bills http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1800/all en-US 7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0 http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_with_jar_of_cash.jpg" alt="Woman with jar of cash" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Needing an emergency fund when you're living paycheck-to-paycheck feels like a classic Catch-22: You need a savings cushion to protect yourself in case of an emergency, but you don't make enough money to create that cushion before the next emergency strikes. It's enough to make you want to throw your hands in the air and give up.</p> <p>But it <em>is</em> possible to quickly build an emergency fund from zero, even if you are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Here are several ways you can fill up your emergency fund fast so that you are prepared before the next disaster hits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>1. Start a coin jar</h2> <p>Throwing change in a jar is the oldest trick in the book for creating a robust savings account, but it's a classic for a reason. Spare change and random dollar bills don't feel like &quot;real money&quot; to us, but they do add up quickly. Go on a treasure hunt through your purse/wallet, your house, your car, and your desk to locate all the spare change you can scare up. Even if the amount isn't huge, it's a great start that can go directly into your emergency fund at the end of the month. (It's also a great opportunity to do some deep cleaning.)</p> <h2>2. Adjust your withholding</h2> <p>In 2017, the average American received a tax refund of $3,050. That's over $250 per month that's taking a trip to the IRS and back. Just imagine how quickly you could build up your emergency fund if that extra money was still in your paycheck each month. Doing so is as easy as adjusting your withholding allowances on your W-4 form with your employer.</p> <p>To do this, first use the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator" target="_blank">IRS withholding calculator</a> to determine how many withholding allowances you may take. Remember that the withholding allowances you claim do not determine your tax bill, only how much you pay in taxes per paycheck, so your answers on the calculator can be approximate.</p> <p>Once you have figured out your allowances, request and fill out a W-4 form from your employer's human resources department. It can take about a month for the new paperwork to make a difference in your paychecks, although it could happen as quickly as your next pay cycle, depending on your HR department.</p> <p>While you're at it, set up an automatic transfer of the extra money into your emergency fund so that you are not tempted to spend it.</p> <h2>3. Sell your stuff</h2> <p>When an emergency strikes, it can become clear that some of the stuff you own may be less important than you think. Instead of waiting for an emergency to realize that you don't truly need two gaming systems or 18 pairs of shoes, start looking at your stuff as if the emergency has already occurred. That will help you better understand which items are truly important to your well-being, and which you could stand to live without.</p> <p>The good news is that if you are selling stuff to fill your emergency fund, you have time to get the best prices for your items. From online marketplaces like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook, to local consignment shops and yard sales, there are a myriad ways to reduce your clutter while increasing your bank account.</p> <p>Set yourself a goal of selling at least one item per week and depositing the money into your emergency fund. The additional money will help your emergency fund grow quickly.</p> <h2>4. Negotiate your bills</h2> <p>You might feel reluctant to negotiate with your service providers, but taking the time to call and ask for a better price can result in savings that range from modest to impressive. No matter how much or little you save, you can immediately set up an automatic transfer of the difference into your emergency fund, which will help it to grow more quickly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-costs-you-should-always-negotiate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Costs You Should Always Negotiate</a>)</p> <p>There are a few service providers that are open to negotiating with their customers.</p> <h3>Cable and internet providers</h3> <p>These companies are generally eager to give price breaks to their customers in order to keep them. The best way to get a better price from your cable/internet provider is to research the lowest going rates in your area &mdash; either the price your provider is offering to new subscribers or the rates offered by the competition &mdash; and use that price as leverage in your negotiation. When you call, ask to speak to the retention/cancellation department, since that staff generally has the most authority to make deals in order to keep you.</p> <h3>Cellphone service providers</h3> <p>Cellphone companies can also offer some wiggle room in their pricing, although timing is important. You are more likely to successfully <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill" target="_blank">reduce your cellphone bill</a> if you negotiate toward the end of your contract when your provider is desperate to hold onto you. Remind your provider of your loyalty, since it costs cellphone providers much more money to gain new customers than it does to retain existing ones, and be willing to actually cancel and defect to a different provider, since having some teeth behind your threat to cancel will give you the upper hand in negotiation.</p> <h3>Landlords</h3> <p>Though it may seem set in stone, your rent payment may also be negotiable, especially if you are a reliable tenant and you have plans to stay put for some time. You can request a longer-term lease in exchange for a lower monthly rental payment, which can be a win-win for you and your landlord.</p> <h2>5. Go on a monthlong spending ban</h2> <p>When you need to fill up your emergency fund in a hurry, a spending ban can help you find the money you need. A spending ban is a period anywhere from one week to one year wherein you refrain from all spending, other than for necessities. Going on a monthlong spending ban can help you to free up money in your budget to pad your emergency fund without otherwise affecting your bottom line.</p> <p>Here's how it would work: Decide at the beginning of the month what your absolute necessities are. These will include your rent/mortgage, utilities, credit card bill, car payment and gas, child care, food, and health care. For the month you are taking part in the spending ban, you will live without anything above and beyond those necessities.</p> <p>The one caveat to a spending ban is recognizing that it can be easy to jump right back into your old spending habits as soon as it is over (or alternately, have a &quot;last hurrah&quot; spending binge before it starts). Don't let your spending ban give you permission to overspend before or after the month.</p> <p>At the end of your spending ban month, your extra money can go into your emergency fund, and you can feel more comfortable with your finances. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a>)</p> <h2>6. Hide money from yourself</h2> <p>There is something to the adage &quot;Out of sight, out of mind.&quot; You are much less likely to spend money if you don't know it's there &mdash; just as you are less likely to crave ice cream if you don't know there's a pint of Ben &amp; Jerry's in the freezer.</p> <p>That's why you can help pad your emergency fund by hiding money from yourself through creative accounting. To do this, simply subtract $100 from your account register for your checking account. You won't know the $100 is there, so you'll spend as if you were $100 poorer. But the money is still there, and at the end of the month (or several months), you can put all of your phantom savings into your emergency fund.</p> <p>This method may not work for all savers, however. Anyone who does not bother with an account register will not be fooled by this kind of mental trickery.</p> <h2>7. Hustle</h2> <p>Finding a way to make a little extra money on the side can be one of the fastest ways to build up an emergency fund. While traditional part-time jobs are always an option, modern technology has also made it possible to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash" target="_blank">find a side hustle</a> with flexible hours or one that allows you to work from home.</p> <p>Since your hustle money is over-and-above your normal paycheck, it can help you bring your emergency fund from zero to impressive as quickly as you are willing to hustle.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Extra Income bills change jars emergency funds paycheck to paycheck saving money selling stuff spending bans taxes withholdings Fri, 13 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2035542 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Mistakes Couples Who Live Together Might Make After a Breakup http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-mistakes-couples-who-live-together-might-make-after-a-breakup <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-mistakes-couples-who-live-together-might-make-after-a-breakup" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_couple_take_broken_heart.jpg" alt="Young couple take broken heart" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Neil Sedaka made a massive understatement when he sang, &quot;Breaking up is hard to do.&quot; Of course, Sedaka was referring to the heartbreak that comes from calling it quits with your significant other, but that is not the only tough aspect of ending a relationship. Breakups can also be financially costly for the partners as they figure out how to move on, especially if they've been living together.</p> <p>While married couples can rely on the rules spelled out by divorce laws to protect themselves financially, unmarried couples don't have the same luxury. It is up to you to protect yourself when your live-in relationship goes south.</p> <p>Here are the common financial mistakes you might make post-breakup &mdash; and how to avoid them.</p> <h2>1. Forgetting your financial responsibilities while you recover</h2> <p>The easiest mistake to make after a heartbreak is to ignore the important tasks while you recover. While you are busy watching <em>Dirty Dancing</em> on an endless loop and eating your feelings, you might not notice that your bills are piling up. Creditors don't care that your heart is shattered. They expect to be paid on time, no matter how you are feeling.</p> <p>Setting up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-reasons-why-you-must-use-bill-reminders" target="_blank">billing alerts</a> can help you to keep your finances in order even while you are in the middle of your heartbreak. Sign up for text message or email alerts so you don't have to rely on your memory to stay on top of your finances. This will ensure that your broken heart doesn't also lead to a destroyed credit rating.</p> <h2>2. Not agreeing on how to sell the house you bought together</h2> <p>You bought the house together when you assumed the relationship was forever &mdash; and now you are broken up. If you did not draw up a joint house ownership agreement at the time of the home purchase, it could be difficult for you and your ex to determine a fair division of the home. This can be particularly difficult if one partner believes he or she owns a larger share of the home after contributing money to the down payment or labor toward home renovation or maintenance.</p> <p>This kind of disagreement can result in long, drawn-out legal fights, so it's in your best interests to compromise with your ex. Assign a dollar figure to each partner's contributions, including things like the down payment, mortgage payments, labor, and other improvements. This will help you better understand each partner's stake in the house.</p> <p>Once you have come to an agreement on that, one partner can buy out the other's interest in the home, or you can sell the house to a third party and split the proceeds.