Tip of the Month: Protecting Your Tax Return Money

For the next few months, merchants will be coming at consumers hard with Specials, Sales, Discounts, Advertising, New Products, with one thing in mind:

It is an all-out grab for your tax return!!  Tax return money is viewed as “Disposable Income” which means your money is being targeted by the market place!

Your TIP for this month is; “buck the system and don’t be a victim”!  Ear-mark your tax-return money for yourself.  Plan on putting it into a savings account or a CD or some other investment and turn that money into more money—money for you and not for big business!

Time doesn’t fill the success-oriented person. They fill the time.

(Gratefully borrowed from Jeff Hayden, editor, Inc.)

Ten Habits for Personal Growth are employed by successful people on a daily basis.  The habits are not always easy but it will always make a difference. And over time, that’s what will make you incredibly successful. The Ten Habits belief-pattern includes how we use our time. This month’s tip is:

Time doesn’t fill the success-oriented person. They fill the time. 

Average people allow time to impose its will on them; remarkable people impose their will on their time. How to make best use of your time starts with this. Deadlines and time frames establish parameters, but typically not in a good way. The average person who is given two weeks to complete a task will instinctively adjust his effort so it actually takes two weeks.

Forget deadlines, at least as a way to manage your activity. Tasks should only take as long as they need to take. Do everything as quickly and effectively as you can. Then use your “free” time to get other things done just as quickly and effectively.

Can I Sue Telemarketers?

Yes!  Your tip for this month is to sue your telemarketer!

Telemarketers must follow the same guidelines as debt collectors, banks, credit card agencies and any other company making robocalls, or calls in person, and they rarely do.

If your rights, as defined by federal law, have been violated and you’re sick of telemarketers blowing up your phone, you may be able to seek compensation for each violation through a lawsuit. The TCPA allows consumers to seek $500 per illegal robocall and $1,500 per illegal robocall that was made willfully.

What not to do:  These calls are so aggravating, the common response is to yell, slam the phone or simply let it go to voice mail.  Do none of the above.  

Instead do this:

Take the call, stay calm and confirm who the caller is and then politely hang up.  Keep a record of what company called. Now when they call again, take a screenshot of the incoming calls and keep the record of those.

Next, contact us today (805) 619-5131 for a FREE consultation. Our attorney may be able to help stop the phone calls and recover compensation on your behalf as well.

Dealing With Telemarketers

We’ve all got them; unwanted calls from telemarketers

Are you hounded by telemarketers?  The next time you receive a call from a salesman, rather than ignoring it, simply pick up the phone, determine who the caller is and ask them to stop calling.  After that, maintain a record of that call as well of any more calls from the same company that may happen.

By telling sales companies that they do not have permission to call, you may be eligible to receive up to $1,500 per call if they continue to harass you.

A lawsuit filed against State Farm shows that victims of unwanted calls may be eligible to receive sizable payments, although they owed money to the company that is making the pestering calls. In the case, a federal court ruled that State Farm broke the law when it continued to make debt collection calls after the plaintiff specifically asked the company to stop calling.

The lawsuit involved a woman who provided State Farm with her housemate’s number as an emergency contact. When the woman fell behind on her payments, the company harassed her and her housemate with hundreds of unwanted debt collection calls.

Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law designed to protect consumers from unwanted calls and text messages, it is illegal for any sales company, including debt collection agencies, to use automated systems, artificial callers, and prerecorded messages to call or text you unless you have given the company express permission to do so. You can revoke your authorization to receive calls at any time, and the company must, by law, stop calling.

If you have received unwanted calls to your cell phone, you may be eligible to collect up to $1,500 per unwanted call. Call us now at 805.619.5131 for a free consultation.  Our attorney will be happy to evaluate and help enforce your legal rights.

Cash for Collections!

Can you use some extra cash?  Of course you can, we all can!  Regular readers of our post know we routinely give cash to our clients; $1,000 is common and $4,000 or more happens as well!

How do you get your share of this money?  Glad you asked!  Gather up any collection letters you might have and remember to keep a record of any collection calls you get on your phone.  And then let us know!

We will correspond with them for you and determine if there are any violations.  If so, it may mean a cash award for you!

So don’t just throw out collection notices!  Bring them to us to investigate, it may mean a big bag of money for you!

To learn more about this, please visit:

Pay Down Your Accounts

When I interview potential clients, I usually notice something on their credit report that will lower their FICO score more than a negative item will… do you know what it is?

We would think that a positive trade line (a current, paid-as-agreed account) such as a credit card or revolving line of credit are what is needed to establish good credit.

And usually that is true, unless the balance owed is close to or about the same as the credit line’s limit.  In other words, let’s say you have a credit card with a $5,000.00 limit.  If you have used up all the available credit, real close to the entire five thousand dollar, then you are carrying a “high balance”.

