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27
August
2015
journey-of-a-young-girl

The title of this story reminds me of the classic - Anne Frank -The Diary of a young girl. But believe me, I couldn’t think of a better title for this story ever since I decided to show my journey from financial mess to financial victory to the whole world out there. And the similarities between the 2 titles end in the phrase ‘young girl’ only. That’s because, unlike Anne Frank, my story is about struggle, despair, embarrassment, hope, never giving up attitude and victory. There’s a feel-good factor at the end of my story which gives you a new hope and zeal to move forward in life.

My story……

Prolog

We tend to think that girls are not good with money. They’re only good at shopping and splurging. Well, a part of this is actually true since most girls are massive shopaholics. Just the mere word ‘shopping’ is enough to give them an adrenaline rush and a cute smile on their lips. But this is equally true that shopping is perhaps a girl’s biggest enemy since it kills her savings and turns her into a broke gradually. Sadly, I understood this fact, albeit a little late. During this time, I lost two precious possessions of my life - my dad and my ‘money tree’.

Chapter 1: Shopping - My first love

Yes, I love shopping. I love to store trendy clothes, designer bags, perfect stilettos in my closet. And during my college years, I used to check ‘fresh arrivals’ at Walmart every week. Nobody could stop me from picking up at least one item from there. My dad was doing well financially and I took advantage of it with glee. I was a pampered daughter who got everything she wished for, totally unaware of this big bad and real world.

Chapter 2: My first step to the big bad real world

Things were running smoothly and I was happy in my dream world. I loved my life - enjoying everyday with my friends without any tension. Initially, I used to shop with my dad’s credit cards. Later, my dad gifted me a credit card and I started shopping with it. My dad took care of credit card bills so I hardly bothered about them. In fact, he paid my bills even after I started working as a fashion designer after finishing my graduation.

Yes, I was completely a self-proclaimed and unabashed shopaholic - a fact that I would always regret in my life.

I was completely immersed in my new world - creating designs and stitching clothes. My career and social life occupied 90 percent of my day. My shopping spree continued in its full swing in between client meetings and creating beautiful designs.

In the meantime, my dad got sick. He was bedridden for several months and became very weak. So I started spending some time with him after finishing my work. I didn’t concentrate on the credit card during this time also. I thought it was taken care of. Never wondered how would it be taken care of when my dad was so ill and weak? He could hardly walk. So how could he possibly pay my credit card bills?

I was awakened from my dream all of a sudden after a few months with a call from a debt collector. I was told that my credit card bill had escalated to $67148.47. I couldn’t believe my ears. And when I asked if he was sure, then the debt collector explained the fees, penalties, additional interests and other things in details. The collector told me very clearly that if I didn’t pay the money, then they would be filing a lawsuit against me within a few days.

My savings was nil since I invested all the money for a business. I couldn’t even say anything to dad since he was not well at all. So, I started thinking about a backup plan. But the problem was, I didn’t have any backup plan.

Chapter 3: Realization of my mistake

I had no money, my dad was ill and the collector was threatening me every day. I had to pay off debts somehow. I called my friends and explained the situation. Some sympathized whereas some acted to be plain busy.

Out of utter desperation and frustration, I started selling off my costly accessories, clothes, and other stuff through Craiglist, eBay, consignment shops, yard sales, etc. This helped me to earn $10,000. I paid that amount immediately to the debt collector.

Now, I was left with $57,148.47. I also sold my second car and fetched another $10,000. This gave me a little bit relief. At least, I paid $20,000 on my own.

The remaining $47,148,47 was not allowing me to sleep peacefully at night. Out of sheer desperation, I decided to ask dad for money. When I told dad everything, he said he could give me $5000 only since his business was bankrupt. And, his savings was almost nil because of his expensive medical expenses.

I knew my dad wouldn’t be able to pay for his medical bills next month onwards if I took that money. I was a bad girl. But I was not so heartless that I would leave my dad without any medication for so many months. So there was me again busy in hatching another plan.

Chapter 4: Finally, a breakthrough

Since I had no money to pay off debts on my own, so it was high time to seek help from a professional. After a bit of online research, I narrowed down to Oak View Law Group precisely because they fit into my requirement. Their fees were budget-friendly and solutions seem to be good at that time. And I was not mistaken.

OVLG was ready to settle my credit card debt on my behalf. They asked me to save some money first before starting the negotiation process. This was a huge challenge for me since I have never saved a penny before. Plus I had to pay for my business and dad’s medical bills.

When I told my problem to OVLG, they shared with me a few secrets to save money. I followed each step very carefully. Plus, I took these steps on my own:

  1. I worked 80 - 90 hours every week to deliver products to my clients
  2. I worked from home during weekends - mainly did online jobs to accelerate income
  3. I didn’t stop shopping completely. But yes, I used coupons to grab lucrative deals
  4. I made an account as Shop it to Me so as to get email alerts on my favorite brands that were on sale
  5. Whenever, I had to attend a special party, I rented designer clothes from Rent the Runway.
  6. I even created ravishing designs for me in my free time. I wore them and this helped to promote my brand and fetch new clients.

