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The best, no-sales-pitch advice comes from the U.S. Government's web site (The Federal Trade Commission or the FTC). For example, Facts for Consumers--Credit Repair: Self Help May Be Best article gets straight to the no-bullshit facts about "Scams" and "Warning signs" from companies that want to give you credit -- or want to fix your credit!
Guidelines to Help Manage Debt — Words of wisdom from North Carolina State University. Effective " Six Steps to Develop a Debt Payment Plan" offers a sensible way to get out of debt.
Debt-Management Best Practices — manual provides suggestions and tools to assist you in your school's debt-management and default-prevention efforts.
Step by step guide to debt management -- Great debt checklist entitled "Before taking out a loan check."
A formal and in-depth discussion on credit an its related topics may be found on Wikipedia. These topics include:
Make Love, Not Debt -- A relationship finance blog.
Forums and Electronic Bulletin Boards
Debt and Credit Management -- Topics include: Debt Consolidation and Settlement, Dealing with Collection Agencies, Creditors and collection agency database , Credit Repair, Payday Loan help, etc.
The best book we can recommend on just about any money matter, including debt, is the Road To Wealth by Suze Orman. Here's some more information about this book:
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Suze Orman's face and name are more prominent on the cover of her new money guide than its title, The Road to Wealth. And why not? Orman has parlayed her popular renown as both a New York Times bestselling author and video-age financial guru into an undeniable position of respect and trust when it comes to matters of dollars and sense. This time she presents an encyclopedic guide to the various components of one's overall financial life--from managing debt and owning a home to making investments and preparing to pass it all along--and she does so in the clear and confident style to which her fans have become accustomed. "Here is what you need to know," she writes at the outset. "Answers to the questions you have been asking, as well as the questions you should have been asking, delivered in the most complete, straightforward way I know." While the concise text moves logically from "creating a strong financial foundation to amassing assets and protecting them from common mistakes and periods of economic downturn," this is not meant to be read from cover to cover. Rather, it is a ready bookshelf reference for planning and sorting out common finance concerns, like how to calculate the mortgage payment you can best afford, determine what Medicare will pay toward nursing care, decide between retirement plan options, and similar matters of personal importance. --Howard Rothman
One of the best-known personal finance authors gives us six hours of questions and answers on managing money. The program is less about investing than it is about getting the basics under control: eliminating credit card debt, reducing spending, minimizing taxes, and borrowing wisely. Orman is succinct and determined in this audio--like Judge Judy hammering somebody with money problems--and the effect is to make you want to balance your checkbook and get a part-time job to pay off your credit cards. It works and ought to be essential listening for anyone who is serious about life and wants to manage money better. From AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine- Maine
Book Description (from the pulisher)
Suze Orman's #1 bestsellers The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom and The Courage to Be Rich changed the way people think about their money, helping them overcome their emotional roadblocks to financial freedom.
Now, Suze delivers a fully accessible and authoritative resource, loaded with information critical to every stage of readers' financial lives. The Road to Wealth provides readers with practical answers to all the questions they might-or should-have about their financial futures. Sound, straightforward, fiercely honest, and easy-to-understand, Suze's advice gives them the knowledge and power to:
The full introduction:
THE ROAD TO WEALTH, INTRODUCTION
When it comes to money, I deeply believe that the obstacles that keep us from having more and being more are rooted in the emotional, psychological, and spiritual conditions that have shaped our thoughts: In other words, what we have begins with what we think. This is the cornerstone of my approach to personal finance, and it was with this understanding that I wrote The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom and The Courage to Be Rich. I deeply believe that with self-knowledge and emotional clarity, a life of abundance is within reach for all of us.
But once we have looked within and changed our way of thinking about money, another obstacle emerges-one that can keep us from taking the steps we know we should take. That obstacle is confusion. Many of us are confused about where to turn for information we can really rely on. We are confused about whom to ask for financial advice, and maybe even about what questions to ask. When we do get answers to our questions, we are confused because we can't be sure those answers are correct. In the face of all this, it may seem safer not to do anything with our money than to do something we do not entirely understand. But when we postpone necessary financial decisions, we are relinquishing opportunities to protect what we've earned and to enrich our future choices. Good financial information gives us the power to act in our own best interests. That's why I have written The Road to Wealth.
I've spent much of the past few years traveling around the country, holding seminars on financial topics, and listening as many, many people talked to me about their financial hopes and fears. "Tell me what I need to know," people often say to me. "Here is what you need to know," I answer. This phrase, here is what you need to know, captures the very spirit of The Road to Wealth. Here you will find answers to the questions you have been asking, as well as the questions you should be asking, delivered in the most complete, straightforward way I know. The questions and answers are intended to remove obstacles on your road to wealth. In a world of competing financial interests and sources of information, it's important for you to feel as if you have a guide whom you can truly trust. I am honored that you have chosen me to be your guide.
With this in mind, I have tried to provide sound, clear, comprehensive advice on a wide range of issues, which will take you through the course of your financial life. There is a logical sequence of information here, from creating a strong financial foundation to amassing assets and protecting them from common mistakes and periods of economic downturn. The chapters will see you through various life situations, beginning with freeing yourself from debt, for I believe that you cannot build a strong financial future on a base that is undermined by debt. The next chapters guide you through living together, marriage or life partnership, and the complicated process of buying a home for yourself and your family. It will help you to prepare for the future by choosing the right kind of insurance, saving for your children's education, investing knowledgeably both inside and outside retirement accounts, making savvy decisions about retirement income, and providing for the loved ones you will one day leave behind. I have chosen topics that, in my opinion, most affect your life, in both boon times and bad times. In doing so, I have written the practical counterpart to The 9 Steps and Courage-so that, with your head and your heart in agreement, you can take the necessary steps today so you arrive at your tomorrows happily and with all the wealth that is meant to be yours.
