credit, creditors and lenders are not allowed to ask about marital status under Federal Law, remember the Equal Opportunity Credit Act (EOCA). However, this doesn’t apply in certain states because of community property laws that govern marriages. Community property is joint ownership of any property acquired during the marriage, regardless of who signed for said property. The following states/territories have community property laws: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and several Native American Territories. The laws differ from state to state, but they all have the same gist of community property ownership.

I hope this gave you a better understanding on how to handle finances during a divorce process. Read our prior blog posts on other credit and financial matters.

Marriage and Credit

This week is Valentine’s Day and what better way to celebrate it with a discussion on marriage and credit. Credit is important at all times, but when you get married, in many instances, your credit is going to unite with your spouse’s credit file. This is very serious business and must be handled before walking down the aisle. Your credit is one of your greatest income builders, so protect it before, while, and after you are married.

Often, couples act under the common misconception that once you are married, all credit accounts should be merged. This is far from the truth, or from necessity. When couples apply for joint accounts, financial negligence of one spouse causes the other to suffer. And though love may be for better or worse, your finances don’t have to be. Educating yourself on how to handle finances while married is a key factor to a strong marriage and credit history.

During the courting state and before you get married, you and your spouse should sit down and discuss the various aspects of your financial life. As you may know, money fights are one of the reasons that couples divorce. So before getting married, you should address the following questions with your partner:

Questions before marriage
  • Can we discuss our credit reports and scores?
  • Can we discuss financial goals?
  • How do you feel about budgeting?
  • What are your spending patterns?
  • Do you have any past due and outstanding debts?
  • Who do you think should manage the bills?
  • What do you think about joint and separate accounts?
  • What are your feelings when it comes to money?
  • Do you feel that we should speak with a Consumer Credit Counselor for a pre-financial guidance?
  • How would you feel if I made more money?

As you have heard before that money problems are the number one reason why couples get divorced. But, if you follow the ten tips discussed above regarding questions before marriage, you and your spouse could avoid money issues once married.

Marriage and credit is something that should be discussed before the nuptials. A conversation should be held by the parties involved on how banking, savings, credit cards, property, vehicles, loans, mortgages and payments will be handled. Too many marriages dissolve because of finances, so both parties involved should have a clear picture before getting married. Part of this conversation should include what will be done regarding the existing credit obligations that each respectively already have. Will you become authorized users on each others accounts? If, so which ones? All? Also, how are monthly obligations going to be handled, who will pay what, how much will be saved by each, etc. This is all important to know before entering the marriage in order to avoid discord in the future over finances.

Community Property

When women are applying for credit, creditors and lenders are not allowed to ask about marital status under Federal Law, the Equal Opportunity Credit Act (EOCA). However, this rule doesn’t apply in certain states because of community property laws that govern marriages. Community property is joint ownership of any property acquired during the marriage, regardless of who signed for said property. In other words, if you buy a house, a car, apply for a credit, or something of that sort, even though your spouse did not sign for it, they still have ownership over the property because of the state laws. The following states/territories have community property laws: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and several Native American Territories. The laws differ from state to state, but they all have the same gist of community property ownership.

If you don’t know how your credit file looks and/or your partner is in the same boat, you should both consider getting an analysis of your credit done and start working on building your credit together, whether your credit file is merged together or not. Good credit provides the building blocks of a good and stable relationship. Couples that build together, stay together.

Establishing Your Business With Little to No Funds

Establishing a business is a big step in your life. It is a big responsibility to open a business a keep in running. It takes a lot of courage, and even though that can be your downfall, nothing kills dreams more than the lack of funds. Yes money is needed to start a business, but not all business require large sums to get started. There are many things that can get done without the need of money whatsoever. Here are a few tips on starting a business with little to no funds.

First thing is committing your business plans and ideas to paper. Writing down what you want to do and how you are going to do is the beginnings of a business plan. You are going to need that if you are going to ask for funding, but I’ll talk about that later. Writing out what  you need and the costs will also give you a more realistic idea of what you need to get started. Some things are not going to be necessary immediately, so concentrating on getting money for incorporation and buying a website domain are the first things that must get done, even if you are not ready to start actual business. This ensures that your name is owned by you and no one else. More than likely, you will be paying this expense from your savings.

Next, you are going to look at how much credit you have available and can your credit file take a hit, because you will be charging just about everything you need to get started, your credit score will drop. If you have a good amount in your savings account, then by all means go for it with your credit cards; but if you don’t have a good amount of money in your savings account, then I don’t suggest this method. Anything can happen from not being able to open the business, to opening it and making no income from it. Now you are stuck with credit card bills that you cannot pay off, destroying your credit even further.

