Credit and Debt: Putting the Pieces Together

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As you may know, I spend some of my time on the speech circuit, traveling around to different events, schools and organizations to talk about the world of money. Today I’m writing to you from the FinovateSpring 2010 conference in San Francisco. Finovate is a space for people to share their innovations in banking and financial technology.

Why am I here? Because I’ve spent the past six months or so working with two companies to design two new programs to help you manage your credit and debt. Both are launching today, and I can’t tell you how excited I am.

This morning at Finovate, I’ll do a presentation on Pay it Down!(TM), which is an application I’ve developed as a compliment to The Debt Diet(TM). If you’re not familiar with The Debt Diet, it’s a program I launched on my website, jeanchatzky.com, last year. The program, which I developed with Pro-Change Behavior Systems, takes users through activities to help them find $10 a day to pay down their debt.

The Pay it Down! addition to the program is powered by DebtGoal, which is the leader in debt repayment tools. It’s designed to show you how to use the $10 a day to pay down the debt in the fastest, cheapest way possible. Using DebtGoal’s proprietary software, the program crunches the numbers to come up with a repayment plan that will allow you to pay off your debt faster and save money – we’re talking hundreds or thousands of dollars in many cases – on interest.

Then, this afternoon I’m going to launch the JeanChatzky Score Builder.  Score Builder, which is an application you can find at SmartCredit.com (my partner in this venture), focuses on the other side of the equation – your credit score. The program is designed to help you improve your credit score in just 120 days by taking you through the positive and negative items that are impacting that number. Once you have each negative in front of you, you can attack them one by one, by fixing errors – a recent report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that 79 percent of credit reports have serious errors or mistakes of some kind – paying off small debts and removing old or irrelevant items. You can even ask your creditors to remove a negative item from your report, just because, and 50 percent of the time, they do it! We give you the language to use to contact your creditors directly through the program, then we track their responses – as well as changes in your credit score.

I’m so excited that it’s finally time to share both programs with you, and I hope you’ll give them a try. You can find out more by visiting my website. As always, I’d love to hear what you think, so let me know in the comments below. In the meantime, I’ve got to get ready for my first presentation!

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