Aaliyah Sydonie Williams is a lover of pomegranates, intimate concerts, fluffy socks and all things R&B. She's a founder of a college advice blog, Her Little Corner, where she dishes helpful advice for college students to slay their college experience. When Aaliyah isn't eating at Starbucks, she's studying for her courses in finance, discovering new spots in the city, and brushing up on her photography skills. Keep up with her at Aaliyah Williams (@aaliyahsydonie).
Black women financial gurus are breaking barriers in the personal finance realm. They serve as role models to women everywhere, especially women of color. There's something inspirational about seeing someone who looks like you achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. Their visibility consistently gives me the motivation to meet my own financial goals because if they can, why can't I?
As a finance major who has worked in the financial services sector, I look up to personal finance experts that are women. It takes guts to break into such a monolithic industry. I can relate because the financial services industry is the same way, so I've personally suffered from imposter syndrome. I understand the courage it takes to break into an industry where the majority of people don't resemble you.
These Black women in finance have helped me in more ways than one because they've helped change my money habits and serve as inspiration. I am a regular on their sites, a fan of their books, and a member of some of their Facebook groups. Surrounding myself with role models, resources, and other women interested in reaching financial goals will surely feed your ambition for financial independence, as it does for me.
1. Michelle Singletary, The Color of Money
Michelle Singletary is a personal finance columnist. She pens The Color of Money, a recurring column in The Washington Post on Wednesdays and Sundays. She is also the author of three personal finance books, a television host, and has appeared on NPR. Subscribe for weekly newsletters to learn how to spend well and live rich!
2. Kara Stevens, The Frugal Feminista
Kara Stevens is determined to help black women step into their financial confidence and eradicate their debt. She has worked with thousands of women as a consultant, speaker, writer, and coach. Be happy. Be healthy. Be brave with Kara!
3. Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance
Tonya Rapley is a millennial money expert who is dedicated to breaking the typical millennial paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. She is also a co-founder of a FinTech app (FOAM), and provides workshops for clients throughout the U.S. Sign up for her fabulous newsletter!
4. Patrice Washington, Chase Purpose, Not Money
Patrice Washington is a financial expert who is redefining wealth. She helps women to live their life's purpose, find fulfillment, and earn more without chasing money. Patrice is a number one best-sellingauthor and has appeared on dozens of popular media outlets, such as the Steve Harvey Show and Dr. Oz. Subscribe to her newsletter and podcast to live in your purpose!
5. Bola Sokunbi, Clever Girl Finance
Bola Sokunbi is a certified financial education instructor, money expert, and best-sellingauthor of Clever Girl Finance. Her main goal is to help women save money, build real wealth, maintain accountability, and ditch debt. Bola offers a financial education program that provides financial guidance and empowers women. Join Bola at Clever Girl Finance!
6. Tiffany Aliche, The Budgetnista
Tiffany Aliche is an award-winning financial educator whose mission is to empower women and provide them with resources to create a better life. Her financial movement has helped over 800,000 women and eradicated $75 million in debt. She is a blogger, podcaster, and she has even helped change the legislature in New Jersey (The Budgetnista Law). Join her Live Richer Academy!
7. Marsha Barnes, The Finance Bar
Marsha Barnes is a certified financial social worker, financial educator, and financial commentator. Marsha aims to build your financial confidence. She believes in financial education for all and she even has a financial literacy bus! Join her Members Club!
8. Dominique Broadway, Finances Demystified
Dominique Broadway is an award-winning financial planner, personal finance coach, speaker, finance expert, entrepreneur, and the founder of Finances De·mys·ti·fied & The Social Money Tour. She has a passion for helping young professionals, entrepreneurs, and people of all ages achieve their dreams. Join her Bootcamp!
9. Kendra James, The Finance Femme
Kendra James is a virtual CFO and business manager. Kendra specializes in building a structure and financial strategies for businesswomen that are ready to take their business to the next level. She offers a podcast, consultations, coaching for accounting professionals, and a virtual CFO service. Sign up for her services!
10. Melissa Boutin, Your Money Worth
Melissa Boutin is both a certified financial education instructor (CFEI) and a money coach. She specializes in helping the Caribbean and American millennials rid themselves of debt, so they can live the life of their dreams! Join her Money Massive Crew for financial hacks, money tips, scholarship alerts, and more!
