Archive for February 21, 2013

Debt Consolidation: Could It Help You?

I must start this post by stating that I myself have never been in debt. My parents paid for my college tuition and I’ve always paid off my credit card bills in full each month. When I graduated from college I lived in a 9×9 room, (really more of a sun porch then a real room in the house), because rent was tremendously cheap. With the help of that tiny rent check, ($310 in 1999), I bought a new car and paid off the loan in less than a year.

I’ve made good choices in my life, but I’ve also been very blessed. I found a job right out of college with solid benefits that enabled me to stay home and heal for five months after an unexpected surgery. Had I worked somewhere else my medical bills and time off may have resulted in a very different financial picture.

Others are not always been so lucky. When medical bills loom they are forced to use credit cards to pay their doctor and hospital bills. There are a number of ways to help pay off these debts. You can ask credit card issuers to lower your interest rates, you can try to borrow money from friends and family, you can take out a home equity if you own at least 20% of your house or you can turn to debt consolidation services.

Debt consolidation works to lower the interest rate on your existing debt. Rather than paying multiple bills at a high rate each month you pay just one bill. 

There are pros and cons to debt consolidation. It’s a bad idea to use a debt consolidation plan if you know that you cannot control your spending. This wouldn’t be the case for someone who has gone into debt for medical bills, but it could be a problem for someone who is prone to overspending. Also, debt consolidation services often extend the term of your debt, which means you pay less money per month, but may end up paying more over the long term. Still debt consolidation can be a good idea for someone looking to alleviate their current debt burden. It will provide more breathing room to pay for necessary daily expenses.

If you are looking for alternatives for dealing with your debt check out debt consolidation advice online. There is a plethora of information available.

February 21, 2013 at 2:22 PM Leave a comment

Book Review: A Good American

A Good American

At it’s root BlogHer’s latest book selection, A Good American, tells the tale of three generations of the Meisenheimer family. The story unfolds as a love affair between two Germans, (Frederick and Jette), who leave their home country in search of America. After crossing the Atlantic they ultimately land in a small town in Missouri where they settle down and start a family.

The 400+ page story details the day to day lives of Frederick and Jette and two generations that follow them. I swayed back and forth between really enjoying this book and feeling bored by it. Although the book tells the tale of three generations of the Meisenheimer family, it felt a bit disjointed to me.

In the first section of the book the reader learns of the love between Jette and Frederick, their need to leave their home country and the trials and tribulations they face as they try to settle in America. I really enjoyed this part of the book. The author steps you through Jette’s emotional turmoil.  She delivers a child in America and immediately regrets leaving home without saying goodbye to her own family. Frederick on the other hand loves America and everything about it. He immediately embraces the language and the culture. He strives to own a home and a business which is after all the American way.

There are interesting dynamics between the main characters, including Lomax, an African American man, who reenters Jette’s life mid-way throughout the novel. He has an interesting role in the book and his interactions with both Joseph and Rosa (Jette’s son and daughter) were very touching.

The second part of the book was less enjoyable for me. As Jette and Joseph age the book focuses more on Joseph’s children. Although the reader continues to unfold the daily lives of this third generation of German immigrants the story became less interesting to me. The characters weren’t as memorable and their interactions with each other weren’t narrated with the same zest as the first two generations.

As the novel concludes the author, Alex George, does a nice job of tying a neat little bow around the Meisenheimer family. George throws a curve ball in at the end that I honestly wasn’t expecting. Still I would’ve liked this book to end sooner than it did. I don’t think the second half of the book captured my interest nearly as much as the first half.

Note: This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

February 21, 2013 at 2:00 PM Leave a comment


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