Category Archives: Debt

How to Deal With Debt of a Lost Loved One

How to Deal With Debt of a Lost Loved One

Losing a loved one is painful. The experience becomes more painful when you are left with new debt. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to cope with the situation. In case you don’t know what you need to do to deal with the debt of a lost loved one, follow the simple guide below.

Step 1: Take stock of the debt

Your first debt should be determining the amount as well as the type of debt they have. This step is crucial because it makes the situation clearer. You can’t be able to predict the type and amount of debt a lost love one has with accuracy without conducting a thorough investigation.

You should start by going through their financial statements/papers and then make a conclusive list of their debts. While doing this, remember to determine the type of debt i.e. individual or joint, secured or unsecured. It’s also important to check if the debts have a guarantor. All debts with a guarantor should be settled by the guarantor. It’s important to establish the type of debt because there are different ways of dealing as well as paying off different types of debt.

While individual debt (debt registered under one person) can be paid off by a loved one, i.e. a spouse or sibling, joint debt (debt registered under two or more people) should be paid off by the other registered individual/s when one individual dies.

If someone dies after taking secured debt (debt taken against an asset), such debt is already covered by the asset which simply means no one is liable for the debt. Mortgages and car loans are great examples of secured debt. Unsecured debt such as student loans and home improvement loans should be paid for even after someone dies.

You also need to check if they had any undisclosed debts (debts you didn’t know about). The best ways of discovering if your loved one had undisclosed debts is to advertise locally. By doing this, you give creditors time to forward their claims. You also avoid legal problems and inconveniences in the future.

Step 2: Paying off outstanding debts of a lost loved one

Once you take stock, you will have an accurate picture of the type and amount of debt your lost loved one has. To deal with the debt accordingly start by;

a. Contacting creditors: You need to contact all creditors and inform them about the death of your loved one. It is better to initiate communication rather than wait for the creditors to start calling demanding payment. Ask the creditors for formal letters or statements showing outstanding debt. Contacting creditors will buy you time and get rid of unnecessary stress while you go through the legal process of handling a person’s estate.

b. Check if they had insurance: After contacting creditors, you should check if your loved one insured his debt/s. Life insurance can cover mortgage debt and many other types of debt in case of death. There are other insurance covers that can settle outstanding debt. So, check if your loved one had insurance and if the cover can take care of any or all of the debt. You can then proceed by contacting the insurance company, launching a claim and then using the money to pay off the debt.

c. No insurance? If there is no insurance, contact the creditors and discuss ways of settling the debt.

d. Joint debt? If the debt in question belongs to your lost loved one among other parties, check the terms and conditions of the debt. If the terms transfer all the debt to the other parties in case of death, you can initiate a debt transfer process i.e. requesting the other parties to remove the name of your loved one from future bills.

e. Paying the debt: If you have to settle the debt of a lost loved one, pay in order of priority. If the deceased granted you administration of his/her estate through a will, you need to pay off their debts first before distributing the estate to heirs (if there are any). You should pay the debt after exhausting insurance funds, if any. Secured debt like mortgages and car loans should be paid first followed by unsecured debt such as credit card bills, unpaid rent, utility bills, etc. You should also consider selling assets which may be available. If the debt surpasses the value of the estate, you will be required to get professional advice from a lawyer or probate specialist. You can find a good legal professional in the UK here: http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

Step 3: What if I am struggling to pay off the debt of a lost loved one?

In case you are having difficulties paying off the debt of a lost loved one, you need to talk to a debt adviser to help you find a way forward. Debt advisers can help you find new ways of dealing with the debt. A debt adviser can also help you find benefits and entitlements you didn’t know about.

Summary

Losing a loved one results in a lot of misery if you are left with new debt to service. It is, however, possible to manage the debt of a lost love one if you are equipped with the right information. The most important steps are; taking stock of the debt, taking steps to pay the debt as well as seeking professional help if you encounter problems.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.
Seven Signs of Financial Instability

Seven Signs of Financial Instability

Are you keen on knowing if you are financially stable? People worry about their finances all the time for obvious reasons. You can’t be able to live a comfortable life if you don’t have money. It also takes money to elevate your lifestyle. It’s important to understand the difference between lacking access to money and being broke. You should also appreciate the fact that money is scarce. However, how do you tell when things are seriously going wrong?

