You Need To Know - Stay Informed
There are many issues that affect our lives and that we as consumers need to know but either don’t have the resource or time to research and educate ourselves about. YBA is the information and education portal that does the research for you, educates you about the important issues and provides practical and effective programs that are designed to improve the lives of American families.
Government Legislation – Every day, legislation is proposed, debated or passed that can affect our lives in a number of ways and trying to keep abreast of it all can be a full time job for the average consumer. YBA sifts through the legislation for its members and makes it available on this site in an easy to understand format. We provide you with the title and brief description of the legislation which you can click on to read in more detail. Keeping up with the workings of government has never been easier!
Natural Disasters – When natural disasters such as hurricanes occur, early warning and regular information before, during and after the storm is vital to survival and the protection of your home and family. In addition you should also know what you can do prior to the storm to protect your home and how to prepare yourself for the days following the storm which may leave you without power and basic necessities. YBA’s early warning system is a reliable and tested service that has already helped thousands of people through a number of hurricanes including Hurricane Katrina.
Personal Debt – In today’s economic climate every family needs to know how to reduce personal debt, deal with rising interest rates and improve their credit score. We provide a wealth of information, advice and practical programs that are aimed at all of these issues and more. As a member of YBA you will have access to form letters designed to reduce credit card interest rates, reduce monthly payments and even settle accounts at a discounted rate. In addition, members also receive the “Clean Credit Institute” video, presented by an attorney, that offers effective methods and advice for improving your credit score and cleaning up your credit report.
Foreclosures – If you are in foreclosure, pre-foreclosure or behind in your mortgage payments you need to understand how the foreclosure process works, know your rights and how to exercise them. Whatever the reason for your hardship you have a right to defend your foreclosure and avoid losing your home.
For many homeowners, the cost of retaining an attorney to fight foreclosure is prohibitive given that they are already experiencing financial hardship. You need to know that much of the required court filings for foreclosure can be done by yourself and we provide you with the education and templates that make this possible. If you are overwhelmed by the legal process or just don’t have the time to do it yourself, then our members are also able to benefit from attorney representation at a vastly reduced rate thanks to the power of numbers.
Bank Deceptions – Banks, credit card companies and other money lenders are required to operate within a legislative framework, the most important of which is the Truth In Lending Act (TILA). This legislation exists to protect borrowers by ensuring that lenders disclose the true and accurate cost of credit to the borrower.
As consumers, the majority of us assume that if we have any type of loan or credit that the account has been established and conducted in compliance with TILA but this is not always the case. Thousands of consumers across the nation have discovered that their loan or credit agreement does not comply with the law and are taking action against lenders for restitution and this is only the tip of the iceberg.
You need to know what to look for in your documents to discover whether or not you have become a victim of predatory lending and what you can do about it if you have.
Rip-offs & Scams – Every week, it would seem, that another business pops up to take advantage of consumers by offering scam products or services or charging huge amounts for doing what you can easily do for yourself for free.
Since the credit industry began to feel the effects of credit card default in 2007 it would seem that the opportunists have concentrated their efforts in the financial arena offering all kinds of overpriced services such as debt settlement, debt counseling, debt management and, more recently, mortgage modification. These disreputable companies know that many families who face financial hardship will agree to part with their hard earned cash for a promise of a solution to their problem. Unfortunately, in most cases the companies either fail to deliver what they promise or simply do what consumers can do for themselves.
YBA keeps you informed about the latest scams and rip-offs and provides education and tools to its members so that they can avoid falling prey to these unscrupulous businesses.
Free Stuff – There is a plethora of free products and services out there if you have the time and inclination to search them out or if you belong to a group (like YBA) that is able to negotiate free stuff for its members. All of our members receive valuable free services such as our disaster warning system and benefits package and we provide you with a host of useful links to other companies that are willing to offer free stuff to our members.
Benefit Packages – There are literally hundreds of benefits packages available to consumers in America today that offer discount programs for prescriptions, dental, limited medical, and other benefits. It is virtually impossible to determine which of them represent good value for money until you actually go to use it and find there is no benefit whatsoever.
The cost of benefit packages varies tremendously and is not necessarily commensurate with the coverage they offer. Some are clearly overpriced plans that benefit nobody other than the seller while others include a high element of commission in their pricing to pay those that recommend the plan to others. One thing is for sure, if it costs little or nothing to begin with there can never be any disappointment!
The benefits package provided FREE to our members is almost identical to those which are offered by some major banks to their customers at a cost of $19.95 per month and provides steep discounts on dental, vision and prescriptions. For full details of the plan click on “Our Services” and then “benefits package”.
