Debt and Credit

Credit Reporting and Scoring Fundamentals [90 minutes]

The details of your credit report, and your credit score, which is the result of running those contents through a program, go a long way toward determining the loans you may qualify for, their rates, and even other aspects of your financial life you may not be aware of. In this class, you will learn the latest information on obtaining your credit reports and how to "translate" their contents. You will also see the factors that influence your score, and more importantly, tips and strategies for improving it. The course will also cover important debt ratios and how they can help or hurt you in the loan approval process, even if you have a good credit score.

Getting (and Staying) Debt-Free! [90 minutes]

This class is the second part of "Your Money AND Your Life!" (see the Money Management section for a full description), and can be taken by those who are confident that they can "find" the money to pay down their debts -- if only they knew an organized way to go about it. Eliminating non-mortgage debt is an important prerequisite to a solid financial plan. This class discusses the pervasiveness and consequences of having too much debt, especially of the high-interest variety. It shows you, and gives you a chance to practice, a proven systematic way to pay down debts that is both effective and motivating. Finally, it shows how being free of non-mortgage debt can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more!) in additional wealth over a lifetime.

Structure Your Loans [90 minutes]

Although we feel it is best to have little, if any, debt beyond a mortgage, this class recognizes the reality that this is not always going to be the case. It starts from "the ground floor," and takes you to the point of being an informed loan evaluator. You will learn how principal and interest really work, what the Debt-to-Income Ratio is, and the types of loans you should almost always avoid. Then you will get to see the different types of potentially useful loans and other forms of credit that are available, and discover how to compare their characteristics to decide on the type(s) that would be best for your circumstances. The course also has a brief overview of the major provisions of the bankruptcy law that took effect in late 2005.

Power Over Plastic [90 minutes]

Overspending with credit cards is the leading cause of serious financial problems in America today. This course helps you understand the psychology of overspending and why credit cards can cause it to happen when other ways of purchasing might not. You will learn how to recognize your potential spending weaknesses and become more aware of your true motivations for buying certain items. Since having 1-2 credit cards is often a necessity for travel and buyer protection, you'll learn how to compare your current cards and decide which one(s) to keep. You will get the latest information on ways to pay with plastic that do not involve going into debt or creating the potential for it.