In 1938 a federal law was passed known as the Wage Earner Plan. It is administered by the same branch of our courts that handle bankruptcy. You must be a wage-earner to use the law - that is the primary requirement. The Wage Earner Plan does not in itself 'wipe out' debts, but a little-known proviso of your filing requires that your creditors must appear to verify your indebtedness to them. Statistics indicate that 40% fail to appear, in which case, those debts are indeed 'wiped out'. In some cases 100% of the creditors fail to appear, which enables you to wipe out ALL your debts without bankruptcy. If some of the creditors do appear, then the court allows you to spread your payments out over a three year period in smaller amounts so that you can afford to pay.
Once you file under the Wage Earner Plan, you stop bill collectors, lawsuits, judgments, assignments, seized bank accounts, and other actions against you. And to top it off, your credit rating is, in many cases, improved because you made an honest effort to work with the lending firms. Additionally, if the seller used deceptive trade practices to induce your purchase, your debt may be wiped out under the provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code. Under the Homestead Act, your residence can be exempted from levy to the extent determined by local law. Check at your local courthouse.
WINNING THE CREDIT CARD GAME
Some banks are eliminating the standard 25 or 30-day grace period within which you may pay your bill within being charged interest. This is the normal grace period before interest kicks in. But this is slowly changing. For example, some banks are offering extremely low fixed rates, but without a grace period. These cards will charge you interest from the date it processes your charge slip.
If you usually pay your bills in full within the normal grace period, it is best you avoid no-grace-period cards. The 25 or 30-day grace period is more financially significant for you than a lower interest rate. However, if you carry a balance each month, you're better off with a lower interest rate. In this case, a lower interest rate can save you more money than a grace period would.
Most banks and thrifts charge interest from the day they process your charge slip when you use your card to get cash. In addition to this, some cards are now assessing cash advanced service charges based on a percentage of the amount received. It used to be that service charges were based on a fixed fee, regardless of the amount of transaction.
If you avoid interest charges by paying off your bill each month, seek out a card that offer very low interest rates plus a grace period on purchases. Some institutions periodically offer cards with no fee for the first year as a promotion.
Don't be lulled into getting "premium" credit cards such as "gold cards" and Premier VISA. The only significant premium with these cards is the extra amount you pay in higher annual service fees. Besides the fancy finish of the card, the only other benefits you get with premium cards are travel insurance and the extra protection if your card is lost or stolen. Since by law, you are only liable for up to $50 if your regular credit cards are lost or stolen, the zero liability you are getting from premium cards is hardly worth the extra money.
WOMEN AND CREDIT
Many women complain about not having any credit. Those complaining are those who REALIZE that they do not have credit, single women or divorced women, specifically. However, there are many married women who have no credit because financial matters are handled by their husbands, and they are not even aware that they are without any type of credit rating. This is a large problem in America today.
Divorce seems to be the predicament that taunts women in search of their own good credit ratings. Either the wife did not have any of her own credit during the marriage, or the credit she shared with her husband took a bad turn during the divorce.
The key to your credit success, regardless of your marital success, is that you build your own "sole and separate" credit. There are many benefits to be gained. First, in the event that the marriage does not work out, each spouse may part with their own credit. If the wife was always on time with her payments and the husband was poor with his payment schedule, they should be able to part ways with her credit intact.
Another good reason to have separate credit is in the event a financial tragedy comes your way, leaving you with no alternative but to file bankruptcy. It might be possible that one partner could file while the other remains clear.
If your husband currently has all the credit, have him place you on his accounts as a "sharer" of the account. You want to be sure you share the account but not the contractual liability. This way you will NOT be responsible for his errors. If it does show as a negative on your rating, you will be able to dispute it as you did only share the account. If the account is in good standing, work on getting it on your credit rating as you may take the responsibility for the good rating. For men in similar situations, try the same method.
If neither the wife or the husband have any credit, then both would sign the account as "joint" in privileges and contractual liability. Continue this process until you both have enough credit to get credit singularly. Then, as your new sole and separate accounts begin to get established, start closing the joint accounts you once shared. The purpose of this is to establish your credit as "sole and separate".
Consider also the use of a joint checking account. A clean checking history is very helpful in building credit, however, be wary if your spouse is particularly neglectful when maintaining a checking account-the end result could cause more harm than good.
HOW TO OBTAIN AN $800 LOAN BY MAIL - INTEREST FREE!
If you are like most of us, then sometime or another, you will probably need to obtain a loan. If you can obtain one through a bank or commercial lending institution, then you don't really have any problems. Sometimes, however, banks and loan companies will not lend money that you may need.
The Hebrew Free Loan Society, located at 205 East 42nd St., New York, NY 10017, will make a loan to people in need - up to $800. There is no interest on the loan, and it is scheduled to be repaid over a period of one year. Two endorsers are needed. Write to them for complete details.