11. Carrie Pink, Motherly
Carrie Pink is a personal finance blogger who teaches her audience how to look fly and raise children while on a budget. She is a podcaster and an author of the book, This Is Motherhood. Subscribe for inspiration and mother empowerment!
12. Dasha Kennedy, The Broke Black Girl
Dasha Kennedy is a millennial financial coach who is helping women of color get ahead. She is the founder of the Broke Black Girl Facebook group, filled with over 60,000 women. She consults with clients about money management, women's entrepreneurship, and empowerment. Dasha aims to improve Black financial literacy within the community. Keep up with Dasha here!
Featured image by Shutterstock.
Originally published on January 24, 2020
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Quarterly Taxes
No one is excited about paying taxes, but for the most part, they're unavoidable for the working woman. Yet, not everyone has to pay quarterly taxes. You may have to get acquainted with quarterly taxes depending on how you earn money and who signs your paychecks. Not only is it essential to know if you should pay quarterly tax payments, but you need to know what your tax liability is and the deadline to submit your taxes — unless you want the IRS visiting.
Who Needs To Pay Quarterly Taxes?Giphy
Plan on paying taxes if you're a small business owner, you haven't had enough of your income withheld, or you're a self-employed individual. Unsure if you're self-employed?
You're self-employed or a small business owner if you're:
- An independent contractor
- A full-time/part-time freelancer
- An individual with a side gig
- A sole proprietor
- A business partnership member - LLC, LLP, LP, GP
You haven't had enough income withheld if:
- You owe a minimum of $1000 in federal income taxes currently after accounting for your refundable and withholding credits.
- Your withheld and refundable credits don't cover more than 90% of your tax liability for the current year or 100% of your liability for the previous year; whichever is lesser of the two. (The threshold is 110% as long as your adjusted gross income in the prior year was larger than $150,000 for jointly filed married partners and $75,000 for singles).
Who Doesn’t Have To Pay Quarterly Taxes?
You don't have to pay to make quarterly tax payments if you're a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident who had no tax liability from the previous year. Also, individuals who don't have untaxed income.
How To Estimate Quarterly TaxesGiphy
To calculate your estimated tax, you should know your expected adjusted gross income, taxes, deductions, taxable income, and credits for the current year. Then, you can calculate your estimated quarterly taxes using a calculator or manually:
1. Determine Taxable Income. Start by estimating the total amount of income you're expecting to earn during the year. Then subtract deductions that are considered above the line (expenses the IRS allows you to deduct from your gross income) to get an adjusted gross income.
2. Calculate Income Tax and Self-Employment Tax. Once you know your adjusted gross income, it's time to calculate your taxes. First, you need to figure out your tax bracket to determine the rate that you are taxes based on your income. Then, take your income tax rate and multiply it by your adjusted gross income.
If you're self-employed, you calculate your taxes a bit differently. There isn't any need to pay taxes on self-employed income under $400, but if you make more than $400, then you're responsible for a 15.3% tax that's a combination of social security tax and medicare. But, you're only responsible for paying taxes on 92.35% of your estimated total income.
If you had a $50,000 estimated total income, the calculation would be 50,000 x 15.3*% 92.35%, for a total of $7,076.25 in owed taxes.
3. Total Taxes and Divide By Four. Lastly, add your income tax and self-employment tax for the current year and divide your total by four. So pretty much if you owe $10,000 in income tax and you owed $15,000 in self-employment tax, your total income tax is $25,000.
So next, you'd divide $25,000.00 by four, so your quarterly tax payment would be $6,250.
When Are Quarterly Taxes Due
If you plan on paying quarterly taxes, it's a bright idea to know when they're due:
- If you earned income on September 1–December 31, 2020, your quarterly tax payment is due by January 15, 2021.
- If you earned income on January 1–March 31, 2021, your quarterly tax payment is due by April 15, 2021.
- If you earned income on April 1–May 31, 2021, your quarterly tax payment is due by June 15, 2021.
- If you earned income on June 1–August 31, 2021, your quarterly tax payment is due by September 15, 2021.
