Aspire To a Secure Financial Future

Private Property South Africa

In order to build a brand with a name that is easier to remember, Interfusion Finance has changed its name to Aspire. Says CEO David Smith: “Our clients aspire to have a better life once they have been relieved of their debt burden. The name Aspire also has a good connotation in terms of what we are trying to achieve for our clients -improving the financial future of individuals and their families.” While its name may have changed, the service offering has not. The company grants short-term loans of approximately 6-8 months to clients in order to improve their credit profiles through the elimination / consolidation of high interest-bearing short-term consumer credit. The client also receives a financial education during the process. And, it seems, this is needed more so than ever before. While on a global economic front the tide has started to change and recovery of markets has slowly started to get underway, South African’s credit records still need all the help they can get. Smith says that nearly 45% of South African consumers have ‘impaired credit profiles’ and an estimated 150 000 households are three months or more in arrears on their home loan payments. Checking your credit profile regularly is a must, according to Smith. “Maintaining a good credit profile is far easier than trying to repair a poor one. If you do encounter a problem on your profile, you need to take the necessary steps to repair it.” If you have a bad credit rating, Smith advises that you try to settle your retail accounts and credit cards as soon as possible and then close the accounts. “Aside from the fact that these accounts attract the highest interest, it is very important that you restore your credit worthiness as even employment agencies process credit enquiries,” he says. Furthermore, he says late payments should be avoided at all costs and consumers should also not pay less than the required monthly instalment. But this may be hard during the festive season as entertainment expenses are bound to increase. You always tend to spend more when on holiday and gift shopping is the order of the day. Smith’s tips to ensure consumers prevent the festive season from being the silly season include drawing up a budget and sticking to it. He also advises paying only with cash and buying only what you can afford, as tempting as more expensive items may be. “If you use credit cards or store cards, you are more likely to overspend. Remember, the repercussions of overspending now may lead to financial problems in 2010.” Even if you don’t overspend, January is always a difficult month after the holiday binge. So what can you do to make your financial life easier in early 2010? Smith advises opening up a 30-day investment account and depositing some of your bonus into it. “Having a nest egg for a rainy day or a bad month will go a long way to reducing financial stress and bad credit ratings”, he concludes.

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