</p> <p>It is generally cheaper for one partner to buy out the other, since you will avoid closing costs and other costs associated with a market sale. However, there are further complications to expect if you buy out your partner, such as deciding on a fair price, figuring out if the selling partner's name will need to remain on the mortgage until the buying partner qualifies for a new mortgage, and transferring the title.</p> <h2>3. Forgetting to pay the bills your ex took care of</h2> <p>Every couple has a different system for handling shared expenses. Whether you split every bill down the middle or you each took care of different bills, it's important to make sure you are aware of which accounts your ex took care of. If you find yourself unable to access a shared utility bill because your former sweetheart still has the passwords, you could risk anything from having the utility turned off to potentially losing your good credit rating if the account is in your name.</p> <p>This is why you need to keep an eye on all shared expenses with your live-in lover, including passwords, contact information, and a tally of who pays for which services. If you find yourself broken up and without that information, it's better to have a chilly conversation with your ex to get the important details than to let your finances take the hit.</p> <h2>4. Not removing your ex's name from shared accounts</h2> <p>Sharing accounts is a natural extension of living together. You might have shared credit cards, utilities, or even a bank account from when you were living under the same roof.</p> <p>But neglecting to remove your ex from these shared accounts can potentially put you at risk. Even if you're certain your old partner isn't the sort of person to exact financial revenge on you, it's better to take your ex's name off any shared accounts and change the passwords. It wouldn't be the first time that someone shows his or her true colors after a breakup.</p> <h2>5. Fighting over shared items</h2> <p>You bought the dining room table, the computer, and the Xbox together, and you can't decide who gets what. And then there's Roscoe the dog, who neither of you can imagine living without. How do you determine who gets custody of what in your split?</p> <p>Under ideal circumstances, you and your ex will be able to decide who gets which shared items based on who bought or most uses the item. If your ex is the one who hosts all the dinner parties and you are the one who is up walking Roscoe every morning at 6 a.m., it should be obvious which item should go with which partner. Of course, it's not always so easy, and sometimes you end up fighting over your things.</p> <p>If you can't stop arguing about who gets what, consider taking the issue to mediation. In this process, you and your ex go to a neutral third party who will help you hammer out the details of who gets what.</p> <p>In really tough cases, court proceedings can be a last resort to help you solve the question of which items belong to which partner.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-mistakes-couples-who-live-together-might-make-after-a-breakup">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-financially-during-a-divorce-or-separation">How to Protect Yourself Financially During a Divorce or Separation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-on-what-to-do-before-moving-in-together">5 Tips on What to Do Before Moving in Together</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Don&#039;t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance assets bills breaking up compromise legal matters living together relationships shared expenses splitting up Fri, 06 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2031343 at http://www.wisebread.com What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You? http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_reading_a_letter_at_office.jpg" alt="Businesswoman reading a letter at office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since it costs money to produce and mail marketing materials, most of the junk mail you receive does not end up in your mailbox by accident. Marketing companies target customers with junk mail based on information that leads them to believe you would be a good candidate for their offers. The companies that send junk mail use information such as credit history, credit card balances, mortgage information, and public records to find targets for their marketing materials. They also buy lists of potential customers that have recently purchased a certain type of item or signed up for a catalog in a product category.</p> <p>What does the type of junk mail you receive say about you?</p> <h2>You have high net worth</h2> <p>If the information available to marketers such as home value in your neighborhood or length of your credit history indicates that you have significant net worth or may be nearing retirement, you may get offers related to investment and retirement planning offers, invitations to free dinner events to learn about investment services, and offers to subscribe to investment newsletters.</p> <h2>You have good credit</h2> <p>People with good credit scores tend to get the best credit offers. If you have a high credit score, you might receive offers for rewards and travel credit cards, preapproved credit card offers with favorable terms, and balance transfer offers with low fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-accepting-a-credit-card-offer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Credit Card Offer</a>)</p> <h2>You have poor credit or high debt</h2> <p>Credit offers with the least favorable terms are targeted to those with lower credit scores, since these people are more likely to take an offer with worse terms. Those with poor credit will typically get applications for credit cards with low &quot;teaser&quot; interest rates that go up, debt consolidation offers, and applications for credit cards with high interest rates, and high annual fees, as well.</p> <h2>You shop a lot</h2> <p>Many types of mail order purchases, online purchases, and orders from TV infomercials will get your name on catalog mailing lists that will be used to try to sell you related things, or even unrelated things.</p> <h2>You live in a good neighborhood</h2> <p>Some types of junk mail are sent to all residences in particular neighborhoods that are seen to be a good fit for what they are selling. You'll see lawn care and pest control services, high-end security alarm installation, and house cleaning deals addressed to you.</p> <h2>You're fixing up your house</h2> <p>Once you request information about one home improvement item, you'll likely start to get other offers as well, such as big ticket home improvement installations for doors, windows, siding, roofing, remodeling, and coupons from home improvement stores.</p> <h2>You bought a new car</h2> <p>If you buy a car from a dealer, your name can end up on a variety of mailing lists. Based on the date you purchased your car, you can get junk mail anticipating your next car purchase three or four years later. You'll get extended warranty offers, invitations for test drives, and contests you can enter if you stop by the car dealership.</p> <h2>You're an athlete or sports fan</h2> <p>If you buy sporting equipment by mail order or at a sporting goods store with delivery, your name and address can start to circulate on marketing lists for sporting goods, or fishing, hunting, and camping products.</p> <p>Or if you order tickets to watch your favorite sports team in action or sign up for a fan club, marketing companies will try to sell you other items related to your team, such as fan merchandise or event ticket offers.</p> <h2>You're a globe-trotter</h2> <p>Frequent travelers are a classic target for marketing via junk mail. If you're often seeing the world, once you get home you'll find vacation package offers, hotel club invitations, and frequent flyer program info in your mailbox. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-perks-beyond-points-and-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Travel Credit Card Perks Beyond Points and Miles</a>)</p> <h2>What are the best junk mail offers?</h2> <p>While most junk mail really is junk &mdash; either promotions for stuff you don't need, or offers that aren't a good deal anyway &mdash; sometimes the market research behind the junk mail works out, and you get an offer for a product you need at a price that makes sense, such as:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Credit card offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Balance transfer offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Loyalty programs</p> </li> <li> <p>Bank bonus offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Coupons for products that you buy regularly</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Can you sell your junk mail?</h2> <p>There is a lot of information that can be gleaned by studying junk mail, so much so that you can actually get paid to send in your junk mail for analysis. A company called Small Business Knowledge Center (<a href="http://www.sbkcenter.com/consumer.html" target="_blank">SBKC</a>) processes junk mail to identify marketing strategies and provide competitive intelligence to their corporate clients. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-earn-170-a-year-with-your-junk-mail?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How to Earn $170 a Year With Your Junk Mail</a>)</p> <h2>How to get less junk mail</h2> <p>Many people don't find value in getting junk mail and would prefer not to waste the paper used to print it, or the time dealing with it. There are some actions you can take to cut down the amount of junk mail you receive.</p> <h3>OptOutPrescreen</h3> <p><a href="https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t" target="_blank">OptOutPrescreen</a> allows you to opt out of preapproved credit card offers. You will be asked to provide your social security number, but after you opt out, your name will not be reported in lists provided by the credit reporting companies to credit card marketers.</p> <h3>DMAchoice</h3> <p><a href="https://dmachoice.thedma.org/index.php" target="_blank">DMAchoice</a> is a service run by the Data &amp; Marketing Association (DMA) that allows you to cut down on the amount of direct mailings and catalogs you get. You can use their online tools to select which types of marketing materials you would like to receive &mdash; and which you don't want.</p> <h3>Catalog Choice</h3> <p>If you are plagued by too many catalogs filling your mailbox, <a href="https://www.catalogchoice.org/" target="_blank">Catalog Choice</a> is another resource to opt out of unwanted mailings. They will send opt out requests to merchants on your behalf for specific catalogs that you no longer want to get.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520Does%2520Your%2520Junk%2520Mail%2520Say%2520About%2520You-.jpg&amp;description=What%20Does%20Your%20Junk%20Mail%20Say%20About%20You%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20Does%20Your%20Junk%20Mail%20Say%20About%20You-.jpg" alt="What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-after-the-holidays-moves-your-credit-score-will-thank-you-for">5 After the Holidays Moves Your Credit Score Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Consumer Affairs bills credit score junk mail mail paperwork shopping habits spending habits Wed, 04 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2030769 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-629305628_0.jpg" alt="these things don&#039;t show up in your credit reports" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ordering your credit reports every year and studying them carefully is a smart way to get a window into your financial well-being. But while credit reports contain a wealth of information about your history with money, they don't tell you <em>everything </em>about your financial health.</p> <p>In fact, there is plenty of financial information you won't find in any of your credit reports.</p> <h2>1. Your credit score</h2> <p>Your credit score is a key financial number. It gives lenders a snapshot of how responsible you've been with your finances. If you have thousands of dollars of credit card debt and you routinely pay bills late, your credit score will be low. If you pay your bills on time and you are using a smaller percentage of your available credit, your score will be high.