1. Your expenses are more than your income:

If you spend more than you earn, you are already in serious trouble. Your income should be more than your expenses otherwise you are living beyond your means. You need to cut down on your expenses immediately to avoid serious financial trouble in the future. You should consider downgrading your lifestyle immediately. For instance, move to a cheaper house, take a bus/train to work, shop for discounts, etc. Your expenses should never exceed your income.

2. You borrow to fund recurrent expenses:

If you take out payday loans among any other types of loans to fund recurrent expenses such as; food, rent and transport expenses every month, you are already financially unstable. Loans such as payday loans are meant for funding emergency expenses. Using them to fund your lifestyle is a scary sign of financial instability.

3. You don’t have savings/an emergency fund:

You can never be financial stable if you don’t have savings. An emergency fund is highly recommended for taking care of unexpected expenses. You can lose your job or get into an accident that affects your ability to work. Without an emergency fund, you can’t be able to survive without taking up loans from friends/family members. If you don’t save/have an emergency fund, start setting up one today.

4. Your debts are greater than your assets:

You can take loans as long as you are in a position to repay them. Loans become a problem when you can’t afford them when the worst happens. If you lose your job for instance, can you be able to pay for all your loans with your assets and still have some money for subsistence? If not, you are not financially stable. This highlights the importance of investing the money you get from loans wisely. If you use loans to buy assets, instead of liabilities, your assets will always be greater than your debt.

5. Your credit score is dropping:

Your credit score tracks all your credit activity. If your credit score is increasing, it simply means you are using your debt wisely. If your credit score is dropping, this is a sure sign that you are engaging in dangerous credit activity such as; misusing your credit cards, defaulting on debt, etc. The ratio of the amount of money you owe over your available credit (i.e. credit utilisation ratio) should not exceed 30% otherwise you will start hurting your credit score even if you make all payments on time. Overusing credit is a scary sign of financial instability even if the credit is available to you.

6. You lose sleep over your finances:

Financial problems are bound to cause stress. However, you should be overly concerned if you lose sleep thinking about your finances. It is advisable to seek financial help if you find yourself worrying too much about money. A financial expert can help you identify your financial problems as well as craft ways of dealing with them effectively. If you are already losing sleep over your finances, seek help immediately to avoid worsening your finances as well as physical health.

7. You have considered debt management/bankruptcy:

Debt management and bankruptcy are measures taken as a last resort when debt spirals out of control. If you have thought about debt management or filing for bankruptcy, you are already financially unstable. People usually contemplate these measures before taking them, so it’s a sure sign of financial instability. You can avoid these measures by seeking financial help immediately.

Summary

People don’t find themselves in financial problems overnight. There are common signs to look out for if you want to know the status of your finances. Discovering the scariest signs of financial instability is important because you have the opportunity to take the necessary measures and change your fortune.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.
Here Are The Top Debt Myths Debunked

Here Are The Top Debt Myths Debunked

There are many debt myths today that stop people from getting the best out of loans. It’s important to discover what is true about debt to avoid being part of the problem. The 1st step to getting the best out of debt is debunking the most common myths. Below are the top 5 debt myths debunked.

1. Debt is bad

There is this general notion globally that debt is bad so, it must be avoided. This is far from the truth. Many people have been led to think debt is bad because of the consequences faced by people who are unable to service debt. Debt isn’t bad if you can meet your repayment obligations. If you can take and repay a payday loan in time, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, debt is a good thing in such an instance because you get access to money for taking care of emergency expenses. Debt is also useful when you have a solid plan. You shouldn’t take a loan just because it is available to you. Have a good reason first as well as a solid plan for repaying the loan. You should also understand the type of debt you are taking. Many people don’t pay attention to the terms and conditions of loans, so they end up branding loans negatively. Debt is good as long as you have good reasons for taking up debt and a solid repayment plan.