- If you earned income on September 1–December 31, 2021, your quarterly tax payment is due by Jan 18, 2022.
How Do I Pay Quarterly Taxes?
There are three ways to pay quarterly taxes; the choice is yours. You can pay your taxes the old school way by mailing your estimated tax payments with IRS Form 1040-ES or paying in cash at an IRS retail partner.
Or, you can keep it modern by paying electronically using the IRS's Direct Pay System or the U.S Treasury's Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Keep in mind, there is a credit card fee of approximately 2% when paying electronically.
You can mail your estimated tax payments with IRS Form 1040-ES. You can pay electronically and use the IRS's Direct Pay system or the U.S. Treasury's Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, for example. Paying with a credit card carries of fee of around 2%.
Now that you have all of the proper knowledge to make quarterly tax payments, it's time to start actually planning to make your payments. Be sure to estimate your taxes reasonably in advance to avoid lacking enough funds to cover your tax payments. Or, you can simply reach out to an accountant who has the expertise to ensure your taxes are taken care of properly.
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According to Statista, "Approximately 82 percent of Americans aged 22 to 30 who bought a home were first-home buyers, whereas only just under half of the homebuyers between 31 and 40 bought their first home in that year." This means, unsurprisingly, most first-time homebuyers tend to be in the beginning stages of a budding career, taking higher-education courses, and trying to keep up with student loan payments.
Gen Z and Millenials have so much to juggle already, purchasing a house can feel like another stressor — but a little education about what it's really like to buy a house can simplify the process.
Take Advantage of First-Time Homebuyer Benefits
Buying a home as a first-time homebuyer can be nerve-wracking, but your "first-time" status unlocks several perks. First-time homebuyers are eligible for loan programs, tax breaks, and assistance programs that are created to increase homeownership accessibility. You might even still qualify for first-time homebuyer programs, even if you've owned a home before. Don't neglect options created to help you on your journey to homeownership. Know your options.
First-Time Homeowner Loan & Assistance Programs
- FHA Loans - An FHA loan is a government-backed mortgage that is guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, but issued by private lenders. It's hands down the most popular loan option for first-time homebuyers since they have low down payment and credit requirements.
- USDA Loans - USDA loans are mortgage loans backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that make housing affordable in rural areas. Since they're government-backed loans, they can provide lower interest rates. On top of low-interest rates, borrowers don't have to pay a cent towards the down payment.
- Good Neighbor Next Door - The Good Neighbor Next Door Program was created by The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to strengthen communities by offering teachers, law enforcement, firefighters, and EMT's the ability to purchase homes at a reduced rate. Purchase HUD homes for 50 percent off the list price with a low down payment of $100.
There are several first-time buyer programs to choose from. Do your research to track down the option that fits your needs.
Address Your Financial Health
Review Your Credit. Even though the average credit score for homebuyers in America is 731, most people can qualify for conventional loans with a credit score of at least 620. But, a lackluster credit score doesn't kill your homeowner dreams. You can still buy a home with bad credit if you know your available options.
Calculate Your Expenses. Mortgage payments can take up a good portion of your expenses, but living expenses can as well. It's hard to narrow down your list of potential homes when you don't know what you can afford long-term. Before looking for a home, sit down and calculate your living expenses. This can include an estimation of monthly car payments, student debt payments, entertainment expenses, retirement savings, and other regular commitments.
Check Your Current Savings. If you have savings tucked away, that still might not be enough since you have to consider upfront costs, long-term and closing costs. Trust and believe, you don't want money getting in the way of landing the perfect home and keeping that home in the long-term.
- Do you have enough savings to cover your down payment? If you're not financing your home using a program that eliminates a down payment, then it's important to know what you're expected to pay upfront when purchasing a house. Make your life easier and use a down payment calculator to estimate your potential costs, so you have the money prepared when you're ready to buy your brand new home.
- When purchasing a home, you have to consider if you can afford the home in the future as well. It's smart to have an emergency savings account that can cover at least 3 to 6 months of living expenses on top of savings that are specifically for the costs that come with purchasing a home.
