Category Archives: Personal Finance

Frequently Asked Questions on Informal Debt Agreements

A increasingly popular debt relief option for many is that of a Informal Debt Agreement. This allows you to negotiate your debts and repayments without the legally binding documentation that lands your name on the National Person Insolvency Index (NPII).

If you are having trouble paying down your debts, feel inundated with collection calls, or have to resolve debts with multiple creditors, you might consider negotiating an informal debt agreement. We’re going to look at the most frequently asked questions about informal debt agreements and shed some light on how they are beneficial. Dealing With Debt has provided a quick checklist on FAQs on informal debt agreements.

  • What’s the difference between an Informal and Formal Debt Agreement?
  • What if a creditor doesn’t accept my agreement?
  • Can an Informal Debt Agreement affect my credit score?
  • Are there any debts that are excluded from an Informal Agreement?
  • How can I make payments with my Informal Debt Agreement?
  • Is there a limit to the amount of debt that I can negotiate in an Informal Debt Agreement?

What’s the difference between an Informal and Formal Debt Agreement?

The key differentiation between Formal and Informal Debt Agreements is that a Formal Debt Agreement is managed through the Australian Government, whereas Informal Agreements are negotiated independently.

Informal agreements do not appear on your credit report, unlike formal agreements. They also are not binding- meaning the creditor may still choose to take further legal actions against you. Creditors are not required to accept your debt agreement.

If you have a job or professional license, you may find that they are affected by a Formal Agreement because of its impact on your credit rating.

What if a creditor doesn’t accept my agreement?

Because creditors are not required to accept any informal agreements, you may find that they choose not to accept yours. If so, you’ll still be required to maintain your minimum repayments with the creditor.

Can an informal debt agreement affect my credit score?

No. Once you create an arrangement with your creditor, your responsibility will lie in maintaining your payments according to your arrangement. If you miss any payments, the creditors may begin the process of collections. If you’ve previously had any defaults on your account that have made it to your credit rating, the informal agreement will not remove them from your report.

Are there any debts that are excluded from an Informal Agreement?

Fortunately, no. Formal Debt Agreements only apply to unsecured debts. Your Informal Agreement, however, can include all debts. This can be secured and unsecured debt, Centrelink payments, joint debts, business-related debts, and more. All that’s required is that your creditors accept the terms you propose for how you intend to make repayments under your specific circumstances.

How can I make payments with an Informal Debt Agreement?

It’s common for you to set up a direct debit from a bank account that will serve as a singular payment, which covers all the debts that are listed and covered in your Informal Debt Agreement. They are created to be affordable payments that come out in conjunction with your pay schedule.

Is there a limit to the amount of debt I can negotiate in an Informal Debt Agreement?

This is another flexible option with Informal Debt Agreements. There isn’t a limit to how much debt is covered when negotiating these terms. There is no minimum amount of debt required to qualify for an Informal Agreement, and there is no maximum amount that would exclude you from this option.

We know that sometimes debt becomes unmanageable and overwhelming. Explore your options and get on track.

Budgeting is Fun – And You Can Still Do the Things You Love

Budgeting may sound like a dull and mundane task, but it can actually be really rewarding. Getting a firm hold of your finances can help you to become more organized in other aspects of your life, and can actually lead to increased happiness. This has actually been confirmed in an article in the Wall Street Journal. Nowadays, it’s easier to budget than ever. There are apps that do most of the hard work for you. It’s important to remember that budgeting doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the things you love. There are still ways to enjoy games and entertainment at low cost or for free.

Budgeting Apps

In the past, you may have tried writing everything down on a piece of paper and realized that this is a highly ineffective way of budgeting. Luckily, in the smartphone era, there are much more structured ways of plotting everything correctly. Apps like You Need a Budget help users to divide all their earnings up into groups such as travel and entertainment. From the easy to use interface, it is then clearly visible how much money is left to spend on certain things.

Promotions Let You Play for Low Cost

There are numerous ways to have fun while still saving money. In fact, some sites even give players the chance to win something with their promotions. One Lucky Pants Bingo promotion is a first deposit bonus of 200 percent in bingo bonuses, which means players have free money to stake in games upon joining. Using deals like this instead of spending your own money is a great way to have fun while on a budget.

