Staff Writer

Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken has been writing about finance, banking, investment, entrepreneurship, real estate and other related topics for more than 30 years. She started as the “Business Beat” columnist for the now-defunct Haverhill (Mass.) Gazette and currently is one of the hosts of the Mainebiz business-focused podcast, “The Day that Changed Everything” in addition to her daily writing. She also is is the author of three mystery novels and two nonfiction books.

Paperwork labeled credit union

Credit Union Debt Consolidation

By Maureen Milliken | December 11, 2023

One of the common ways to consolidate debt is with a low interest debt consolidation loan that would be used to eliminate high interest credit card debt. Ideally, debt consolidation…

IRS Payment Plans

By Maureen Milliken | September 29, 2023

A surprise tax bill can happen to anyone. One windfall or miscalculation in your payroll withholding, and suddenly you’re not getting a tax refund, but finding out that you owe…

Sticky note with cash advance written on it

Cash & Payday Advance Apps

By Maureen Milliken | September 8, 2023

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, cash advance apps are a tempting solution to short-term money problems like rent, car trouble or any other financial emergency that demands a cash…

Document denying a chapter 7 bankruptcy

Can Chapter 7 Bankruptcy be Denied?

By Maureen Milliken | September 6, 2023

The “fresh start” that Chapter 7 bankruptcy promises people who have more debt than they can pay, is not guaranteed. Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be denied, possibly for reasons that…

Bankruptcy trustee investigating a document with a magnifying glass

What Do Bankruptcy Trustees Look For?

By Maureen Milliken | April 29, 2023

A bankruptcy trustee oversees a bankruptcy filing and plays a major role in determining if a case goes forward. Trustees are appointed by the bankruptcy judge to look for assets…

Elderly couple checking social security paperwork

Can Social Security Be Garnished for Credit Card Debt?

By Maureen Milliken | February 24, 2023

Having too much credit card debt is never fun but living on a fixed income and worrying that your Social Security benefits may be garnished to pay that debt adds…

Woman with credit card bills on kitchen table wondering what would happen if she stopped paying them

What Happens If I Stop Paying Credit Cards?

By Maureen Milliken | December 22, 2022

Credit card debt in the U.S. increased 15% in 2022, the biggest one-year leap in almost 20 years. The number of people who are at least 30 days behind on…

How to Consolidate Debt Without Hurting Your Credit Score

How to Consolidate Debt Without Hurting Your Credit Score

By Maureen Milliken | November 16, 2022

If your debt is out of hand, you’re not alone. America’s household debt is steadily increasing, up to a record $16 trillion in 2022. Credit cards are a big part…

Filling out the petition to file bankruptcy form yourself

DIY Bankruptcy

By Maureen Milliken | August 25, 2022

Bankruptcy is a legal process that can provide financial relief to a person or business that is unable to pay their outstanding debts. It is not a “simple” legal process.…

Debt Relief Options in Illinois

By Maureen Milliken | March 17, 2022

Debt Relief Programs in Illinois Illinois residents who are looking for help with debt can find it through banks, credit unions, online lenders and debt-relief companies (both nonprofit credit counseling…

Street sign that says Chapter 7 Income Limits

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limits

By Maureen Milliken | September 30, 2021

Most people who file for bankruptcy because of personal debt file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a four-to-six month process that, in theory, “liquidates” a person’s assets to pay off their unsecured…

Cars parked in driveway

Keeping Your Car After Filing Bankruptcy

By Maureen Milliken | August 12, 2021

Keeping their car is one of the top concerns of people who file for bankruptcy – even more than keeping a house, one study revealed. For most people in financial…

Couple discussing how long chapter 7 will take on a calendar

How Long Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take?

By Maureen Milliken | August 5, 2021

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy usually takes about four to six months from filing to final discharge, as long as the person who’s filing has all their ducks in a row.…

Couple putting a piggy bank back together symbolizing repairing finances after bankruptcy

What Happens After Filing for Bankruptcy?

