Credit is good – it’s your ability to use someone else’s money to acquire items or services you don’t currently have the cash to pay for. For most of us, it’s how we acquire major items like cars and homes, as well as everyday things that make life easier and more pleasant.Debt is not a four letter word, it’s simply the outcome of using credit. It is over-indebtedness that is doing us in. Some debt is unavoidable given the cost of goods today. If you’re buying more than a clunker, a car loan is probably necessary. Very few of us could buy a house without a mortgage or send our children to school without student loans. It’s the wanting more and more and spending more and more that gets us in trouble.1. In the early 1900s, most people paid cash for purchases or ran a tab at a local store where they were known. Banks lent a small percentage on homes but cash was king. Credit was sparse and debt minimal. That picture changed little until the end of World War II when the country’s growth needed more credit to fuel expansion and growth.2. As the country prospered, our mindset seemed to change with the newfound prosperity. We collectively wanted bigger and better homes and cars as well as more convenience and luxury items. The 80s saw an unprecedented surge in the demand for goods and services. The sky was the limit and we simply didn’t want to wait for anything. The “I deserve it, and I deserve it now” society was in full swing. We were a country “high” on the concept of more is always better. We were willing to expand our credit horizons and take on more debt to get what we wanted3. Starting in the late 1990s, we lost all perspective of living within our means and the bubble finally burst. Our spending, greed and a love of the game landed us in the biggest economic disaster since the great depression. Well my fellow spenders, it’s time we learn how money works, how to use credit wisely, how to consolidate or eliminate our debt, and most importantly how to build a more secure and balanced future.Here’s some scary food for thought. Are these quotes funny or a sad reflection of the times?”We didn’t actually overspend our budget. The allocation simply fell short of our expenditure.” Keith Davis.”I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need if I die by four o’clock this afternoon.” Henry Youngman.”A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist.” Franklin Jones.”You should always live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so.” Josh Billings.”More and more these days I find myself pondering how to reconcile my net income with my gross habits.” John Nelson.”Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” Oscar Wilde.”It’s amazing how fast later comes when you buy now!” Milton Berle.”I don’t mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I’ve saved all year.” Victor Borge.”Be content with what you’ve got but be sure you have plenty.”To quote Albert Einstein: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”It’s clear we need to change our thinking and get back to basics, and some encouraging attitude adjustments are beginning to surface. People are talking more openly about their debt and actively looking for money management tools. History has shown that when our mindset changes so does our behavior. As we rediscover financial responsibility it will change our actions and the prosperity of the country.
What is Employment and Support Allowance?This is intended to be a benefit to assist people who have difficulty in holding down a regular job, are long term sick or have other issues.A good friend of mine was having a terrible time with the DWP’s Employment and Support Allowance, as the allowance rates have been cut while on appeal and he was receiving contribution based employment and support allowance however this ran out and was then placed on to income based ESA less than £100 for two weeks benefit, to top it all off the appeals process is currently taking over 6 months so having realised he could not survive much longer especially not 6 months or more, he looked into getting working tax credit.As the pain in his lower back restricts him from sitting or standing for too long, he has found that going self employed is the only reasonable way to make a comfortable living and to support his family.The AppealA rather informal meeting in a room with 3 adjudicators 1 will probably be a medical practitioner and the other 2 will know the ins and outs of the law relating to ESA, they will review the appeal papers, any medical evidence you supply to support your claim and ask you some questions relating to your illness or disability and you may have to undergo a medical examination on the day. They will then decide whether the decision makers’ decision should stand or be overturned.The general consensus is that even going to a tribunal will not make much difference as the government are now taking a hard stand on reducing the benefits bill at any cost.Taking action now will be a better option.Work in a job that causes constant pain or take the sensible option?The consideration of self employment should be considered as you can work from the comfort of your own home. As long as you work for over 16 hours and can find a suitable application for your time you qualify for Working Tax Credit.What is the HMRC Working Tax Credit?Working Tax Credit from the HMRC in my opinion is a benefit that aims to make it worthwhile for people to go to work and in turn reduce the unemployment benefit figures. However Tax Credits are a very useful support benefit and should be viewed that way.How is he going to work at home?Having recently been disallowed ESA my good friend has decided to take the plunge into working from home. Having decided that setting up his own business is his best option as he can work when he is able and has the comforts of home, where he finds he can relieve the pain by changing what he does and for how long he does it.The idea of making and selling something online is rather daunting but if done correctly can be very lucrative and with the added “bonus” of getting working tax credits this can boost your initial weekly income by up to £100 if not more.Check out the disabled link on the Tax Credit calculator as claiming ESA previously qualifies you for the disablement premium.What sort of business is he going to do?Here lies the problem, when I first spoke to him about this he had no idea where to start and didn’t think he had any skills or expertise in any area, however after I showed him a couple of websites of qualified mentors and teachers he chose one, stuck with it and followed the instructions he is off to a flying start and has just had his first $500 week.