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Learn How to Remove Items From Your Credit Report

Have you taken the time to consider how your credit affects you today and in the future?

 

Credit is an essential part of most people’s lives. Your credit score is directly related to your credit history. It lets lenders know how trustworthy you are with borrowing money. This includes everything from a personal loan to a big financial commitment, like a home mortgage. 

 

Yet, in 2020, many people still have no idea how their credit score works, and the importance of ensuring the information on their credit report is accurate. 

 

Here are some tips that will help you take control of your credit score and credit report information. Whether you just graduated high school, have had credit problems in the past, or had a recent financial road bump, use this information to get your credit score healthy.

 

WHAT GOES INTO YOUR CREDIT REPORT

This is your first line of defense — knowledge! Knowing what information goes into your credit report can give you an idea of your financial health while also identifying if you’ve been the victim of identity theft. 

Each year, the three leading credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) allow you to obtain a free copy of your credit report. 

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, all three credit reporting agencies now offer free weekly online reports through April 2021.

Next, you have to determine what makes up your credit score and what factors can improve or negatively affect it. 

Finally, ask how you can improve your score. Usually, that information is provided to you as a list of risk factors when obtaining a copy of your credit report.

 

Rod Griffin, Senior Director of Public Education for Experian, said that the credit report lets you know which risk factors to work on to increase your credit score. 

 

THE FIVE CATEGORIES YOUR CREDIT SCORE IS COMPOSED OF

  • Payment history (35%)
  • Debt (30%)
  • Credit history length (15%)
  • Credit mix (10%)
  • New Credit (10%)

To achieve a high credit score (higher is better), you will need to:

  •  make payments on time
  • keep your credit usage below 30%
  • have a balance of different kinds of debt (credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, etc.)

If you can do this, you are on the right path to achieving a high credit score. 

 

One factor that can negatively affect your credit score, although not as much, is having a short credit history. For example, someone who makes payments on-time for an entire year may not have a high enough credit score to convince lenders for higher loan amounts.

Luckily, having a low credit score does not mean you will not be approved for a loan until it goes up. Some lenders provide information on the average score applicants need to qualify for a loan. It is recommended that you speak with your preferred lender, so you are clear on the terms and conditions to be approved for a loan.

Having negative impacts on your credit score can make most financial goals an uphill battle. Most negative impacts stay on your report for up to seven years, which can hurt your chances of obtaining new credit during that time.

NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON YOUR CREDIT SCORE

Here is a list of factors that can negatively impact your credit score and stay on your credit report for up to seven years in most cases. 

  • Late Payments or Non-Payment: One of the most critical factors of your credit score. Paying your debts late consistently can signal to lenders that you cannot afford or are unwilling to pay your debts. According to Equifax, if you are overdue on a payment by 30 days, your score can drop one point. 
  • Having a charge-off: When a creditor gives up on you paying your debt, they “charge off” your account, which can cause your credit score to drop by 100 points or more.
  • Bankruptcy: This should be considered one of your last options. Declaring bankruptcy can negatively affect your score by up to 200 points or more.
  • Foreclosure: Depending on your starting score, a foreclosure can cause up to a 100 point drop.
  • Repossessions: A car repo may cause your score to drop over 100 points. Additionally, a note about the repossession will stay in your report for up to seven years.
  • Judgments: This is when a court is involved to ensure debt repayment. The impact can vary, but scores can drop over 100 points.
  • Collections: This is when a creditor hires an outside firm to collect payment due on a debt. You will see this categorized as payment history; scores can drop over 100 points too.

IDENTITY THEFT

When someone steals and uses your personal information, your credit is at significant risk. Suppose your information is used to apply for new lines of credit and these accounts go into default. In that case, you are still responsible for them.

Thanks to the internet, finding people’s personal information doesn’t take that much effort. Here is a list of different ways your identity can be stolen.

  • Credit card theft
  • Credit card skimming
  • Browsing an unsecured website
  • Malicious software
  • Mail Theft
  • Phishing scams

If you suspect any information on your credit report looks suspicious, contact your creditors immediately to file a report. Having your identity stolen can result in financial loss, credit damage, and loss of peace of mind. Depending on the severity of your stolen personal information, it can take years to resolve. 

This is why it is utterly vital to report anything that looks suspicious when looking over your report.  

Although the risk of identity theft cannot be entirely eliminated, there are some measures you can take. 

  • Monitor your credit report 
  • Report suspicious information
  • Freezing or locking your account temporarily
  • Contact law enforcement and file an identity theft report
  • Set up a fraud alert 

REMOVING NEGATIVE ITEMS FROM YOUR CREDIT REPORT

Getting an item removed from your report is not easy, and there are usually several steps to take to do so.