Alternatively, the mobile gaming market has a vast number of free games for players to enjoy. A lot of the MMOs like Terminator Genisys: Future War follow a freemium model. This means that players can enjoy all the game’s features, but have the option to pay money to speed things up a bit.

Reading and Listening

Another way to get cheap entertainment is through the Amazon Kindle and Audible apps. As a way of attracting customers, there are loads of promotions and special deals involved with these. Upon joining Audible, users get the first month free and also receive a credit to use on an audiobook of their choice. In addition to this, there are various free books and series on offer in the library.

Kindle has a similar scheme, for which users pay a monthly subscription. Kindle Unlimited features a vast range of books that members are able to download and read for free. For people who get through a lot of books, this option is bound to save a lot of money. If books aren’t your thing, there’s likely a similar scheme to fit your hobby out there – it’s worth a search.

Budgeting properly allows you to put a portion of your earnings into savings. Having this safety net to use in an emergency or spend on a holiday can provide peace of mind and lead to a happier life.

9 Times When Hiring an Attorney Makes Sense

Sometimes hiring an attorney isn’t warranted. For example, if you get a speeding ticket, you don’t likely need a lawyer. But when there’s a situation involving a legal dispute or a deal that needs to be made — complicated divorce, unfair job loss or a charge for driving while intoxicated — hiring an attorney for your legal defense can make perfect sense.

If you are unsure if you need to hire an attorney or whether you want to hire a particular attorney, many will offer a free consultation. Being able to communicate with a legal expert without worrying about having to come up with money is a plus. During the consultation, you can find out what type of case the attorney thinks you have and what the outcome might be. Here are 10 times when hiring an attorney makes sense.

1. You’re Confused About the Law

In certain legal situations, it’s important to have an experienced attorney representing you or you could experience legal pitfalls. “Even seemingly simple charges— assault or drug possession— can involve complex questions of constitutional rights,” according to the Matthew Hand law office. The more complex the issue you are dealing with, the more important it is to consider hiring an attorney who specializes in that issue, such as criminal defense or tax law attorney.

2. Other Parties Involved Have Retained Legal Representation

If the other parties you are involved with have legal representation, not having your own attorney can put you at a definite disadvantage. It will mean that you will have to represent yourself against an experienced attorney, which can mean that you may end up with a less-than-favorable outcome.

3. The Evidence or Testimony Needs to be Challenged

When you don’t have the benefit of legal education and training, there are certain aspects of your case, including evidence and testimony that you may not know to be aware of. An attorney is well-versed in the ins-and-outs of legal cases and will pick up on things that the average person might not.

4. You Need Advice About Your Options

When a legal case is complex, you will not only need advice from a practiced attorney to help you know how to plead in some cases, but an experienced lawyer can also help make the right choices during the actual legal proceedings.

5. A Plea Bargain or Settlement May Be the Best Route

An attorney with enough experience under his belt has either worked on a case with similar circumstances to the one you’re involved in or can make an educated guess about how it might turn out if it goes to trial. The attorney can advise you about things such as whether you might want to take a plea bargain or even settle and help with the negotiations if applicable.

6. Legal Contracts are Involved

Contracts stuffed with legal jargon can confuse anyone who is not used to reading that type of language. If you don’t comprehend some of the language, you won’t be able to make sense of the contract. An attorney is used to reading and interpreting contracts and can spot details that are cause for a second look.

7. Your Finances or Freedom are at Risk

If you are involved in a legal case that could have outcomes that would compromise your finances or your freedom, hiring an attorney is a very smart move. Do you want to end up spending time in prison or losing a substantial amount of money because you decided not to hire experienced legal representation?

8. Documents Have to be Filled Out and Filed

If you aren’t used to filling out legal documents, it can be a challenge to fill them out. Plus, they will likely have to be filled out by a deadline. If the documents are not filled out correctly or they aren’t filed on time, then it could cause issues with the outcome of your case.

9. You Need Experts or Witnesses to Help Win Your Case

If your case happens to go to trial, you may need the benefit of industry experts testifying on your behalf. That would mean you would have to research to find a suitable expert. Attorneys are in the unique position of having connections to these type of experts and can contact them for their help. Attorneys are also experienced in identifying witnesses that can help strengthen your case and obtaining their testimony — whether through the witness’ cooperation or by petitioning the court to issue a subpoena.