Children, Chores & Allowance

We love our children, and of course we want them to have all that they need…and much that they really don’t need.  Do you find yourself at the crossroads of another meltdown with your child at the checkout because of something that they have eyed and can’t live without?  Of course you have!  We all have!  But wait there may be help in helping to curb these emotional attachments for things that they won’t remember five minutes after they arrive home.

Teach children money management.
Children and money.

Get creative and help your children earn money and teach good money management, which in return will help them to make wiser purchases.

Help make earning money fun.  The following is a list of chores your young child can accomplish with minimal help.

  • Picking up toys
  • Feeding family pet
  • Collecting household garbage to be taken out by adult
  • Setting dinner table
  • Sweeping
  • Cleaning toilets
  • Tidying their bedroom

Pitfalls when it comes to chores.

  • Don’t insist on perfection.
    • Your child is not in the military.  They are children and still learning.  Challenge children to excel, but don’t scold.
  • Don’t delay.
    • You may think that your child is too young. They may be more capable than you think.
  • Don’t be stingy with praise.
    • Get that praise going right away! Don’t wait until the chore is done. Praise and encourage the child while the chore is in progress. You want to build positive momentum, especially with young kids,
  • Don’t be inconsistent.
    • Be regular and don’t allow for putting off for another day.


Have a chart posted where your child can visible see it so that they see how much they earn with each job.  Pay weekly and help your child to spend the money on items that they have made a list of.  This will assist in keeping them focused instead of spending on impulsive items.


Children, Tweens, Teens and Money Things

With all the education that children receive at school, t.v., internet, friends, family and reading; getting an education in finances, credit and saving doesn’t seem to be an area that they are learning, nor applying to their life.

A recent Capital One 360 poll 87% of young people between the ages of 12 to 17 year-olds reported knowing at least an average amount about managing finances.  Or not.  According to the study, it also found that 24% of them think a debit card is used to borrow cash.

teens learning about money
Teens and money


A Charles Schwab poll found that fewer than a third of teens understand how credit card interest works and four in 10 can’t budget.

Talk to your teen about financial responsibility. Does your money-talk with your teen begin with, “How much do your need?”  If so, this may indicate that there is a need for more understanding to becoming financially responsible and independent.  The more that you talk to your child or teens the better financially prepared they will be as they go off on their own.  It is important to challenge them to be responsible for their own financial actions, while the consequences are not serious.  Learning to appreciate delayed gratification will set the foundation for the rest of their financial life.

money and children saving
Children and allowance

EARNING MONEY:   EARLY ELEMENTARY CHILDREN     To begin teaching financial responsibility, it starts at a very early age. That age may vary depending on maturity and understanding.  It’s probably safe to assume that at or around the age of 5 would be a smart time to begin rewarding with an allowance.  A short list of ideas are listed for giving money for work performed younger children.  Do keep in mind that younger children may not perform the best job, but it’s about responsibility and learning.

  • Picking up toys
  • Feeding family pet
  • Collecting household garbage to be taken out by adult
  • Setting dinner table
  • Sweeping
  • Cleaning toilets
  • Tidying their bedroom

I do not personally recommend giving an allowance for the following, because these are not chores. These should be expected to be done without question.

  • Brushing teeth
  • Eating
  • Getting up and out for school and church on time
  • Schoolwork / Homework
  • Being respectful and minding adults.  ie:  Being good during a photo-shoot should not be rewarded.  That is considered bribes for good behavior.
  • Not being quarrelsome or talking back to parents
teen should I spend or save
Should a teen spend or save money?