  • Dispute the information with the credit bureau 
  • Initiate a dispute directly with the reporting business
  • Hire a professional credit repair service
  • Get credit counseling
  • Pay for delete
  • Write a goodwill letter
  • Wait it out

CREDIT REPAIR STRATEGIES THAT DON’T WORK

  • Filing for bankruptcy: Even though you eliminate your debt when filing for bankruptcy, your credit score will be severely damaged. Additionally, the note of your bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for seven to ten years.
  • Closing a credit line that is behind on payments: This affects your credit to debt ratio and does not really remove the debt owed, which negatively impacts your credit score calculation.

 

Living day to day on credit is not a financially sound practice, but credit has its place in your financial life. It will help you pay for high dollar items such as higher education, a car, a home, or in some cases, for emergencies.   

My recommendation is that you have at least an annual financial health checkup. By keeping your credit in check and having a great credit score, you will be able to meet your financial goals much faster. 

Now, keep in mind that making all the right moves today won’t necessarily mean your score will improve overnight. However, having a plan and checking your credit report often is the best defense you have for protecting your credit.

Are you a business owner seeking to eliminate debt from your company? Schedule your discovery call today to see how we empower entrepreneurs to make, manage, and keep more of their money. 

Best,

Linda

Source: How to Get Items Removed From Your Credit Report  by Money

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Stay Organized At Tax Time, (Or Any Time)

If the end of the year and tax season brings you to dread every year, it’s time to get that under control.

There is no reason to be stressed, worried, or dreading tax time each year. It’s not good for your mental health, or physical health, either, to be stressed out. The reason you probably feel this way is that you have not taken the time to be organized throughout the year. However, with just a little bit of preparation, and a simple system throughout the year, you can regain control of our emotions and make tax time a cinch.

There are basic components you will need for tax season- receipts of payments (think receipts and paid invoices) and records of payments (think bank and credit card statements). If you have a system for filing and obtaining these items, you’re 90% done with tax prep.

For receipts of payments, you need a file for invoices and receipts you pay throughout the year. This system can be whatever works best for you.

Paper Files

Some people prefer keeping a physical paper trail. For physical paid invoices and receipts, you need a physical filing system that works for you. Something like an accordion-style file folder would work just fine. If you tend to have larger volumes of receipts and papers try a filing box or filing cabinet with folders.

How you file your receipts and invoices is up to you. There is no wrong system as long as you keep them organized and you know where to find them when you need them. Standard filing practices include categories by month, vendor name, or expense category.

Paper Record Keeping

If you also keep paper records (rather than a software bookkeeping system) you will want a way to track your expenses so you don’t have to spend hours at tax time adding up the totals.

Whatever you use, at the end of each month, just be sure you total the expenses in each category and keep that total handy. You could even staple the receipts for a said category to the tally paper. You will only need the receipts for an audit, but you will need your totals so you can calculate your annual expenses at tax filing.

E- files

If you have a software system for bookkeeping, the application often has a mechanism for attaching receipts directly to the payment inside of the program. (i.e. .pdf or .jpeg images can be attached to the payment for easy reference).

Alternatively, you can set up a filing system in files on your PC, similarly to the paper files above. Receipts and paid invoices that have been received can be saved to the file.

E-Record Keeping

The easiest form of any type of electronic bookkeeping system is accounting software, but for those who are on a budget, this may not be feasible. You can use a basic spreadsheet in Excel or a similar program to track expenses. Again, you will need just the annual totals for your tax filings, but you may want to track these monthly for easy tax tracking.

For records of payments, you will need a file (as explained above- either e files or paper files will suffice) to store your bank and credit statements, (and ideally, you should attach your reconciliations to each statement) that you will also need at tax time.

Following these easy steps, you can breeze right through tax time, stress-free. Not sure how to get started? Schedule your complimentary call today.

 

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Simple Ways to Stay Calm When Chaos Erupts

Life has its ups and downs. Now more than ever, after being quarantined and forced to adapt to a dramatically different lifestyle, businesswomen and moms will need to find they’re own sense of calm. Some periods will be more hectic and crazy than others. During these times, it can help you to learn some coping strategies. There are some simple ways to stay calm when chaos erupts in your life-such as a pandemic. Having a settled mind and looking at things from a less frazzled state can truly help you to make clear-headed decisions in your business and your life. These strategies that I have put together for my fellow businesswomen, mothers, and strong independent women will help not only cope and try to understand how different life will be but help you to continuously thrive in your business. 

  1. Count to Ten

It may sound too good to be true, but this strategy really works. Just count slowly from one to ten. Try to breathe deeply as you do, as this will enhance the effects. This little trick can help you to quickly gain control of your emotions and feel calmer in a pinch. 