2. Debt is for the poor

People also associate debt with the poor although many rich people have made a fortune because of taking up debt. Loans are for everyone regardless of your social class. The only difference is the type of loans the rich take. Most rich people take up long term loans for investment purposes. The poor tend to take short term loans for subsistence purposes. You can take a payday loan or any other type of short-term loan to cater for unexpected expenses. So, applying for a loan doesn’t mean you are poor. In fact, your chances of succeeding using your own savings are very slim. Everyone, including the rich, take up loans. The difference is in the type of loans they take as well as what they do with the money.

3. Your credit history/score is better off when you avoid debt

Many people also believe that they can keep their credit score and overall history intact by avoiding debt. This is far from the truth. In fact, you hurt your credit history by avoiding debt since there is nothing to report about. As the name suggests, credit reports record your credit history. If you don’t take up loans, such as credit card debt, payday loans etc., your credit report won’t have any entries. A person’s credit score improves when they show they are capable of meeting their debt obligations. This simply means you have to take up debt. Otherwise, your credit score won’t change for the better.

4. Debt terms and conditions are set in stone

Most people are also of the notion that debt terms and conditions can’t change. This is far from the truth. Lending institutions are usually flexible. However, you have to put in work to get better terms. For instance, you need to be a regular customer to be able to negotiate for better terms. You also require a good credit score and solid assets. Being knowledgeable also helps. Your chances of getting the best possible debt terms and conditions are slim if you have basic borrower information. You need to invest in financial education to be able to negotiate on the next level. Most people believe loan terms and conditions don’t change because they don’t push their lenders hard enough. Lenders also tend to be less flexible on short term loans. Considering most people take short term loans, it’s easy to understand why people believe this myth.

5. Debt settlement is unethical

Lenders love portraying debt settlement as an unethical practice that portrays lack of character. This isn’t the case. Of course, there are people who take up loans and use them irresponsibly. However, most of the people who turn to debt resettlement do so because of circumstances beyond their control such as unemployment, emergency bills, family problems, etc. For this reason, there is no problem with seeking this alternative when you don’t have any other option.

Summary

There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding debt today. To get the best out of loans, you need to understand the myths surrounding debt. Although there are countless myths about debt, the above myths offer valuable basic information.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.
Is Debt Starting To Affect Our Mental Health? What Should You Do?

Is Debt Starting To Affect Our Mental Health? What Should You Do?

According to a recent UK survey carried out by market research company ComRes and insolvency & restructuring trade body, R3, 22% of all adults stated that their finances are affecting their mental health. The survey targeted over 2,000 British adults living East of England.

According to R3, the survey revealed other key causes of mental health issues revolving around personal health or family member health issues. Job, relationship and current global issues also account for some of the main causes of mental health problems in the UK.

The survey reveals that over 37% of all adults living in the Easter region don’t have enough money to wait for the next payday. They attribute their financial struggles to the rising cost of food (52%) and transport (45%).

According to Frank Brumby, R3 Eastern Chairman, financial struggles are universal regardless of the occupation, age or location of an individual. He goes ahead to state that financial worries have an enormous negative effect on a person’s well-being even if the concerns are about the financial situation of other people such as friends and family members.

According to R3 research findings as well as the experiences of R3 members’ clients, a lot must be done to educate people on the options available to them when they find themselves in debt problems. Brumby attests to the fact that improving financial education is among the best ways of reducing stress and mental health problems caused by debt.

R3 Eastern indicates that the personal finance landscape in the eastern region is relatively benign with real wages/income growing while interest rates remain low. Personal finance concerns have however remained sizeable. Bureaucratic obstacles are also stopping many people from taking advantage of the best suitable insolvency procedures.

Brumby continues to state that personal finance pressures will definitely increase in the region considering inflation is bound to rise throughout this year. There are many obstacles which can be solved by easing access to insolvency procedures. According to Brumby, the £680 fee payable by all individuals entering bankruptcy should be paid over time instead of one time to ease stress and boost mental recovery.

Below is a 9-point action plan by R3 Eastern to help anyone with financial/debt issues.