               EARNING MONEY:  TWEENS & TEENS:  According to CNN Money, there are 4.7 million teens with jobs this year.  An increase from last year. According to there was a population of 73,583,618 teens less than the age of 18.  That means there are far more teens not working than working.  With that being said, teens and parents need to be creative when finding ways to earn money.  I have compiled a list but not limited to the following:

  • Collecting recyclables
  • Garage sale
  • Yard work for neighbors or family
  • Housework for elderly or infirm neighbors
  • Helping neighbors with unloading groceries or clothes from car and putting away
  • Tutoring
  • Pet sitting or dog walking
  • Wash cars
  • Become a lifeguard
  • Babysitting
  • Mowing lawns
  • Become the neighborhood’s designated tech support
  • Organize a fun run
  • Driveway power washing
  • Garage cleaning and organizing
  • Assisting neighbors, church friends with getting seasonal decor from storage and putting back.  Maybe even helping to decorate, such as hanging outside lights.
  • Reselling online

Once your child has money, let’s start with giving back.  Teach them to set aside the very first 10% as tithe.  This is a great biblical teaching and teaches the promises of God.  The next amount set aside is 20% to be deposited into teen’s saving’s account, by the teen.  As a tween or teen, it is not too early to start a savings account at your local bank or credit union.  Be sure that the account accrues interest.

The 70% that remains should be spent wisely.  Many times your teen may want to purchase a pricey item such as a new cell phone or I-pad.  It may be beneficial to help with matching their contribution.  This will create better spending habits than using a credit card and having them to repay.  Once a teen has learned the art of patience, then introducing a credit card for certain purchases may be safe.

Children need to know how much items cost, from the cost of many grocery items to the clothes they wear.   They need to be taught the value in what you own and what they are being blessed with.  I can’t help but notice how teens throw away so many items of value.  We live in a disposable age where money is even devalued because it’s too easy to replace.

A couple of years ago, a high-schooler on the girl’s softball team was not keeping up with her softball glove as they were loading the school bus.  Noticing that the glove was a very nice and pricey one, the coach called her to the side and already knowing what her answer would probably be, he asked, “Do you know how much that glove cost?”  She replied that she had no idea how much it cost, that her parents had purchased the glove for her.  The coach smiled and shook his head.  His point was reality.  Children usually do not place value on items when they were not taught to value them.

Teach your children to take care of what they have.  They may not get another one.  This still rings in my ears, for I heard it many times as a young child.  Because of this message, I still have several items from my childhood because I took care of them.  Many other childhood items I was able to later sell.

I will conclude this blog by saying that this is all about teaching financial responsibility.  Not about having such stringent rules that money becomes a headache and source of arguments.  I often talk to clients in their 20’s and early 30’s that admit they were never taught about budgeting and how to used credit wisely.  It probably has a lot to do with their parent’s not knowing how to teach what they didn’t know.

Do you have credit problems and would like to break the cycle and have a better future for you and your family?  Please call us.   The credit evaluation is always free.  We will need to review all three of your credit reports to give a complete evaluation, but if you have a free account with we can give you a mini evaluation.  If we see that we can help you, then we will give you another website to get your reports for $1.00.

Credit reports have mistatkes
Kirkpatrick & Associates, LLC provides free credit report review.


Remember to lead and challenge your children by example.

5 Credit Mistakes to Avoid

So you wonder why your credit score is lower than it was last month.  You care about your credit and you have been saving money for more than a year for a down payment.  You family is growing and you just need more room in the house, not to mention that the 4-door sedan is just not roomy enough.  Got your eye on that SUV you passed this week on your way to work.  Then you take that step and apply for a loan to find that your credit reports were not what you were expecting.  What did you do wrong?  Let’s take a look at 5 credit mistakes to avoid.

Credit mistakes
Take care of your credit and don’t make these mistakes.
  1.  Missing a bill payment.

Want your credit score to bungee jump?  Just miss a payment on your bill and pay at least 30 days late.  That will absolutely do it.  Since your credit score is an indicator to future lenders of how well you pay your bills and how likely you are to pay timely, your on-time payment history is very important.  A late payment can, in many cases, delay you in qualifying for a home loan.

You may want to set up auto-draft payments the day of or day after payday so that you don’t overdraft your account later into the month after your checking account balance may be lower.