Find A Home & Make An Offer
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Once you have your finances figured out, it's time to start searching for a fabulous home with all of the features you've envisioned in your head. The entire process of searching for a home can be overwhelming, which is why it will make your life a whole lot easier to hire a local real estate agent. And, homebuyers on the lookout can scour online listings or take a drive through your desired neighborhood to see if any homes are for sale.
When you've finally found a house that you'd like to call home, the only thing left to do is make an offer. If you choose to work with a real estate agent, your agent will help you to decide how much money to offer the seller in exchange for the home and any other conditions you want to put on the table. The real estate agent will present your offer and conditions to the seller's agent who will accept your offer or propose a counteroffer.
As the buyer, you can accept their offer or present your own counteroffer, and this process can continue until an agreement is made. Or, until one of the parties decides to opt out of the negotiation process.
Close On The Home
If you get to this point, congrats! It's time to sign your name on the dotted line on several documents and cross your fingers that the deal doesn't fall through the cracks. This is the time to focus on closing costs which can include purchasing home insurance, getting a home appraisal, and any extra fees.
In 2020, the homeownership rate amounted to a striking 65.85 percent! Who knows, after exploring your first-time homebuyer programs, addressing your financial health, and finding your dream home, you could be a part of that large chunk of American homeowners.
You're armed with the tools to start your search for a home fit for a queen like yourself, so there's nothing between you and your homeownership goals now. Happy house hunting!
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Taking out a small business loan can jumpstart your brand new company or give you the funds to maintain or even grow your business to the next level. Either way, it can feel like you're heading into uncharted waters. But, putting aside your fears can have a huge pay-off. According to Fundera, the average SBA loan amount is $107,000 and the average small business bank loan amount is $633,000.
Don't let your intimidation of getting a small business loan cost you massive funding. Getting a small business loan isn't that scary when you have all of the facts at your disposal.
1.Determine Why You Want A Business Loan
The first step to take when thinking about acquiring a small business loan, is figuring out why you want one in the first place. It's key to know why you need a business loan for multiple reasons. How are you going to know which type of loan and lender can fulfill your needs? A few reasons to apply for a small business loan include:
- Starting a new business
- Growing your business
- Financing equipment or vehicle purchases
- Day-to-day expenses
- Buying another business
- Build your business credit history
2.Pre-assess Your Qualifications For A Loan
Before wasting your time applying for loans that are out of your reach, assess your current qualifications for a loan. This will help you to determine which loan types and lenders will most likely approve your loan, narrowing your search.
How is your credit score looking?
Most people are familiar with a personal credit score, yet many aren't familiar with a business credit score. If your business is brand new, you'll lack a business credit history, so loan administrators will focus on your personal credit score.
If you're unsure about your personal credit score or business credit score, check your credit report using the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If there's anything concerning your reports, it's important to resolve these issues to amplify your chance of loan approval.
Do you have the minimum annual revenue?
Most lenders care about your business's annual revenue because they want to ensure you can actually pay them back. Calculate your annual revenue to assess if you meet a lender's minimum annual revenue requirement. Each lender has unique qualifications, but if your annual revenue is at least $100,000, you should be good to go for most small business loans.
3.Determine The Type Of Loan
SDI Productions/Getty Images
There are many loan options for small business owners, but below are 4 options that are pretty common among small business borrowers.
- Term Loans:Term loans are one of the most popular type of loans for small businesses. Small business owners receive a lump sum of cash that is expected to be repaid over a fixed term, while accruing monthly interest on the principal balance. This loan type allows lendees to use their lump sum of cash on a diversity of needs, such as the purchasing of equipment or inventory expenses.
- Small Business Line of Credit: A small business line of credit is comparable to a credit card because borrowers receive a maximum credit limit that can usually be accessed through a checking account. Business owners who have no idea how much funding they may need will benefit from this option because you only withdraw what you need. Plus, you can repay your owed amount, and then withdraw money once again to keep your credit balance low. You're only charged interest for the amount you withdrew, instead of being charged for the entirety of the loan amount like a term loan.
- Small Business Administration Loan (SBA): SBA loans are a perfect match the owner who wants a government-backed loan. These loans entice business owners because of their low-cost, but the application process is known for being excessively long delaying the administration of funding. These loans are great for the business owner who prioritizes low-interest rates and fees over receiving their funds ASAP.