Chapter 5: I did it! Paid off debts and saved $20722.53

It took me some time to adjust to a new lifestyle and save money. But after a few weeks, I was able to save money. And after a few months, my net savings was not that bad. I used the money to settle some of my debts through OVLG. I must say, they negotiated really well since my total savings was $20722.53 after paying off debts. A big relief for me.

Epilog: Where I stand today

My life has changed. Dad has left my hands forever after his body couldn't take any more medical treatments. It’s a huge loss for me since I know that no one would love me like he did. No one would bestow love and affection upon me unconditionally because only a dad can love his little girl like a princess.

I have changed a lot in the last 2 years. Today, I’m more practical and less whimsical. I still love shopping. But today, I shop wisely. I plan everything as per my budget since some of my creditors are still waiting for money. And I need to pay them back as soon as possible.

Thank you, Oak View Law Group for your guidance and support. You turned a naive, emotional and reckless girl to a practical and sensible woman. My dad would have been very happy to see this change in me. Alas, that day will never come in my life.

“This story has been posted by our client DB3 from RI. We wish her all the best in life and hope her dad makes a speedy recovery”.


18
August
2015

August 26 - the day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 granting women the right to vote in America. Since this day, the United States has witnessed four female U.S. Supreme Court justices and a U.S. Attorney General. While this might seem as a tremendous success for a class who were once devoid of voting rights, we still await the first female chief justice of the United States.

history-of-women

24
June
2015
mistakes-which-delay-your-financial-independence

Mistakes are very common and obvious things, especially when it comes to finance. Both youngsters and elders make costly money mistakes. And this includes dads too. There's a proverb you may know, “The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.” Most often, many of you are feeling guilty of some of your financial mistakes. However, you must understand that you have accumulated not because of anyone else’s fault but yours. Thus, you may also be aware of these mistakes which can totally change your lifestyle.

1. Having excessive credit card craze

Many people are often unaware of the proper usage of credit cards. They love to swipe a credit card for each and every purchase to meet regular needs. And this is probably most ruinous financial mistake. You should follow a realistic household budget at your initial age. Thus, you can optimize the excessive usage of your plastics. Because, don’t forget that you need to pay your each and every bill on time. If you’re unable to pay off your credit card debts in time, then you have to incur interest charges on that purchase. Remember, credit cards can be used only to meet the emergency expenses.

2. Choosing unaffordable things

As the credit card gives you the scope of using money that you do not have, you may get tempted to use your credit cards to make a purchase that you would not be able to make. Otherwise, you may often tend to forget that you will be the one who will eventually have to pay off this amount. You may draw some temporary satisfaction with the idea of possessing things that go way beyond your affordability, but this will lead you to fall into massive credit card debts.

3. Paying money for credit reviewing

You can always get a free credit report to monitor if there is any wrong listing. But paying money to review the credit report twice or thrice a year will be a blunder. Because there are many websites available to check credit report for free. Moreover, if you’re not sure about the security of your credit report, then you can set a security alert on your credit report in order to stop further fraud. For this, you need to pay only one time charges.

4. Borrowing money from retirement account

You shouldn’t borrow money from your retirement account. This is one of the serious mistakes which can cost you dearly on your golden age. Remember, unless there is an emergency, it’s not advisable to cashing out from your retirement account. Because you have to pay taxes on your borrowing from a retirement account.

5. Paying only the minimum on all credit card

In case you are paying just the minimum on all your credit cards, then you are making a big mistake. This habit is something that you should change. You must pay at least the minimum on all your credit card debts, but more than the minimum on at least one debt. This one card that you pay more than the minimum should ideally be the debt that has the highest interest rate. You must pay at least the double of the minimum for this debt. Thus, you can pay off the debt faster. This means that you will be able to save a lot of money on interest.

6. Taking out cash advances on credit cards

Cash advances is a very costly thing that you frequently do with a credit card. The fees associated with cash advances are very lofty and the rate of interest is also very high. So, you must avoid this option unless or until there's an emergency.

7. Wasting all credit limits

Some credit terms will offer huge credit limits for students. But this doesn't mean that a student can burn the full credit limit. You should keep in mind that the balance of your credit is below 50%. And if you cross your credit limit, your score may get hurt.

8. Buying an unnecessarily big house

If you buy a too bigger house than you need, then you’re going to spend lots of things which may cause a big credit crunch in the future. You need to think about insurance, taxes, utility maintenance cost, homeowner's fees as well. So, when you can comfortably live in a less expensive house with your family, then it will be a blunder to spend a lot of money to buy or build a big house in a higher priced community.