This potentially will cause more damage to your credit score than a negative item might, depending on the negative item.  While it may not be as bad as a charge off or a judgment, it will absolutely lower your score and cause you to have to pay higher than usual interest rates.

Your tip this month is to pay those accounts down!  Keep your credit card balances down to no more than 20% of the limit.  So, using our $5,000.00 credit card limit example, you will want to start paying it down to about $1,000 or less and then have a long history of timely payments on that account.

If you accomplish this with all your trade lines, lenders will offer you optimum interest rates when you buy something on credit and you will enjoy an improved FICO score too!

Next month our Tip of the Month will discuss how many trade lines you should have and why.  Don’t miss it!

Purchase low-cost items on credit to improve credit.

Many consumers, in an attempt to improve their credit, will buy something on credit.  The idea is timely payments show up the credit report raising ones’ credit score. While this is true, there is potential down-side.  Many consumers we interview will purchase a high-ticket item, such as a car so they can begin showing a history of payments. The problem here is, the high interest rate makes the strategy way too costly.

Example: Auto costs $15,000.  The loan is a 60 month term at 17% interest rate.  (This is a very common scenario for consumers with poor credit). Monthly payment is $372.79.  Very affordable and you are building your credit, but at what cost? At the end of the day, you will have paid a total of $22,367.40.  That’s $15 thousand for a car that 5 years later will be worth a few hundred bucks. The cost to build your credit: $7,367 paid in interest payments.

There is a better, less expensive way to build credit.  Please see

Never throw away a collection letter.

Collection Notices are now Worth Thousands of Dollars!

Never throw away a collection letter. State and Federal guidelines are very explicit as to how a collection letter can be written. Either due to ignorance, arrogance or playing the odds, bill collectors routinely violates these rules…which could mean money in your pocket!

Just on the Central Coast alone, thousands of collection notices are worded in such a way that puts the collection agency in a position to be sued. A successful lawsuit could result in the debt being expunged, the item being removed from the credit profile and a cash award for you!

If you think you are a victim of collection abuse, please contact us right away. There is never a fee for Heritage clients to use our attorney.

Rid yourself of poverty thinking.

In my 25 years plus in working with consumers, I have learned that most people limit their financial potential, create a mountain of debt and sabotage their chances at success simply due to poverty thinking.

What is poverty thinking?  It is a learned thinking process; it’s learned behavior, where you “think” you can’t do well in a financial way.  Poverty-thinking is a belief pattern that simply acts on what it has been told. How is it learned?

It begins in childhood.  We learn to be in poverty when we are told repeatedly; “you can’t have that, we can’t afford that, we are too poor, not this time, we don’t have enough money”.  The brain will accept those words as fact of being…a fact that will be taken into adulthood.

As an adult, poverty-thinking, imbedded in our brains, will absolutely sabotage any undertaking we endeavor.  We will be limited due to our subconscious inner psyche that keeps telling us:  it can’t be done, you can never achieve that, you’ll always be broke, etc.

How can poverty-thinking be overcome?   Begin giving our brains a new set of words to live by.  In other words, we must replace the old, poverty-thinking with new, positive thought words and processes.

This can be accomplished by continually reciting, out loud, positive affirmations.  These are “new words” that we continually feed our brain.  These new words, these positive affirmations, are designed to blot out old negative words we learned from our parents, and give our subconscious a new, positive pattern.

We replace all the negatives we have learned with their positive opposites.  So it is a combination of two exercises.  We eliminate phrases like: “I can’t afford that, I don’t have enough money, I don’t think I can, I wish I could do that” and replace them with phrases like: I can accomplish that, I deserve to enjoy life’s best, etc.

Additionally, it is helpful to avoid associates who themselves are poverty-thinkers.  So it is “out with the old and in with the new”.  Surround yourself with positive thinking people and flood your brain with positive, “can-do” words!  In a short time you will be in the winner’s circle, accomplishing and no longer sabotaging your efforts!

Pay more than the minimum.

Making minimum payments each month is a guaranteed way to be stuck in debt much longer than necessary. For example, if you have a $5,000 balance on a credit card with a 15% annual percentage rate and make a minimum monthly payment of just 2% of the balance, it will take you more than 27 years to pay off what you owe, according to a Bankrate credit card calculator. Plus, your total payments with interest over that time will amount to $12,518—2.5 times what you originally charged to the card.

Simply by boosting your monthly payment to 3% of the balance rather than 2%, you can cut that payoff time almost in half. If you really buckle down and increase your monthly payment to 5% of the balance, you’ll wipe out your debt in eight years and pay about $1,600 in interest—rather than the roughly $7,500 in interest that would result from making 2% minimum payments. It might stretch your budget to make bigger payments, but over time you’ll save thousands of dollars that can be put to better use, building wealth rather than servicing debt.