Table of Contents
   Your Credit Repair Companionp. 1
   Assess Your Debt Situationp. 3
      Take Care of Financial Emergenciesp. 4
      Face Your Debt Problemsp. 6
      Understand Your Options for Dealing With Your Debtsp. 6
   Avoid Overspendingp. 23
      Keep Track of Your Daily Expendituresp. 24
      Total Up Your Incomep. 26
      Make a Budget or Spending Planp. 29
      Prevent Future Financial Problemsp. 34
   Handling Existing Debtsp. 37
      Deal With Current (or Not Seriously Overdue) Debtsp. 40
      Use the Form Negotiation Letters Provided in This Bookp. 59
      Deal With Creditors on Past Due Accountsp. 60
      Deal With Collection Agenciesp. 65
      Tax Consequences of Forgiven Loansp. 72
   Clean Up Your Credit Reportp. 75
      What Is in a Credit Report?p. 76
      Get a Copy of Your Credit Reportp. 80
      Review Your Credit Reportp. 84
      Dispute Incomplete and Inaccurate Informationp. 88
      Add Information to Your Reportp. 92
      Information Showing Stabilityp. 93
      Explanatory Statementsp. 94
      Avoid Identity Theftp. 95
   How Creditors and Employers Use Your Credit Reportp. 107
      Who Can Look at Your Credit Reportp. 108
      How Credit Applications Are Evaluatedp. 110
   Building and Maintaining Good Creditp. 115
      Build Credit in Your Own Namep. 117
      Ask Creditors to Consider Your Spouse's Credit Historyp. 117
      Get Credit Cards and Use Them Wiselyp. 118
      Open Deposit Accountsp. 130
      Work With Local Merchantsp. 132
      Obtain a Bank Loanp. 132
      Avoid Credit Repair Clinicsp. 133
      Avoid Credit Discriminationp. 144
      Resourcesp. 151
         Credit and Debt Counseling Agenciesp. 152
         Debtors Anonymousp. 155
         Nolo Publicationsp. 155
         Other Publicationsp. 155
         Online Resourcesp. 156
         State Consumer Protection Agenciesp. 157
         Where to Complain About Credit Discriminationp. 164
      Forms and Lettersp. 165
      How to Use the CD-ROMp. 247
         Installing the Form Files Onto Your Computerp. 248
         Using the Word Processing Files to Create Documentsp. 249
         Using the Federal Trade Commission Filesp. 251
         Files on the CD-ROMp. 252