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Zero Debt : The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom

Debt is the longest-lasting economic curse, the most heinous financial plague, and the least recognized form of modern slavery afflicting Americans this millennium. Debt keeps you up late at night. Debt drives you to drink, fight with your spouse, have anxiety and experience a host of other miseries that you never imagined. Can’t figure out why you’re always depressed on the morning after payday? It’s because the only ones celebrating your payday are your creditors, since 40% of your paycheck is going to towards your ever-growing debts.

Despite that paycheck you’re receiving, you don’t feel like you’re really getting ahead, right? You probably feel more like you’re drowning in debt. And even for those of you who don’t owe a dime on any credit cards, my guess is that you still feel financially insecure. Whatever category you fall into, read on, because Zero Debt can help you move from financial anxiety to financial freedom.

When you come home and see that pile of bills in your mailbox, many of you wonder: “What have I gotten myself into?” Admit it: How many times have you received an American Express bill in an over-stuffed number 10 envelope? Felt like you were in Zero Debt the middle of a B-horror flick, didn’t it? But the movie wasn’t called “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” It was more like “I Know What You Blew Your Hard-Earned Money On Last Month.”

Contents
Acknowledgments

    Introduction
    Not Getting Ahead?
    Are You Robbing Yourself?
    The Zero Debt Philosophy
    Join the Zero Debt Revolution
    Deprivation Doesn’t Work
    I Don’t Have Debt – So This Book Isn’t For Me
    Who Is In Debt and Why?
    How Long Could You Last without Credit?
    Take The Zero Debt Path to Financial Freedom
    Want To Be Better Off a Month From Now?
    Having Excellent Credit – And “Good” Debt
    I’ve Been Deep in Debt Too!

Overview: We’re A Nation of Debtors

    Generational Debt
    Consumer Debt On The Rise Internationally
    A Few Words to Over-Spenders
    If It’s So Simple, Why Doesn’t Everyone Do It?
    All The Motivation You Need
    Diagnosis: You’re Suffering From The Debt Disease

Day 1 Stop the flood of credit card offers

    Trends In Credit Card Marketing
    A Sweeter Offer?
    The Truth About Credit Card Companies
    Are You Playing The Blame Game?
    One Easy Phone Call Can Help
    Opting Out By Mail
    End All – Well, At Least Most – Junk Mail

Day 2 Make a resolution to “stop digging”

    Why We Spend

Day 3 Put all your debts in writing

    Why Torture Yourself Listing All Your Bills?
    A Wake-Up Call: How Much Do You Owe?
    I Debticate Myself to Being Debt-Free

Day 4 Order your credit report and FICO? score

    What is a FICO? Score?
    Fact Vs. Fiction About Credit Scores
    What a FICO? Score Considers
    Is Credit Scoring Fair To Minorities?
    Little-Known Ways Your Credit Impacts You
    The “Big Three” Credit Bureaus
    Are You Eligible For a Free Credit Report?
    The Credit Report You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Day 5 Call your creditors & negotiate

    You Have Leverage
    Six Things To Ask For
    The Biggest Myth About Credit Card Cos
    Getting Your Creditors To Work With You
    What’s The Impact of a 16.9% Interest Rate?
    But What If You Had A 5.9% Interest Rate?
    What’s The Best Time To Negotiate With Creditors?
    13 Negotiating Strategies To Lower Your Interest Rate, or Eliminate Late Fees and Over-The-Limit Charges

Day 6 Switch cards if necessary

    The Benefit of Comparison Shopping
    Warnings About Obtaining New Credit

Day 7 Always exceed the minimum payment due

    “Minimum” Payments Now Really Equal Maximum Payments In the Long-Run
    A Guaranteed Investment Return
    But I Don’t Have the Money!

