Financial Tools and Budgeting Guide

New Budgeting & Financial Tools Guide Available for Consumers

San Mateo, Calif. - With summer come vacation trips, new clothes, and items to spruce up home and garden. It often means racking up debt, too - and the perfect opportunity to address the lack of understanding of basic personal finance concepts that pervades American lifestyle today, according to Brad Stroh, Founder of Bills.com. Stroh is available to discuss the financial problems facing American consumers this summer, including:

  1. Lack of understanding of the most basic personal finance skills - such as why income must exceed expenses, how to squeeze savings out of even the smallest cash flow, FICO scores, credit ratings, and how to create a simple, workable budget focused on the basics.
  2. Significant increases in consumer debt - total consumer debt - excluding mortgage debt - now tops $2 trillion and continues to climb. Americans carry 1.2 billion credit cards, and more than 44 million households carry card balances that average $8,025 month to month.
  3. Proliferation of products and services that don’t benefit the consumer - how payday loans, credit cards with high interest rates, a blizzard of credit card offers filling most mailboxes, and bankruptcy assistance that creates still more debt can sweep customers from on the edge to deep in debt.
  4. Predatory lending practices - how shady creditors prey on people who are unsophisticated when it comes to loans, or who do not understand annual percentage rates (APRs), loan terms, penalties or other conditions.
  5. Americans’ lack of budgeting skills - how, turned off by the very word "budget," Americans resort to plastic and living paycheck to paycheck rather than planning their spending.

In addition to being available to discuss these concepts, Stroh, and the team at Bills.com, have developed a 16-page guide titled "Debt Freedom: Budgeting & Financial Tools for Today’s Consumer." The guide provides advice on understanding cash flow and debt, defining a budget/spending plan, and setting goals to attain financial freedom. The guide is available electronically, at no charge, by e-mailing guide@bills.com. "We at Bills.com sincerely believe in doing taking concrete steps to help people handle their personal finances," Stroh said. "The basic information in the guide can help individuals reach their goals and become truly financial literate, improving their lives now and in the future." Based in San Mateo, Calif., Bills.com is a free one-stop online portal where consumers can educate themselves about complex personal finance issues and save money by choosing the best-value products from a network of qualified service providers. Since 2002, Bills.com’s partner company, Freedom Financial Network, has provided consumer debt resolution services, serving more than 7,500 customers nationwide and managing more than $250 million in consumer debt. The company’s co-founders and CEOs, Andrew Housser and Brad Stroh, were recently named Northern California finalists in Ernst & Young’s 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.