2.  Applying for too much credit.

Applying for a lot of credit may have a negative impact on your scores.  Keep in mind that each time you apply for new credit the potential creditor may run a hard inquiry on your credit and thus lowering your score.  It can also indicate to future lenders that you are desperate for new credit or not able to qualify for the credit you need.  Avoid having too many hard credit inquiries and applications.  Instead, have a good relationship with your current creditors and ask about getting a credit line increase.

3.  Maxing out your credit cards.

Maxing out your credit card not only puts you in debt and can be a budget killer, but it also indicates to lenders that you are struggling financially.  Lenders see it as you may be at a higher risk for defaulting on your account.  Instead, try to keep your credit utilization at 1% to 19%.  This will drastically help your credit score and will be favorable to your credit card lender.  To pay down your cards, stop using them and begin to make multiple payments each month.  Work on paying off the cards with the highest interest rate.

4.  Not using your cards.

You may feel that not using  the cards are the most responsible thing to do.  Instead use your card for items that you would normally purchase.  Lenders are grading you on your responsibility to pay and having the funds to pay.  Always pay at least a few more dollars than the minimum payment instead of just paying the minimum.  Many credit card lenders will close your account if it goes inactive over a prolonged period of time, thus damaging your score.

5.  Not paying that medical bill.                                    

debt collectors
Debt collectors calling? Make sure that you owe it.

You went to the doctor, they filed your insurance and you paid your co-payment.  That took care of everything.  Well, maybe not.  Millions of people get medical bills turned over to collections and never received an invoice from their medical provider.  If this happens to you, contact the debt collector within the first 30 days of receiving the letter.  If you know that you owe the money and just didn’t pay, then pay it.  If you feel that you don’t owe it or not sure, write a letter to the collector and mail certified.  Be sure to keep a copy of the letter.  Per the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they have to prove the debt before they can place it on your credit reports with the credit reporting agencies. Once they have proved the debt…..if they do….then work out suitable payment arrangements with the agreement that they will not place it on your credit reports.  Keep good notes of anyone that you speak to including date and time. It’s best NOT to call them and only communicate in writing so that you not have a conflict on what is being said.

Want to stop a debt collector from calling?  Call Kirkpatrick & Associates, LLC.  We can stop those calls.

If you are still experiencing problems or not comfortable handling this, please give us a call.  We specialize in helping people with 3rd-party debt collections.  205*352*3448.

Children and credit cards.  How to stay out of debt.

Tweens Teens and Credit Cards

Is your teen ready for a credit or debit card?  Financial education should begin as a very young age.  Don’t wait for your child to go away to college to learn about money management, credit and budgeting.  He or she should have a good concept about this before they pack their bags.  By all means, don’t arm your children with credit cards and no idea on how to handle it.  Understanding how credit works will help them avoid the trap of revolving credit.  Credit card companies are in the business of making money and keeping you in debt.

What to teach your teen:

  • What is a credit score.
  • How does credit affect me.
  • How do I keep tabs on my credit.
  • How do I protect my credit.
  • How to stay out of debt.
  • Don’t charge for items that you don’t have the money to pay for.
  • Don’t buy what you don’t need.  Credit means debt.  Debt means money that you will have to pay someone until you pay it off.
  • Help your child learn to save for what they want.  This is important to start at a very early age.
  • Teach and assist your child to set a standard for automatic saving.  Like 1/3 allowance and 1/2 of all birthday gifts.
Teaching your tween and teen responsible credit and budgeting.
Teaching your tween and teen responsible credit and budgeting.

As our children are growing up it is imperative that we teach them to be responsible with their finances.  Your teenager is more mobile and you may find that it’s important that they have access to funds in case of emergency or otherwise.  There are  options and a parent needs to consider if their child is responsible enough to be in control of a credit or debit card.  Let’s look over some of the different options to help in making a decision.