Your final line of defense is to beg for the money. Don’t be ashamed to ask friends, family and acquaintances for investors. This is where your business plan will come into play. These potential investors will need to see how the business is going to be ran, how the money will be used, and the strategies that you will use to generate income, ensuring that they will get paid back, or make continuous income if they become a partner in  your venture. If you are looking for partners/shareholders, you will need to be prepared to show estimated numbers on what they will be making on their investment and the potential losses the business may incur. Investors are out their, willing and able to support you and your dream. You just have to speak up and ask, the worse thing that will happen is that they say no, a 50-50 chance and those are some good odds.

The possibilities are endless, you just have to commit yourself to your dream and watch it flourish right before your eyes. If you want to learn more about business funding, next week the Understanding SBA Loans pack will be released at $20, reg. price is $25. Right now, the pack is available to only those who are members of the email list for only $15, a benefit of being on the email list. You can join the list by filling out the form below. It’s that simple, and you will have access to great tips on business and credit that you will benefit from greatly, plus much more.

Understanding SBA Loans Pre-Launch Sale Begins Today

Good morning and happy Sunday. I hope you had a great weekend so far. If you are like me, Sundays are for catching up on all my email,updating all my business files and calendars, business accounting and learning new ways to improve my business. Improving a business is a great sign that you are growing and adapting to changing trends and demographics. Sometimes, in order for the business improvement to take place, money is needed. Not all businesses have the financial capital necessary to effectuate those improvements, and that’s where credit comes into play.

Applying for credit is a big step for a business. Submitting that application means you are ready to commit to a financial obligation and you are going to be responsible enough to pay it back with interest. If you do not know what you are doing because it’s your first time, the Understanding SBA Loans Pack is right for you. The next time you walk into a bank for a business loan, walk in prepared with all the documents necessary to speed up the process. Show the loan officer that you mean business and you are ready for anything he or she throws at you.

If you want to take advantage of the Pre-Launch Sale, you must join the mailing list. Right now it is exclusive to the email list members who enjoy products and services at discounted prices. The Understanding SBA Loans Pack will be regularly priced at $25. If you want to know the Pre-Launch Sale price, guess what…..you have to join the list. The Pre-Launch Sale price will be good only until this Saturday. Make sure you join the list today and get access to the sale before the price goes up next Sunday. Fill in the information in the box below to join the list for FREE and begin enjoying all the benefits that come with the membership.

Reflections….Spirituality Renewed

I know many people renew their faith and spirituality for the new year, but I started before the new year even was near, in 2012. For several months now, I had a feeling of emptiness. This feeling was not being fulfilled by any of the activities I was participating in, personal or business. Everything was looking very blah for me. I kept having a that little thought, that no matter how small, tends to ruin everything for you. For me is the words that have crushed me in the past, severely when I heard them for the first time. I have never said this publicly, and a very small number of people actually know this, but a few years ago I overheard when my mother told my brother that I have no purpose in this life. Those words are super hurtful, but coming from your mom, makes it ten times worse. How could she possibly think that. I was attempting to run my father’s rental property business, while at the same time trying to start an online business. I was doing so much, but received very little support or help in return from anyone in the family. Everyone was benefiting from the rental properties, but when my father began to show signs of Alzheimer’s, no one wanted to help. I was left with the entire problem to deal with on my own. The same one that had no purpose, was left to deal with all the financial problems  my father had gotten into.

Challenges

Even though I felt very worthless, I did not back down from the challenges I was facing. The words: “has no purpose” would play in my head on a loop, and I would begin to let my emotions get the best of me. I began to notice that these words would get me down for several days, weeks, or even months at a time, but I would bounce right back after reading some bible passage or other religious reading. Even though I would allow the words to control me, I would eventually use them as the motivation I needed to prove everyone wrong. I knew I had value and a purpose, even though those closest to me did not see it. I spoke to a local priest about some insecurities I was having. I knew I had to make some changes in my life, but I was feeling guilty about some of the conclusions I had arrived to. The priest gave me the best advise ever. He told me that I shouldn’t feel guilty about not having a full relationship with my mom. Keeping distance between us is okay as long as I have forgiven the actions, or in this case, the hurtful words.