Your Environment – Global warming and climate change are terms that are used on almost a daily basis and the arguments continue as to whether this is a real threat to our planet and if so, what has caused it. What is known is that we can all do our part to lower pollution, save valuable natural resources and reduce the toxins that bombard us through our daily lives.
Just as most of us have eased into simple recycling in our homes over recent years you need to be aware of the products and practices that are harmful to our environment and know what alternatives you have. For instance, you should know that Americans use 50 million tons of paper each year which requires more than 850 million trees.
Armed with information such as this we are able to make a conscious decision to use less paper and recycle as much paper as possible. This can have a dramatic effect on our environment and YBA is dedicated to bringing its members information like this that can make a difference now and in the future.
Aging – You should know that by 2030, the proportion of the U.S. population aged 65 and older will double to about 71 million older adults, or one in every five Americans. This has many implications on our economy, health system, and resources needed to support a growing aged population.
As the average American lifespan increases most of us would want to go into our senior years with good health and be able to look forward to a good quality of life that we can enjoy. In order to achieve this we have to start today by ensuring that we take good care of our body. Whether it is eating more healthily, getting more exercise or avoiding the toxins that bombard our body every day, we can all improve the quality of our senior years by becoming educated.
Toxins - Our body accumulates more toxins in the modern world than its natural detoxification system, such as your liver, kidneys and lungs, can get rid of. Chemicals from pesticides, chlorine, bleach and ammonia, and carbon monoxide build up over time and cause disease, without us even knowing its happening. Many of the products we have come to associate with convenience and cleanliness are the ones that over the long term may actually kill us.
As an example, many people do not realize that many of the cosmetic and personal grooming products we use today, including soap, contain a frightening array of toxins that are absorbed by our bodies and are stored in our vital organs. This in turn reduces the functionality of the organs and causes our bodies to be less efficient in keeping us healthy. You need to understand how to stay healthy and avoid the toxins we are exposed to every day.
Your Rights – Every consumer should know what their rights are and how to exercise them especially when it concerns financial matters or saving a home from foreclosure. No matter what your reason for falling behind in your mortgage payments, or how many payments you are behind, you still have rights and a chance to keep your home. Your home cannot be taken from you without giving you an opportunity to have your day in court so as long as you respond to legal proceedings you will be given that opportunity.
If you fear you may be the victim of predatory lending having been sold an adjustable rate mortgage or option ARM you do have recourse and you do have rights. It may surprise you to know that many of these types of loans break the laws put in place to protect consumers and if this is the case, you have a right to fight for remedy and this could even include rescission of your mortgage and a return of all payments made if the lender is found guilty.
Become a member of YBA and find out what your rights are and fight the lenders that have taken advantage of homeowners.
Competition - At You Be Aware, we do not believe we have “competitors” as no other organization we are aware of offers the services we offer to a virtual community of home owners. That said, there are many companies and individuals who provide similar services and benefits as both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Some of these are good, well-intentioned companies and individuals and others are not.This portion of our Site is dedicated to educating our members about those companies and individuals we have been able to uncover who offer services or benefits similar in name at least to the service or benefits offered by YBA. Where available, we will also attempt to describe the services and the costs of those programs.The information provided here is not intended to be an endorsement of or to disparage any company or individual listed. Members who seek out these companies and individuals do so at their own risk.
What’s Next - As we look on the horizon for issues that will affect our members, one stands out so clearly that we have already begun our research efforts.
For many years America has had the greatest health care system in the world. While it has been plagued with many issues that have caused costs to skyrocket, it remains one of the most important "needs" for our members. It has become obvious that one of the primary goals of the current political power brokers is to redesign a national healthcare system that will encompass those that are not already insured.
It's still too early to predict what the new healthcare system is going to look like or how it will affect our members. What is crystal clear though is that many people are deeply concerned how the new program will affect the type of coverage they already have and are looking for answers. While some of our members will always have "housing issues", we believe that the current crisis will be resolved to some extent over the next two to three years. We believe that during that same time period health care issues will reach crisis proportions for many of our members.
In the coming months we will begin to post information and links that we believe you will find educational and helpful. When it is more clearly established what the true issues are in healthcare, we will develop a series of workshops available to our members designed to assist them with the major issues. While the website will continue to provide access to all of our information and services, workshops will be targeted to address the most pressing current needs of our members.
We don't know what the future holds in terms of crisis level problems for our members but whatever does occur, you can count on YBA for timely information, advocacy where appropriate and personal empowerment so that you can find solutions for the problems you face.