1.  Prepaid cards are a hybrid breed.  Just because it is called a prepaid credit card and works like a credit card does not make it a credit card.  These are cards that are reloadable and works like a debit card.  You choose the amount that you want to load on the card, use it like a debit card and it deducts the amount from your balance.  You can then reload and continue to use.  Being that these cards are associated with major credit card networks, American Express, Visa, Mastercard, these prepaid cards can be used anywhere the major credit cards can be used, whether it’s to purchase groceries, shopping at the mall, paying bills, or online shopping.  This card is ideal for tweens and teens.  No worry for over-drafting checking accounts or being accessed over-the-limit fees with credit cards.  Prepaid cards are an alternative to banks.  There are millions of people that do not want to use banks or traditional credit.  Although these cards are not connected to a checking account, it still allows you to things that require a credit card, such as rent a car or book a hotel room.  With many teens with a part-time job, cards even come with a checking and routing number so that a teen could have their check directly deposited onto the card.  Many prepaid cards offer features to be able to access funds at an ATM.  You also have the option of loading their allowance on the card.  Prepaid fees.  Be prepared to be charged with fees with a prepaid card. Each prepaid card comes with it’s own fee structure. Be sure and find a card that best fits your needs.  You are protected.  Prepaid cards offer the same theft and loss protection that major credit cards offer.  Which makes this a pretty safe bet.

Children and credit cards.  How to stay out of debt.
Children and credit cards. How to stay out of debt.

2.  Store card / major credit card.  While credit cards have a credit limit and you are able to use the card until the limit is exhausted.  Credit card companies may extend additional credit at a cost of an over-the-limit fee.  Eve with a credit card, it is important to keep tabs on your spending.  With interest rates charges it may become very difficult to get out of debt.  No one wants to head off to college in credit card debt and parents should not be left to clean up their teens out of control spending.  Choosing between a store card or credit card may be a challenge when trusting your tween or teen to spend sensible and not send you soaring into uneeded debt.  If you feel that your teen has not shown financial responsibility with their money and allowance, then you may want to rethink handing them a card to carry on a full-time basis.  You may choose to allow them to use the major credit card on a temporary basis and for particular purposes and allowing the to view the invoices and pay the payments.  Also educated them to understand the reality of charging and paying with money they earn from their job or allowance.  Although there are fees for reloadable prepaid cards, there are over-the-limit fees for many credit cards.  Just being charged one $39 over-the-limit fee is a large amount compared to prepaid card fees.

Teens learn from their parents money management.  By gradually graduating their freedom to using your credit cards you will be able to build good spending habits and trust.

So while there are differences in choosing a card, education and holding your teen responsible for their spending is the answer.   



Got the Monday Blues? ( a tribute to my friend Lisa Crouse)

That’s right, today is Wednesday, but believe it or not millions of people have a “Monday phobia”.  It’s brought on by many reasons.  Difficult to cover all those reasons since I really don’t know them all, but I do know that people dread waking up, getting up and/or going to their workplace on MONDAYS!!  It’s a drag and many people would rather have the hangover they had the prior week-end than to have to face the reality of the week or the so-called “rat race”.

Many people just hate to work.  Me, on the other hand, I love to work.  I’ve even worked for a company for free. Yes, you heard it right..  I asked to intern.  I wanted to learn more and I showed up 3 to 4 days a week, working approximately 20 hours a week.  But, that’s another story.

I just don’t understand, for the most part, why so many people don’t enjoy their jobs or better yet, any job.  Seems like having too much idle time would get mundane after a week or so. Or, at least it does for me.  But that’s another story. So back to Wednesday.  It’s HUMP DAY.  You know, that day you have been waiting for, that shouts that the week-end is so near.  Not really sure why the week-end is supposed to be so much better than Monday through Friday, but for many people it’s the time they can mentally check out, party with their friends, lay on the couch and watch television, recover from the hang-over headache, kids sports, just dedicated time with family and for all the other activities there is Mastercard. So while I do understand that the week-ends or our days off from work, play a significant importance in our life and thus creating memories, I believe that our society misses the importance that work plays in the fabric of our beings and who we are.  Even when one enjoys their career I still can’t help but notice they regularly anticipate those two days they don’t have to be employed.