The Road to Wealth is a book designed to help you take action-wherever you are in your life, whatever your needs, and whatever the economic climate. To that end, your purchase of this book comes with a free subscription to the Suze Orman E-Newsletter-a bimonthly publication available online through my website. (see page 543 for information on how to begin your subscription). The newsletter provides news, comprehensive resources, and timely counsel on all the topics covered in this book, but focuses on investing for the future. Among many other helpful tips, the newsletter will offer my current recommended asset allocation mix, a bimonthly stock market forecast, and ongoing analysis of proven investment strategies from trusted experts. As interest rates change, I'll make suggestions about refinancing your mortgage. If the laws change-as tax and bankruptcy laws are poised to do, as of the writing of this book-you will find my advice about the new legislation and its implications for your finances. The Road to Wealth will provide you with the paving stones for your financial future, while the newsletter will offer amplification of that information. In that way, this is truly an interactive financial book.
Money is not stagnant; it is ever-changing. It means different things to each of us at different points in our lives. I encourage you to skip around in this book-go directly to the topics that concern you most right now; later, you can move on to matters that are relevant to that moment. Keep this book close and consult it often. Browse through the Table of Contents and the Index. Use it as a second opinion, to make sure you are getting advice that is right for you. And always, always trust that, with the faith and confidence that knowledge brings, step by step you will get to where you want to go on your own road to wealth.
What other Readers had to say:
"Very Wide, Extremely Dispersed, and Not Very Directive:
The Road to Wealth is the most comprehensive book I have ever seen about describing
the details of terms, practices, tax laws, and legal rights for everthing
from credit cards, to filing for bankruptcy, to owning annuities, to
setting up housekeeping with someone you're not married to, to buying
long-term care insurance, to avoiding payment of estate taxes.
Managing Debt; Financial Intimacy; Home Ownership; Insurance; Paying for College; Retirement Planning; Stocks; Mutual Funds; Bond and Bond Funds; Annuities; and Wills and Trusts.
Ms. Orman has organized the book by putting a brief essay (less than one to about two pages) at the beginning of each section sharing her general views on that subject, then breaks the section into smaller subjects (in Managing Debt, you get different parts of credit cards, student loans, and bankruptcy, for example), and within each smaller section are a series of questions and brief answers. Many of the questions are definitional, and will take you beyond what your dictionary will tell you.
The sections vary a lot in their usefulness. The first one was on credit cards, and was quite well done. But there is almost as much information on filing for personal bankruptcy as there was on credit cards, even though the people who need the latter are only a small percentage of the people who use the former. There is a lot of material, for example, on stocks but it focuses on terms rather than giving you practical advice on how to think about stock investing. It is only two-thirds of the way through the mutual fund section that she points out that indexed funds outperform 85 percent of professional money managers. Most people don't need to know very much about bonds, bond funds, or annuities, yet there's a lot of material on those subjects.
These sections could have used much more conceptual material to explain how to select objectives, and pursue them.
In general, I found the material mostly accurate, and seldom in conflict. Here are the kind of problems that you will find. In two parts of the credit card section, you are told two different ways to cancel a credit card account (one says you must write or it does no good, and the other tells you just to cut the cards up and call the company to cancel). Ms. Orman says a lot of nice things about Registered Investment Advisors without pointing out that it takes no training or education or other qualification to become one. In the section on having your home inspected before buying it, she does not point out that most inspectors are in the pockets of the selling agents and will rarely tell you what the bulk of the problems are.
I compared these sections to the best specialist books I had read on the same subjects, and found that only her section on credit cards was as good as a more specialized book. In all other cases, her material was less well developed, less focused, and less helpful.
I also checked to see where I found new information that I had not known before, and found that less than ten percent of the material was new to me. But I do read a lot more finance books than most people, have been an investor for a long time, am an attorney, and have had experience with many of these subject materials.
I thought that the best use of this book was for people who didn't know where to start, but suspected they needed help. Each section discussed the kinds of professionals and organizations that a person can call on for help, approximately what they do and what they will cost, and how to work with them. I suspect that that's how most people will be using this book 10 years from now.
A good secondary use is as a source of definitions.
When you buy the book, you also get a free e-newsletter through the end of 2002 to bring you updates on this information. Presumably, you will need to buy that after 2002 if you want to stay up-to-date.
For eighteen year olds with little knowledge of personal economics, this will be a five star book that will make an important difference. It will also be valuable for those who have relied on others to handle their finances in the past, and now want or have to take on that task for themselves. The book will also be a good choice for those who want to learn more about at least two of the major subject areas and feel they know little now. Few will find this book to be a primary guide for making financial investments.
If you find one of these subjects to be valuable after reading hte book, I suggest that you seek out a more specialized book to deepen and focus your understanding of that narrow area.
After you finish examining the many financial angles displayed here, I also suggest that you think about how you can simplify your financial life so that it serves your needs without taking more time than you want to spend.
Get the information you need to make good choices where it matters!"
More recommended books.