It has taken me a couple of years to get over those hurtful words, but I still have not been able to develop a full relationship with my mother. Some relationships are toxic and best dealt with from afar like the priest told me. My relationship with my mom is one of those. It took me a while, but I have come to a point where my mom has keys to my house and is here almost every day looking after my girls. I don’t speak to her, but I make sure she has everything she needs. Like the priest said, I can express my love by the little things I do for her in my own silent way.

Spirituality Renewed

My improvement was due to the peace I was seeking in many places but found mainly in the bible. For several months, I’ve been reading passages online by searching for specific topics. Slowly, that blah feeling was diminishing. The more I read and meditated, the longer I would feel peaceful and relaxed throughout the day . Things that bothered or annoyed me in the past, no longer were having an effect on me, thus making me more productive. I was now working smarter, not harder. My renewed spirituality was having a positive in all aspects of my life. It had been at least a decade since I had even glanced at a bible, but the effects were invigorating.

I was able to get more done in the least amount of time. I had less tension in my shoulders and was sleeping better at night. I was able to rework my schedule and adjust my body to the new routine I was proposing to take. It took some trial and error, but I think I have the right routine now.  I have expanded my reading to a more organized plan offered by Amazing Facts. I’m also supplementing my morning routine with a devotional reading tailored towards women. Without realizing it, I gravitated towards a more spiritually religious morning devotional. Where did that come from, seriously, if you know tell me because I have no clue. Even though I shuttle my girls off to church every Sabbath with  my mom, I was lacking in any type of spiritual connection. Now, I’m the first one in the morning doing some type of devotional reading and meditation, with some journal writing to finish off.

Reflections on Recent Events

My recent car accident (in case you don’t know I was hit by a car), has put things into perspective. Things would’ve been much worse, but I’m pretty sure it was God’s wish for me to come out with minor injuries. Getting hit head on by an AUV and not one broken bone is a miracle. I only weigh 105lbs and I’m barely 5 feet tall. I should’ve had more injuries than just muscle trauma. I’m not saying that I’m not in pain, because I’ve been in pain every day since the accident, and the weather has made it worse at times, but a broken bone would be much worse. I thank God for looking out for me. It was not my time, because God still has a purpose for me on this earth. A purpose, one of the words that would cause me so much pain that I would shut down for months. Now, when I see those trigger words, all I see is motivation because I know it is a lie. I have a purpose.

Invest in Yourself

Every time you receive a paycheck, how much of your hard earned money do you set aside for yourself? If you are like me, probably not much, if any at all. Most of my money goes into bills, savings and for family, namely: my dad and my girls. You might say “Oh, but you are paying the bills and saving money too, you are doing good”. Wrong, that money is not being invested in me. Those are needs necessary to survive with a few luxuries like cable, WiFi and cell phones. The savings is for the family home and vacations. I’m talking about investing in something that is a want, and only your own.

Investing in yourself usually involves some type of financial expense that you are not used to. Because you are not used to it, it feels wrong when you do it. At first, I always felt guilty when spending money on things that my family was not enjoying. What helped me get passed that barrier was when I noticed I was nicer at home after doing something for myself. I started with getting my nails done professionally once a month. Next, I started scheduling facials every six to eight weeks at the spa. These moments I spent on myself were improving my attitude, and I wasn’t even noticing it at first. Family life was greatly improved once I took time for me. As a single mom, me time is hard to come by, but forcing myself into setting some time aside has done wonders for me. Both of these things didn’t break the bank either. By setting aside $20 per paycheck, at minimum, I’m able to enjoy these little things.

If money is tight in your home, you can journal. Journaling is a great way to release stress. It is your own time to write about whatever comes to mind. Not sure what to write, just do a google search on journal prompts and you will get lists on topics you can write about. It takes time to get used to journaling, but once you get into the habit, you will see the benefits. Remember, it is your journal. You set the rules. Use a notebook, or just staple a bunch of sheets of paper together and get started. Don’t be discouraged if you only write one sentence. You still wrote something. Come back the next day and build upon what you wrote the day before. I started journaling this year, and so far I’m loving it. I journal for about 15 minutes, right after I do my morning devotion. I find that this is the time when I’m  most at peace and able to write freely.

If you are employed, you will be receiving your W-2 soon, if you haven’t received it already. Try setting some of the funds you received and invest in yourself. Thinking about opening up a business, set money aside for all your start-up costs. Thinking about buying a home or a car, get a Credit Analysis with Action Plan done before you start applying for loans so you can get the lowest possible interest rate by improving your credit before you start the process.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to investing in yourself. Have you made your list of personal investments for this year. Comment them below.