</p> <p>Unfortunately, your credit report does not contain your credit score. To obtain your score, you'll have to pay one of the three national credit bureaus for it. Your credit card provider might also list a credit score on your monthly statements. This score might not be your official FICO credit score &mdash; the one most lenders rely on when deciding whether to lend you money. It can still give you a general idea of where you stand, though, and is worth keeping track of. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your payments to utility companies</h2> <p>You pay your gas and electric bills on time every month. You might think that this key indicator of your financial responsibility would be listed on your credit report. Unfortunately, it's not. Utilities don't report payments to the credit bureaus.</p> <p>This means that your on-time payments to utility providers don't help your credit score. Late payments aren't reported, either. But be careful: If you're far enough behind on your payments that a utility sends your account to collections, that will show up on your credit report. And that black mark will give lenders reason to hesitate when deciding whether you qualify for a loan. An account in collections can also send your credit score plummeting by 100 points or more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/account-in-collections-heres-how-to-fix-it" target="_blank">Account in Collections? Here's How to Fix It</a>)</p> <h2>3. Your rent payments</h2> <p>Paying your rent on time probably won't help your credit score, either. That's because most landlords still don't report rent payments to the credit bureaus, meaning that these payments don't show up on your credit report.</p> <p>There are services today, though, that landlords can use to report rent payments to the bureaus. Most landlords don't use these services yet, but the fact that they are available could be a sign that rent information will become more common on credit reports in the future.</p> <h2>4. Medical bills</h2> <p>The payments you make to doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals don't show up on your credit reports, either. Again, this is because doctors don't report payment information to the credit bureaus.</p> <p>Paying these bills late, though, could show up on your credit report if your medical providers send your account to a collections agency.</p> <h2>5. Your salary</h2> <p>You'd think the money you earn would be a key indicator of your financial health, and it is. But it's not an indicator of how likely you are to pay your bills on time and manage your credit. Because of this, it doesn't show up on your credit reports.</p> <h2>6. A job loss</h2> <p>Your credit reports do provide some basic employment information, with some listing your past and most recent employers. But if you've just lost your job, that information won't be included in your report. Your reports never mention whether you are still employed, and they don't list how long you've worked with any one company.</p> <h2>7. Your spouse's credit history</h2> <p>Your credit reports list financial information about you and you alone. If you're married, your spouse's history of paying bills and running up debt won't show up.</p> <p>However, if you and your spouse both have your names on a loan or credit card, that debt will show up on both of your credit reports. So will late payments you made on these accounts, even if paying the bills was your spouse's responsibility and not yours.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Things%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Report%2520Does%2520NOT%2520Include.jpg&amp;description=7%20Things%20Your%20Credit%20Report%20Does%20NOT%20Include"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Things%20Your%20Credit%20Report%20Does%20NOT%20Include.jpg" alt="7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-often-your-credit-score-gets-calculated">Here&#039;s How Often Your Credit Score Gets Calculated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-the-new-credit-card-formula-means-for-your-wallet">What the New Credit Card Formula Means for Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills collections credit history credit reports credit score Equifax Experian income payments rent TransUnion utilities Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 2024892 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Retiring With Debt Isn't the End of the World http://www.wisebread.com/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/calculating_our_day_to_day_living_cost.jpg" alt="Calculating our day-to-day living cost" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a perfect world, you'll retire with no debt at all. But that might not be realistic. Most U.S. adults carry at least <em>some </em>debt with them into retirement. A majority even die owing money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind?</a>)</p> <p>The good news is while retiring with debt might not be uncommon today, it's also not a financial disaster. It mostly depends on the type of debt you bring with you into retirement.</p> <h2>The numbers</h2> <p>In a 2016 study, credit bureau Experian found that 73 percent of consumers died with debt. And these consumers didn't die with just a little debt: Experian reported that these individuals had an average debt of $61,554 when they died. Without counting mortgage debt, that figure fell to a still high $12,875.</p> <p>As you near retirement, you might worry that you'll be saddled with too much debt after you leave the workforce. It's important to realize, though, that there are different types of debt, some better than others. Your monthly income in retirement matters, too: If you can easily cover your debts, and still cover your other expenses, your debt won't be as much of a financial burden.</p> <h2>Start with a budget</h2> <p>You won't know how bad your retirement debt might be until you first draft a household budget for your after-work years. This budget should include all of the money you expect to flow into your hands after you retire, including Social Security payments, pensions, and the income you'll be drawing each month from your retirement savings vehicles.</p> <p>You should then list your monthly expenses, both fixed and estimated. This should include your housing costs, food, utilities, entertainment expenses, medical costs, and, of course, the money you'll have to spend each month to pay off your debts.</p> <p>Once you have your expenses and your income listed, compare the figures. Will you have enough money to cover everything each month? Or will you be short?</p> <p>If you have enough, that's good, though you'll still want to reduce your debt as much as you can before you leave the workforce. The less debt you enter your retirement years with, the better.</p> <p>If you'll be short, it's time to make changes. Figure out ways to reduce your expenses, such as trading in a costly car or maybe selling your expensive home and making the move to a less costly condo or smaller residence. You might also have to scale back your plans for retirement; instead of traveling the world, you might have to be content with catching up on your golf game in your own community.</p> <h2>Good vs. bad debt</h2> <p>Once you've determined your budget, it's time to look at your debt.</p> <p>You might think that all debt is the same. That's not true. Some debt is considered &quot;good debt,&quot; while <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youve-crossed-from-healthy-debt-to-problem-debt" target="_blank">other debt is considered bad</a>.</p> <p>Good debt is debt you owe for something that can grow in value and provide you with financial benefits in the future. A mortgage is the most common form of good debt. If you're fortunate, the house that your mortgage is financing will grow in value while you own it. When you sell it, you might make a profit. Mortgage debt has the added benefit of coming with low interest rates and some tax benefits.</p> <p>The most common form of bad debt is credit card debt. This debt grows over time and doesn't provide you with any possible financial benefits. It also often comes with sky-high interest rates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>If you're nearing retirement and you have both mortgage and credit card debt, it makes financial sense to spend any extra dollars you have to reduce your credit card debt. Your mortgage debt, as long as you can afford the monthly payment in retirement, should not be a priority.</p> <h2>Attack your bad debt</h2> <p>If you want to eliminate your credit card debt &mdash; or at least a chunk of it &mdash; before retirement, you'll have to send extra money each month to your credit card providers.</p> <p>Generally, financial experts recommend two main approaches here. You can follow the debt snowball strategy, in which you pay extra each month on the credit card that has the lowest balance. Once you pay off that card, you pay more each month on the card with the next lowest amount of debt, working your way through all your cards.</p> <p>You can also go with the debt avalanche approach. This method works the same way, only you pay extra on your card with the highest interest rate first instead of the lowest balance. This method will save you the most money because you'll be eliminating your highest-interest debt first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Snowballs or Avalanches: Which Debt Reduction Strategy Is Best for You?</a>)</p> <p>Again, to free up enough money to pay down your debts &mdash; no matter which debts you choose to tackle &mdash; you might have to make lifestyle changes, such as cutting down on your meals out or your entertainment and travel expenses.</p> <p>You'll have to determine how much of a financial burden your debt will be after you retire. The debt you bring into retirement might not scuttle your after-work plans. But if it might, that's why a bit of sacrifice now can really pay off later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520Retiring%2520With%2520Debt%2520Isnt%2520the%2520End%2520of%2520the%2520World.jpg&amp;description=Why%20Retiring%20With%20Debt%20Isnt%20the%20End%20of%20the%20World"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20Retiring%20With%20Debt%20Isnt%20the%20End%20of%20the%20World.jpg" alt="Why Retiring With Debt Isn't the End of the World" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-retiring-with-debt">What to Do If You&#039;re Retiring With Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-red-flags-that-your-retirement-plan-may-be-off-track">4 Red Flags That Your Retirement Plan May Be Off Track</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-people-without-debt-do">10 Things People Without Debt Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-these-7-scary-facts-about-retirement-saving">How to Face These 7 Scary Facts About Retirement Saving</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Retirement bills budgeting expenses income mortgages owing money social security Wed, 30 Aug 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2011955 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cute_college_student_walking_around_campus_on_sunny_day.jpg" alt="Cute college student walking around campus on sunny day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>College is about more than just getting a degree. For many new college students, starting this phase of education is also a time to learn any number of important life skills, from proper laundry care to time management.</p> <p>However, many college students often overlook one important life skill: money management. As a college student, you might assume that money management isn't important, since you've got so little money to manage.</p> <p>Unfortunately, neglecting your money skills in college could have lasting negative repercussions throughout your adult life. Rather than assuming you'll sort out the money stuff &quot;later,&quot; get off on the right financial foot by following these money moves when you start your college career.</p> <h2>1. Open a student checking account</h2> <p>Your brand-new university ID makes you eligible for student checking accounts. This gives you a good home for your money while you're in school, and helps you develop good banking habits.