You may be wondering what has caused the bee in my bonnet.  Well that bee has been there many years.  Back to the reason at hand.  My good friend, Lisa Crouse, was laid to rest yesterday, May 12, 2015 less than one month after her 50th birthday.  She and I are the same age and met through mutual friends in 2004.  Although she lived in Gulf Shores, Alabama and I live in east of Birmingham, Alabama, we were able to meet up a couple of times when I was in her area and they visited Birmingham on a regular basis as part of the Jeremiah Castille Foundation as ministry partners. Lisa had a beautiful spirit, a dedicated and wonderful husband, Drew Crouse, and two talented and beautiful grown daughters.  She gave so much and I am blessed to have not only have known her, but more than that, we were friends. I can’t help but to believe that she would love and cherish another Monday here among us, with her husband, her children, church friends, and at the very least, just to get to do a job.  Monday’s would mean the world to Lisa, Drew and their family and friends.  Wow!  All the plans they would be making for a wonderful Monday. They would not be dreading Monday’s.  In fact, their last week-end was her spent in the hospital, fighting for her life.

If there is one thing I could encourage you to do is love life, love people and love each day of the week.  Each day is a gift, given to us by our heavenly Father.  Think of each day of the week as a “The Parable of the Talents” in Matthew 25. Although that was speaking of money, let’s equate it to days of the week.  Each one of us have been blessed with so many years, weeks and days in our life.  Some have been blessed with years, some with weeks and some with days, while many only receive hours or seconds.  Regardless, it’s what we do with it that matters.

Lisa blessed others.  She was given 50 years, 9 days, 4 hours and 55 minutes.  During that time, she loved God, her husband, her children and her family and friends. I will be forever affected with her infectious laugh and smile. Remember, that when you aren’t looking forward to next week there is an alternative escape route, but for most people, you would not choose it.  Love life, love God!  Find a way to be re-energized.  The reality of it is your perspective regarding life.  When you minutes are over and your funeral is finished, what will the Master say to you.  “Well done?” or “Depart from me”?

The life of Lisa Crouse
The life of Lisa Crouse

lisa letter  A note written by Lisa Crouse.

Thinking of filing BANKRUPTCY?

There may be a different option than filing Bankruptcy.  We offer #free, no obligation credit evaluations to determine if there is an option to avoid Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  You may have already filed Bankruptcy in the last 10 years and find that this option is not available to you.

You may find yourself dreading to answer the phone and even opening the mailbox.  We at Kirkpatrick & Associates are educated in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  These laws are set up to protect consumers, but consumers often times are not aware of them and thus doesn’t know how to use them.  We can help.

The following is important information that you need to know if you plan to file 7 or 13.  Remember, this will have a great impact on your credit and credit scores for many years.

If you have already filed Bankruptcy, and have been dismissed, we can help you rebuild your credit.  Tired of renting and want to purchase a home.  We can assist in rebuilding your credit and make this possible.

Bankruptcy іs а legal status оf а person оr оthеr entity thаt саnnоt repay thе debts іt owes tо creditors.  The bankruptcy laws are intended to provide an honest, but unfortunate debtor an opportunity for a “fresh start.” However bankruptcy is not a free ride.

Personal bankruptcy іs а legal wау tо gіvе people wіth overwhelming debt а fresh financial start. Маnу people dо nоt realize thаt thеrе аrе fіvе types оf bankruptcy options аvаіlаblе undеr thе U.Ѕ. Bankruptcy Code.  Most consumers don’t realize thеrе аrе rеаllу оnlу twо viable options; Chapter 7 аnd Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Іn а nutshell, mоst individuals аnd married couples hаvе twо types оf bankruptcy undеr thе Bankruptcy Code, Chapter 7 оr Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. While you can receive a discharge through Chapter 7, there are various differences in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Federal Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

While Bankruptcy may seem to be the answer to overwhelming debt, medical bills and phone calls from debt collectors, we at Kirkpatrick & Associates may be able to help you #avoid this.  There is never a charge to find out if we can help you.  Our credit report evaluations are absolutely free and regardless of the outcome, there is no obligation. 

