The other day I was in a store that was having a closing sale nearly everything was 70% off. I struck up a conversation with the manager who was losing his job. I asked him about what he was going to do next. He told me that he had been with the company for 21 years and he was not sure, but he was going to just hang out until he decided and found the right opportunity. Then he said this, “when I learned that the two companies merged, and in the future there was a chance I might lose my job, my wife and I decided to get completely out of debt. So we have no debt and can live on very little.” It was just over two years after the merger that we spoke and the store he managed was now closing. I though how insightful. I was thrilled to learn of another person who was debt free and had the freedom to choose what to do next.
Becoming debt free should be a goal of each person. I have seen young college graduates who have finished school with well over $200,000 in student loans. As one client was telling me it is “discouraging”. The bondage of debt is discouraging! And what do many young graduates do - load up more debt and buy a new automobile! This debt can be extremely onerous!
This weeks article is mostly coming from a friend, Shawn Lane who is the Chief Operations Officer at Financial Renovations Solutions, (FRS). His company has helped many people improve their credit score and at the same time get more of their debt paid off. Being debt free greatly strengthens your financial position. Simply put, It is FREEDOM.
Unfortunately some people find that they have slipped so much into debt that creditors start calling and some accounts get sent to collections. Shawn provides some answers in those difficult situations:
Will paying off a collection account improve my credit score?
I get this question a lot. Although I would never suggest NOT paying your debts, you need to be very careful when paying a collection account. If you are 100% sure you owe it, then maybe you should pay it (more on this later). However, if your goal is to improve your credit score, paying it will likely have the opposite, negative effect.
The FICO scoring model treats collection accounts as closed accounts, and the balance on these accounts have no impact on your credit score. What matters most is “the date of last activity”, which is the date the original debt went bad, or the date of your last payment to the collection agency. This means that a $150 collection account from last month has more negative impact to your credit score than a $3,000 collection account from last year. Therefore, paying it will not increase your credit score. In fact, often times paying it will drop your credit score even more by creating new and more recent activity on this account.
Further, paying a collection account does NOT remove it from your credit report. You end up spending your money and reducing your credit score.
If you plan to pay a collection account, first secure an agreement with the collection agency to remove the entire collection account from your credit report upon receipt of payment. Better yet, make them first prove you owe the debt by sending them a debt validation letter AND make the credit bureaus prove they are reporting the account 100% accurately on your credit report. If they can’t prove it, they must remove it! Utilize the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as these protect consumers like you and me! You will have a very good chance of getting the account deleted from your credit report, which WILL increase your credit score.
I know Shawn has worked with people all over and is straight up honest in what he does. He truly cares about his clients. Everyone of us knows someone who needs help with their debts, pass this article on to them, you never know what will really flip a switch with someone. I wish you the best of luck in obtaining real freedom, by becoming debt free.
"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." ~ Winston Churchill