1. Acknowledge your debt problem: Refusing to admit that you have personal finance problem only makes the problems worse.

2. Ask for help: After admitting you have a debt problem, the next step is seeking professional advice. You can get professional financial advice easily for free. You can call the National Debtline, your local Citizens Advice Bureau or a licensed insolvency practitioner.

3. Prioritise debt repayment: Seeking professional advice will help you identify the source of your debt problems as well as effective ways of dealing with them. One of the best ways of dealing with debt problems is prioritising debt repayment. You must adjust your lifestyle to find money for repaying your debts. If you have problems doing this, you can ask for help from an advisor.

4. Be 100% honest with yourself: To solve personal debt problems, you must be honest about the kind of lifestyle you can afford while repaying your debts. Start by calculating how much money you owe. Proceed by adding your most important expenses. Your income should be able to cater for debt repayment as well as those expenses you can’t afford to live without. To accomplish this, you will need to take some drastic measures such as; looking for discounts more aggressively, moving to a cheaper home, etc.

5. Budget: Budgeting helps to identify essential financial commitments as well as trace where your money goes. When you are in debt, you don’t have the luxury of not following where every single cent you spend goes. Budgeting will help you get a true picture of your current financial situation. A budget will also help you stay on track as you try to get out of debt.

6. Maintain open communication with your creditors: Debt problems result in a lot of unnecessary stress due to lack of open communication at an early stage. If you let your creditor know that you have problems repaying as soon as possible, the creditor can extend help which might not be available if you waited. For instance, your creditor can revise payment terms giving you more time and flexibility.

7. Take your time: Although time may not be on your side when dealing with debt problems, avoid being pressurised to make decisions if you haven’t thought them through carefully. Most importantly, the decisions should be supported by expert advice.

8. Stop taking up new debt: You also need to stop applying for new credit cards, payday loans among other types of short-term debt before you get your situation under control.

9. Understand your options: Lastly, you need to know and understand all options available to you. If you need formal insolvency, there are several options appropriate for different debt levels. DROs (Debt Relief Orders) are great for small debt. Other options include; (IVAs) Individual Voluntary Agreements and bankruptcy. It costs more money and time to choose the wrong option so, make sure you understand all options first.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.
How To Deal With Financial Stress Like A Pro

How To Deal With Financial Stress Like A Pro

There are very many causes of financial stress ranging from taking too much debt to emergency expenses. Financial stress is very common. In fact, it is among the leading causes of relationship problems today. This is usually the case since your financials are connected to almost every aspect of your life including your relationship. If you worry about your finances, your worries are bound to affect the quality of relationships you have with everyone including your friends, spouse, and children. Although you can never really have enough money at any given time, it is possible to avoid most financial problems. If you worry about money all the time i.e. if you will have enough, where you can get more etc., here’s how to deal with financial stress like a pro.

1. Identify the source of financial stress: Financial stress can be caused by many things so it’s up to you to find out the main source of your financial stress before you can be able to do anything to make things better. If you are constantly worried because you never have enough money at the end of every month, your financial stress could be as a result of living beyond your means. If you are forced to borrow payday loans or any other types of short-term loans every month, your financial stress may be as a result of a poor saving plan. It’s important to know the exact source/s of financial stress to be able to deal with it like a pro.

2. Formulate a plan: The two main sources of financial stress include; living beyond your means and being in debt. These problems can easily be dealt with using a budget. Most people spend more than they need to because they fail to track their income and expenses. If you don’t track where your money is going, you are bound to run out of money meant for taking care of important expenses. This will in turn force you to borrow money. A budget is important for ensuring you live within your means and avoid debt. A budget can also help you plan how you will get out of debt. When you write down all your expenses against your income, you can be able to identify areas where you need to make adjustments.

3. Change your mindset: Identifying the source of your financial stress and formulating a plan won’t be of any help if you still have the mindset you had in the first place when you got yourself into debt. It is also important to have a positive outlook on things. Being positive about the future goes a long way in reducing current stress levels. Furthermore, it is possible to change any unsuitable circumstance in life as long as you have the right mindset. If your financial stress results from lacking savings, it’s time to rethink the way you spend money.