To help you understand  the difference in Bankruptcy I will explain:

Chapter 7

Basics: Will discharge most types of unsecured debt.  The trustee will sell any significant nonexempt property in order to repay your creditors.

Time Frame:  Takes three to four months to complete.

Property:  Keep all or most of your property. Petitioners with significant equity or assists that are not exempt by law could lose them to satisfy some debts.  Meeting with a Bankruptcy attorney is a great way to get a better understanding of how this will affect your assets.

Your income:  If you are in a high income bracket you may not be eligible for Chapter 7.

Homeowners / Foreclosures:  Chapter 7 can temporarily stop foreclosure.  Unless you can get current on your mortgage, the foreclosure will eventually continue.

Eligibility:  Chapter 7 is available to those with income less than the median of their state, or if you can pas the means test.

Filing Complexity:  Filing Chapter 7 involves preparing a large set of forms and navigating some tricky legal issues.  Simple cases can be done pro se.  (PRO SE – without hiring an attorney)

Chapter 13

Basics:  You repay your creditors, some in full and some in part through a repayment plan set up through the court.

Time Frame: Payment plan lasts three or five years, depending on your income.  Many of your unsecured debts will be discharged at the end.

Property:  No property is liquidated under Chapter 13.

Your Income:  Chapter 13,  a regular income is required for making monthly payments.

Homeowners / Foreclosures:  This can stop a foreclosure and you can make up past due mortgage payments through your repayment plan.

Eligibilty:  Has no income requirement.  Unsecured debt has to be below $383,175 and secured debt below $1,149,525.

Filing Complexity:  Involves submitting a repayment plan to the court. Will almost always require bring an attorney to complete successfully.

Obtaining a mortgage loan with poor credit.

Do you have poor or weak credit but would like to purchase a home?  You may have been told that it’s not possible. You may have applied for credit and was denied and now you are convinced that obtaining a mortgage loan is not possible.  Well, it may be more possible than you think..  Of course your credit will need some attention. Kirkpatrick & Associates specializes in getting our clients lender-ready, but of course we will work with clients for most any purpose.

A lender qualifies a borrower based on a credit history and credit scores.  There are three major credit reporting agencies; Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.  You score ranges roughly between 500 and 850.  Lenders most often receive FICO scores, which are not the same scores or based on the same scoring models as the scores a person purchases or receives from the credit reporting agencies.  I recommend to obtain the same scores that lenders get.  There are three scoring models for FICO scores.  Mortgage, revolving credit and auto loans.  They provide all three scoring models.

Bad credit loans
Home Sweet Home


EDUCATIONAL LOANS:  Once educational loans are being paid current it is possible to qualify for a mortgage, even if delinquent payments are being reported from the past.

CREDIT CARDS:  These payments need to be current and no late payments in the past 12 months.  Some lenders will allow a letter from consumer, explaining late credit card payments.  Credit cards balances need to be paid to below 19% of the credit limit.  IE:  $1,000 limit should have a balance of $190 or less.  Paying credit cards down will improve credit scores.

BANKRUPTCY:  A consumer can technically qualify for a mortgage two years after a bankruptcy.  3 years if the Bankruptcy included a foreclosure.  Do keep in mind that credit has to be rebuilt during this time period.

LIENS AND JUDGMENTS:  These must be paid and showing satisfied with all credit reporting agencies that are reporting these on your credit reports.  Just because they are paid doesn’t mean they are reporting paid.  If this is an issue, this is a service that we can assist you with.  Call us at 205-352-3448

CHARGE-OFFS:  These may or may not need to be paid to qualify for a mortgage.  If there is one charge-off and otherwise good credit, then you may not have to pay.  If the charge-off is old and under a certain dollar amount, it may not have to be satisfied to qualify.  Worse case situation, you can contact the original or 3rd party debt collector and work out a settlement.  They may not remove it from your credit report, but it will show that it was paid, and thus helping you to qualify for a loan.  This can be a confusing process and we recommend that you call us when handling these situations.