</p> <p>Student checking accounts often have low or no minimum opening deposits, and they also generally do not require you to carry a minimum balance each month. In addition, some student accounts offer perks like a limited number of free out-of-network ATM transactions per month, free checks, and some overdraft forgiveness.</p> <h2>2. Start automating your bills</h2> <p>Once you have a checking account in place, you can take advantage of your bank's online bill paying services to set up automatic payments of your regular expenses. Automatic bill payment allows you to keep your focus on your studies, where it belongs.</p> <p>Of course, the caveat is that you need to periodically make sure your account has enough money to cover your automatically paid bills. One good way to do this is to set up a weekly reminder to check your finances. This will help you establish the habit of keeping an eye on your finances even as they are taken care of automatically.</p> <h2>3. Create a spending plan for your financial aid</h2> <p>Receiving a big chunk of money from your university's financial aid office can be pretty exciting &mdash; whether you're receiving loans you'll have to pay back, or grants that you won't. It's tempting to live it up when you receive your financial aid, but that's a good way to run out of money before the semester is over.</p> <p>Instead, take the time to create a spending plan for your financial aid disbursement before the money hits your bank account. Determine how much of your financial aid will need to go toward tuition, textbooks, lab fees, and living expenses. Having such a plan in place will help you keep your spending in check when you feel the urge to splurge some of your aid money.</p> <h2>5. Keep track of your student loans</h2> <p>Many college students &mdash; including yours truly! &mdash; make the mistake of paying no attention to their student loans until they have graduated. In general, the amount of money you are borrowing can seem unreal, so it's very easy to just ignore the problem until you reach your student loan exit interview just before graduation.</p> <p>However, knowing early how much you owe and how much it will cost you to pay it off is both good for your financial health and can help you remain motivated in your studies. It's much easier to get up for that 8 a.m. chemistry lab when you understand just how much you're paying for the privilege of going to it.</p> <p>If you have federal student loans, you can keep track of how much you have borrowed and what your repayment options will be through the <a href="https://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds/nslds_SA/" target="_blank">National Student Loan Data System</a>. Just select &quot;Financial Aid Review,&quot; log in, and you can view all of your federal student loans in one place. If you have any private student loans, you will need to contact your lender for information regarding your loans.</p> <h2>6. Build up an emergency fund</h2> <p>When I was in college, a classmate's financial aid package was re-evaluated at the end of her first year. The school's financial aid office decided that she could count on an additional $1,500 from her family for her second year, even though she knew that it would be impossible to ask for that additional money. By working some serious overtime that summer and living off tuna fish and ramen, my classmate was able to scrape together the additional money. But this situation could have potentially meant the difference between her returning to school and her dropping out.</p> <p>An emergency fund can make this kind of unanticipated financial change much less stressful than it was for my classmate, especially when you are already living on a shoestring.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">Building an emergency fund</a> might feel impossible when you're in college, but don't forget that small amounts can add up to something really helpful. Start with an automatic transfer of $5 &mdash;$10 per week into a savings account. Add in whatever excess money you come across &mdash; including the cash you get for selling back textbooks or some of the birthday money Nana sends every year.</p> <p>Though your fund will grow slowly, working steadily on it will ensure that a financial aid (or other emergency) does not jeopardize your education.</p> <h2>7. Learn from your financial fumbles</h2> <p>Every time you make a financial decision as a college student, you have the opportunity to learn from your choices. The trick to learning from financial mistakes rather than repeating them, is to look back on the choices you made with curiosity and compassion for yourself. You're a college student, after all, and learning is the entire job description.</p> <p>Take each moment of money regret as an opportunity to figure out where your financial weaknesses are. You'll finish college with a much better understand of yourself and your money temptations, as well as potential solutions for avoiding those temptations.</p> <h2>Learn about finances before you enter the real world</h2> <p>It may feel like adding financial responsibility on top of your educational requirements will be too much to handle, but college is actually a great time to work on your money management skills. Taking good care of your finances as you are engaging in higher learning sets you up for financial success after graduation.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Money%2520Moves%2520Every%2520New%2520College%2520Student%2520Should%2520Make.jpg&amp;description=7%20Money%20Moves%20Every%20New%20College%20Student%20Should%20Make"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Money%20Moves%20Every%20New%20College%20Student%20Should%20Make.jpg" alt="7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime">Should You Borrow Student Loan Money From Amazon Prime?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-financial-aid-might-not-cover">6 Things Financial Aid Might Not Cover</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training automatic payments bills checking accounts college emergency funds financial aid money moves savings student loans students Tue, 29 Aug 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2009181 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Handle a Sudden Loss of Income http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fired_from_work.jpg" alt="Fired from work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life happens. Sometimes, life can throw a sudden job loss or drop in income your way. Beyond saving up an emergency fund, you'll need to make a few key moves while you stay afloat. These steps will help minimize the damage and stabilize your finances, quickly.</p> <h2>Alert the people who need to know</h2> <p>There are some exceptions to this rule, but it usually pays to be proactive and honest about your financial situation. If you make the first move and have an honest talk with your landlord, for example, you might be able to negotiate a reduced rent for a few months, set up a split payment agreement, or mutually decide on a later due date for the payment. If you wait until the rent is overdue, and your landlord's patience is already stretched thin, those negotiations might not go so well.</p> <p>It can be intimidating to initiate these conversations; there's no guarantee they'll go your way, and it's humbling to admit that you're struggling financially. However, it's worth the effort. The worst you'll get is a, &quot;No.&quot; In the best case scenario, you may gain some extra time, waive some late fees, or find a much-needed reduction in what you have to pay.</p> <h2>Put payments on hold</h2> <p>If you have automatic payments, particularly large ones, call your bank and put them on hold. While your income is low, you need to assess and prioritize each payment you make, rather than let things flow automatically. You'll also avoid potential overdraft fees by holding those automatic transfers or payments.</p> <p>Some banks charge a fee for putting payments on hold; if that's the case, see if you can put the payment on hold from the payee-side of things rather than through the bank. In other words, if you have an automatic payment scheduled to your insurance provider, for example, and the bank will charge you to put a hold on that auto payment, call your insurance provider and cancel the automatic payment plan until you're ready to reinstate it.</p> <p>Be sure that you keep a spreadsheet or other record of all the payments you put on hold; they still need to be paid. You're just going to manually send those payments according to the best timing for each one. Don't lose track of the payments that need to be sent: Note the amount, the payee information, and the due date for each payment.</p> <p>If you know you'll be late on a bill or payment, call ahead. You may be able to negotiate a temporary, reduced payment plan for credit card debt, car payments, or other bills. Most companies would rather have some money than no money and will work with you, at least to some extent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)</p> <h2>Reduce your expenses</h2> <p>Take a good look at your budget and cut out all but the essentials. This usually means that you're paying bills and handling necessary expenses such as food and fuel in the car. Every other expense goes on hold: clothing, travel, entertainment, and so on need to wait. You can &mdash; and should &mdash; still have fun, but now is the time to opt for free activities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-budget-overhaul-tricks-for-the-recently-unemployed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Budget Overhaul Tricks for the Recently Unemployed</a>)</p> <p>For the time being, pay for your expenses in cash. First, you'll stay more aware of what you're spending if you're handing over a stack of bills. Second, you won't be buying things you can't really afford if you're paying cash. You either have the cash, or you don't; no cash, you don't buy it. This is a very simple way to reduce your expenses to the essentials, only.</p> <p>Remember that this is a temporary state of being. It's stressful to deal with income loss, and having to do without your favorite luxuries can make it even more difficult. However, reducing your expenses is key to getting your finances under control. Splurge on free experiences that help you relax and enjoy the moment, such as watching the sunset, taking a walk, meditating, listening to music, or volunteering.</p> <h2>Get money coming in</h2> <p>Now is the time to polish up all your side-hustle skills. You may not be able to get back to your original income level, but you can definitely pay some bills. There are numerous ideas for side gigs; you might start by offering your professional skills within your network. You can tutor, write, advise, consult, pick up a weekend job, do yardwork, become a virtual assistant, or any combination of those. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs for Fast Cash</a>)</p> <p>Side work will help your mentality; it's important to keep working and be active rather than sink into helplessness. And more importantly, side work will bring in some money.</p> <h2>Don't panic</h2> <p>Last, but certainly not least: Don't panic. It's scary to watch your income plummet and your savings dwindle. But a sudden loss of income is not a reflection of your value as a person. It does not define you, and it does not limit your potential or your future. Many people have walked through the financial fire before and come out stronger than ever on the other side. By taking some of these smart steps now, you can start moving along that path yourself.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Handle%2520a%2520Sudden%2520Loss%2520of%2520Income.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Handle%20a%20Sudden%20Loss%20of%20Income"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Handle%20a%20Sudden%20Loss%20of%20Income.jpg" alt="How to Handle a Sudden Loss of Income" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why">You&#039;ve Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here&#039;s Why</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you">How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills budgeting cutting costs expenses job loss loss of income negotiating payments side jobs Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Annie Mueller 2003785 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs You're Making All the Right Money Moves http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_boy_nerd_saves_money_in_his_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Young Boy Nerd Saves Money in His Piggy Bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've worked hard to build up your savings, pay off your credit card bills, and boost your credit score. But how do you know that this hard work is paying off?