2. Close Your Eyes

Yep. Shutting your eyes for a moment blocks out a great deal of the stimuli that are currently vying for your attention. This brief period of visual stillness will allow you to gather your thoughts and to calm yourself. 

3. Move Your Body

Exercise is a fantastic way to get your blood flowing and your heartbeat racing. You’ll also amp up the productions of endorphins in your body, providing you with extra energy to attack your issues. You don’t have to do a full-blown exercise to benefit, though. Taking a leisurely stroll might actually be best during times when you need to chill out. This relaxing activity gets you moving, literally. It can remove you from a stressful environment and give you a fresh perspective. 

4. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation

An effective strategy for releasing stress from your body without having to exercise, or even move out of your chair, is progressive muscle relaxation. This practice involves tensing and releasing the stress from every muscle group in your body. You can start with your head and work your way downward. Tense up the muscles in your face, hold for a few seconds, and then release. This exercise can be completed in just a few minutes, and you’ll feel tons better when it’s over. 

5. Listen to Some Music

A soothing tune can be relaxing. Uptempo beats add energy when you need a boost. Perhaps something with meaningful lyrics might improve your mood. Whatever you choose, music can have a profound effect on your feelings and is a good option to rely on when you want to calm down or feel better. 

6. Take a Bath

Lying in a bath of warm water can be quite soothing to the soul for many. It’s relaxing and can actually seem to transport you to another place. This is especially true when you add bubbles and a nice scent. Aromatherapy will add yet another layer to this calming routine. 

These are just a handful of ways to stay calm when you’re stressed out. Choose the ones that resonate with you, and give them a try the next time you feel overwhelmed or when life is chaotic. Adding these simple, daily calm practices will not only benefit you during this time but will help you resonate with the chaos around you. Your family and your business will thank you later. 

 

If you find yourself struggling with COVID-19 and your business strategies, please don’t hesitate to reach out at hello@spirebusiness.com

Linda 

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Control the Clutter in Your Life to Make Room for What You Want

One of the biggest causes of stress in our lives is clutter. Seeing piles of clothes, unopened junk mail, loads of laundry, a messy desk, and other disarray really causes most people to feel anxious and overwhelmed, sometimes even depressed. It’s hard to achieve a sense of calm when there’s chaos all around, in the form of physical eyesores or the insidious kind that attacks your mind. That’s why it’s important to corral the clutter in your life. Taking steps to get control of the disorder is the start of creating calm. Read on, and I’ll tell you more about that.

 

Clutter and Stress

Each person’s definition of clutter is different. We all have our comfort level when it comes to the amount of stuff we want to have around us and to enter our lives. However, it’s when you begin to have a negative reaction to all of this input that it becomes a problem. At this individualized and personal point, you’re dealing with clutter. Usually, this breaking point arrives because your life is affected due to the amount of disarray you’re facing. Whether you’re feeling closed in and agitated or you’re physically constrained by the mess, you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

 

Benefits of Clutter Control

There are loads of good things that come from controlling the clutter in your world. You’ll likely feel an increased sense of energy because you’ll spend less time looking for things you’ve misplaced and will no longer feel as overwhelmed emotionally by your stuff. This can lead to greater productivity and getting more done. It’s even been shown that folks begin to make improvements in other areas of their lives such as diet and exercise once the “weight” of excess clutter is lifted from them. Taking action in this one aspect of your life can have a tremendous impact on other areas. Finally, you’ll be much closer to achieving the calm you seek once you start to pare things down.

 

How to Get Started

The hardest part of ridding your life of clutter is getting started. This is especially true if you’ve lived in chaos for a long time. The good news is that this problem is relatively easy to tackle once you overcome your initial resistance. The best place to start is the one that is causing you the most stress. For example, if coming home to your messy living room makes the idea of relaxing impossible; begin to clear things out in that room. Having a place to unwind at the end of the day might just be the catalyst you need to motivate you toward clearing out other cluttered places. It’s also a good idea to enlist help in order to make the process more manageable and less overwhelming. Have your family or roommate pitch in or consider hiring a professional organizer if you live alone. Finally, get rid of anything you honestly don’t use and find a “home” for everything else. When you cut down on the amount of stuff and put things in their place, you’ll find life becomes a whole lot less hectic.

 

These are just a handful of suggestions for minimizing the clutter. Here at Spire Business, we strive to help our clients connect their mind and body to their business. The clutter in all of our lives tends to hold us back from finding peace in our lives and in our business. Let us help you cut the clutter so you can break free from the stress holding you back and start loving your business again. Sign up for our one on one classes on our website to get started.