Day 8 Dispute any inaccuracies in your credit file

    How Accurate Are Credit Reports?
    How Do Mistakes In Your Credit File Occur?
    Credit Errors Can Cost You Mone y And More
    Fixing Errors & Cleaning Up Your Credit File
    Raising Your FICO? Score
    Improve Your Credit Score in 3 Days – Legally

Day 9 Educate yourself about your legal rights

    10 Rights Protecting Consumers

Day 10 Stop collection agency harassment

    “Cease Contact” or “Cease and Desist” Letter
    Using the U.S. Post Office

Day 11 Prevent identity theft to protect your credit

    Tips To Avoid Identity Theft
    Identity Theft In The Workplace
    Scams Affect Workers And Those Looking For Work
    Identity Theft Insurance
    What to Do if Your Identity is Stolen

Day 12 Set up a good filing system

    Being Organized Helps Your Finances
    Creating An Effective Filing System
    What To Keep – And What To Throw Away
    Maintaining Your Filing System

Day 13 Face the truth about your situation

    Your Finances & The Laws of Cause and Effect
    In What Condition Is Your Financial House?
    How Does Your Score Compare To Others?

Day 14 Create SMART financial goals

    The Importance of Written Goals
    Consider Your Short, Medium and Long-Range Goals
    Your Retirement Aspirations

Day 15 Figure out the $69,000 question: Where will you get the money to pay for your goals, such as slashing your debt?
Day 16 Scrutinize your spending

    How I Got Out of $100,000 in Credit Card Debt
    Being In Debt Denial
    Downsizing Hits Home
    Gaining Perspective on Your Spending

Day 17 Make a realistic budget

    Causes Of Cash Flow Problems
    4 Simple Steps To Stop Blowing Your Budget

Day 18 Find 10 ways to cut your spending

    Saving Money Doesn’t Have To Be A Big Hassle

Day 19 Adopt five lifestyle changes as strategies to save more money.

    When shopping, never pay full retail price
    Become a frequent library patron
    Take advantage of free/low-cost attractions and events in your city
    Eat out less often
    Walk, instead of driving, to any place that’s within walking distance
    How to Look Like a Million Bucks (Without Spending a Fortune)

Day 20 At work, adjust your W-4 withholdings if you receive a refund

    Refund Checks Show Poor Financial Planning
    A Quick Fix Via Your Human Resources Department

Day 21 Sell or donate stuff you don’t want, use or need

    Holiday Giving All Year Round

Day 22 Find a way to generate additional income

    Is a Second Job, or Part-Time Work In Your Future?
    Turn a Hobby Into Cash
    The Small-Office Home-Office Solution
    The Ideal Part-Time Enterprise
    Leverage The Internet

Day 23 Apply for a home equity loan or equity line of credit

    What’s the Difference Between a Home Equity Loan and a Home Equity Line Of Credit?
    Need A Mortgage? Credit Re-Scoring Can Help
    What Are Reverse Mortgages?
    The Pros and Cons Of Reverse Mortgages

Day 24 Refinance your auto loan

    The Capital One Advantage
    Online Lenders Dominate Auto Refinancing
    Beware Of Extending Your Loan Length

Day 25 Pick a “Pay Down Your Debt” priority strategy

    The goal is to attack your area of pain
    What This Technique Does & Does Not Accomplish
    Unconventional Wisdom

Day 26 Weigh the pros and cons of entering a debt management program

    Credit Counselors: Friend or Foe?
    Traditional Credit Counseling On the Decline
    The Financial Ties That Bind
    How Debt Management Programs Work
    Do’s and Don’ts of Debt Management Plans

Day 27 Evaluate your existing insurance coverage

    Five Types Of Insurance That You Don’t Need

Day 28 Draw up a will

    Get the Will to Draw Up A Will

Day 29 Open a “hands off” account and set up an automatic savings plan.
Day 30 Prepare yourself to become a positive financial role model
Day 31 Address any other money woes, credit issues, or special financial circumstances

    Bankruptcy: Your Last-Ditch Option
    Delinquent Taxes: What To Do About Them
    Helping Aging Parents With Their Finances
    Payday Loans: ‘Credit’ You Must Never Accept

Appendix A: Credit Bureaus
Appendix A: Debt Counseling Firms
Appendix B: Sample Settlement Letter
Appendix C: Sample Cease & Desist Letter
Appendix D: The 30-Day Zero Debt Challenge!
Appendix E: Consumer Resources

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Zero Debt : The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom