‘How to Dispute a Credit Report’
Your credit report contains pertinent information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy. Credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting/buying a home. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s credit reporting companies.
Should you periodically review your credit report? ABSOLUTELY… BUT WHY YOU MAY ASK?
  • Because the information it contains affects whether you can get a loan – and how much you should pay to borrow money.
  • To make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before you apply for a loan for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job.
  • To help guard against identity theft. That’s when someone uses your personal information – like your name, your Social Security number, or your credit card number – to commit fraud. Identity thieves may use your information to open a new credit card account in your name. Then, when they don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Inaccurate information like that could affect your ability to get credit, insurance, or even a job.
How to Order Your Free Report
The FCRA requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
The three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up one website, toll-free telephone number, and mailing address through which you can order your free annual report. To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order from only one or two. The FCRA allows you to order one free copy from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.
To maintain the security of your file, each nationwide credit reporting company may ask you for some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. Each company may ask you for different information because the information each has in your file may come from different sources.
Other situations where you might be eligible for a free report
You’re also entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, such as denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment, based on information in your report. You must ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the credit reporting company.
You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.
Otherwise, a credit reporting company may charge you a reasonable amount for another copy of your report within a 12-month period. To buy a copy of your report, contact the three credit report companies individually.

Stay tuned next month for how to ‘Correct Errors on your Credit Report.’

Tanika M. Capers, Esq.
Let Him Be Your Guiding Light
During dark and gloomy days, sometimes it can feel as if it is impossible to feel God, or even to see Him. Because we are human, pain and emotions feel all so real when the stresses and woes of life surround us like a depressive cloud. However, I am reminded that dark clouds don’t last always. Let us learn from the season we are in, so that we can believe God even when we may not see Him, hear Him, or feel Him. The story in Matthew 14:24-31 reminds us that boisterous storms will come to rock our ship, but we have a God we can go to, and even in the midst of the sea, he allows us to come. He is a God who will walk through the waters with us and even when we are afraid, we can cry out, and He hears us. He will stretch forth his hand and catch us.
Let Him Be Your Guide
-Elder Robert Allen
Now, Then, Us, Them
I love the Olympics!  Every 4 years the world stops and focuses on the pinnacle of athletic ability.  In particular, I enjoy the track and field sprints with my favorite race being the 100m dash.  I find it interesting that all the runners have pretty much the same form when it comes to racing.  They all have the form of a winner.  And although winning with money is NOT a sprint (it is actually a marathon that biblically comes over years of making wise decisions), there is a lesson that can be learned from sprinters.

Have you ever noticed that at the sound of the gun, when each runner comes out of their starting block, their head is down?  Each runner is focused on their initial steps, driving as hard as they can to build up as much momentum as possible.  In short, they are focusing on the immediacy of the race; focused on the now!  If you are going to win with money, you have to focus on your current situation first!  I know so many people that have big hearts and want to help others financially, but you have to take care of you first.  You have to get yourself in position.  This is the same reason why the flight attendant says, “If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.”  It’s not selfish, it’s prudent.  You want to be in a position of strength to help someone financially; otherwise, you run the risk of being in the same place as the person or people you are helping.

As the 100m runners are running, they begin to lift their head slowly as they tend to look at the ground they are about to conquer.  They look at their next few steps, in other words, their short-term goals.  What are your short term financial goals?  Do you want to pay off some of those credit cards?  Or do you have a savings goal?  What do you want to do within the next 5 years?  A good financial plan has small milestones that need to be celebrated and are used to measure progress toward the bigger goal.  Short term monetary goals allow you to fine tune your financial strategy as you enter full stride, but can only be addressed after your present situation is secured.

About 40-50 meters into the race, the runners have lifted their heads as they are now looking at the finish line.  They are at full stride and running with all their intensity.  Their form has held perfectly and their breathing is controlled, as they sprint toward their goal.  At this stage, financially, although you may have done everything right, you are the most efficient, effective, and are covering as much ground as possible.  Your short-term goals are flying by you as you gain full speed and the excitement of financial progress creates an intangible, but very real, momentum which allows you to press harder toward your goal even faster.  People are starting to notice there is something different about you.  And although they might not know the details of your finances, they realize that your financial mentality, spending habits, and money language is different.  You are a hitting on all cylinders!  But be careful, this is the worst time to get distracted and lose focus.

As the runners cross the finish line, they begin to coast and enjoy the fruits of their labor, training, and discipline.  They here the roar of the crowd and now their attention shifts from themselves to those around them; especially their family and friends that were cheering them on.  During the race, if you want to win, you must be focused to win.  But when you obtain financial peace, this is the time to be even more generous and you are strong enough to help others.

To win with money, you must have a plan for your finances and your plan should prioritize the immediate needs of your family first.  Then you can begin to look at your future, and as you prosper your capacity to help others will grow also.  But until that moment, you must say “no” to some things and some people.  Quoting Dave Ramsey, “Your financial focus should be Now, Then, Us, and [then] Them.”  The bible tells us that one who does not provide for his family has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel (1 Tim 5:8).  God takes the family first approach seriously.   So, don’t try to do too much too soon!  Remember building a legacy is not an overnight affair and it will require sacrifices.  The only question is, ‘are you willing to make the sacrifice long enough to win?’

“Living Intentional”
It is a time of New Beginnings and things are beginning to change. We have the powerful ability to choose. We can even choose how we make choices – or not. Sometimes we choose things automatically, either by our emotions or by our perception of truth.  In this season the Holy Spirit shall guide you into all truth. These tools are vital to you living intentional.
  • Forget about what happened to you in your last season. Isaiah 43:18
  • Release yourself from moments you aborted from misunderstanding the season.  1 Chronicles 12:32
  • Accept that God agrees with you being successful. Proverbs 16:3
  • Stop allowing mistakes from old seasons to be present strongholds.  Isaiah 54:4
Mature in your perception about your life and start preparing for promotion.  God is up to something great and it includes you.  Spiritual growth requires effort on our part, but spiritual stagnation, procrastination and decline requires nothing at all…Ephesians 5:15
Consider the power of intentional living.  What would your day be like if you could get through it with fewer distractions and efforts aligned with your personal strengths and priorities with crystal-clear focus.
Remember there are 3 types of people:
  • Those who make things happen
  • Those who watch things happen
  • Those who wonder what happened.
Living Intentional yields benefits beyond simple achievement -less stress, fulfillment, and a sense of accomplishment. Being intentional is essential to creating your personal future. Understanding the three keys to making good choices is also important.

1.    You must realize there are options from which to choose.

2.    You must realize your choices impact others.

3.    You must understand that you are responsible for the choices you make and their consequences.

“Remember, you want to be direct and aim towards specific goals, not just react throughout life.” Even though being intentional and congruent is quite simple, it does take concentrated effort at least from the standpoint of awareness and commitment. Once you have become aware, conquer the process and commit to your future. The journey to your future is a process and is filled with uncertainties, but in this season, you will walk with endurance and finish strong.  Ecclesiastes 9:11 “Greatness is springing forth.”
Pastor Clinton House