By Maureen Milliken | July 30, 2021

If you’re overwhelmed by debt, bankruptcy may seem like a great solution. Get rid of the debt, the letters, calls and threats from collection agencies, the sleepless nights, and start…

Front door open with the key

Can You File for Bankruptcy and Keep Your House?

By Maureen Milliken | July 19, 2021

Bankruptcy is a huge financial step, but it’s one that, in most cases, allows you to keep your home. But, while there are ways to protect your house when filing…

Man in suit refinancing his credit card

Credit Card Refinancing

By Maureen Milliken | June 3, 2021

Credit card refinancing is an umbrella term for ways to pay off the debt on high-interest credit cards faster and with less interest. If you’re concerned about high-interest credit card…

Cut credit card

14 Easy Ways to Cut Your Expenses

By Maureen Milliken | May 26, 2021

Household debt in the U.S. was a record $16.9 trillion at the end of 2022 and if that seems like a lot of money owed … well, it is! The…

Credit report score

How to Build Your Credit History Without Using a Credit Card

By Maureen Milliken | May 21, 2021

Most people believe that they need credit cards to get a credit score, the three-digit number that unlocks many financial doors in life and is an important aspect of financial…

Stack of medical bills

How to Handle Medical Debt While Unemployed

By Maureen Milliken | May 17, 2021

Americans were already struggling with medical debt before the COVID-19 pandemic, and, largely because of record-setting unemployment in the last six months, the issue is expected to get worse. About…

Home office setup that might be expensed on taxes

How Working from Home Affects Income Taxes

By Maureen Milliken | May 10, 2021

Your company sent everyone home when the pandemic began in March 2020, and here you are, still working from home as tax time approaches in 2024. Or maybe you just…

Woman in bankruptcy filing a tax return

Will Bankruptcy Affect Your Tax Refund?

By Maureen Milliken | April 26, 2021

You’ve filed for bankruptcy, but could really use that tax refund you expect this year. You’re not the only one who wants it. Odds are the bankruptcy trustee is also…

Man checking credit score after consolidating credit

How Does Debt Consolidation Affect Your Credit?

By Maureen Milliken | February 9, 2021

You want to get out from under that mountain of debt, but you are worried that consolidating your debts will hurt your credit. It’s a valid concern. You want to solve…

Closed sign on front door of business

What It Means to be Furloughed

By Maureen Milliken | May 8, 2020

The government shutdown means a temporary layoff – officially known as a furlough – for millions of federal workers. More than six million government employees and contract workers may either…

Small shopping cart full of online mortgage options

Online Mortgages

By Maureen Milliken | February 19, 2020

Online lenders are not all the same. Some have different digital tools, some have lower rates. Borrowers aren’t all the same either, so check out different lenders to determine which…

First Time Florida Homebuyers at their new house

Florida First-Time Homebuyer Programs

By Maureen Milliken | January 30, 2020

Buying a home in Florida can be challenging. Supply is tight and demand and prices are on the rise. If you’re a first-time Florida homebuyer, navigating the process, particularly the…

Graph of interest rates lowering

How to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate

By Maureen Milliken | December 23, 2019

Paying down a credit card balance can seem impossible, especially if you’re paying 20% or higher interest on your bill every month you don’t pay off the balance. Paying down…

Mom and daughter coloring on a table

Financial Assistance for Single Parents

By Maureen Milliken | March 12, 2019

Raising a child is expensive. Doing it on your own is a scramble. Grants for single parents, in the form of direct aid as well as programs and resources that…

Utility Bills on table

What to Do When You Can’t Pay Your Utility Bill

By Maureen Milliken | February 25, 2019

If you’ve ever shivered through a sub-zero morning in Maine or sweated out a summer afternoon in South Florida, you understand that a thermostat can be your home’s most valuable…

Calculating debt consolidation

Non-Profit Debt Consolidation

By Maureen Milliken | February 19, 2019

The end game for nonprofit debt consolidation isn’t all that different from traditional debt consolidation – you end up with a single manageable lower-interest payment – but it’s important to…

SoFi Review from Debt.org

SoFi

By Maureen Milliken | February 14, 2019

Student loan debt is one of the leading causes of modern American stress, especially among millennials, who are putting off life milestones like marriage, having children or buying a house…

Surgery is very expensive, but how has inflation affected the price?