</p> <p>There are several ways to tell if you are making the right money moves that will help boost your financial security, secure the lowest interest rates on loans, and give you access to the best credit cards with the most generous rewards programs. Want validation that your money moves are the right ones? Look for these signs.</p> <h2>1. You've built an emergency fund</h2> <p>Emergencies constantly pop up: Your car's transmission might blow. Your home's furnace might conk out in the middle of winter. If you don't have adequate savings, you might have to turn to high-interest rate credit cards to pay for these emergencies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Decide if It's a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a>)</p> <p>But you won't have to do this if you've built an emergency fund. A fund stocked with plenty of cash is one sure sign that you're making the right money moves.</p> <p>Financial experts recommend that you have at least six months' worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund at all times. If you've met this goal, be proud: You're doing something right financially.</p> <h2>2. You're getting better credit card offers</h2> <p>It's rare for a week to go by without some bank or credit union stuffing your mailbox with an application for a new credit card. But take a closer look at these applications. Has the quality of your credit card offers gone up? If so, that's another sign that you're making smart money moves.</p> <p>If you're saddled with tons of debt, or if you've made late payments or skipped payments entirely, your mailbox will be filled with offers for credit cards that come with high interest rates and no rewards &mdash; if you receive any credit card offers at all.</p> <p>If, however, you've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">cut down your credit card debt</a> and pay your bills on time each month, banks will send you applications for credit cards that come with generous rewards programs, enticing sign-up offers, and low interest rates. So watch your mailbox: If banks are trying to lure you to their plastic, you can bet that you're becoming a savvy financial operator.</p> <h2>3. Lenders are happy to give you lower interest rates</h2> <p>Were you surprised when you were approved for an auto loan at the low interest rate your lender quoted? That's another sign that you are making sound financial decisions.</p> <p>Lenders check your credit reports and your FICO credit score before deciding what interest rate to assign to your mortgage, auto, student, and personal loans. If your credit score is high &mdash; 740 or more &mdash; you can expect to qualify for lower interest rates.</p> <p>Your credit score is based on several factors, including your history of paying bills on time and your debt levels. If you have these financials under control, your score will be higher.</p> <p>You can check your credit score &mdash; usually for a price of $15 by ordering it from one of the three national credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). Your credit card company might also provide your score for free each month. Just make sure it's your actual FICO score and not an alternative version. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your credit card debt has disappeared</h2> <p>Credit card debt is the worst type of debt you can have: The high interest rates that come with it mean that your debt load grows steadily each month that you carry a balance. If you open your credit card bill and you <em>don't </em>have a balance, that's one of the most positive signs that you are becoming financially mature. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. The monthly bills don't make you sweat</h2> <p>When you rip open the cable, utility, or gas bill each month, do you immediately wonder if you have enough money in your checking account to pay them on time? If you do, that's a sign that you're living paycheck to paycheck.</p> <p>If, though, the monthly bills don't make you cringe, and you always have enough money in your account to cover them, know that you're doing something right with your finances.</p> <h2>6. Your checking account balance is growing each month</h2> <p>The goal is to make enough money so that you can pay your bills each month and have dollars leftover, money that you can invest or save. If you notice that you have more money in your checking account at the end of every month, be happy: That's another sign that you're making smart money decisions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Signs%2520Youre%2520Making%2520All%2520the%2520Right%2520Money%2520Moves.jpg&amp;description=6%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Money%20Moves"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Money%20Moves.jpg" alt="6 Signs You're Making All the Right Money Moves" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-americans-are-getting-better-at-managing-their-money">3 Ways Americans Are Getting Better at Managing Their Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills credit history credit score debt emergency funds good signs money moves saving money Wed, 02 Aug 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 1986886 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_screaming_papers_599701902.jpg" alt="Man&#039;s bills varying based on credit behavior" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your financial life. Because it incorporates data about your past behavior with credit &mdash; how much credit and debt you have and how good you are at paying those bills off &mdash; it's deemed as a good predictor of how you'll behave with future bills.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent" target="_blank">low credit score</a> can hurt you in many ways: It makes it more difficult to qualify for mortgages, car loans, or credit cards. And when you do qualify for a loan or credit card, you'll be stuck with higher interest rates and the higher monthly payments that come with them. Poor credit behavior can also cost you money each month in the form of higher student loan and insurance payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a>)</p> <p>Most lenders today still consider a credit score of 740 or higher to be a strong one. Anything at 640 or lower, though, is considered weak.</p> <p>Here's a look at five monthly bills that you'll pay more for if your credit score is low.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage payment</h2> <p>Your credit score has a big impact on your mortgage payment. If your score is high, odds are good that you'll qualify for a lower interest rate, which will, in turn, lower your monthly mortgage payment. If your score is low, the opposite will happen.</p> <p>Here's an example of the difference that a high or low interest rate can have on your monthly mortgage payment: If you take out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan of $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.80 percent, you'll have a monthly payment of about $931, not counting what you might pay for homeowners insurance and property taxes.</p> <p>If you take out that same loan with a higher interest rate of 4.80 percent &mdash; which you may have gotten due to a low credit score &mdash; your monthly payment, again not counting taxes and insurance, will be about $1,049. That's $118 more a month, or about $1,416 a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-smart-ways-to-lower-your-monthly-mortgage-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Smart Ways to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment</a>)</p> <h2>2. Auto loans</h2> <p>You'll face the same situation when applying for an auto loan with a lower credit score. Auto lenders, like mortgage lenders, rely heavily on your credit score. If they see a low score, they'll protect themselves financially by charging you a higher interest rate. This higher rate will result in a higher monthly payment.</p> <p>The higher rates make sense if you look at your loan from your lender's point of view. A lower credit score means you have a history of making bad financial choices, whether that means paying bills late or missing them entirely. Lenders then levy a higher interest rate to make up for the danger of lending to riskier borrowers.</p> <h2>3. Credit cards</h2> <p>Interest rates on credit cards can be high &mdash; 20 percent or higher in some cases. But if your credit score is high, you'll increase your chances of qualifying for a lower rate on your cards. This is important: If you carry a balance on your cards each month, a lower interest rate will mean a lower required minimum monthly payment. It also means your debt will grow at a slower rate.</p> <p>How you use credit cards has a big impact on your credit score. If you always pay your cards on time, and if you don't run up too much debt on them, you will steadily boost your score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Student loans</h2> <p>There are two types of student loans: federal and private. Your credit score won't affect your interest rate on federal loans. But lenders originating private student loans will look at your credit score. If your score is low, they'll charge you higher interest rates and fees. This will result in a higher monthly student loan payment.</p> <h2>5. Homeowners insurance</h2> <p>Insurance companies don't rely on your credit score to set your homeowners insurance rates. They do, however, use a similar metric known as an insurance score. This score includes information about your past payment history, your debts, and your number of open credit accounts, just like your credit score. It can also include information about any safety features &mdash; such as fire alarms and security systems &mdash; protecting your home and whether you've made a high number of insurance claims in the past.</p> <p>If your insurance score is high, you'll qualify for a lower insurance bill. If that score is low, you can expect to pay more for your homeowners insurance.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Monthly%2520Bills%2520That%2520Vary%2520Based%2520on%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Behavior.jpg&amp;description=5%20Monthly%20Bills%20That%20Vary%20Based%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Behavior"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Monthly%20Bills%20That%20Vary%20Based%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Behavior.jpg" alt="5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card">What to Do if You&#039;ve Signed Up for a Terrible Loan or Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance auto loans bills credit score fico homeowners insurance interest rates mortgages payments student loans Tue, 01 Aug 2017 07:47:46 +0000 Dan Rafter 1990977 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/casual_man_paying_bills_at_home_with_laptop.jpg" alt="Casual man paying bills at home with laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might think that all your debts are equal. In your mind, there might not be any difference between your auto loan, student loan, and credit card bills.</p> <p>But there is one major difference: Some of your debts are unsecured, and some are secured. It's important to know the difference if you run into a financial crisis and you don't have enough money to pay all your bills on time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)</p> <p>If you stop paying secured debt, you might lose your home, car, or other assets. If you stop paying unsecured debt, your credit score will take a major hit, but you won't lose your shelter or your car.</p> <h2>Secured vs. unsecured debt</h2> <p>Secured debt is tied to an asset. Think of mortgages and auto loans.</p> <p>In a mortgage, the money you borrow is connected to your home, which your lenders consider collateral. If you stop making your payments, your lender can start foreclosure proceedings to take possession of your home.