Local experts give bailout reality check

By Kathy Sweeney
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - We hear terms like "toxic assets," "soured mortgages," and "big bank bailouts." Ever wonder what's in it for you?
Two local experts who deal with both sides of the financial world say all those buzz words have many of sitting around, waiting for the government to fix our their own financial mess.

Tim Gould counsels people on the edge of financial ruin. Derieck Hodges helps people plan their financial futures.  Both men agree that many of us are just waiting for our bailout to get here.

"I think the one real risk when you get lots of information is you may jump to the conclusion that the news always applies to you," said Hodges. 
"They think the trickle down is gonna come in and help them and rescue them, and save them," Gould said. 
Time for a reality check.  These experts offer three steps you can take right now to start on the path of your own personal bailout.
First and foremost, be better informed.
"Even though people say there's a bailout and even though people say there is homesaver's assistance available, what does that mean to me? Do I qualify for that?" said Gould.
"Typically, lenders are looking for credit scores of 740 or higher to give you their best offer," Hodges said. 
It doesn't mean you can't get something lower.  It's just more difficult and the offers get worse.
Step number two, change past patterns.
"We believe completely in the idea that you cannot resolve problems with the same level of thinking that created them," Gould said. 
"If you're not paying your bills on time, it is critically important that you start paying your bills on time," Hodges said. 
Finally, step three is to develop new habits.
"If I can set up a budget, even though budgets are tough, it's gonna help me understand and recognize where I am," Gould said. 
"I think a lot of people for a variety of reasons may not qualify for refinancing now...so for those, get yourself ready for the next wave," Hodges said. 
"If we sit back and wait, it's not gonna happen," Gould said. 
Find out more information on foreclosure prevention, bankruptcy counseling, and debt management.