Hospital and Surgery Costs

By Maureen Milliken | September 27, 2018

Health care is big business, and Americans with medical needs are the ones paying the bill. Total healthcare spending in America topped $4.3 trillion in 2021, with more than 31%…

LendingClub Overview and Company Review

LendingClub

By Maureen Milliken | June 29, 2018

LendingClub is an online financial service that connects borrowers with loans that fit their needs. It works best for borrowers with good to excellent credit who are looking for personal…

New & Used Car Loan Options

Auto Loans

By Maureen Milliken | April 12, 2018

You’re in dire need of a vehicle but don’t have the cash to buy it outright. The thought of financing a car loan has your wheels spinning. There are many…

There are many End-of-life options, but you need to consider the cost

End-of-Life Care and Hospice Costs

By Maureen Milliken | March 22, 2016

End-of-life decisions are always difficult, yet they’re necessary choices most Americans will face for themselves or a loved one. Americans spent $4.3 trillion on health care in 2021. It’s estimated…

This has what businesses need to know about sales tax

Sales Tax for Small Business

By Maureen Milliken | September 26, 2012

Collecting, calculating, reporting, and paying sales tax continues to be one of the most confusing — and sometimes annoying — aspects of running a small business. The issue has only become…

Panoramic photo of New Jersey skylines taken from other side of river

Debt Relief Options in New Jersey

By Maureen Milliken | September 12, 2012

Debt Relief Programs in New Jersey New Jersey residents struggling with credit card debt have a choice of debt relief options. Credit counseling agencies (nonprofit and for-profit), banks, credit unions,…

Photo of Boston harbor waterfront with downtown Boston skyline in background near sunset

Debt Relief Options in Massachusetts

By Maureen Milliken | September 10, 2012

Debt Relief Programs in Massachusetts Massachusetts residents who need help eliminating credit card debt have a lot of choices. Banks, credit unions and other lenders; credit counseling agencies (nonprofit and…

Photo of Susquehanna River with Harrisburg Pennsylvania skyline in background

Debt Relief Options in Pennsylvania

By Maureen Milliken | September 10, 2012

Debt Relief Programs in Pennsylvania Pennsylvania debt relief is available through banks, credit unions, online lenders and debt-relief companies (both nonprofit credit counseling agencies and for-profit companies). Most people who…

Foreclosure is a major issue in the US and we will help you understand it

Foreclosures

By Maureen Milliken | April 16, 2012

Foreclosure means a lender is looking to take possession of a home when the borrower – the homeowner – isn’t making payments on the mortgage loan used to buy it.…

Envelope containing four stimulus checks

Will There Be a Fourth Stimulus Check?

By Maureen Milliken | April 21, 2021

Is there a fourth stimulus check on the way? The success the federal government has had in helping Americans endure the economic disarray caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted…

Illustration of bank providing relief for covid-19

Credit Card Relief for COVID-19

By Maureen Milliken | May 26, 2020

As the COVID-19 crisis drags on and unemployment spikes to unprecedented levels in the U.S., individual debt burdens can feel more overwhelming than ever. On top of it, as many…

Man contemplating loans during COVID-19

COVID-19 Loans: What Are Your Options?

By Maureen Milliken | May 18, 2020

With a stunning 36.5 million and counting Americans out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a lot of people scrambling to pay their bills until they have…

Megaphone shouting "We're Hiring!"

Companies Hiring During the Coronavirus, COVID-19 Pandemic

By Maureen Milliken | March 27, 2020

Americans suddenly out of work because of COVID-19 are filing for unemployment in unprecedented numbers, but a bright spot on the employment front is that some businesses are hiring, both…