Power In Numbers – THE SUCCESS OF ANY SYSTEM IS FOUND IN NUMBERS. NUMBERS CREATE POWER. POWER CREATES INFLUENCE. INFLUENCE CREATES SUCCESS.
You Be Aware recognized early on, that one individual acting alone will always be limited in potential. Some things can only be accomplished by a team, while others require large groups of people to succeed. YBA began as the result of a simple vision to help people devastated by hurricane Katrina, and succeeded in that cause when many people joined in the effort. It birthed the company’s core strategy of “people helping people”.
At the heart of this strategy is the power of numbers. YBA seeks out individuals who have a common need and creates an “action group” within the membership. These members receive appropriate alerts, links to research material, and access to workshops and professionals who can best champion their cause. Although many of our members may not need the specific service being provided, by being a member of YBA every member adds to the “leverage” needed to get things done. The logic is simple: if enough members come together with a common purpose, things get done!
The process of developing a YBA member group encourages new alliances among groups that may care about different issues. Even if I don’t need the help a particular group is pursuing, by joining my voice to theirs, I can help them succeed. Then, when my group needs help, they can lend their support to my cause. This is critical because companies often use a “divide and conquer” strategy when dealing with groups, making just enough accommodation to gain the support of one group, while ignoring the concerns of others. When groups combine forces to increase their leverage it sends a powerful message to the business community. For example, look at the impact AARP has had in lobbying Congress on senior issues.
One of the advantages of YBA is their flexibility regarding what issues to focus on: Group advocates can negotiate for whatever benefits their particular group needs the most. Additionally, when groups come together to support a particular issue, it is an excellent opportunity to assess each groups needs. This assessment – and the coalition building that can accompany it – can spark leverage and advocacy well beyond any single issue. One things is for sure, we will continue to listen to our members and focus on the most pressing current needs.
The comprehensive group model that YBA employs recognizes that a multi-pronged approach is needed to translate “group leverage” into positive change. Strategy, research, organizing, communications, education, litigation – all must be part of a successful organization’s tactical arsenal. Groups that engage in organizing without a research capacity, for instance, often find themselves stymied because they lack a strategic understanding of the forces arrayed against them. Others may have a strong research program but are limited without the base provided by a membership program. YBA seeks to balance the appropriate member needs with the appropriate resources and personnel so that we can win the fights we choose to take on.
Cheap Stuff – Whether you are finding it difficult to balance the household budget or you manage quite comfortably, it is always good to save money where you can. You need to know that there are thousands of ways you can save money on products and services you need and use if you only know where to look. There are even products and services you can get for free if you are in the know. YBA always provides incredible value for money on its services thanks to the power in numbers provided by our growing membership and there are other companies out there who also offer great deals.
It never hurts to review and compare the products and services you currently purchase to ensure you are getting the best deal and consumer advocates like Clark Howard recommends you do this on a regular basis. The power and convenience of the internet makes the task of comparison shopping easier than ever before with the added benefit of being able to research the quality of the product, service and the company at the same time.
The major services that should be reviewed yearly or at least every two years are;
- Home phone provider
- Cell phone provider
- Cable/satellite provider
- Long distance provider
- Internet provider
In addition to the above, families should be taking advantage of coupons and offers on products they purchase every day and there are hundreds of websites that list current downloadable coupons for all kind of products. Our members are able to tap into money saving products and services through the links we provide on this site and we would urge you to start saving money today.
Predatory Lending – As the housing market boomed, house prices soared and interest rates dropped, lenders, mortgage brokers and realtors collaborated to find creative ways of getting people into the home of their dreams. Unfortunately, the creative methods used by lenders, brokers and realtors meant that loans were extended to those that shouldn’t have been approved, home appraisals often set exaggerated valuations and mortgage notes were traded with alarming regularity so that often times homeowners had no idea who now owned their mortgage.
As the housing market cooled and home prices began to fall, many homeowners found themselves with monthly mortgage payments that were increasing dramatically and loan balances that exceeded the value of the home thanks to the ARM and option ARM mortgages homeowners were encouraged to take.
Since the beginning of 2008 we have seen foreclosures rise to the highest level in this country’s history and every month it has continued to increase. As families struggle to make mortgage payments or even fight to save their home from foreclosure the banks have had the benefit of billions of dollars in government bailout money which has helped very few consumers.
If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, Low Start or Option ARM there is a good chance that you are a victim of predatory lending. If this is the case, you need to know that you don’t have to accept it and that you do have rights and may be eligible for relief from your lender. Join YBA today and discover what your rights are, how to exercise them and the remedies that are available to you.
Continue: Be Aware