A blog about writing and all things story…
Welcome back to writers and money Mondays. I got a real mixed bag of questions this week. I appreciate everyone who wrote in. If you missed last weeks post on writers life budgeting, freelance financial woes and more click here.
One question I received this week was about tax write offs for the writer’s life of coffee shops, books, and mileage. All I can say there is that that would be tax advice, which I do not give, and that you need to speak with your tax advisor the same way I do every spring.
Then another question was about making money writing articles. I can’t help you with that, you need to find your own ‘making money with your writing’ path, but I can say there are a gazillion avenues these days. Start by submitting to on-line magazines and journals. However in your e-mail you didn’t tell me what you write; fiction or non, so it’s hard to say much more other than good luck.
Nevertheless, there was one question that may have universal appeal; it
was about dealing with past debt and collection accounts that haunt.
“In 2011 I paid a hospital bill that had gone to collections in 2009, but it still haunts me. I was recently told my new car interest rate and insurance was higher because of my unpaid collection. How can I get this paid in full debt off my record?”
GREAT question! Anyone who has ever had a collection knows thy can linger for many years, paid or not.
It would be irresponsible of me not to mention that the first thing is to not allow things to go to collection. That said, the next step is to handle it effectively.
The biggest problem I have seen, repeatedly, is that people pay their collections but lose the receipts. Those receipts that read PAID IN FULL, are everything. With that receipt you contact the collection agency and request a letter stating Lien (or judgement) satisfied. This is your get out of jail card. Then you contact the credit reporting agencies and have it added to your credit report. All of this can take months and even years, but it’s worth it. If you don’t perform thorough follow-up and cleanup you will deal with the judgment via higher interest rates, rejection on rentals, denied mortgages, or paying said collection every time you apply for a mortgage like one customer I had. Because he didn’t want to ask for help, he paid an old veterinarian bill of $800.00 three times (every time he refinanced) because he never saved his paperwork and could not prove it was paid. Ultimately he fought and won $1600.00 back, but it took him two years and a lot of nagging from his mortgage broker (me).
Order your credit report, actually read what it says about you and if it reflects erroneous or outdated information, address it. If you don’t nobody else will and it will only get worse. Free credit report here, and there are also dispute forms to get you started.
If you need assistance with credit management or debt counseling there is help.
The only way to find help is to ask for it. The best way to find a counselor is through a referral. Consumer Credit Counseling Services can be found in most U.S. cities or on-line atwww.cccs.org or www.nfcc.org.
Thanks for writing in, I hope that helps a little.
If you have questions pertaining to writers & money, I’ll select appropriate questions to answer in this blog on Mondays. Enter via the contact form below. If you want to be ‘Anonymous’ or identified, it’s up to you. Thanks for reading.
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By Miri Elm
(re)Living History, with occasional attempts at humor and the rare pot-luck subject. Sorry, it's BYOB. All I have is Hamm's.
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