If you are taking the phone course, please click here to download copies of the course materials.
Filing Debtor Education Certificates with the Court
- As an approved debtor education provider, our company, Sage Personal Finance, may file second course certificates with the court. We will file certificates within about one day of course completion and the service is provided at no additional charge. For more information about direct filing, please see page 24 of: http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/rules/bankruptcy-procedure.pdf#page=24. We are pleased to be one of a select group of providers now offering this service.
- Form B423: Debtor's certification of completion of post-petition instructional course. This form is not required if our company files a certificate with the court, it is only needed if an attorney or other third party files a certificate.
Petitioning to Discharge Student Loan Debt
Individuals going through bankruptcy may file a special request to get their student loan debt forgiven. This can be accomplished by filing a written complaint and serving it together with a summons on the applicable lender(s). The individual going through bankruptcy may file it, or their lawyer may file it. This document must be in a special format and must include the reasons why the student loan debt is causing undue hardship.
In response to this filing, the judge will decide whether or not to forgive the student loan or some part of the loan. Usually, the individual's income and financial/medical circumstances, and whether or not the individual tried in good faith to make the loan payments, are all considered. In up to 40% of all cases, the filing of this suit results in at least partial student loan forgiveness, so it can be very worthwhile to do this.
General Money Management
- Federal Trade Commission (877) FTC-HELP: The FTC is a federal government agency that focuses on administering consumer protection laws. This website contains a great deal of useful information for consumers about how to get out of debt, save money, and report fraudulent consumer practices. The free, downloadable brochures are especially helpful.
- Choose to Save: A site devoted to financial education; includes savings planning worksheets, information about retirement savings plans, pensions, loans and more.
- CNNMoney's Money 101: This site provides an excellent 23-page guide on personal financial management.
Comparing Prices on Consumer Goods
- Consumer Action Handbook: This handbook, published by the Federal Citizen Information Center, provides advice about how to make the best purchases when shopping for a car, item for your home, etc. In addition, it provides information about where to file a consumer complaint.
- Consumer Reports Magazine: Consumers Union, an independent, non-profit organization that tests consumer products and reports on their characteristics to consumers, publishes Consumer Reports Magazine and maintains the consumerreports.org website. This magazine and website provide useful product information to potential buyers, including product prices, usability ratings, safety ratings, and product characteristics. Consumer Reports covers practically all products, from cars to sewing machines.
- Gasbuddy.com: This website provides up-to-date information about where to find the cheapest gas prices in your neighborhood.
- The sites below are shopping search engines that allow you to compare product characteristics and prices offered by different sellers before you purchase the item.
Buying Less Expensive Foods
- WikiHow includes a helpful article about how to save money on groceries with some ideas for how to make some pre-prepared foods yourself: http://www.wikihow.com/Grocery-Shop-and-Cook-Frugally
Car Purchasing/Leasing Information
- Edmunds.com: This site provides information about car prices, car characteristics, and car buyer recommendations.
- Kelley Blue Book: This site provides information about what a car's value is over time: the Kelley Blue Book Price. This information is helpful for buyers who are considering purchasing or selling a used car so they know what the car's reasonable price might be.
- CarsDirect.com: This site provides car reviews, ratings, and prices and also provides an outlet for consumers interested in purchasing a car on-line.
- CarFax.com: This site provides information about a car's history, including flood damage history, accident information, title information, etc. so consumers may learn more about a car before they decide to purchase it.
- National Insurance Crime Bureau: The National Insurance Crime Bureau is a non-profit organization that focuses on detecting insurance crimes and prosecuting insurance criminals.
- CarMax: This company appraises and buys used cars.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): This U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development site provides information about renter/homebuyer rights, housing assistance programs, and assistance with home improvements.
- Entertainment Publications: Entertainment Publications is a private company that offers consumer discounts on entertainment options. They publish the Entertainment book containing coupons for hotel stays, dining out, recreational activities, and groceries.
Dealing with Fraud and Bad Business Practices
- Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Website: Discusses how to deter, detect and defend against identity theft.
- National Consumers League: This site provides information about how consumers can protect themselves against telemarketing and internet fraud and other safety/regulatory issues.
Banking and Finance
- BankRate.com: This site allows consumers to compare CD, mortgage, loan, credit card and interest rates offered by different banks.
- iMoneyNet.com: This site provides information about how different money market mutual funds have performed and how to choose mutual funds for investing.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: This organization provides information about how your savings are insured by the Federal Government, how to save on ATM fees, and other investment information.
- Banks that provide checking accounts, savings accounts, ATM/debit cards, on-line banking, direct deposit, and loans to consumers.
Planning for Retirement
- AARP's Money Site: This site, sponsored by the American Association of Retired Persons, provides information about saving for retirement, finding jobs, the best employers for individuals over 50, taxes, and social security.
- Vanguard: This site, run by the mutual fund company Vanguard, has helpful explanations on mutual fund investing. Vanguard is also a very reputable and low-cost mutual fund company.
- Yahoo! Finance: This site has articles on personal finance and allows you to check stock quotes (with a delay).
- SmartAboutMoney.org: This site provides articles about managing your money, using credit wisely, and a diverse array of other financial topics.
- These sites provide consumers with information about the interest rates, grace periods, credit limits, and benefits of different credit card accounts.
Credit Reports and Credit Scores
- AnnualCreditReport.com: This site provides individuals with free credit reports once a year.
- Equifax, Experian, and Transunion are the three major credit bureaus that issue credit reports. Their sites provide information about the types of information on a credit report and they provide credit scores for a nominal fee.
- MyFICO.com: This site provides information about the formula used to calculate most credit scores.
- Insurance Quote Comparisons: These websites compare insurance quotes offered by different carriers.
- You can obtain a quote for many types of policies from these company websites:
Breaking Costly Habits
- Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Gamblers Anonymous are organizations dedicated toward providing support and guidance to individuals recovering from substance abuse and gambling addictions.
Paying for College
- U.S. Department of Education's Student Aid Website: The U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs offer qualifying students financial aid to attend college. This site provides information about the types of programs available and eligibility for those programs.
- The Internal Revenue Service: The Internal Revenue Service provides information about completing your taxes, tax refunds, and tax payments. Tax forms and publications are also available for download.