MEDICAL COLLECTIONS;  Many times all medical collections do not need to be paid to qualify.  We at Kirkpatrick & Associates can help with this.  We specialize in helping with 3rd party collections.  If you are receiving too many or unwanted phone calls, we can stop the collectors from calling.

RENTAL HISTORY:  Yes, a potential borrow can use rental history for credit when applying for a home loan, even when it’s not reflecting on your credit reports.  Be sure and pay rental payments on time.  Mortgage underwriters will require your rental history.

SELF-EMPLOYED OR 1099:  You will need two years work history.  Check with your lender for their guidelines.  These can vary between lenders.

Do keep in mind that after taking care of all of these areas on your credit, you must have good accounts reporting on all of your credit reports.  You credit score must be at least 580 for some lenders and 620 for others and 640 for most any lender.  If you score is between 580 and 639 be prepared to have a larger down payment.  A down payment is usually 3 to 3-1/2%.  A lower credit score would require a much higher percentage for down payment.  Please note:  Do not depend on the scores from Credit Karma or any other 3rd party credit score service that does not specifically provide FICO scores.

We, at Kirkpatrick & Associates eat, think and obsess over credit related stuff.  We would love to help you through the credit maze.  It can be confusing and intimidating when trying to deal with credit related matters and paying collections.  We view your credit reports for any violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  While you are spending time with your family we are working hard for you.

Help with bad credit
Family time!


Free, really free credit services!

First of all Kirkpatrick & Associates offers free credit report evaluations.  For us to provide this service you will need current credit reports.               There are many companies that provide online credit monitoring for a fee.  The cost is usually between $14.99 and $24.99 a month and provides credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies; Experian, TransUnion and Equifax and credit scores from each.  If you can’t or don’t want to pay for this monthly service I suggest that you sign up for  This service is absolutely, yes absolutely free.  No payment information is required to sign up or continue the service.  The only difference is that Credit Karma doesn’t provide a credit report or score from Experian.  But for a free service you get a great service that updates your credit reports regularly throughout each month.  So if you would like to monitor your credit reports and take it easy on the budget, then Credit Karma may be what you are looking for.  Check it out today.  Once you have viewed your credit reports, you may have credit issues.  A late pay that is incorrect.  An account you paid to a zero balance last summer and it still ahows a balance, accounts that aren’t yours, addresses that you have never lived at, credit inquiries that you didn’t authorize, collections that you weren’t aware of and the list goes on.  We can possibly help you and get your credit cleaned up and raise your credit scores.  Here at Kirkpatrick & Associates, credit report evaluations are free….yes, another free!  We want the opportunity to educate you in having a chance at better and stronger credit while educating you to keep it strong.  We don’t do gimmicks, nor do we have a magic wand to poof all kinds of accurate bad stuff from your reports, but we will explain what our services cover and how we can repair negative information and how our services can benefit you, for now, and your future.  Kirkpatrick & Associates specializes in assisting with all types of credit issues.  Possibly avoid Bankruptcy, foreclosure and charge off accounts, dealing with collections, as well as getting you lender-ready for a mortgage.  You may not have credit or collection issues and just need to build or rebuild credit.  There’s help there too.  I know, you want to know how much will this cost you.  After all, you may be living on a budget and paying hundreds or a couple of thousand $$$ is not possible.  Fear not, we have low month to month payments and you can cancel or place you account inactive at any time.                We eat, sleep and obsess about credit related stuff.


  There are other companies that provide credit repair, but we go beyond with excellent customer service and educating our clients which means you can spend more time relaxing and with your family, while we take care of you.  Call today.  205-352-3448 or email:

Stop a debt collector from calling.

Need help with dealing with debt collectors calling?  Have you lost your job?  Laid off?  Medical issues? Divorce?  There are many reasons why someone may not be able to pay all of their bills.  Once a bill hasn’t been paid it may be turned over to a third-party debt collector.  When this happens, it helps to know how to handle the situation.

debt collectors
Debt collectors calling?