- Equipment Loans: Equipment loans are fitting for the borrower who needs to finance large equipment/machinery/vehicle purchases, but lack the capital to do so. These loans are for purchases that maintain their value, such as office furnishings or laptops. If you can't pay your loan back, your purchases can be held as collateral.
4.Choose Lenders After Comparing Your Options
Before choosing a random lender, shop around to find the best-fit lender. There are a couple of factors to consider. What are the lender's fees? Which lender offers the best APR? How fast will the loan be administered? How large of a loan do they typically offer borrowers with your background?
There are many factors to consider, including the type of lender:
- Banks match the borrower who's been in business for at least two years, has good credit, and the patience to wait for funds. There are several banks to choose from including: J.P.Morgan, Citibank, and Wells Fargo.
- Online lenders are fit the borrower who prioritizes fast funding over low APR rates and higher loan approval rates than a traditional bank. Check out a few of the online lenders that supply small business loans: OnDeck, UpStart, and Credibly.
- Microlenders are an excellent option for borrowers who have a less than stellar credit history, cant receive a traditional loan, or have a new business. A few popular microlenders: LiftFund, Opportunity Fund, and Justine Peterson.
5.Apply For Your Small Business Loan & Submit
After choosing lenders, it's time to apply! Understanding the application process and requirements is key to approval. Once you understand the application requirements, gather the needed documents. Lenders may require a business plan, tax returns, credit reports, legal documentation, and the purpose of the loan.
After gathering your application documents and filing out the application forms, double check your application. All that's left to do is submit your materials, and wait for a decision. Good luck!
Hopefully after learning 5 steps to getting a business loan, the entire process seems a little less daunting. The only thing left to do is to use the advice and start sending out business loan applications. If you're rejected by a lender, that's OK because you can apply to other lenders or take some time to become a stronger applicant.
Featured image by xavierarnau/Getty Images
6 Things To Do Before You Move Out Of Your Apartment
When you're moving out of your apartment, it feels like there's so much to do in such a small amount of time. While worrying about your new residence, you have to also think about your old place of residence. The entire process can be an emotionally taxing experience, especially if you haven't planned your move in advance. Actually, OnePoll surveyed 1000 Americans, to find out 45 percent claimed moving is easily the most stressful event in life. Thankfully, you can plan for a smooth exit if you know the things you need to do before you move out of your apartment.
1.Give Your Landlord A Notice To Vacate Letter
It's 2021, most people aren't writing letters day-to-day, but it is customary to write one for your landlord. Landlords don't want vacant apartments, which is why renters are expected to write a notice to vacate letter within the timeframe stated on the lease.
Usually, the notification timeframe is at least 30 days before your move date, but some landlords require at least 90 days' notice. Read your lease carefully; you don't want to accidentally break your lease.
2.Pack & Make Moving Arrangements
Alright, so this is a no-brainer. You can't move into your new apartment without your beloved wardrobe and your hand dandy air fryer. Packing is one of the most grueling parts of moving out of your apartment, so it's best if you don't save packing to the last minute.
After you've packed everything, there's still the huge obstacle of actually getting your belongings to your new apartment. That's why you need to decide how you're going to move. Are you moving everything by yourself and using your car? Do you need to call friends and family to give you a hand? Do you need to rent a moving van? Or, would you rather bypass the stress of moving by using a moving company? Whichever choice you make, it's best to plan in advance.
3.Assess The Damages
If you don't know which apartment repairs you're responsible for fixing, it's time to find out. If not, a landlord might send you an overpriced bill for that punctured wall when you could have easily patched that up yourself.
You don't want to be held liable for any damages that might've been created while renting that'll prevent you from receiving your security deposit or sticks you with an added bill. If your landlord is up to it, arrange a walk-through to identify any damages you'll be held responsible for.
4.Collect Your Security Deposit
Remember that security deposit you dreaded paying when you originally signed the lease? Well, if your apartment is up to your landlord's standard, you'll be able to put that money back into your bank account where you wanted it to stay in the first place. Don't forget to collect your earned security deposit before you say goodbye to your old apartment.