4. Take small steps at a time: Financial stress is caused by taking too much financial responsibility at a time. If you are spending more than you can afford, you will definitely be stressed. You are also bound to be stressed if you try to take care of the situation too fast. For instance, debt you have accumulated in years should be paid slowly. You should also make small changes to your lifestyle to create avenues for saving. Instead of attempting to save say, 50% of your income to clear off debt fast, consider a smaller percentage which is manageable i.e. 10%. Your focus should be making small changes at a time to avoid increasing your stress levels.

5. Get financial help: If your financial stress is caused by financial problems which require expert help/advice, don’t be afraid to seek financial help. If you have accumulated too much debt and you don’t know where to start, you can seek expert advice from a financial adviser to help you consolidate your debt or consider other options such as refinancing. A financial adviser can also help you formulate a financial plan. You should seek financial help as a last resort since it is possible to deal with financial stress on your own. Furthermore, it costs money to hire a financial expert. When you are dealing with financial stress, the last thing you want is to incur unnecessary expenses. If you must hire financial help, do it by all means, however, it’s not a must.

Summary

There are many causes of financial stress all of which can be dealt with by following the above tips. If you are constantly worrying about money, it’s time to do something about it. Start by identifying the source of your worries and then formulate a solid plan. You should also change your mindset to get rid of your sources of financial stress for good. It is also advisable to make small changes at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed. Lastly, seek financial help if you feel you can’t get rid of your financial stress on your own.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.
Higher Education in the U.K vs. USA: Is it worth the debt

Higher Education in the U.K vs. USA: Is it worth the debt

According to a recent Sutton Trust report, UK graduates face higher debt levels compared to their US counterparts. According to the report, US graduates leave with higher education debt averaging £19,100 to £29,100 depending on factors such as the institution attended while UK graduates leave with approximately £44,500 in debt. Higher education debt has always been higher in the U.S. The UK has however overtaken the U.S. causing huge concerns.

UK graduates also have a higher debt to starting salary ratio than their U.S. counterparts. The Sutton Trust Report, however, states that the repayment system in the UK is more advantageous to borrowers. The report which focuses on graduate debt in the UK and U.S. among other countries such as; Australia, New Zealand and Canada recommends that UK legislators assess UK’s higher education funding policies as well as the impact of those policies on poor students.

The report also calls for a complex assessment on whether UK’s current student loan system provides value for money to higher education learners as well as taxpayers. There are huge concerns about policies adopted in the UK on student funding such as maintenance grants which are set to be scrapped and replaced by loans which feature a frozen repayment threshold. Poor students are bound to be hit hardest by these policies increasing the debt levels of UK students even further to £50,000+ after graduation. This begs the question; is higher education worth the debt?

a. Many jobs today still require a degree

Most people still argue that taking a student loan is worth it because most jobs in the UK, as well as most places around the world still, require a degree. Although students stand to accumulate thousands of pounds in debt, majority of the jobs require a bachelor’s degree as the minimum and most important requirement. You must have a college degree to get a job in the industries offering the most jobs today i.e. the finance, engineering and education industries.

b. If you will make enough to pay off your student loan comfortably, go for it

If there are prospects of earning enough money to repay your loan, taking a student loan is worth it. Although repaying £44,500 may seem challenging when you consider interest on the loan over periods exceeding ten years, devoting approximately 10% of your salary every month will be adequate to clear a typical student loan. Furthermore, it’s better to dedicate a small percentage of your future income that have no income at all because you didn’t take a student loan.

c. Your future earning potential is higher

A degree increases your earning potential exponentially over a lifetime. Earning a university degree sets you up for better-paying jobs in the future that a high school graduate may not have access to. A degree also opens up doors for higher learning opportunities which increase your earning potential even further. In essence, a £44,500 student loan isn’t much when you compare what you stand to earn in a lifetime once you graduate, get a job and advance in your career.

d. The benefits of higher education go way beyond education

It is also worth taking a student loan since you stand to enjoy greater benefits than simply getting a good job and salary in the future. Higher education broadens your perspective in life allowing you to make better/more informed decisions in life. The goal of higher education goes way beyond earning a living. For instance, studying abroad will definitely increase your general knowledge, social skills and broaden your horizon about life and people in general. These benefits are extremely valuable although they can’t be quantified.