</p> <p>In an auto loan, your car serves as collateral. If you stop making payments on this debt, your lender can take possession of your car.</p> <p>The collateral on secured debts is a way for lenders to protect themselves when passing out large loans. Borrowers aren't as likely to stop making payments if they know doing so could cost them an asset. And if borrowers do stop making payments, lenders can recover some of their losses by taking possession of the collateral and selling it.</p> <p>Unsecured debt does not have any collateral behind it and is not tied to any asset. The most common kind of unsecured debt is credit card debt. Student loan debt and medical bills are also examples of unsecured debt.</p> <p>If you fall behind on unsecured debt, your lenders generally have no collateral to take over.</p> <h2>The consequences</h2> <p>This doesn't mean that falling behind on your unsecured debt payments comes without consequence. First, your credit score will take a hit. If you make a credit card payment or payment on another unsecured debt more than 30 days past due, your payment will be considered officially late. You can expect your credit score to fall by 100 points or more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <p>This is a big deal: Lenders rely on your credit score to determine if you qualify for loans and at what interest rate. If your score is too low, you'll struggle to earn approval for loans. And if you do get that approval, the higher interest rates will make borrowing money more expensive.</p> <p>Lenders can also take steps to force you to start paying what you owe on unsecured debts. They can hire a debt collector. They can also sue you to garnish your wages or put a lien on your assets to get you to pay.</p> <h2>Which should you pay first?</h2> <p>If you are hit with a financial crisis, and you can't pay all your bills on time for the month, it usually makes sense to pay your secured debts first. You don't want to take the chance of losing your home, car, or other assets.</p> <p>Secured debts tend to be larger, too. For most people, the mortgage payment is the biggest bill they pay each month. It can be more difficult to catch up on missed payments if you fall behind on these larger bills.</p> <p>The most common type of unsecured debt, credit cards, also come with more flexibility. You only have to pay the minimum required monthly payment on your credit card debt to avoid being hit with a late fee. You might pay off your secured debts first and then have enough money to pay at least the minimum on your credit cards.</p> <p>Interest rates might play a role, too. Unsecured debt generally comes with higher interest rates. If you fall behind on these payments, the amount you owe can build quickly because of these higher rates. Skipping two or three credit card payments can quickly boost your overall debt on your cards.</p> <p>Ideally, you'd never have to prioritize unsecured or secured debts, but would rather pay all your bills on time each month. But if you must make the difficult decision of which bills to pay and which to wait on, knowing the difference between secured and unsecured debt can help you make that call.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Know%2520the%2520Difference%2520Between%2520Secured%2520and%2520Unsecured%2520Debts.jpg&amp;description=Why%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20the%20Difference%20Between%20Secured%20and%20Unsecured%20Debts"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20the%20Difference%20Between%20Secured%20and%20Unsecured%20Debts.jpg" alt="Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior">5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind">Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management assets auto loans bills Cars credit score late payments mortgages secured debt unsecured debt Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Dan Rafter 1988258 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Reasons to Pay Your Credit Card Bill Before It's Due http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_with_a_credit_card_buying_online.jpg" alt="Girl with a credit card buying online" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know there can be dire consequences if you are late in paying your credit card bill. But is there also a benefit to paying your bill early?</p> <p>It may seem unnecessary to pay your bill any sooner than required, but there are some advantages to sending in your payment earlier.</p> <h2>1. It frees up your credit</h2> <p>Most credit cards have a limit to the amount you can charge. But you can actually charge more if you pay off any spending right away. This is helpful if you plan to use the credit card to make a big-ticket purchase. It also makes sense if you plan to travel, because hotels, airlines, and rental car companies can place holds on your card that may last several days, or even as long as a week.</p> <h2>2. It can improve your credit score</h2> <p>The easiest way to prove to the credit bureaus that you are creditworthy is to pay your bill, and paying it off early can only help. Moreover, credit bureaus base your debt on the total at the end of the statement cycle. So if you can pay off debt before the cycle even ends, it reduces the debt reported. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>3. You'll do a better job of tracking spending</h2> <p>If you get in the habit of paying off credit card charges as they come in, you will likely check your balance more frequently. By doing this, you will be more aware of how much you are spending, and on what.</p> <h2>4. It reduces the interest you are charged</h2> <p>If you've carried over a credit card balance from the month before, interest is charged each day, so it can accumulate over the course of the month. If you pay part (or all) of your bill early, that means you will have a smaller average daily balance and lower interest payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate</a>)</p> <h2>5. You'll chip away at debt faster</h2> <p>Consider this: If you direct money to pay off your credit card bill as soon as you can, that means your money can't be used anywhere else. In essence, you are preventing yourself from spending cash on something that might be wasteful. You are making a commitment to use money to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay off debt</a> rather than add to it.</p> <h2>6. You'll be less likely to forget about it</h2> <p>When you pay bills only after you see the final monthly statement, mistakes can happen. Bills can get lost in the mail. You can set it aside but lose it between the couch cushions. But if you are in the habit of checking your credit card balances and making payments frequently, you'll be less likely to have a problem. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Never Make a Late Payment on Your Credit Card Again</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Smart%2520Reasons%2520to%2520Pay%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Bill%2520Before%2520Its%2520Due.jpg&amp;description=6%20Smart%20Reasons%20to%20Pay%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Bill%20Before%20Its%20Due"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Smart%20Reasons%20to%20Pay%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Bill%20Before%20Its%20Due.jpg" alt="6 Smart Reasons to Pay Your Credit Card Bill Before It's Due" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-a-huge-credit-card-bill">What to Expect When You&#039;re Expecting a Huge Credit Card Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-to-make-before-cutting-up-your-credit-card">6 Moves to Make Before Cutting Up Your Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-credit-without-using-credit-cards">How to Build Credit Without Using Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards bills credit balances credit score debt early interest payments revolving debt tracking spending Wed, 05 Jul 2017 09:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1977308 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do If Your Paycheck Bounces http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-your-paycheck-bounces <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-if-your-paycheck-bounces" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/photo_of_a_young_woman_receive_bad_news.jpg" alt="Photo of a young woman receive bad news" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>British actor Noel Coward said it best: &quot;If you must have motivation, think of your paycheck on Friday.&quot; All the hard work that you put in day after day really pays off when that paycheck hits your bank account.</p> <p>But what happens when you get the &quot;insufficient funds&quot; memo from your employer, of all people? Here's your play-by-play on what do if your paycheck bounces.</p> <h2>1. Contact your employer right away</h2> <p>Go straight to the source and politely explain what happened. In the best case scenario, your employer or payroll administrator will apologize for the mistake and cut you a new check within a few days. If not, then you'll need to complete a few more steps to get your hard-earned dollars.</p> <p>Write down who you talked to, when you talked, and what you both agreed to. Remain calm at all times and ask if you can get a written confirmation that you'll receive a replacement check by a <em>specific date</em>. This is important.</p> <h2>2. Inform your bank</h2> <p>While you wait on your replacement check, call your bank's customer service line and explain the situation. You'll need to do this because depending on your type of account and balance at the time of deposit, your financial institution may hit you with an overdraft or insufficient funds fee. These fees can range from $27 to $35.</p> <p>Here's when that written confirmation from your employer will come in handy: Request a one-time waiver of that pesky fee for depositing a bad check. Your bank is legally entitled to deny your request, but it's worth a shot when you have a clean record or have been a customer for several years. Once again, write down who you talked to, when, and what was said (aka The 3W's).</p> <h2>3. Make sure that bills get paid</h2> <p>This is particularly important if you had any automatic payments that were timed with your paycheck. Immediately contact all people and organizations to which you were going to pay using your paycheck. If you set up automatic bill payments online, you may be able to cancel some or all of them through your customer portals as long as they haven't been processed already.</p> <p>If those payments have already been processed, then your best bet is to contact customer service right away over the phone. Explain the situation to your rep and ask for options to arrange alternate forms of payment, including paying at a physical location, providing a routing number and checking or savings account over the phone, or mailing a check (FYI, that mailing address may be available on your statement). Remember to track The 3W's for all of these calls.</p> <p>Don't forget to politely request to have any applicable penalty fees waived or reversed. Some companies are able to stop the fee from hitting your account at all and others will revert a fee generally within 48 hours. If you're still hit with a penalty, document it.</p> <h2>4. Gather proof that the check had insufficient funds</h2> <p>Just in case you may have to lawyer up, start a &quot;Bad Check&quot; folder. Include in this folder:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Notes from your initial talk with your employer.</p> </li> <li> <p>Notes from the visit or call with your bank.</p> </li> <li> <p>Notes from your talks with people and companies that were counting on that payment;</p> </li> <li> <p>Proof that the check bounced (printout of your bank statement, physical paycheck mailed back to you, or photo from check with insufficient funds stamp if available on your statement or online portal).</p> </li> <li> <p>List of fees applied from your bank (if any).</p> </li> <li> <p>List of fees applied from companies (if any).</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Check back with your employer on the promised date of payment</h2> <p>Hopefully, you don't have to wait until the very day of payment. But when you do, then you have every right to remind your employer about the deadline.