Final words

Understanding the mistakes and avoiding them can help you to achieve something better. Remember, it takes a long time and effort to build a secured financial future, but, it’s quite easier to lose it. So, try to live within your means and track your every single penny you have spent every day. Try to spend less money than you earn. You may successfully achieve financial security with time.


17
June
2015
money-mistakes

This post has been shared by Amy Nickson.

Financial mistakes are very common things. There are many people who suffered a lot due to some fatal money mistakes they did in their life. Remember, mistakes are mistakes. No matter how old are you, how rich are you, even what position you’re holding in your professional life. During my childhood I wondered, “ I’m so lucky to have a super dad in my life.” How magically he can solve each and every problem. It may be financial or other issues. But, as I grew up and in my work as a financial writer, I can easily identify some vital financial mistakes which not only you, your partner, relative, even parent shouldn’t repeat it.

In this article, I’m going to describe some hazardous money mistakes that are quite popular and most parents especially fathers are oblivious of this. And for this, most of our parents are suffering with their distressed financial state.

Dad’s money mistake you should avoid politely

Mistakes are quite obvious. It can take you to any place. So, don’t think you’re right in your every financial decision and your father was ignorant with this matter. Overconfidence can dig a big hole in your financial future. Remember, your father is the first person who had given you the first pocket money to spend. He was the bread earner of your family. You should respect and learn his accuracy, knowledge and most importantly his experience. So, follow your father’s every valuable and wise decision instead of some mistakes which are quite common at their time.

1. Hiding cash under the mattress

If you have enough money and you have the habit of hiding it under your mattress, you’re actually wasting the money. Money must always be kept in a bank or a financial institution so that it can grow with time and you can use in the future. It is one of the biggest blunder which our past generation has followed but you must not repeat in your life.

2. Making late payments

You need to be careful that, late payments and penalty fees can take a toll on your finances in the future. Missing your payments is a guaranteed way to destroy credit report and hurt your score. It’s better to take steps to make timely payments than falling into massive debt traps.

3. Borrowing from a retirement fund

There are so many people who had committed this mistake and suffered severely in their post retired life. It’s a very easy and tempting option to borrow money from a retirement account to survive, when you’ve less money in your hand. But doing this, you’re actually ruining your post retired life when you’ve no other source of money. Moreover, If you do this, not only will you remove your pre-tax money, but also you have to repay it with after-tax earnings. Though, borrowing from your 401(k) is the best way to get easy access to cash, but this is one of the biggest mistake that can destroy your financial future.

4. Not giving the money lessons to kids

In today’s economy money plays a very significant role in everyone’s life. As I have told in introductory lines, that no matter how much bank balance you have or how much property you’ve inherited. You should have sound knowledge about finance in order to tackle it properly in your life. Otherwise, you may fall into serious financial problems. It may come to you as credit card debts, unemployment, rejection of loan, rent, insurance, mortgage application, so on. So, don’t repeat your dad’s mistake. They thought a kid should stay away from money. Because, it may make them bad, can create a stress on them. All are wrong statements. Only a father can teach a child the basic financial lessons to make financially educated.

5. Closing existing lines of credit

Some vital financial lessons such as closing accounts all of a sudden or having many credit cards can affect vital impact on your financial life. So, if a father made such a vital mistake, then the kids may follow the same. You may come across stories of credit counselors or financial consultants telling you to close down your existing lines of credit to boost your credit score. But this is a myth as you must never close your credit card accounts that has balance in it. Pay down the entire balance and then send a letter to the company requesting them to close your account.

Final words

Every person has their own perception. So, no doubt your father is best in his own terms. But, It’s advisable that when you’re making some financial decisions, then you need to make the decision more carefully. Otherwise, your one single mistake can cost you badly. If you follow your father’s financial perceptions blindly you may face problems in the recent economy as well. As, both of you belong to a different economy. So, be very careful when you’re investing money or obtaining loans or insurance or simply closing some of your credit card accounts. Because, mistakes are small but the outcome can be devastating.


3
June
2015
become-debt-free-in-one-income

This post has been made by KM, an ordinary girl who paid off debts by living on one income and accepting OVLG as her financial friend.

“Sometimes, I feel that it is more painful to pay off debt than giving birth to a child. The endless negotiations and the stress of carrying debt boulder on your shoulder 24*7 are too much. You can neither sleep peacefully nor can you walk stress-free. At least, in case of baby, a would-be mom gets relief after 9 months of incessant struggle. But in the later case, there is not even that option. You don’t know when you’ll finally deliver enough payments to smash debts.” - KM

Debt statistics

  • Total debt enrolled - $17680.00
  • Total debt saved - $10189.7
  • Types of debts - credit cards and medical bills

Meet KM - The girl who lived on one income to save $10189.7

I just can’t recall the exact date and time when I had a chat with Van Cliburn. It might have been through OVLG’s live chat option or on Facebook. But the reason why it is still there in my mind is because ever since I met Van, my life became better. He gave me constant support in various ways and motivated me to carry on with my struggle to pay off debts. Here’s how.