Summary

Accumulating debt isn’t interesting. Taking debt is however justified in some cases. For instance, taking a student loan to pursue higher education is wise since the benefits you stand to gain far outweigh the cost. Although the UK has the highest student debt levels currently, you should really consider taking a student loan if you want to increase your chances of securing a good job in any of the major industries. In most cases, students are able to pay off their student loans fast when they secure a job after graduation. You should, however, choose the higher education institution you go to wisely and avoid unnecessary expenses throughout your studies to keep the debt at manageable levels.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.
Loan and Debt Tips You Should Take Advantage Of

Loan and Debt Tips You Should Take Advantage Of

Introduction

Swift Money doesn’t advocate for any kind of illegal activity on all matters regarding finances. There is however nothing wrong with using financial loopholes at your disposal. The wealthy 1% use a majority (if not all) financial loopholes at their disposal to get ahead. Everyone should do the same provided it’s legal. If you’re interested in discovering some loan/debt loopholes to get you ahead of the pack, below are some good tips to consider.

a. Get rid of your loans/debts using zero-interest credit cards

Did you know there are 0% interest credit cards? These cards exist to entice people to transfer their balances on old credit cards to the new card. This debt loophole is readily available to individuals who have a good credit score, however, very few individuals know, let alone use this loophole. Getting zero-interest credit cards offering an 18-month interest-free period is possible. If you have a huge loan, you can use multiple credit cards. The secret to using zero-interest credit cards is making sure you pay your debt before the interest-free period is over otherwise, this loophole can easily turn into an expensive endeavour. If you use this loophole like you should, you will be able to get rid of your debt interest-free and enjoy other benefits such as a better credit score.

b. Use your home’s equity

Your home’s equity is calculated as the difference between your home’s appraised value and what you owe your mortgage lender. If you have home equity, use it to borrow instead of getting a typical loan. The rich use this loan loophole all the time. There are many benefits of doing this. First and foremost, it’s easier to borrow using your home equity when you already have a mortgage. Although your lender will need to appraise your home, very little needs to be done for you to get a home equity loan.

Also, the interest payments made on home equity loans are usually tax deductible unlike interest payments made on personal loans. Home equity loans are by far the cheapest types of loans available to homeowners. Depending on the equity in your home, you can get 75% of the total equity as a loan. The loans are great for homeowners whose homes have appreciated greatly.

c. Get reward credit cards

You shouldn’t get a typical credit card if you want to get the best short term loan/debt deals available. Reward credit cards are better because they offer you rewards you wouldn’t otherwise get if you were using a typical credit card. Banks earn a lot of money in fees when you use your credit cards instead of typical debit cards, and most banks are willing to share some of the extra money with their clients in the form of cash backs among other rewards. This loophole is great for cashing in on debt. If your bank doesn’t offer reward cards, it may be time for you to start shopping around.

d. Pay your premiums once

If you have insurance policies i.e. car insurance, life insurance, etc., you should consider paying the premiums once to save a lot of money. It is usually possible to get installment payments, however, the total cost of making monthly repayments usually exceeds the cost of making a lump sum payment by a huge margin (usually 8-9% of the total cost of premiums). It’s worth noting that installment payments resemble miniature loans extended to you at interest. When you consider the fact that the average person has multiple insurance policies, the cost of paying premiums in installments is very high. Unless it makes financial sense to pay your debts in instalments, avoid doing it at all costs.

Summary

Incorporating the above loopholes in your day to day activities can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary borrowing costs legally. You shouldn’t pay for any loan/debt expense if you don’t have to so, get a zero-interest credit card, use your home’s equity to get cheap loans, get reward credit cards to get rewarded for using debt and last but not least, avoid instalment payments when you can especially for all your insurance policies.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.