</p> <p>Got your payment? Good.</p> <p>Is your employer &quot;ghosting&quot; you? Then, keep on reading.</p> <h2>6. Beware over 15- to 30-day late payments</h2> <p>If there's a major bill that you just can't cover, such as rent, car loan payment, or mortgage payment, be proactive and reach out to those companies.</p> <p>Why?</p> <p>For starters, these companies may have a higher amount due when you pay past a certain date. For example, most mortgage lenders make payments due by the first of the month, allow a grace period until the 15th of the month, and start charging a higher amount on the 16th of the month and on. Once your payment becomes 30 days past due, your creditor will report it to the credit bureaus.</p> <p>When there's potential for a 30-day late payment, inform your creditor in writing and request that your potential late payment not be reported due to a situation outside of your control. Send a letter explaining your situation via certified mail, keep a copy for your &quot;Bad Check&quot; folder, and expect a response within 30 days (also for your folder).</p> <h2>7. Notify your state's Department of Labor</h2> <p>Still waiting? Contact your employer again and inform them that you require payment or you will be forced to contact the U.S. Department of Labor. In case of no response, then report your employer to your state's <a href="https://www.dol.gov/dol/location.htm" target="_blank">Department of Labor office</a> backing up your statements with your &quot;Bad Check&quot; folder.</p> <p>Once your complaint has been filed, you're highly likely to get your paycheck &hellip; and possibly a bit extra. In Hawaii, for example, employers who fail to pay wages have to pay back a sum equal to the amount of unpaid wages and annual <a href="http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol07_Ch0346-0398/HRS0388/HRS_0388-0010.htm" target="_blank">interest rate of 6 percent</a> from the date that the wages were due. In addition, nonpaying Hawaii employers who can't provide a reasonable explanation are also subject to a fine ranging from $100 to $10,000 and imprisonment up to one year.</p> <p>The employer may also have to provide remedies to cover additional costs, such as late fees and reasonable attorney's fees. Labor laws and filing fees vary by state, but one thing is certain: You'll get paid.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-to-do-if-your-paycheck-bounces&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520to%2520Do%2520If%2520Your%2520Paycheck%2520Bounces.jpg&amp;description=What%20to%20Do%20If%20Your%20Paycheck%20Bounces"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20to%20Do%20If%20Your%20Paycheck%20Bounces.jpg" alt="What to Do If Your Paycheck Bounces" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-your-paycheck-bounces">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security">How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-mistakes-couples-who-live-together-might-make-after-a-breakup">5 Money Mistakes Couples Who Live Together Might Make After a Breakup</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career Building bills bounced check department of labor employer insufficient funds overdraft fees paycheck work Wed, 05 Jul 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Damian Davila 1974322 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Fix Your Finances After Missing a Payment http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-your-finances-after-missing-a-payment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-fix-your-finances-after-missing-a-payment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/portrait_of_an_attractive_woman_at_table_grabbing_her_head.jpg" alt="Portrait of an attractive woman at table grabbing her head" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No matter how much you plan ahead with your finances, sometimes you'll mess up a payment. Whether you miss a due date or bounce a check, take a deep breath. It's not as bad as you think.</p> <p>Let's review what you can expect to happen, how to fix the problem, and how you can make sure this doesn't happen again.</p> <h2>Missing a credit card payment</h2> <p>According to research from the Urban Institute, one in every 20 Americans is at least 30 days behind on a credit card payment or other nonmortgage type of debt. But you don't have to be that late to suffer consequences. Simply forgetting about a due date by a few days can land you in trouble.</p> <h3>What you can expect</h3> <p>Miss a credit card payment by as little as one day and you can be hit with a penalty fee. Late fees are capped by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at $27 for the first time you miss a due date; $38 for subsequent late payments within a six-month period. Those caps are adjusted for inflation every year.</p> <p>But fees aren't the only penalty for late credit card payments. Most credit card issuers will also hike up your APR, typically to between 20 percent and 35 percent. The Credit Card Act of 2009 requires the issuer to send you a notice saying why it is increasing your rate 45 days in advance of the rate hike, and the issuer can only apply the penalty rate to purchases made 14 days after the notice was sent. However, if you don't make at least the minimum payment within 60 days of the due date, the penalty APR can be applied to your <em>existing</em> balance as well as any future transactions. There is a chance to reverse that, though, if you make the next six payments on time.</p> <p>One silver lining exists for late payers: If your payment is less than 30 days past due, it will not be reported late to the credit bureaus.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>If you make at least your minimum payment within 48 hours past the due date, your credit card company may credit you back any late payment fees.</p> <p>Many credit card companies offer a 24-hour or after-hours customer service line to accept late payments, but you will most likely need the routing and account numbers of your bank account to make the payment immediately. If that's not an option, then make the payment through the credit card's website. A last resort is to use the mailing address for courier deliveries provided on your credit card statement, if available, and overnight a check to the card issuer.</p> <p>Once you make your payment, request your credit card company waive or credit back your late payment fee and keep your standard APR (don't forget about that second item!). If approved, most credits may take up to two business days to be reflected in your balance.</p> <h3>How to prevent it</h3> <p>Your best bet is to set up automatic, recurring payments by no later than the bill's monthly due date. You can do this through your online banking platform, but payments made that way can take longer and are not as flexible as payments made through the credit card website. When you set up autopay with the card issuer, you can choose whether you want to pay the balance in full every month, make the minimum payment, or pay some other amount.</p> <p>If your current due date is causing you problems, call your credit card company and request a new date that's a better match with the timing of your incoming cash flow. Just be aware that this change can take two to three business cycles to take effect. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>Missing a utility payment</h2> <p>Forgetting to pay the electric, gas, or water bill can threaten your service and may even harm your credit score.</p> <h3>What you can expect</h3> <p>Utility companies don't typically report payments directly to the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). But there's a wrinkle: If the companies send unpaid bills to collection agencies, then those agencies will <em>definitely</em> report the debts to the credit bureaus. How badly a debt in collections will hurt your credit score depends on how high your credit score is when the collections agency reports it. If you have a higher credit score, you'll lose more points.</p> <p>Most utility companies won't turn off your service for one late payment within 30 days, but they may do so after several missed payments. Consult your service agreement for applicable late payment fines. Before a utility company can shut down your service, it must have attempted to reach you and provided a final termination notice several days (or even weeks, in some states) in advance.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>Don't ignore the bill. Pay it in full right away, or at least ask if your service provider will agree to a payment plan. As long as you're making agreed minimum payments, you'll continue to have access to the service and prevent the company from turning your debt over to a collector. Utility companies are usually willing to work with you to arrive at a solution. Taking initiative will prevent further headaches (and fees!) and keep the utility company from demanding a security deposit from you to continue service.</p> <h3>How to prevent it</h3> <p>Set up a recurring, automatic payment either directly with your utility company or through your financial institution. It's best to pay with a bank account rather than a credit card because many utility companies charge a convenience fee for processing credit cards, if they allow it at all.</p> <p>When using your bank's bill payment service, check the processing time for payments. Some institutions mail out physical checks to your payees, so you may have to account for mailing times.</p> <p>Don't have access to either option? Then consider a third-party bill payment service, such as <a href="http://www.mint.com" target="_blank">Mint</a>, <a href="http://paytrust.quicken.com" target="_blank">PayTrust</a>, or <a href="http://www.billgo.com/" target="_blank">BillGO</a>.</p> <p>Last but not least, consider finding ways to limit your water and electricity use to give your budget some breathing room. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill</a>)</p> <h2>Bouncing a check</h2> <p>You wrote a check thinking you could cover it because a deposit you'd been waiting on had finally cleared your bank account, but it didn't. Now, your bank has sent you a notice that your check bounced.</p> <h3>What you can expect</h3> <p>First, let's talk about the actual payment: Your payee may or may not receive the money. Some banks won't process the payment at all. Other banks may ding your payee with an annoying fee. If the recipient of the check is a friend or family member, you may just get an earful. If it's a company or service provider, then you may have to pay them a fee.</p> <p>On top of that, your bank will charge you a fee. Depending on your type of account, you can expect one of these fees to kick in:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Overdraft fee: When your checking account comes with overdraft privilege, the charge is covered and your bank charges you an overdraft fee (average $32.13 in Q4 2016).</p> </li> <li> <p>Insufficient funds fee: When your checking account lacks overdraft protection, your check won't clear and your bank charges you an insufficient (or nonsufficient) funds fee (average $31.86 in Q4 2016).</p> </li> </ul> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>As soon as you notice the problem, make a deposit into your account to cover the amount of the bounced check and the applicable fee. If you have money in another account with the same bank, the fastest way to do this is by logging on to your bank's website or app and doing a transfer. If you don't have another account with the same bank, then head to your bank to make a cash deposit (a check deposit will take longer to clear).</p> <p>After making the deposit, contact your financial institution to request a one-time waiver of the overdraft or insufficient funds fee. Most banks are willing to credit back one of these charges to clients in good standing. Keep in mind, however, that they're under no obligation to do so.</p> <h3>How to prevent it</h3> <ul> <li> <p>Know the processing time for different types of deposits coming into your bank account. For example, some mobile check deposits can take up to three business days before they clear and the funds are available in your account.