Wait a minute. Before I begin my story, let me give you a preview of my life. Only then will you understand why I’m ever so indebted to Van Cliburn (OVLG’s financial coach).

Preview of my life - A carefree girl with lots of debts

I had a rough childhood. My parents broke up when I was only 8. So I didn’t have any opportunity to get proper guidance from parents. My mom used to go for work and was hardly at home. The total family responsibility was on her shoulder. So, by the time she finished all her work, I used to be already asleep. And as far as my father is concerned, I can only say that he was one person who had only time for me when his girlfriend allowed him to visit our house.

Anyway, as I grew up, I made friends and entered into college. I loved attending college as it gave me a chance to mingle with my friends and had a gala time. I partied hard, went for vacations and shopped like a millionaire. All through my credit card which mom gifted me on the day I turned 18.

By the time I completed my graduation, my total credit card debt escalated to $10,000. I was not doing any job right then and couldn’t ask for money from mom either. She was already doing so much for me. How could I ask for even more money? But, I couldn’t afford to ignore credit card bills for a long time. My credit score was falling day by day.

Even before I could come up with a solution to the problem, my mom met with an accident. She was badly injured and couldn’t even go out for work for a month. The medical bills and other associated expenses racked up another $7680. This increased the total debt to $17680 within a few days.

The problem unfolds and a solution awaits at the door

I was trying my best to hide all the gory facts from mom. But mothers have a special power. They see even the invisible things. As she gradually became better with proper care and medication, she started asking me about the expenses. I avoided the topic for a few days but when the debt stress started taking a toll on my mental health, I told everything to mom. She was aghast especially about the credit card debt. She said,

“I shouldn’t have given you that credit card. Oh God! You couldn’t even take care of a single card properly”.

I couldn’t meet her eyes for the first few days. But mentally I was relieved since I didn’t have to play hide and seek with her anymore. I promised mom that everything would be fine soon. The only problem was I didn’t know how.

Since no one could give me a proper solution, so I finally decided to ask my question to Google. As everyone says, Google has the solution to each and every problem. And they were not wrong. Really, Google has a solution for each and every problem.

I came to know about OVLG from Google only. I called them up and explained my problem to Van Cliburn. I was not thinking anything. I was just answering his question one by one. After the session was finally over, Van comforted me and gave me 2 quick solutions to my problems.

Time to work on the solutions to ditch problems

Solution no 1: Settle your debts

The first solution was to settle my debts. Van said that it could help me to discard debts by paying much less than what we owed. He promised to negotiate with creditors once I enrolled into OVLG’s debt settlement program and completed the entire procedure.

Solution no 2: Live on one income

Van suggested me to live on one income. Since both of us were working (yes, I had taken up a job of a personal secretary by then), so he advised us to spend my income and save mom’s paycheck. It was pretty hard initially. But we managed. Initially, we tried to live on only 1.5 income. Then we gradually started saving 75% of mom’s income and using the rest to pay for the daily necessities of life. And finally, the day soon arrived when we learnt the tricks to save 100% of mom’s income. It was a proud moment for us as it helped us to save a good amount for settling debts.

Problems solved and got a fresh lease of life

Once we saved a good amount, Van negotiated with creditors and settled my debts. We saved almost $10189.7 in total and this helped us to get a fresh start. We have saved this amount in your bank account so that it can be used during emergencies.

Mom has got a better job now and I’m still continuing my old job. So, life has become slightly better now. Our next goal is to buy a home. I know it’s a little big dream but we will work hard to fulfill it. Just pray for us.

So, this was KM’s debt success story. We are extremely happy for her and wish KM all the best in life. We hope she buys her dream home soon without any further struggle. But wait a minute! What about you? Do you have any interesting story to share? Have you too kicked debt out of her life? If yes, then share it with us. It will help to inspire millions of people.


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  • The debt settlement program typically lasts between 6 months to 4 years time.
  • At least 30% of the debt amount per creditor needs to be accumulated in the trust account for OVLG to give the creditor any settlement offer.
  • Not all creditors or debt collectors will accept a reduction in the balance, interest rate, or fees a customer owes such creditor or debt collector.
  • Pending completion of the represented debt-relief services, the customer's creditors or debt collectors may pursue collection efforts, including initiation of lawsuits.
  • That the use of the debt-relief service will likely adversely affect the consumer's creditworthiness, may result in consumers being sued by their creditors, and may increase the amount owed to creditors as a result of the accrual of additional fees and interest.
  • Savings a customer realizes from use of a debt-relief service may be taxable income.

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