5.Spring-Clean Your Apartment
Many landlords aren't simply checking for damages when you leave your apartment, but also the cleanliness of your apartment. Don't give your landlord an excuse to hold back your deposit. Mop, vacuum, dust, do whatever you need to do to ensure the apartment looks like it did when you originally moved in.
6.Cut-Off Utilities & Extra Services
Before closing that apartment door for the last time, give a quick call to your utility providers. You don't want to be stuck battling service providers about charges from services you aren't even using anymore.
Oftentimes, you only need to close accounts affiliated with certain utilities: water, electric, gas, and electric. But, you might not need to cancel utilities like wi-fi or cable. Simply let your provider know you're planning to change addresses but still want their services for a different apartment. Plus, this can create a smooth transition into your new apartment, so you don't have a long process before accessing the precious wi-fi that you can't live without.
Movers looking for an apartment change tend to leave for a variety of reasons: minimizing rent costs, upgrading their available space, avoiding noisy neighbors, relocating for a job. It doesn't matter the reason, just be sure to cross items off of your to-do list, so you don't regret anything later on.
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Medical debt spares no one, regardless of age or education status. Even those who are financially stable are facing medical debt. Actually, over 50 percent of Americans who have medical debt don't even have other types of debt on their credit reports. The fear of medical debts can prevent people from seeking the medical care they so desperately need, which can be dangerous. This fear is common because about one-third of Americans admitted to postponing medical care to spare themselves the medical costs.
Having medical debt hanging over your head can create a high-amount of unwanted stress, so it's vital to understand how to pay off some or all of your medical debt.
Review Your Itemized Bill
Have you ever received a ginormous medical bill in the mail and began to panic? Well, that paper bill might not even be correct. A lot of medical providers send you a paper bill showing your total balance owed without the individual charges that add up to your sum total. Request an itemized bill; it's an essential step to take when attempting to reduce your medical bills. Also, if you have a digital bill you can easily access the individual service and fees charged through your medical provider's patient portal.
Once you have access to your itemized bill, it's time to review it. This part can be a little tricky if you have no idea what you're looking for. There are a few things to look for when reviewing your bill, such as are there charges for services that you never received? Did the medical provider bill my insurance correctly? Was I charged for out-of-network services when I'm actually in-network?
Negotiate Your Medical Bills
As quiet as it's kept, you can negotiate your medical bills. The most important step for successful negotiating is to ask open-ended questions because this will push the provider to reveal the discounts, programs, and waivers that could help you.
Not only is it important to ask open-ended questions, but it's a great idea to incentivize the provider. For example, offer to pay your bill in full if the fees are waived or offer to pay your bill in full if you were charged the same rates Medicare would pay.
If this entire negotiation process seems a bit overwhelming, you don't even need to negotiate with the provider yourself. There are multiple companies that will aid you in lowering your medical bills for a 20%-30% share of the money you no longer need to pay for. This is convenient because if you don't receive any savings, you don't have to pay them.
Apply For Financial Assistance
More than 27 million Americans did not have health insurance, including 58% of low-income working adults and 44% of young adults in the year 2020. If you lack health insurance or your health insurance doesn't provide great coverage for your medical expenses, then you may be eligible for financial assistance.
Many hospitals offer financial assistance, but you need to apply for it. It's vital to apply as soon as possible because most programs disqualify your eligibility for assistance after about 240 days after the medical services were provided. Most applications require the patient to provide a detailed expense list, list of assets, family member information, proof of income, and tax returns.
Enrolling in the medical provider's payment plan is the most popular method to pay off medical bills. Payment plans are fitting for anyone who wants to make payments on their bill, but can't pay it off in one lump sum payment. The frequency of payment and payment amount is unique to the terms you negotiate with your medical provider. Usually, the entirety of your amount owed is divided into numerous equal payments over a period, until your balance is non-existent.
If you choose a payment plan, make sure not to choose payments that prevent you from paying higher priority bills, since non-payment of medical debt has less immediate consequences than other bills.
Sadly, high medical costs continue to grow every year, which makes understanding how to lower medical costs an important tool every American should have in their toolbox. That's why it's critical to discover the options available to lower your debt, in order to avoid medical bankruptcy before your debt spirals out of control.
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