</p> </li> <li> <p>Keep track of your checks. Some checks, such as tax payment checks, are usually cashed after several days or even weeks. Forgetting about these may give you the illusion that you have a higher account balance than the one you actually have.</p> </li> <li> <p>Set up an emergency fund in a separate account with the same bank. That way you'll be able to tap into that account to cover that bad check right away.</p> </li> <li> <p>Sign up for mobile banking. This enables you to check and make transactions without stepping foot in a brick-and-mortar branch.</p> </li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-your-finances-after-missing-a-payment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-repair-mistakes-that-will-cost-you">8 Credit Repair Mistakes That Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score">5 Financial Mistakes That Won&#039;t Hurt Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills bounced checks collections credit report fees late payments missed payments past due penalties Tue, 30 May 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1955480 at http://www.wisebread.com Can Too Many Credit Cards Hurt Your Credit Score? http://www.wisebread.com/can-too-many-credit-cards-hurt-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-too-many-credit-cards-hurt-your-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_woman_with_credit_cards.jpg" alt="Business woman with credit cards" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're checking out at your favorite department store when the cashier asks if you'd like to apply for the store's credit card. Doing so will save you 10 percent on your purchase. Should you fill out the application? Or will having too many credit cards in your wallet ding your three-digit FICO credit score?</p> <p>According to myFICO.com, there is no &quot;golden number&quot; of credit cards that will hurt or help your credit score. What matters most is how you use those cards &mdash; namely, paying your bills on time. Still, there are a few important things to remember when you have multiple credit cards.</p> <h2>Inquiries ding your credit score</h2> <p>Whenever you apply for a new credit card, your FICO score will fall slightly. The creditor behind the plastic will order a copy of your credit report from one of the three national credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. This inquiry will then show up on your credit reports.</p> <p>An inquiry will temporarily drop your credit score because whenever you apply for new credit, there is a risk that you will borrow more money than you can afford to pay back. How much your score will drop varies, but myFICO says that for most people, a single inquiry will result in a drop of five points or less.</p> <p>The drop in your score might be steeper, however, if you apply for several credit cards in a short period of time. There's a statistical reason for this: myFICO says that people who have six or more hard inquiries on their credit reports &mdash; inquiries made by a lender with whom you've applied for credit &mdash; are up to eight times more likely to declare bankruptcy than consumers who have no inquiries. Hard inquiries remain on your credit reports for 24 months before falling off.</p> <p>The smart move is to apply for new credit if you need it and plan to use it. Don't apply for new credit cards just to get a store discount you'll use a few times.</p> <h2>Use your cards wisely</h2> <p>What's more important than the number of cards you have is how you use them. Paying your credit card bill late will send your FICO score tumbling, usually by 100 points or more. Your creditor will report a payment as officially late to the three credit bureaus if you're more than 30 days past due. That shouldn't be an excuse to regularly miss your due date (especially because most cards will charge you a late fee if you're even one day late), but it does mean you don't need to panic if you're only a few days behind.</p> <p>Making credit card payments on time is one of the surest ways to boost your credit score. Use your credit cards sensibly throughout the month, and whenever possible, pay the balance in full by the due date. That way, you won't have to pay interest. If you can't pay off the entire balance, at least pay more than the minimum. You'll still pay interest, but it'll be much less than if you only made the minimum monthly payments.</p> <h2>Keep unused credit cards open</h2> <p>You might think that closing a credit card account you never use will help your credit score. It won't. Actually, it can cause your score to fall.</p> <p>It all comes down to your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a>. This measures how much available credit you are using by dividing your total credit card balances by your total credit card limits. For example, if you have $12,000 of available credit and a balance of $3,000, your credit utilization ratio is 25 percent. Credit utilization accounts for approximately 30 percent of your credit score, and many experts agree that the ratio should not exceed 30 percent. The lower, the better.</p> <p>Using more than 30 percent of your available credit will hurt your credit score. By closing a card, you're removing that line of available credit &mdash; therefore increasing your credit utilization ratio.</p> <p>Say you have $30,000 of available credit and you owe $10,000 on your cards. If you close a credit card with a $10,000 credit limit, you'll lower your total available credit to $20,000. That will bump your credit utilization ratio from 33 percent to 50 percent. That doesn't look good on your credit reports.</p> <p>Don't close a credit card just because you think you have too many cards. Even if you never use it, you might inadvertently hurt your credit score.</p> <h2>Older credit is better for your score</h2> <p>When it comes to credit cards, the longer you've had them, the better. The length of your credit history accounts for 15 percent of your FICO score. The older your credit history &mdash; paired with a history of making on-time payments &mdash; the better your credit score will be.</p> <p>If you apply for several new credit cards at once, you'll lower the overall average age of your credit accounts. That could have a slight downward pull on your credit score.</p> <p>Again, though, what matters most is not how many cards you have, but whether you pay them on time each month. Don't overanalyze the number of cards you are carrying. Instead, concentrate on never missing a payment.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-too-many-credit-cards-hurt-your-credit-score">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debunking-8-common-credit-score-myths">Debunking 8 Common Credit Score Myths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance age of credit bills credit reports credit score credit utilization ratio monthly payments payment history too many credit cards Mon, 29 May 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1954617 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Biggest Ways Procrastination Hurts Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-621987808.jpg" alt="Woman learning biggest ways procrastination hurts her finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember those days in college when you'd put off studying until the night before a big exam? You'd stay up all night, desperately trying to cram everything in at the last minute. If only you'd taken the time earlier, you'd have walked into your test rested, calm, and most importantly, prepared.</p> <p>Those bad habits can cost you a lot more in real life if you carry them into the way you handle money. Here are seven situations when procrastination really hurts your bottom line.</p> <h2>1. Investing: Your money has less time to grow</h2> <p>It's one of the basic rules of smart investing: Invest as early as you can and for as long as you can. Some of the most successful investors are those who had relatively modest incomes, but started investing young and stayed in the markets for decades. Compounding interest worked in their favor, and they enjoyed a sizable nest egg later in life. Even a delay of five to 10 years can make a significant difference in how much money you have by retirement. Quite simply, the more you procrastinate, the less money you'll have.</p> <h2>2. Saving: You continue to spend more than you earn</h2> <p>You're aware that you're spending more money than you're bringing in, but you tell yourself that you'll start cutting back after the holidays. The holidays come and go, so then you tell yourself you'll start saving after your big spring break trip. After spring break, you promise you'll start after your cousin's wedding in July. There's always some reason to put off saving, but the best time to start tightening your belt is right away. Devising an arbitrary future start date for financial prudence only means you're spending money you shouldn't in the interim.</p> <h2>3. Debt payoff: Your balances balloon</h2> <p>That credit card bill keeps getting bigger, and it comes on top of your student loans and car payments. You're getting crushed by debt, but it's so overwhelming you can't bring yourself to come up with a plan to tackle it. Every moment you wait to address your debt problem is a moment that allows that debt to grow. Devise a repayment strategy now, before your debt ruins you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Taxes: You might make a costly mistake</h2> <p>Tax Day seems so far away, but before you know it, it's the middle of April and you haven't even gotten started. You may think your taxes are simple, but rushing through the process increases your chances of forgetting income, missing out on deductions, or making a silly error.</p> <p>No one says you have to file your taxes immediately at the beginning of the year, but at least give yourself a few weeks to file your return carefully. A rush job could mean you pay too much, or you may end up with penalties due to mistakes.</p> <h2>5. Bills: You miss payment deadlines</h2> <p>There are consequences to paying bills late, usually in the form of fees and interest charges. If you're the type of person who doesn't even open a bill until it's nearly due, you're putting yourself at risk of extra expenses.</p> <p>Late fees and interest aren't merely one-time charges. Miss your payments by enough days and it can hurt your credit score, impacting your ability to borrow. It's best to pay bills right away when you get them &mdash; or put them on autopay &mdash; so they don't threaten your finances further. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>6. Job applications: You don't get that better-paying position</h2> <p>You found a job that you think you'll like, and it pays considerably more than your current one. But instead of applying right away, you wait. And wait. And wait. Before you know it, the position is filled. This is a total wasted opportunity.</p> <p>Yes, applying for a job, reworking your resume, writing cover letters, and going through interviews are all tedious and time-consuming. But when you're stuck sitting at your current gig, underpaid and unhappy, you'll really be kicking yourself for not putting in the work to get yourself unstuck.</p> <h2>7. Raises and promotions: You miss out for another year</h2> <p>It's hard to know the precise time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-should-demand-a-raise" target="_blank">ask for a promotion or a raise</a>. Often, we wait until annual review season, but by then, personnel decisions may already have been made. The best thing is to approach the subject sooner rather than later. Your boss may not be in a position to respond right away, but you've planted the seed so they know your wishes.</p> <p>Besides, simply asking for a raise or promotion may force your employer to look more closely at your work, and hopefully recognize what you bring to the table each day. If you wait too long to ask, you may have to wait for an entire budget cycle to get another shot.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-your-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-emotions-costing-you-money-take-this-quiz">Are Your Emotions Costing You Money? Take This Quiz</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance asking for raise bills debt investing jobs last minute procrastination promotions saving taxes Tue, 23 May 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1949205 at http://www.wisebread.com