Okay!  Let’s get equipped.  You need a notepad, pen and keep it with you at all times.  I  suggest that you record your calls just so you can relisten to the call for complete notes.  If you want to use the recording for a lawsuit be sure and check the laws for One Party State or Two Party State for recording calls.  Check for apps available to install on your cell phone.  Droid has a free one, RECORD MY CALL.  This begins recording as soon as the call is activated.  Now that you are ready for the calls, answer them.

1.  STOPPING THE CALLS.  Answer the phone.  Ask the person on the other end of the line for their name, name of their company, their mailing address for disputes and their phone number; making notes of all that is said.  Now that you have this information write a letter to the company telling them not to call you and if you have ever given them permission to call you, you revoke it now.   Dispute the debt and asking for validation. I personally do not recommend sending a Cease and Desist letter. I recommend stopping the calls and receiving the mail.  Mail it certified mail return receipt and be sure and keep accurate records and do not lose this documentation.  Save a copy of the letter and on each certified mail receipt in a safe place.  Once they have received the letter it is a violation for them to continue to call your phone.  They can however, contact you again to inform you that they plan to take specific action against you, such as a lawsuit.  In my opinion, I would welcome that call so that you would possibly have an opportunity to work out suitable payment arrangements before a suit is filed.

Please note:  A Cease and Desist letter or a letter demanding that they no longer call you, does not make the debt go away if you actually owe it.

Now that the letters are mailed and received be sure and answer your calls documenting any voicemail or answered calls.  Many times debt collectors will continue to call even after they legally are not supposed to.  When this happens you may have legal grounds for a lawsuit against them.  There are attorneys that specialize in these cases on a Pro-Bono.

The FDCPA states that every time a collector contacts a debtor they must disclose who they are and what they are calling about. It helps keep collectors from being deceptive or misleading. This is known as the Mini-Miranda and generally goes as follows:

Information to keep in mind.  A debt collector can not:

  1. Call you before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm.
  2. Harass you with excessive phone calls.  Document with phone records.
  3. Receive phone calls at work, AFTER you have informed them not to call you there.
  4. Pretend to be an attorney, law firm or government agency.
  5. Inform others of your debt without expressed permission from you.
  6. Attempt to collect a debt from you that is not yours.
  7. Attempt to collect a debt that you have previously been sued for.
  8. Threaten to have you arrested.  Tell you there has been a warrant sworn out for your arrest, especially when they haven’t.  I see this with unpaid internet loans.  These companies regularly do this and it’s against the law.
  9. Call you at a time or place that you have informed them is not convenient.

There are many things that debt collectors do that is not legal.  If you find that you are in this situation please call us for help.  There are many things that we can help you with, and when needed, you may need the assistance of an attorney.  Call us today at 205-352-3448.  Kirkpatrick & Associates, LLC

Surefire ways to get denied for a home loan

Surefire ways to create money and credit problems.  If you plan to get denied for a loan or mortgage the following plan will work great for you.  1.  Go ahead, charge those clothes, shoes and stuff that you can’t afford.  After all, you worked hard all week and you deserve it, but you’re a little short on cash.  You are short on cash every week but it’s such a good deal, and it’s only a total of $126.52.  After all, you can pay that back in 6 months, well unless you use the card again for the unforseen medical bill of $225.  After all, there is no savings to fall back on.  Now your card is up to $351.52, oh and the two late fees of $35.  Guess that’s now $421.52.  Maybe when you get you income tax refund you can pay off the credit card.  Maybe?  Had you not purchased the clothes and worked out and interest free repayment plan with the medical bill, this debt could have been avoided.  2.  Don’t shop around and pay full price whenever possible. Internet price shopping can save lots of $$$ but why bother.  You want it now!  3.  Transfer balances to 0% rate credit cards, then make the minimum payment.  4.  Add balances to newly empty cards.  5.  Apply frequently for new credit.  6.  Deal with finances….hmmmm…tomorrow.  7.  Use Payday loans for emergency money.  8.  Pay credit cards with home equity.  9.  Save money after paying bills.  10.  Get financial advice from friends.