Linda

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Emerging from Hibernation- How to Adjust to Your New Reality

As you leave winter’s hibernation and the Covid-19 quarantine and you emerge into full summer with flowers and trees in bloom, you may also discover a new beginning for 2020; for you, your family, your business, the world, and how you decide to show up.   

   

Did your life change over the past several months?    

  • Were you busier or slower than pre-COVID?   
  • Did you enjoy virtual interactions and the time saved from not commuting?   
  • Have you realized that virtual communication is not enough and that you like, or NEED, to be in the energetic field of others?   

   

The good news, you get to choose how you re-enter the world!  

If you’re self-employed, or an aspiring entrepreneur, you can enter where you left off or you now have the opportunity to create new you. Did you realize that:  

  • Your business, which was formally your pride and joy, had become just a J*B?  
  • You spent too much time at work and/or on behalf of your clients?  
  • Financial changes occurred in your household?  
  • A large amount of the stress that you carried was from your business?   
  •   

Have you decided to:   

  • Reorganize your time and spend more of it with your significant other and children?    
  • Pivot what you do or how you offer your services and products?   
  • Expand your business and increase your income?  
  • Close your doors?

The key to moving forward is to keep in mind all that you have learned during the first half of

2020 and to move forward in life and business in a way that matters and is essential for you.   

For me, I realized that I put aside my own physical and spiritual health, and abandoned the quality time that in the past was reserved for my family. While my business grew, I was spending less time with my family. My time was going to guiding my clients to create harmony between their home/personal life and designing a profitable business that fits with their personality and desires.   

If you know or follow me, you’ve heard before that I do not believe that there is a real work-life balance. How can you possibly divide up your time equally in all areas of your life?    

Instead, we need to harmonize our time and our life. Some days your family will take precedence; other days, it will be your own spiritual needs, and still, others will be your business. It’s like listening to a symphony. At times the horns will have a solo, or the woodwinds, or even the percussion. But in the end, all the instruments play in harmony to create music that is moving, beautiful, and enjoyable.   

In the coming months, I will redesign my business to suit the lifestyle I wish to lead, and the person I want to embody. I will keep harmony at the forefront of my mind and use the program I designed for my clients, From Pillars to Profits; The Seven Stepping Stones to Design The Business of Your Dreams.    

   

You are invited to follow me on my journey as I share with you the steps and processes I take to pivot my Profit Mentorship and Accounting firm to its next level.   

May you enjoy peace and harmony in your mind, body, and business as you reenter 2020 and post-quarantine.   

Linda

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Bookkeeping You Can Do!

By Linda Brown, Spire Business Inc

Many people feel they are not good with numbers, so it’s no surprise that they tend to ignore their bookkeeping. In the past, accounting had a lot to do with compiling numbers; that is not true today.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners start their business because they have passion, knowledge, or skills to share with others- not due to their love of bookkeeping (unless you’re a bookkeeper or accountant). But even as an accountant, our books tend to get behind. It’s the adage about the cobbler’s children having no shoes.

With that said, we know the importance of why bookkeeping should be kept current:

  • It enables you to make sound financial decisions
  • You will have an idea of what you owe in taxes, before the due date
  • It makes tax time more relaxed and with less stress
  • To protect the business in case of an audit

During the 1980s, bookkeeping changed. As small businesses transitioned away from the green ledger paper and pencils to computer spreadsheets like Lotus 1-2-3 (yes, the dark ages to many of you), then to computer software such as Quicken.

With today’s virtual apps and programs, bookkeeping has become even easier and more accurate! It can be done anywhere there is a connection to the internet and little reason to let it lag.

By choosing an app that can connect to financial accounts (banks, credit unions, and credit card companies), it becomes less about the numbers or data entry, and more about the categories!

Confused?

With the advance in technology, many banks and credit card companies have created a secure, encrypted process to automatically download transactions from their institutions to the apps. You just have to set it up!

Then when you log into your bookkeeping app, all you need to do is let the app know why the money came into or went out of that account.

Does this sound doable? It can be!

Although it can be confusing to set up a bookkeeping system, as it should be individualized to a specific business, the workflow to maintain the business should be quite simple to master.

I recommend that you invest in yourself and your business. Hire a good accountant or bookkeeper that knows your industry to set up the app and to train you on how to use it. A good side benefit, if you hire an accountant, they will be an excellent guide for you and a resource that has your back for when you get stuck.

Fair warning, there will be a learning curve- the same with any new skill you develop- but the more you do it, the easier and faster it will become.

Concerned about the time it will take?

The majority of service-based small businesses that I’ve assisted in establishing a bookkeeping system (using financial downloads) can stay current by dedicating 5 to 15 minutes a day.

Are you intrigued and want to learn more about how to manage your bookkeeping in minutes a day, we will be happy to chat with you.