What is the Bzzzz about? The new Debt Consolidation “.bz”

Revised on

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! And… welcome to the new and revamped DebtConsolidation.bz, a source of information for the latest news on debt consolidation and debt relief programs. We have spent the last several months working on the transition to our new format, and are very happy announce that we are now back online… and blogging. With our new platform, we are able to deliver to you the latest information about debt consolidation in a much more timely and accessible way. In addition to providing you with general information about the different types of programs and services that are available (the front end of this web site…. see menu at right), we will be offering you tips, from time to time, on how to better manage your personal finances and avoid getting to the point of needing to consolidate debt. We will cover topics from as basic as how to keep your checkbook balanced, to more complex transactions, like understanding disclosure statements on mortgage loans and calculating the true cost of interest on credit cards and other debts. If we don’t explain it clearly enough, or you would like more information on a particular subject, please let us know. We want to know how we can help you. Also, we’re going to be general in nature for the most part, because we would like to keep things simple and because we are not specialists in all areas of personal finance. So, to fill in the gaps, we will be deferring to outside experts from time to time in order to provide you with a more thorough explanation.

What is the main goal of DebtConsolidation.bz?

Teach consumers how to manage their finances by adjusting to live within their means.

That is it. Why is there nothing about debt consolidation in that statement? Because (as stated above), our goal is for you to learn how to live without developing a need for it. Even so, living within your means will not always result in you feeling comfortable, which leads us to what this website is not. [If you are searching for a debt solution, visit our states directory of debt consolidation providers.]

This is not:

  • …a feel good site that seeks to set unrealistic expectations. –  If anything, our goal is to make you more realistic about what you can and cannot do with your available budget and to have you accept it for what it is. Or, better yet, think critically about how you can change it if you are unhappy. Once you come face to face with your true financial situation, you will be in a much better position to make proper decisions regarding your money in the future. Sure, simply paying with a credit card is an easy way to handle that unexpected expense or pay for that impulse buy at the mall. Don’t worry about it. Buy now and pay later, right? Unfortunately, sooner or later, the bill will come. Ultimately, no amount of outside debt help will solve your problems unless you are willing to be honest with yourself. If you are unwilling, you will likely find yourself in the same position in the future. Are you using credit card debt or payday loans as a temporary means of help, or are you using them as a constant crutch that will eventually break? Do you have an actual plan for paying off what you owe?
  • …a forum for consumers to complain or share thoughts about debt problems, scams and the like. – As much as we would like to open things up and allow everyone to share, there are plenty of websites that already serve this pupose. As mentioned, our approach (although not entirely unique) is different. We want to keep it simple and teach you how to manage your finances by adjusting to live within your means. Sound familiar? However, living within your means requires that you behave as an intelligent consumer. An intelligent consumer is informed, and in our attempt to keep you informed, we will let you know about some of the more common scams and how to possibly identify them. In doing so, you may become better equipped to spot a new scam and avoid becoming its next victim. To get you started, you can save yourself a lot of  trouble by remembering two simple rules.
  1. Nothing is truly “free. The cost is simply transferred. Sometimes it is to someone else, but most often it still comes back to you. It is just in a different form that you may not be aware of. Unless you are being given something by a (legitimate) charity, friend or family member, you should be asking yourself why it is free. And, is it really, in fact, “free”? There are often plenty of strings attached. It is OK to trust; just remember to be careful. Because, as sad as it is, even family and friends are not always immune from having ulterior motives. If you can learn to tell the difference, you will be a lot happier in the long run. It is much better to hear what you don’t want to hear now, than after a transaction is complete.
  2. If an offer seems to be too good to be true… read the fine print. If there isn’t any fine print, a disclaimer, or even if you don’t understand all the details of the offer, play it safe and turn it down. At a bare minimum, go online first and search for the offer to see if others have written about it. As to rule#1 and #2, this is why “forum” websites (even though we are not one) should be very important to you as a consumer. Word of mouth (or keyboard) can be a valuable free resource. Once again, remember that not everyone always plays by the rules. Former or current employees of companies can masquerade as consumers on a forum site, either to validate an offer or to unfairly sabotage it. A few tips for using an online forum for information: 1) What safeguards does the site have (if any) to make sure the information posted by its users is accurate? Do you have to be a member and log in to make comments, and is membership free? A financial link back to the user is a pretty good verification method that makes it easier to hold them accountable for any false statements that they may make.  2) How many posts has the user made? How long have they been making posts, and are they all about the same company? This may or may not be a dead giveaway for someone that is not on a forum as a “consumer”. Sometimes, people may wish to post on a board that allows them to remain anonymous. For obvious reasons, they may not want people knowing their name and that they were the victim of a scam. They also may not ever contribute to online forums, but had such a bad experience, that they felt compelled to share it with others. 3) Can you verify the information through an independent source or through other websites? — Going through these questions is not going to guarantee that you are going to get accurate information, but it is a step in the right direction. The key is to not assume anything, read everything you can find and then use your best judgement.

So, now you know that we are not going to be painting a picture with the sun shining in the background and where everyone is smiling because their debt is suddenly gone. Getting out of debt does not have a simple “snap your fingers” type of solution. Each form of debt help or resolution (loans, settlement, counseling, bankruptcy, getting a 2nd job, etc.) has its own positive and negative aspects. Can you get to a happy point? Sure, but happiness depends upon a lot more than just managing your money properly and getting your bills paid off. Having too much debt may simply be clouding your vision, because the world has plenty of wealthy people that are debt free and still miserable. Nonetheless, removing the burden of debt from the equation is not a bad place to start.

Finally, we offer this site as a “free” resource, but that is because we have advertising (the transferred cost). Even though we may make income off of advertisers that provide debt consolidation and related financial services, it is our sincere hope that you don’t come back in the future — except for the ongoing personal finance tips! We realize that keeping spending in check is a daily struggle for most of us. This is especially true in the United States, as evidenced by the epidemic of debt that we suffer from as a country, and also as individuals. In 2009, it appeared that consumers were heading down the right path by decreasing their reliance on credit cards and other forms of unsecured debt. However, in 2010 we got right back in our old rut and started racking up consumer debt again. Don’t become a part of the trend. Make some changes and choose your own path!

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